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.