The magical allure of central Italy has remained strong for almost three millenia. Tribes, kingdoms and empires have risen and fallen, and each has left its unique mark. It began with the ancient civilizations of Etruscans and Romans, endured the invasions of other European cultures, blossomed during the Renaissance to lead Europe out of the Dark Ages, and continues to evolve even today. Tuscany has one of the world’s most perfect combinations of history, art, cuisine, landscape, culture…and of course the people who make it all come to life. The culture of the vine is prevalent in all aspects of Tuscany…with 23 DOC wines, 11 DOCG varieties, dozens of SuperTuscans and countless regional vintages, the sheer variety and quality of wines present in this iconic region is staggering.
Join Ellen Todia of West Shore wine on this special private tour as we experience the wine culture of Tuscany while exploring the towns and historic cities of this magical land. We’ll even visit the less-traveled western regions as we discover the best that Tuscany has to offer!
On this adventure, we stay true to our Go Get Lost philosophy of immersing you in the culture, introducing you to plenty of the fun local characters, learning from the winemakers how they make the grapes come to life in the bottle, indulging in the superb regional cuisine while cooking alongside local experts, marveling at landscapes only a Renaissance painter could reproduce and veering off the beaten path quite often to find the hidden gems we love. Best of all, we give you plenty of quality free time to wander, get lost and soak up the ambiance of the area.
You’ll be pampered with premier 4-Star accommodations, local guides to show you the secrets of
the area, private transfers, and a Go Get Lost tour leader to make it all run smoothly.
(Ellen only taking a limited number of travelers for this small-group adventure…don’t get left behind!)
Since taking her first sip of Bordeaux over 3 decades ago, Ellen Todia has been passionate about wine. So passionate, in fact, that she left the world of law and her career as an attorney and embarked on a journey to immerse herself in the world of wine & winemaking. For the past 10 years, that journey has involved owning West Shore Wine Company, a boutique wine shop where she and her friendly, knowledgeable staff sell a wide variety of amazing wines from all over the world, priced to fit any budget, as well as accessories and gift baskets. She delights in getting to know customers and their tastes, and loves to share her trademark “dangerously easy to drink” wines. She and her staff also regularly host winery owners, winemakers, and importers who share their wine knowledge with customers at in-store wine tasting events.
She and her husband David Matthiesen have 4 grown children and enjoy traveling, kayaking, and spending time with their rescue dog, Bert. Ellen also serves on the board of the Beck Center for the Arts and on the board of the Lakewood Charitable Assistance Corporation, where she is the current President.
Tour Dates & Pricing
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Day 1 - Ben Venuti in Italia!
Your Italian adventure starts at mid-morning today at meeting point of the lobby of our 4-Star hotel in Florence. (You'll be provided with detailed arrival and departure instructions to help you coordinate your flights and travel.) You'll meet your private guide, board your coach and head southeast out of the city and into the Chianti countryside. While traveling through the picturesque landscape you'll stop for your first tour of one of the region’s prestigious wine estates. Here you'll relax and enjoy a typical Tuscan lunch, complemented by the estate's vintages. Tuscan cuisine, like all Italian regions, reflects the best of the local area. Fresh pasta is prevalent, along with salami, prosciutto, chicken, beef, and pork, with nearly everything organic and free-range, which has always been the natural way for Italians. Of course you'll find some of the world's best olive oils here, along with tomatoes, peppers and melanzane that are bursting with flavor. And the cheeses of this region are legendary, with literally dozens of varieties running the gamut from fresh and creamy to aged and robust...truly an epicurean's heaven! During your time in Italy with us you'll be introduced to some exquisite wines that can be found nowhere else, from marvelous honest farmhouse productions to wines from some of the top estates in the world, and everything in-between.
After dining we'll have a short transfer to the picturesque village of Radda, to check in to your 4-Star accommodations. After the hustle and bustle of your journey you'll get to unwind in the peaceful Italian countryside!
This evening is at your leisure, you can relax at a local spa or pool, or you can choose to explore Radda village and the countryside. Tonight you'll enjoy an excellent dinner of regional specialties...followed by a good night’s sleep!
Day 2 - The Chianti Region
This morning we'll have a typical Italian buffet breakfast at your hotel, then depart on our private coach for a day of exploring the renowned Chianti region and its quaint villages. Famous for its scenic beauty and wine production, Chianti typifies the perfect balance of cultivated vineyards, forested hills, and quaint medieval towns. Our first stop is one of the most historic castles in all of Italy, Castello di Brolio. The original formula for Chianti Classico wine was developed here by the "Iron Baron" Bettino Ricasoli in 1872, and in fact the Ricasoli family still lives in part of the castle! Our friend and local sommelier will accompany us today to explain grape and olive cultivation and harvesting. We’ll even enjoy a short walk (all downhill!) to admire the stunning Chianti views.
