Itinerary at a glance
We meet in Florence (3 nights). From our luxurious convent-turned-hotel, we explore the Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio and the rest of the city’s Renaissance splendors on foot. We’ll also pay a morning visit to San Lorenzo, the Florentines’ mind-boggling main market.
Out in the Mugello Valley, a walk includes a visit with a cheese-making shepherd followed by a cooking instruction and dinner in a friend’s farmhouse kitchen. We’ll also top off a stroll in Chianti’s vineyards with a little cooking in a country home…then visit the hilltop village of San Gimignano with its skyline of medieval towers.
Passing through fields of sunflowers, we drive to Siena where superb sightseeing is matched with pasta-rolling tips in the noble home of another of our culinary acquaintances. Ending the day in Cortona (3 nights), we explore its Etruscan stone walls and wander the village streets depicted in Frances Mayes’ book Under the Tuscan Sun. After breakfast overlooking Lake Trasimeno, we walk to Montepulciano’s oldest winery and taste the locally pressed olive oil. On our final full day, we visit Catherine de Medici’s favorite Roman bath and walk the olive groves near Montalcino before a festive farewell dinner.