• Pasta Strangozzi al Tartufo

    Top 5 Foodie Experiences in Tuscany

    Nothing quite captures an ideal foodie destination like a trip to the Tuscan countryside. Sample some of the region&#39;s most famous Italian cuisine as you admire the rolling Tuscan hills and stroll through the cobbled streets in search of the best panini&#39;s and gelato in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">Firenze, Siena, and Tuscany&#39;s gorgeous hillside tow</a><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">ns</a>. Between strolling through vineyards, seeing premium olives pressed into olive oil and testing the mouthwatering famous dishes in friendly cucinas—an unforgettable culinary experience awaits you in Tuscany. And in that spirit, we&#39;ve rounded up our favorite Tuscan culinary experiences (besides simply dining at the local <i>trattoria</i>) to navigate your mouthwatering food tour in one of our favorite Italian regions. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATpQ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000fCFC" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>#1 Explore Florence&#39;s Food Markets and Sample Local Wares and Fares </b><br>Wander through <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">San Lorenzo</a> the Florentines&#39; main market and embrace sensory overload as you navigate pyramids of fresh produce, butcher stands full of cured meats and cheesemakers offering tastes of goat cheese and pecorino. Sample fragrant olives, warm breads, <i>cabrino</i> goat cheeses, and <i><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">prosciutto toscano</a> </i>to create the ultimate picnic in the square. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATpQ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000fCF2" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>#2 Visit a Local Shepard&#39;s Farm in the Tuscan Countryside </b><br>In the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">Mugello Valley</a> north of Firenze, local shepherds and butchers prepare the region&#39;s renowned cheeses and cured meats. Join a local shepherd for a tour of their farm to see a private look at where the creamy sheep&#39;s milk cheeses are made—it would be an insult not to have a taste! Wander through the farmland and bask in the Tuscan sun with a belly full of fresh warm bread, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">pecorino cheeses, and <i>fettunta</i>.</a> <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATpQ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000fCFH" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>#3 Tour a Vineyard in Chianti or Multepulciano</b>  <br>let the silvery green Chianti hills envelop you at <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">Villa Le Barone</a> as you look to the horizon, enjoying a fresh glass of the region&#39;s famous wine. Then, explore the beautiful <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">Montepulciano </a>where you can enjoy a landscape of villas, castles and, of course—more vineyards. Venture out into the countryside and explore the area&#39;s oldest winery where you can learn about the creation of the famous <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">Nobile di Montepulciano</a> wines and be treated to a tasting.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATpQ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000fCEx" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>#4 Explore an Olive Oil Mill</b><br>Visit a local olive oil mill in the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">Tuscan countryside</a> to experience the creation of one of the main building blocks of quintessential Italian cooking. Many of these ancient mills have been pressing olive oil for generations and what a sight it is to see plump olives harvested into the silky and delicious golden oil we all know and love. Enjoy a scenic walk through the olive groves, learn about the technique of olive collection and preparation, and sip on a glass of the &quot;green gold&quot; or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">taste the freshly milled olive oil drizzled over a slice of warm bread.</a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATpQ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000fCEs" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>#5 Take a Cooking Class in a Local Cucina</b><br>Enjoy a  cooking class to learn the secrets to the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">widely-desired Tuscan cuisine</a>. As you help prepare a local specialty—such as ricotta and spinach stuffed ravioli or a perfectly prepared gnocchi in butter with a confetti of fresh sage—you&#39;ll discover something critical: most Tuscan recipes have only a few ingredients, but careful techniques keep the flavors pure and &quot;big.&quot; Appetites whetted, dine on the results in the local <i>cucina</i> and chat with the chefs about their secrets to a flawless<i> <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">tagliatelle al tartufo</a></i><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">.<br><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATpQ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000fCEn" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Is your mouth watering yet? Visit Italy for yourself to have a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">taste of Tuscany</a> and experience firsthand how the Italians cook and eat at home. (And just think how much more your friends will enjoy your return once you serve them that crostata di ricotta you whipped up for dessert over tales of your adventure under the Tuscan sun).