Eventually we’ll arrive at the Cantina of the Brolio Castle, where we’ll enjoy a tour of their winemaking facility. No wine tasting here, though, because we’ll save that for after the tour, when we visit the massive Brolio castle perched on top of the mountain! While you wander the grounds of the castle and take as many pictures as possible, the guides will be preparing a picnic of regional delicacies. You’ll enjoy your lunch while relaxing on the walls of the castle, overlooking the vineyards and forests of the surrounding countryside. To make our picnic even more elegant, our resident sommelier will host a wine tasting of some of the fantastic wines of Toscana.
This afternoon, if time permits we’ll have a casual visit to one of the charming villages in the area, with free time to wander, shop and explore. As the afternoon sun sinks toward the horizon, it will be time to roll up your sleeves and get ready to learn more about the Tuscan kitchen. A local culinary expert will teach you how to prepare a full Tuscan meal, which of course you will enjoy afterwards. Yet another aspect of regional cuisine to add to your culinary experiences!
Day 3 - San Gimignano and Siena
After breakfast this morning we'll check out of our hotel in Radda and head west, into the region known as the Chianti Colli Senesi region. The morning will be spent exploring the wonderfully bizarre town of San Gimignano. The high walls and narrow streets of this imposing fortress are typical of Tuscan hill towns, but the 14 medieval towers that dominate San Gimignano's skyline set it apart from all the rest. Here you can "get lost" in the maze of streets, shops, and cafes. San Gimignano is rumored to have one of the best gelato shops in all of Italy...may be worth a visit? For the not-so- faint-of- heart, a tour of the fascinating (and gruesome) Museum of Medieval Justice will provide an interesting yet terrifying glimpse of the past.
Just a few miles outside the walls of San Gimignano we'll stop at one of our favorite local family farms to have a visit of their operation and a tasting, followed by lunch. The farm covers ample acres of olive groves, vineyards, fields and forest. The farm's vineyards produce delicate white Vernaccia wine, a local specialty, along with several styles of robust Chianti. They also produce one of our favorite Tuscan olive oils, which along with the other farm products will figure prominently in our meal. The rule at their kitchen is you eat as much as you want, and then a little more!
After eating we can relax for a bit and enjoy the scenery as we make our way south to the picturesque walled city of Siena. When you combine the history of Siena with the current traditions of its inhabitants, you'll find that Siena is arguably one of the most fascinating, one of the most unique, and one of the most vibrant cultures in all of Europe! The Senese have kept alive the customs of their ancestors, and in fact live it every day. After checking into our 4-Star hotel we'll have a private guided tour of the city by one of its citizens, visiting the Cathedral Complex, Piazza del Campo, and San Domenico Church. As you explore the city you'll marvel at the huge span of history represented in its architecture, from the Romans to the Renaissance to the Goths, Siena is a landscape of all the civilizations that have dominated here.
Tonight we have a pre-dinner wine tasting planned, then we’ll take you to one of Siena's best restaurant gems, tucked away on a very quiet, very steep side street, to experience yet another side to the food and wine culture of the region. Siena has striven with Florence for political and military dominance for hundreds of years, and they have made sure that their cuisine also rivals their larger neighbor to the north!
If time allows we can have a traditional after-dinner passegiatta tonight in one of Italy's most beautiful squares, the Piazza del Campo. Strolling along with a gelato in hand under the soft lamplights of Siena is an experience to remember.
Day 4 - Montalcino and the Valdorcia
Today we board our private coach and head south into the famed wine region of Valdorcia, known worldwide for the production of Nobile and Brunello wines. This area boasts the classic Tuscan landscape of rolling hills dotted with Italian cypress, vineyards dominated by walled cities, and every other image you've ever seen on a postcard! From a distance we’ll soon spot the unmistakable skyline of our first stop. Standing imperious on a high ridge, Montepulciano seems to be the quintessential example of a picturesque medieval walled city. The town is full of elegant Renaissance palaces, ancient churches, charming squares and hidden corners, and boasts vast panoramas over the wonderful Val d'Orcia and Val di Chiana valleys that surround it. The real draw, though, is the famous wine Vino Nobile, produced from grapes grown only on the slopes of the surrounding hills. We’ll stop at one of the area’s best vineyards to tour their cellars and enjoy a tasting of several of their wines, including the elegant, full-bodied Nobile vintages. A typical Tuscan farm lunch will also be served here.
