Active Gourmet Holidays
Active Gourmet Holidays

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(Option: Customized Itineraries)
Venice-Florence-Tuscany-Umbria-Cortona-Amalfi Coast, Italy - 15 nights
Available year round

The Best of Italy trip is for those who either have been to Italy before but perhaps did not have time to experience all of the "must-sees" of this beautiful country or for those who are making this their first trip to bella Italia. Make your trip to Italy an experience of a lifetime! Take the guessing out of where to go and what to see. This tour has it all, taking you from Venice, Florence to Rome and the Amalfi Coast. See the Chianti region of Tuscany with its fabulous wineries, as well as the Umbrian countryside. You will understand why people talk about Siena and San Gimignano and Cortona. Taste the famous Brunello wines in Montalcino and have lunch at an Italian farmhouse.



Venice, Florence, Rome - Chianti, Cortona, Pienza and Montacino, Siena and San Gimignano - the Amalfi Coast and more! This 15 night tour takes you to the most important places in Italy as well as giving options to include tours that provide a more intimate feeling of the area you are visiting. If you were to do research on what you must see in Italy we think we have it covered with this two week tour, giving you the highlights of each region. The itinerary also gives you time to relax, or for those wanting to do it all, the optional excursions outlined below give you even more to see and do. This tour can also be customized to add more or take some elements out. This is your trip to Italy so tell us what you would like to see! 










Arrival in Venice (airport or train station). Meeting with our assistant in Venice and private transfer by water taxi to your 3 Star boutique hotel in the historic center. 


Optional Tours:


Private Grand Canal Tour: In the early evening meet your guide for private boat tour on Grand Canal : there is no better way to admire Venice than from the water. Your private boat will move along the main waterways and you will enjoy all the striking palaces and their wonderful architecture. Moving along Gran Canal, settled comfortably in you private boat and sipping a glass of Prosecco, you will capture the uniqueness of Venice.


Gondola Ride


Bacari Tour: In the late afternoon your guide will introduce you to the hidden Venice with a food and wine experience: “Bacari tour“, The Bacarii, the local down-to-earth version of wine bars, serve tapas like “cicheti”, traditionally washed down with a glass of wine, and Venetians stop to snack and socialize before and after meals. They are called “Bacari” in honor of Bacchus, the God of Wine. You will drink wine and eat “cicheti“, cheese, seafood or cold cut appetizers freshly made during the day. Wandering from place to place you shall learn more about the lifestyle of Venetian people.


Evening on your own.






Time at leisure in the morning.


Meeting with your guide at the hotel for a half day guided walking tour of Venice masterpieces including Piazza San Marco, Doge’s Palace, Bridge of Sighs, Rialto Bridge ...


Evening on your own.








Visit of the Laguna Islands ( Murano, Burano and Torcello ) on your own.


Optional Tour : Private excursion by motor launch  to the Laguna Islands ( Murano, Burano and Torcello ): from your hotel you will navigate leisurely across the Grand Canal, and hop off at Murano, one of the most famous islands of the Lagoon, center of the glass manufacturing industry for centuries. Then hop off at Torcello for the lunch at the famous Locanda Cipriani, the legend of the Italian cuisine. You will taste culinary delights based on reinterpretations of typical Venetian dishes which created the “Cipriani style” , the ingredients that have gone into the success of each and every one of Giuseppe Cipriani's restaurants. Still today, they make the Locanda Cipriani in Torcello a cut above the rest.


In the afternoon we will visit the Burano Island famous for its brightly-colored houses and hand-made embroidery.


Evening on your own.






Meeting with our assistant at the hotel and private transfer by water taxi to Venice train station.


Travel by fast train to Florence. Arrival at Florence train station and private transfer to your 3 Star boutique hotel in the heart of the historic center, a few steps from the Duomo. 






Meeting with the guide at the hotel  for a half day private guided visit including of Florence masterpieces Piazza della Signoria, the Dome, Piazza Santa Croce, the Old Bridge and the Accademia Gallery


Time at leisure in the afternoon


Optional Tour: Gastronomic Tour of the most ancient food open air market in Florence : Sant’ Ambrogio market, the market of Florentine people, where you will see all the fresh vegetables as well as the typical cheeses, cold cuts, spices used in the Tuscan cuisine. Then you will enjoy a Historical Cafe Tour learning from your guide about the past “Cafè culture“ in Florence. On 19th and 20th Centuries the Cafès, in Florence as well as in Rome, Naples, Turin, Palermo  and Venice, were an important place where intellectuals as well as political leaders used to encounter, discuss and  debate sipping  an espresso. Leading you through the heart of the historic centre of Florence your guide will stop also at the most ancient and famous gastronomic shops where you will taste some true Florentine gastronomic specialties.






Private transfer by minivan and English speaking driver  to a the 3 Star Superior hotel in Panzano (Chianti area) located in the center of Panzano in Chianti and overlooking the most beautiful Chianti landscape (the Conca d'Oro). 


Travelling through the Chianti area you will visit the small villages of Radda, Gaiole and Castellina. You will stop on the road for the visit of a flagship wine cellar and olive mill where you will have a wine tasting and olive oil tasting.


Then onto your accommodation at the hotel in Panzano.





Pick up in the morning and travel by minivan and English speaking driver-guide to the Orcia Valley. Your first stop will be Pienza, a wonderful Renaissance jewel. Then you will visit a Caseificio (cheese farm) in the countryside around Pienza (1pm). There you will have a light lunch including cold cuts and different kinds of pecorino cheese.