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  • Greece Dome Santorini

    Traveling in Greece: A Greek Isles Odyssey

    <p>It took Odysseus ten years to sail from Troy back home to Greece. That seemed way too long back when we spent half a semester getting through The Odyssey. Now, though — after having been lured, lulled and enchanted by the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece-tours/" target="_blank">Greek Isles</a> myself — I get how that could happen.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Santorini Greece" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATp1&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000fC8B" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Across every emerald/sapphire/aquamarine strait, I’d spot another fine-looking island that I just didn’t have time for. Watching sunset on a terrace in Santorini, my friend Manos would worry that I hadn’t seen Delos. “How could you not see Delos?” On Crete, 80-something George took a break from crafting phyllo dough to half-whisper, “The citron! You must taste the citron of Naxos.” Fired up by all of that sound advice and abundant temptation, we’ve tweaked our itinerary in the Greek Isles to include more islands, the finest sites of antiquity, white beaches beyond compare, and time with our friends everywhere who insisted that we bring you for a visit.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Naxos Island, Greece" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATp1&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000fC8G" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>You start in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece-tours/" target="_blank">Crete </a>where the aforementioned George is the last baker on the island who makes tissue-thin phyllo dough by hand. He’s a marvel, and you appreciate every flaky bite of baklava all the more for what he teaches you. In the heart of her family’s olive groves, our friend Joanna waves you in to wander on the farm and taste their prize oils. On the epic side of the equation, Crete is home to magnificently preserved Knossos where an expert guide tells the tales of King Minos and the Minotaur.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Crete Greece" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATp1&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000fC8L" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Next is Naxos. There is a countryside walk here that is a fantastic amble in landscapes that have hardly changed for millennia. The island is famous for its 2,500-year-old kouros, a sculpture half-hewn from the marble quarry where it still lies. Did that sculptor wash down the dust with some citron liqueur? It’s a shame if he didn’t. You get your own taste at a small family distillery where they’ve made the bright green brew from the leaves and fruits of citron trees since the 19th century.<br><br>One all-new day on this trip is just the kind that I love best. It begins with a ferry ride to Mykonos, the Greek isle to end all Greek isles. Vibey, bustling and hip, it’s one of those places you just need to say that you’ve seen. But even better, it’s the jumping-off point for Delos. A<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece-tours/" target="_blank"> UNESCO World Heritage Site</a>, Delos was the mythological birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. A private guide waits to take you on an exclusive exploration of what are regarded as the Mediterranean’s most important architectural digs. It’s startling – and absolutely typical – to see the faces of ancient civilization and contemporary culture on a single Aegean day, and it’s the kind of experience that helps you understand the real Greece.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="The Temple of Isis in Archaeological Site of Delos" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATp1&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000fC8V" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>The grand finale of your trip is a jaw-dropping stay in white-washed, blue-roofed <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece-tours/" target="_blank">Santorini</a>. Throughout this trip, we find ways to avoid touristic Greece and show you the country at its best. That really matters in Santorini where cruise ships sometimes disgorge scads of tourists all at once. Our itinerary spares you that sight. You actually walk into Santorini on a path through vineyards. During your time here, you take a trip on a small boat into the waters of the volcanic caldera. For the trip back to the top, you can take the gondola or (my preference!) ride a donkey like the locals have for thousands of years. At the end of all of your island-hopping days, you find yourself in luxury 5-star hotels, but I have to say that the villa-style hotel here is my absolute favorite. It clings to the town’s steep slopes, guaranteeing you a ringside seat for views beyond compare. Every evening, I settled there with a glass of wine there to watch the sunset, but the show is so gorgeous that I kept forgetting to drink it.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Santorini Greece" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATp1&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000fC8f" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Simply put, this is the best way imaginable to experience the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece-tours/" target="_blank">Greek Isles</a>. You get the impossibly blue seas, the rich antiquities and a variety of island cultures that’s much more diverse than you ever imagined. Layer in the many chances you have to meet local people and be immersed in the lives they live, and I know you will wish your odyssey could last a few years longer!</p>

