• By: Classic Journeys


  • Tom and Nancy Rohde just completed their 9th trip with Classic Journeys, our culinary tour to Tuscany. And as Tom has done on previous occasions, the trip actually inspired him to write a poetic toast to our guides Luciano, Riccardo and Elena, as well as the friends they made and the artisanal food they ate while celebrating the New Year in Tuscany. Spero che ti piaccia! (I hope you like it!)

    On a sunny Friday afternoon

    We met Luciano and we soon
    Walked wooded paths until we gaze
    On the house of writer, Frances Mayes
    We walked on through St. Margaret’s park
    Like vagabonds on weekend lark
    A brief refreshment stop we made
    Then homeward by “torchlight parade”
    Last to Ca’ Mea, we repair
    To dine on sumptuous Tuscan fare.

    Next day began with cappuccino
    Fresh croissants and pecorino
    As we prepared for that day’s fun
    Wayfarers Under the Tuscan Sun
    To Montepulciano for a start
    To view the copper master’s art
    By Cesare who jested that
    Each woman was some kind of cat
    Etruscan tomb, our group’s next stop
    At potter, Giovanni’s shop
    We tasted Ricci’s noble wine
    Found Landi’s olive oil quite fine
    And later we enjoyed the charm
    Of Benedette’s house and farm.
    T’was there a hand’s on cooking class
    Our expectations did surpass.
    Then homeward after we’d dined well
    To Villa Marsili, our fine hotel.

    On Sunday morn, at kitchen school,
    In Siena under Lella’s rule,
    The lunch we made, gnocchi and peas
    And chicken did us all well please
    Next Duomo and Piazza Siena
    Were shown to us by guide, Elena
    Some free time then for cappuccino
    And wine tasting at Montalcino
    And afterwards at our hotel
    Some snacks to end the evening well.

    On Monday, we left our abode
    Riccardo drove us to a road
    In the country where on foot we travel
    On a surface made of gravel
    Then Riccardo, at our group’s request
    Found sheep for us on his Sheep-P-S
    We drove from there and made a stop
    At a picture postcard photo-op
    Next, around noon, our happy bunch
    Shopped in Pienza, then had lunch
    ‘Twas time then to go on to Florence
    City loved by D. H. Lawrence1
    For a city tour and a fine repast
    Before the old year breathed its last
    And afterwards among the crowd
    Music and fireworks bright and loud.

    On New Years morning we dined well
    On breakfast served at our hotel
    The Santa Maria Novella
    Near the palace of that Strozzi fellow.
    That afternoon, we sallied forth
    And crossed the Arno from the north
    Then walked from Ponte Vecchio
    To Piazzale Michelangelo
    Drove to Mugello in the hills
    O’er a road that gave us chills and thrills
    To make and dine on ravioli
    Fennel with capers and pignoli
    And Guinea fowl, then lingered after
    With Anna and Alba for much laughter.

    On Wednesday morn, a market stop
    Another time for us to shop
    Then farro and carpaccio
    With Patrizia and Massimo
    A potty stop at San Donato
    Then back into Riccardo’s auto
    Who found for us with his Sheep-P-S
    A shepherd but no shepherdess
    ‘Twas there we tasted pecorino
    That was made by Giovaninno
    We met with Elena once more
    In San Gimignano for a tour
    And then t’was back to our abode
    The last of our trips on the road.

    How rapidly the days have passed
    Tomorrow will be this tour’s last
    Soon these good times in Tuscany
    Will be a pleasant memory
    Let’s toast who did the driving work
    To our Riccardo, “the good fork”
    Then let us toast and give a cheer
    To our fine leader, without peer
    To Luciano, guide first class
    And may this tour not be our last.

    On a Classic Journeys Tuscany cooking tour, it’s not just the making of delicious Italian food that creates the best memories. It’s the growing, the buying, the aging, the savoring of the freshest local ingredients. Our cooking tours in Tuscany itineraries offer that balance, with time in fine kitchens but also generous helpings of non-cooking activities that treat every guest to the sights, sounds and smells of the region.

    Our friend Roberto says, “I don’t cook. But oh, I know how to eat!” If that’s your attitude, you’ll be happy on this tour too! If you’d like to speak with Classic Journeys’ award-wining guest services coordinators about traveling to Tuscany, one of our other culinary tours, or any of our other tours, call 800-200-3887.


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