Later we’ll journey eastwards towards the medieval town of Montalcino, and into the realm of one of Italy’s most renown wines, Brunello di Montalcino! Here we’ll enjoy a private tour of one of Montalcino's famed wineries, seeing how their vineyards work with their cellars to produce the vintages famous all over the world. And of course we’ll sit down to an exclusive tasting of some of their products.
Tonight you are free for dinner. Wander and explore the town of Siena to find the perfect spot. Or if you prefer, your guides can direct you to one of their favorites. Be sure to enjoy a late-night passegiata in the Campo afterwards!
Day 5 - Volterra and the Etruscan Coast
Today we explore one of Tuscany's most stunning and enthralling gems, the medieval town of Volterra. Perched on a lofty rock platform, Volterra is one of the most ancient cities in Italy. Situated above the surrounding countryside, this imposing fortified hill city boasts a dramatic, dominating view of the rugged landscape below. On a clear day you can even see the island of Corsica! Built by the Etruscan civilization that pre-dated the Romans, Volterra in fact claims a history that goes back at least 3000 years. In Etruscan times it was Velithri, one of the twelve great cities of the Etruscan Confederation, with a domain that reached from the seacoast to the mountains.
We'll have a casual town walk starting on top of the medieval city walls with a view of the untouched Tuscan landscape. On bright days, you can even see Corsica from there. Passing by the Arco Etrusco, the 2300-year- old Etruscan gate, we'll wind through small streets and peaceful little squares, soon reaching the ruins of a Roman theater and the adjacent thermal baths. The culmination of our walk is the medieval Piazza dei Priori, flanked by the town hall and the Duomo where we see the famous thirteenth century sculpture of The Deposition and works of Benozzo Gozzoli and Fra Bartolomeo. As you wander you'll see that Volterra still retains much of its ancient flavor, and of particular interest are the many alabaster work shops where local artisans can often be seen carefully working the delicate translucent stone into vases and ornaments. Mined in the area since Etruscan times, Volterran alabaster has been prized by the nobility for nearly 3000 years. We'll have the opportunity to tour one of the workshops and learn how the ancient art is still alive.
You'll be free for lunch, and Volterra is the perfect town in which to get lost. Winding streets, shops and peaceful squares abound, with a great assortment of typical Volterran trattorias.
Not far from Volterra we’ll stop for a visit to one of the area’s organic agricultural farms specializing in cheese production. Here we'll enjoy a cheese tasting of several of their own various sheep cheeses made from raw milk. During the tasting they will explain the stages of cheese production from hand–milking to the final product. Their olive oil is considered one of the best in the area, so we’ll be sure to sample that as well!
After our farm adventure you can relax and enjoy the scenery as we journey west to the coast and the charming villages near the Etruscan Coast. Here we’ll check into our 4-Star property and have time to relax and freshen up before we sit down to yet another sumptuous Tuscan feast, this time featuring regional specialties of this seaside area. Paired with local wines, you’ll savor yet another facet of the Toscana kitchen.
Day 6 - Bolgheri and the Super Tuscan Wines
Tuscany is a land well known for its rolling hills and vineyards. The western part of the province may be lesser known, but it's no less beautiful between its sprawling wine estates, hilltop towns, and miles of sandy coastline along the crystal clear Tyrrhenian Sea. This land, known as the Etruscan Coast, is most famous for its Super Tuscan wines. The wine production on the left bank of Tuscany began shortly after World War II when an Italian aristocrat decided to experiment with Bordeaux varieties and use French winemaking practices. With the land's rich soil and the sunny maritime climate, the wines quickly took off, and by the 1970s they were renowned around the world and considered on par — if not better — than French Bordeaux wines. Even so, it wasn't until 1994 that Bolgheri red wines received a DOC designation. Today some of the most prestigious and expensive wines in Italy are produced here.
Our first stop will be at one of the region’s most prestigious wine estates for a guided tour of their renown wine cellar and vineyards ending with, of course, a wine tasting of their Bolgheri Super Tuscan wine. A short distance away we'll have time to stop and explore the lovely colorful village of Bolgheri, where we'll have lunch in one of the charming local restaurants. In the afternoon our excursion proceeds with a visit of a very unique, very avant-garde winery designed by famed architect Mario Botta. After our tour and tasting (if time permits) we'll relax by taking a stroll through the medieval hamlet of Suvereto.br />
Tonight we'll enjoy dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants.