In the afternoon drive to Montalcino for a visit and wine tasting at a famous wine cellar.


Evening on your own.






Pick up in the morning for a full day excursion to Siena and San Gimignano by private minivan and English speaking driver–guide. Your first stop will be Siena, then transfer to an “ agriturismo “ close to San Gimignano. The organic farm cultivates the special purple crocus flower that saffron comes from, as well as extra virgin olive oil, vegetables, and an abundance of Tuscan herbs such as rosemary, thyme, lavender, mint, and sage. You will enjoy there a genuine lunch at 1pm, including of course a  saffron dish, prepared by the farm's owner who makes homemade pastas and uses fresh vegetables and herbs from the farm's garden located just a few steps away.


Visit of San Gimignano in the afternoon, the town famous for its hundred towers. You will wander the narrow streets, learn about the art, history and local gourmet products with a special focus on the locally-produced zafferano or saffron, and white Vernaccia di San Gimignano wine. San Gimignano is famous also for the Vernaccia white wine, so in the afternoon you will have a guided visit and a wine tasting at a local historic vineyard.


Return to your relais in the countryside.






Pick up in the morning and transfer to Cortona by minivan and English speaking driver. Accommodation at a 4 Star hotel.


Time at leisure in Cortona. Soon you will forget the chaos and the traffic jams and you will start living Cortona style, where people still walk the city and time has stopped. Cortona is one of the oldest hill towns and best-preserved Etruscan cities in Tuscany. It is perched on a hilltop and offers magnificent views of vineyards, olive groves and Lake Trasimeno. The town is also known as the birthplace of the Renaissance painter Luca Signorelli and preserves many of his masterpieces.


Evening on your own.






Pick up in the morning and travel by minivan and English speaking driver to Rome. Stop on the way for a visit and wine tasting at one of the most famous Montefalco wineries.


Afterwards, travel to Rome with accommodation at a 4 Star hotel close to the Spanish Steps.


Evening on your own.






Meeting with your guide in Rome at the hotel for a half day private guided visit to St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel ( reservation included to skip the line). You will start with the Vatican Museum, home of the most astonishing art collection in the world which ranges from Ancient to Egyptian, from Etruscan to Contemporary Art, and consists of 4 miles of corridors depicting some 2100 years of art. The highlights will be the Laocoon, the Apollo, Raphael’s Rooms and the Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo's frescoes.                                


Then on to St. Peter's Basilica to see Michelangelo’s Pietà and Bernini’s work.


Time at leisure in the afternoon.


Dinner on your own.






Special half day tour in ancient Rome with a chef who will lead you on a visit of historic shops of Testaccio, Trastevere, Pantheon and Ghetto. You will visit the most ancient chocolate workshop in town, you will taste some of the famous Roman snacks such as “very crispy” pizza slices, fried vegetables, creamy cappuccino, and you will visit the most famous bakery in town with tastings of typical products.


Time at leisure in the afternoon


Optional Tour: Classic Ancient Rome guided walking tour : You will walk through the monumental ruins and imposing buildings to understand the politics, religion and organization of ancient Rome. This tour covers the Colosseum ( reservation to skip the line ), the Imperial Forum, the Pantheon, Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain.


Dinner on your own.






Today is a day at leisure






Pick up from the hotel and transfer to Rome train station. Travel by fast train to Naples. Meet with the driver at the train station where you will be driven to Pompeii.


Meeting with your guide for a private guided visit of Pompeii and then transfer to Positano. Accommodation at a 3 star superior hotel, sea view room. 


Evening on your own.






Pick up from the hotel. Today we will enjoy an excursion by private car and driver-guide to the enchanting Costiera villages : you will visit Amalfi, Ravello and your driver-guide will lead you to the small village of Scala to discover the true life of the Amalfi Coast. Scala is a secluded village located in the mountains just in front of Ravello. It's close to Amalfi, but in many ways time seems to have stopped here. Then you will discover another side of the unexpected Amalfi Coast  :  the green heart of the Amalfi coast with centuries old vineyards.


You will visit a wine farm where you will taste their award winning wines (Falanghina, Aglianico) along with the farmhouse cheese and salami and experience a true “lunch with the farmers" and you will be immersed in the farm atmosphere.                                                                                                                    


Transfer back to Positano. Evening on your own.




Departure for airport or train station after breakfast. Arrivederci!


*The content or order of the itinerary may change depending on dates, availability of services or activities, local festivals/holidays, weather constraints, etc. Menus are samples and may vary according to the season 





A minimum of 2 participants is required to run this tour and the tour is limited to a maximum of 10 participants.


(The number of participants refers to how many persons are required to run the tour, not to how many persons you must have in your party. Please inquire.)






Closest Airport: Rome Fiumicino/Leonardo da Vinci airports.


*These details are provided as additional information. Please check below to see if transfers are included in this tour.  




For further inquiries or to register, click here.

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Please contact us for cancellation policy information. Travel insurance is highly recommended.





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Hi Jo-Ann - We wanted to let you know that we had an AMAZING time at the cooking school. My mother and I could not have had a better time. Paola and Simonetta were such wonderful hosts and teachers. We were treated like family. The house and property were beautiful. The hands-on cooking classes were so much fun...we learned so many great recipes that I cannot wait to test on my friends back home. I will definitely be recommending this experience to all of my friends and colleagues. Thank you so much for all of your help in setting up this once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation. It is something neither one of us will ever forget!


Best, Erin S. and Flor V.,
New York, New York

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