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  • Galapagos Islands

    6 Endangered Species in the Galápagos

    Today we’re celebrating Endangered Species Day. And so, it’s an opportunity for all of us to learn about these amazing species and the everyday actions we all can take to protect them. Since Charles Darwin first discovered the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Galápagos</a>, there’s been no better place to learn about endangered species than the islands, where multiple animals face endangerment. This includes Giant Tortoises, Marine Iguanas, Galápagos Penguins, Green Turtles, Sea Lions, Blue Footed Boobies and more.<br> <br>Sadly, for many years starting shortly after Darwin’s discoveries, visitors of all kinds made their way by ship to the islands and with it the ecosystem came under pressure. Recently, with the development of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">island-based travel</a> that is at the intersection of commerce, conservation and community, adventure travel has become a vehicle that makes a very positive impact to the sustainability of the endangered species living on the islands.<br> <br>A key way this is accomplished is by working with expert naturalist guides, like those who lead <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys island-based trips</a>. These local naturalists are licensed specifically for the Galapagos, live locally, and so know the ecology of the islands better than even Darwin himself. As a result, they are able to safely position visitors in close proximity to the endangered species, and answer every question you have about the natural wonders.<br> <br>These committed naturalists are guardians of these singular islands. They help you understand and respect the boundaries… as they believe knowledge plays a huge part in the fight against species elimination. Their connections on the islands to the local people who live there, and so with that making the commercial rationale for locals to modify their behaviors away from activities like fishing or farming that can damage the ecosystems and replace them with ecologically sustainable behaviors like snorkeling that allows visitors to engage with the species in their own environments.<br> <br>One example of this is our friend Sebastian, who re-careered from fishing to ecotourism. In his old career, he woke daily to catch octopus for sale to the cruise ships. Now, he tells Classic Journeys, “I used to go every day in my boat to fish for octopi that I could sell one time to the ships. Now, I am business partners with the octopi. I bring snorkelers to spend time with them every day instead.”<br><br><b>6 ENDANGERED SPECIES IN THE GALÁPAGOS</b><br> <br><b>#1 Giant Tortoise</b><br>On any wildlife trip to the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Galápagos</a>, the elephant in the room is a giant land tortoise. A healthy specimen can weigh half a ton and be 100 years old. They are the oldest and largest living tortoise in the world. The Giant Tortoise is threatened by dogs and cats that prey on their young and cattle which compete for grazing vegetation.<br> <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Giant Tortoise" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATdK&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000fAM5" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>#2 Marine Iguanas</b><br>Marine iguanas are the world’s only oceangoing lizard. Although clumsy on land, they are graceful and magnificent in the water. Unfortunately, with rising sea levels and temperatures, their nesting habitats and ability to regulate body temps are causing their numbers to decline.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Marine Iguana" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATdK&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000fAMA" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br> <br><b>#3 Galápagos Penguins</b><br>The Galapagos Penguin is the only species of penguin found north of the equator. Snorkeling and kayaking are the best ways to encounter these playful creatures, and while they may seem abundant, they are sadly endangered. Pollution, bycatch and climate change are among the top threats Galápagos Penguins face.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Galapagos Penguin" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATdK&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000fAMF" style="height: 354px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br> <br><b>#4 Blue Footed Boobies</b><br>Blue Footed Boobies are an iconic symbol of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Galápagos</a>, and they are happily blasé if you spot them in the middle of their mating ritual flaunting those vibrant blue feet! As you enjoy leisurely walks or kayak the waters – you’ll spot these unique birds perched on the rocky shores. Habitat loss and egg collecting currently threaten the species.<br> <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Blue Footed Boobies" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATdK&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000fAMK" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>#5 Green Sea Turtles</b><br>Nothing beats that feeling of flying underwater with a sea turtle. Their grace is calming and beautiful to witness – especially in the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Galápagos</a>! Green turtles are extremely important to the ocean’s ecosystem as they maintain the seagrass beds and make them more productive. One of their main threats is fisheries bycatch. Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of sea turtles a year are accidentally caught in nets and hooks.<br> <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Green Sea Turtle" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATdK&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000fAMP" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>#6 Sea Lions</b><br>Belly down on the sand in the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Galápagos</a>, you can come nose-to-whisker with an adorable sea lion pup. Sea lions are the most common mammal in the Galápagos, and absolutely love to pose for pictures. However, due to the effects of climate change on ocean currents, which impacts their fish prey abundance, their numbers are declining. Bycatch in fisheries and disease also play a significant role.<br> <br> <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Sea Lions" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATdK&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000fAMU" style="height: 354px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br> <br> 

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