Day 7 - Lucca
After breakfast this morning we'll have a private transfer to the picturesque fortress town of Lucca. It was here that Caesar, Pompey and Crassus agreed to rule Rome as a triumvirate in 56 BC, it was later the first town in Tuscany to accept Christianity. It’s known for the well-preserved Renaissance walls encircling its historic city center and its cobblestone streets. Broad, tree-lined pathways along the tops of these massive 16th- and 17th-century ramparts are popular for strolling and cycling. Casa di Puccini, where the great opera composer was born, is now a house museum.
We’ll stroll Lucca’s peaceful, pedestrian-only streets with a local guide to learn about its fascinating history. Lucca was made for wandering and getting lost, so the afternoon will be free to explore on your own.
Hopefully you didn't eat too much at lunch today, because as this is our final evening in magical Tuscany, tonight we have an incredible farewell dinner planned at one of our favorite local restaurants. Adventures and misadventures from the previous week are re-lived and laughed about, everyone and everything is toasted, addresses are copied and goodbyes are exchanged with all your new lifelong friends that you "Got Lost" in Italy with!
Day 8 - Arrivederci Italia!
Your Go Get Lost tour ends this morning after breakfast. Your group leader can help you arrange transportation to the Pisa or Florence airport or train station for your onward journey.
Due to availability at the time of booking, hotels listed may change to similar hotels
Radda in Chianti - 4 Star Palazzo Leopoldo Located in Radda in Chianti, Palazzo Leopoldo is an historic residence from which a hotel has been created. If you are fascinated by history, traditions, and everything that brings to mind the atmosphere of the past, Palazzo Leopoldo is the ideal hotel, while still providing all the comforts that a prestigious hotel must provide to its guests, and considered one of the most beautiful luxury hotels in Chianti. Many rooms have been restored in the original version to continue giving the palace guests the feeling of splendor experienced in the times they were. Typical examples of this are the frescoes and terracotta floors, not to mention the original
kitchen and the internal chapel.
Siena – 4 Star Hotel Athena With a perfect location just inside the walls of Siena’s old city, the Athena is in a quiet residential neighborhood only a short walk from the center of Siena and its famous piazza, Il Campo. Modern rooms are tastefully decorated with dark woods and muted colors. With furnishings by local artisans, colors that echo the tones of the Tuscan landscape and the many comforts available, you will feel completely at home at ease, surrounded by the warmth of a welcome you will always remember.
Western Tuscany – Tenuta La Bandita A charming farmhouse property near the Etruscan Coast, surrounded by ancient trees and wildflowers. La Bandita is situated in over fifty hectares of olive groves, oaks and chestnut trees. The main residence is a nineteenth-century elegant, historic villa. Inside, the bedrooms are furnished with antiques and fine fabrics. A swimming pool and tennis court complete the amenities.
Lucca - 4 Star Albergo Corte Degli Angeli Standing cupped within the encircling walls of Lucca, it is the size of a jewel-box both intimate yet spacious, and is full of charm and fascinating attractions. This boutique property is furnished with every comfort and decorated according to a pattern of flowers which enhances the interior decorations. The evocative view over the old roofs and towers of the town are an added joy.
- 2 nights dbl occy accom in Radda at listed hotel, or similar
- 2 nights dbl occy accom in Siena at listed hotel, or similar
- 2 nights dbl occy accom in Western Tuscany at listed hotel, or similar
- 1 nights dbl occy accom in Lucca at listed hotel, or similar
- 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners, 7 wine tastings
- Private deluxe coach 16 or 25 seats with air conditioning
- All private group transfers as per itinerary
- All excursions, tours, and visits as per the itinerary
- Hotel taxes
- All tips, except for your main local tour leader
- Completely escorted by a Go Get Lost Tour Leader along with local guides at specified
sites throughout the itinerary
- A lifetime of unforgettable memories!
What´s not Included
- Airfare package
- Airport arrival and departure transfers, tour begins at the meeting point in the hotel lobby at mid-morning in Florence on Day 1, and the tour ends after breakfast at the hotel in Lucca on the morning of day 8.
- Visa fees, if applicable
- Meals not specified in itinerary
- Beverages at meals unless specified in itinerary (all group meals include water and wine)
- Trip Cancellation/Interruption and Medical Insurance (strongly recommended), call for details
- Single supplement charge
- Items of a personal nature; phone calls, laundry, etc.