An insider’s gourmet tour of Tuscany and Cinque Terre to discover the rich wine and food culture through our exclusive “Master Classes” and tasting sessions. Enjoy the unique atmosphere of lesser-known Lucca, and relax with scenic landscapes of rolling hills dotted by picturesque villages. As well as Tuscany you’ll be…
- Trip Outline
An insider’s gourmet tour of Tuscany and Cinque Terre to discover the rich wine and food culture through our exclusive “Master Classes” and tasting sessions. Enjoy the unique atmosphere of lesser-known Lucca, and relax with scenic landscapes of rolling hills dotted by picturesque villages. As well as Tuscany you’ll be exploring the paths and tastes of the stunning Cinque Terre national park and splendid Porto Venere, including opportunities for sailing activities. A unique journey to the heart of Italian excellence and a hands‐on meeting of many signature products of Italian cuisine.
This tour starts and finishes at Florence or Pisa airport
- Unesco world heritage sites included: medieval and renaissance historic centers, Lucca Pisa, Porto Venere and Cinque Terre
- Go beyond Pisa's famous tower on a street food tour of the historic city
- Outdoor activities (optional, upon agreement with participants and subject to meteorological conditions): light hike across wine hills in Tuscany or “Via Francigena”, sailing & fishing in Cinque Terre and Porto Venere, off-road excursion to the Carrara marble quarries
- “Heroic agriculture” is the appellation given to the spectacular terraces cut into the seaside cliffs, so unique that is deserved the UNESCO world heritage status: your guide will introduce you about more than thousand years of history of wine growing in the Cinque Terre, the dry stone walls and the people, the splendid landscapes with a beautiful hike off the „beaten tracks“ completed by a wine cellar tasting.
- From the mussel farm to the table: discover the secrets of traditional mussel-farming and to taste a delicious dish with fresh harvested seafood. The Gulf of La Spezia the ideal place for mussel cultivation and a lovely spot for a leisurely boat ride. You can actively participate at the harvest of mussels, then the mollusc farmers will cook for you a delicious dish of spaghetti and ‘muscoli’ on board paired with local wine.
Florence to Lucca with visit of Pistoia, the “Renaissance cinderella”Your flight or train should arrive in the morning in Florence where you will meet the rest of the group and your guide/driver. In case you are already in Florence or if your flight arrives in Pisa, we will arrange a pick-up. The welcome to the region is offered by splendid Pistoia, often considered a “Renaissance Cinderella” shaded by nearby, mighty Florence. With over 2000 years of history, the Italian Capital of Culture 2017 wows art lovers and travellers in search of centuries-old traditions and hidden gems like medieval cloisters and churches concentrated around one of Italy's most attractive cathedral squares framed by the grand mountains of the Apennines in the background. After a tasty snack in the center, we will drive to our first overnight destination, splendid Lucca. Upon arrival at the centrally-located accommodation (a tastefully renovated nobleman’s mansion) you will have some time to rest before a traditional dinner to savor a sumptuous selection of local traditional dishes accompanied by a selection of the DOC locally produced wines. Meals included: D.
Lucca historic and artistic wondersLucca is commonly referred to as "the city of one hundred churches." Since you’ll hardly be able to visit them all in just one day, we will explore the most notable works of art with our expert local guide, focusing on the cathedral, "Il Duomo", home to beautiful art such as Ilaria del Carretto’s Tomb by Jacopo della Quercia and highly venerated depiction of Jesus’s face, the “Volto Santo”. Amphitheatre Square is a true jewel from Roman times, and an ideal spot for a relaxing lunch: as you stand inside the oval square, you can clearly see the buildings were built around the original elliptical structure typical of Roman amphitheatres. The famous Torre Guinigi is the most easily visible landmark in the city, thanks to the trees at the very top, and will offer the best view of the entire city, surrounded by the well-preserved medieval walls which are Lucca's most distinctive feature. The tour will take place on foot, or with the highly recommended option of rented bicycles, the ideal means to explore the scenic maze of quiet streets and fascinating parks. During the Middle Ages, Lucca was very prosperous through its trade in silk fabrics and a few high-quality producers are still active here today, an ideal occasion for shopping together with a selection of antique shops. At the end of the tour, we will provide plenty of suggestions for your free dinner. Meals included: B, L.
A leaning tower and cute Vespa, the iconic images of Italian unicity and creativityFor anyone with a love of motoring or chocolate (or both!), the town of Pontedera with the renowned Amedei chocolate factory and the Piaggio museum is not to be missed. Even if you haven’t heard of Piaggio you’ll certainly seen a few of their signature Vespas during your time in Italy but they started out as an aeronautics company. With Vespas in out rear-view mirror, we head towards another national symbol: the leaning tower of Pisa is one of the most well-known buildings of the world, towering over “Miracle Square”, framing the splendid Dome and Baptistery. However, most visitors will miss Pisa itself, which we will instead discover on a street food tour along the scenic Arno river embankments. In case you have already been to Pisa, we will head towards much lesser known and equally interesting Livorno: a cosmopolitan and multicultural city-harbour, the birthplace of the Italian Communist party is characterised by a vibrant blend of history (it was founded by Medici family as the “ideal Italian city”, with fortified walls, ramparts and canals) and working-class energy, with lightness of the sea breeze. The flagship delicacy is the “Cacciucco Livornese”, a very thick fish and molluscs soup, which we will enjoy together with a variety of seaside specialty in a family-run restaurant paired with the crisp white wines of Maremma region. For most wine lovers, Tuscany is synonymous with Chianti or Brunello di Montalcino, however the local Denominations of Origin “Colline Lucchesi” and “Montecarlo” DOC offer interesting surprises in the tones of white, rose’, red and world-class “Vin Santo”. A visit to a family-run winery on the scenic hills of Lucca is an ideal occasion for relaxing dinner after a rewarding day of exploration. Meals included: B, L, D.
Versilia & Pietrasanta, an Art & Beach Lovers' ParadiseAfter a rich breakfast it is time to leave Tuscany towards Cinque Terre. With so many attractions along the way, such a journey is worth a vacation alone: to the Italians the word "Versilia" brings up pleasant images of Dolce Vita, Vespa scooters, cocktail bars and the aroma of suntan lotion. The beaches of Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi rank among the most renowned of the Tyrrhenian sea , however our focus lies in Pietrasanta, an atmospheric medieval town known for its marble and bronze workshops, as well as its artists and monuments. It is named the Little Athens of Italy, thanks to the many international artists who chose it as their adopted country across the centuries, from Michelangelo to the Colombian figurative artist and sculptor Fernando Botero. After satisfying your thirst for art and history, it is time to refresh and relax with a tasting lunch before the next adventure. If you wonder where the shiny marble of the most famous sculptures in the world comes from, the answer is Carrara: we recommend the optional experience of exploring the spectacular marble quarries with an exciting and informative off-road journey along the winding roads in the Colonnata valley, meeting a different and fascinating reality, a combination of fatigue and brilliance, ancient sweat and modern technology. The delicious “Lardo di Colonnata” is cured in a very special marble container with an ancient technique, and your visit will be topped of course by a tasting of this unique gourmet treat. A short drive will bring us to la Spezia where we will board the local train for our next accommodation in the heart of Cinque Terre: a cosy, maritime style apartment nested in the maze of picturesque alleys which made these five fishing hamlets famous worldwide. A rich tasting menu of local fish delicacies will welcome you to picture-perfect Manarola. Meals included: B, L, D
Cinque Terre exploration on foot, train & boatToday you will immerse yourself in the protected area of the Cinque Terre National Park: since cars are not allowed, you will discover these stunning landscapes and the scenic villages of Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Riomaggiore either by short trips on the local trains, or by hiking along natural trails under olive trees and across coastal vineyards, so spectacular to deserve the UNESCO world heritage listing. Your guide will adjust the rhythm and content of the day according to the preferences of the group. A rewarding lunch will be served in the scenic coastal village of Vernazza to enjoy traditional Mediterranean fish recipes and delicacies like spaghetti with mussels, octopus, squid, or trenette al pesto. The Doria tower of Vernazza will grant a spectacular view before heading back to Manarola where a pesto-making class is waiting for you, to learn all the secretes of this flagships of Italian cuisine. An optional sunset aperitif on a traditional Ligurian wooden boat will complete an unforgettable day. Dinner will be free and your guide will provide all suggestions for the many local options. Meals included: B, L.
Portovenere seafood & artistic treasuresAfter an early breakfast, we head by train towards La Spezia for a special experience that will unveil the secrets of a centuries-old activity: the traditional mussel-farming. The richness of plankton, the quiet and not too salted waters, make the Gulf of La Spezia the ideal place for mussels cultivation handed down from father to son. You will get on board of a former wooden fishing boat, which will bring you to the sea between Porto Venere and Palmaria island, where mussel-farms (locally named ‘muscoli’) are located. You will learn the peculiar techniques, and even actively participate to the harvest of mussels before a delicious dish of spaghetti and ‘muscoli’ on board, that you will taste with a good glass of “Cinque terre” DOC white wine. The afternoon is dedicated to the delightful seaside town of Portovenere: sitting on a rocky peninsula in the Gulf of Poets, beloved by poets and writers such as Byron, Shelley and Lawrence, it is an unmissable view thanks to its small harbour lined with colourful houses, and the spectacular 13th century Church of San Pietro standing on top of the rock with unique views of the coastline. You will return to Manarola in time for a farewell dinner in a cosy local restaurants with spectacular sea views. Meals included: B, L, D
Lerici & Tellaro fishing hamlets on the way to FlorenceAfter a relaxed breakfast in Manarola it is time to say goodbye to Cinque terre but more wonders lie ahead along our way to Florence: the splendid seaside villages of Lerici and Tellaro would be a major attraction almost anywhere in Italy - or indeed Europe, if they were not in the shadow of the famous “five sisters” nearby, therefore rather overlooked by visitors and guide books. Lerici runs up the hill behind the sea and faces out over the attractive boat-filled harbour of Tellaro below. After a stroll exploring the imposing castle and the picturesque waterfront promenade lined with the tall, pastel coloured houses so typical of this part of the Italian coast, we will enjoy a farewell lunch together. We will reach Florence airport or railway station in the late afternoon, from where you can continue your journey in all other JayWay destinations. Meals included: B, L.
- Gourmet Tour Package, tasting experiences
- 6 breakfasts
- 6 lunches or equivalent
- 4 dinners or equivalent
- Transport throughout
- Airport pickup and drop-off
- 6 Nights Accommodation at a variety of farmstays and wine estates
- Flights to and from Europe
- Tips for Tour Guides and Drivers
- Travel Insurance
- 2 evening meals (daytime tastings and other activities make these very ‘optional’)