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Food & Wine: The EuroChocolate Festival of Italy

10 days Food & Wine Tours, Special Event Tours
Here’s a chance to sate your sweet tooth and indulge in a savory round up of Italy’s culinary capitals. Sip regional Brunello di Montalcino in the Tuscan hills. Walk among the life-sized chocolate sculptures lining Perugia’s EuroChocolate Festival. Learn the craft of Italian cooking in the birthplace of the Renaissance. Gastronomy takes new meaning in a country where eating and art have always been revered as one and the same (and trust us, there are many, many masterpieces to be discovered).

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

Local cuisine with beer or wine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

Local cuisine with beer or wine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 8 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 3 lunches, 3 three-course dinners with beer or wine, 3 wine tastings

  • Guided sightseeing

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Select entrance fees

Overnight Flight1 night

Day 1

Your trip begins with a regularly scheduled overnight flight to Florence aboard an internationally recognized airline.

Florence3 nights Hotel info

Day 2

Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Italy! A Go Ahead representative welcomes you at the airport and escorts you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for strolling along the cobbled streets and stone bridges of Florence or just relaxing in your hotel. This evening, become acquainted with your fellow travelers as well as the region’s famed cuisine at this evening’s welcome dinner.

Day 3

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Tuscan cooking class

Discover the timeless city of Florence, birthplace of opera and the Italian language. Today’s guided tour introduces you to the city’s Renaissance splendor. Marvel at Brunelleschi’s masterpiece—Florence’s massive pink, white and green Duomo. This evening, learn to make cuisine the Italian way at a private Tuscan cooking class. Then enjoy the freshly prepared meal with your fellow chefs.

Day 4

Included meals: Breakfast

Bask in a free day to explore the Renaissance City on your own. Or, opt to join an excursion to the walled city of Lucca and Colle Verde, a rural farm where olive oil is pressed. Tonight, join an optional dinner at a villa in nearby Fiesole.

Optional Excursion - Medieval Lucca & the Flavors of the Countryside $119*pp Details

Visit the gorgeous Tuscan town of Lucca, famous for its Renaissance-era city walls, medieval churches and awe-inspiring towers. Then travel to Colle Verde, a farm where some of Italy’s highest-quality olive oil is pressed. During your excursion, learn about the process by which olive oil is extracted and refined. Then, enjoy a light lunch and an olive oil tasting session.

Optional Excursion - Fiesole Villa Dinner $95*pp Details

Head just outside Florence to Fiesole, a historic Tuscan town perched on a hill overlooking the Renaissance city. Tonight’s dinner is set in a picturesque villa with panoramic views of the city below. Start your evening with an aperitif and then enjoy a refined Italian dinner with local wine.

Siena2 nights Hotel info

Day 5

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Tuscan wine tasting

En route to the enchanting city of Siena, stop in San Gimignano, “the city of beautiful towers.” Take in views of glorious scenery before continuing to a local wine tasting, where you’ll have the opportunity to sample some of the region’s fine wines. Arrive in Siena for this evening’s included dinner.

Day 6

Included meals: Breakfast, Light lunch

Included entrances: Brunello wine tasting, Siena Cathedral, Piccolomini Library

This morning, travel through vineyards and olive groves to the hilltop town of Montalcino, famous for its Brunello di Montalcino wine. Take the opportunity to taste this local treasure, as well as an included light lunch. Follow a local expert guide on this afternoon’s tour of Siena, longtime rival of nearby Florence. Visit Siena’s Romanesque Duomo, which houses major works of art by Donatello and Nicola Pisano, along with the famous Piccolomini Library.

Perugia2 nights Hotel info

Day 7

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Included entrances: Museum of the Etruscan Academy

Continue your travels across the Tuscan landscape to reach Lake Trasimeno, the historic location of the battle between Hannibal and the Romans. After a lunch of Umbrian specialties, transfer to the hillside town of Cortona, where there will be time to meander through the steep, narrow streets and look for the remains of the original city wall, before a visit to the Museum of the Etruscan Academy of Cortona, home to an impressive collection of Etruscan artifacts. Cross from Tuscany into Umbrian and arrive in Perugia by nightfall.

Day 8

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Eurochocolate Festival

On today’s tour of Perugia, a notable artistic center, you will stop at the Cathedral of S. Lorenzo, the Palazzo dei Priori, the Basilica of San Domenico, the Etruscan Arch and the Church of San Severo to see Raphael’s fresco. This afternoon, take part in Perugia’s famed Eurochocolate festival. Savor chocolate delicacies like never before while persuing the many chocolate “exhibits” on display at the festival.

Rome1 night Hotel info

Day 9

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Included entrances: Funicular ride, Orvieto wine tasting

Journey across the Umbrian valleys today en route to Rome. Stop for a guided tour of Assisi, a hilltop medieval town that was the birthplace of Saint Francis. Marvel at the restoration of the Basilica of San Francesco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Next, take the funicular up to Orvieto, to indulge in a wine tasting followed by a light lunch. Arrive in Rome, the Eternal City, where you will be free to enjoy your final evening.

Day 10

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Linger in Rome for two nights on our tour extension. Otherwise, a Go Ahead representative accompanies you to the airport for your flight home.

Add Rome City Stay $359 pp

Only in Rome can you sip cappuccino at a café in front of the Pantheon, buy grapes at a centuries-old market, and have an audience with the pope—all in one morning. For a mix of spectacular art, grand history and vibrant street life, no other city comes close.

Rome2 nights Hotel info

Day 10

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Colosseum

Start the day with a guided tour of Imperial Rome, where a local guide will show you around Piazza Venezia, the Forum and the Colosseum. With the rest of the day to explore on your own, you might linger over a sumptuous meal at a sidewalk cafe in Piazza Navona.

Day 11

Included meals: Breakfast

Spend another day at your leisure in Rome or take an optional tour of Vatican City, with visits to the Vatican Museum, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. Tonight, enjoy a festive evening at our optional Dinner with Tenors.

Optional Excursion - Iconic Sights: Vatican City $89*pp Details

This guided tour takes you inside the world’s smallest state, Vatican City. Upon arrival, you'll first visit the Vatican Museums, which recently celebrated a 500-year anniversary and hold many of the world's most important Classical and Renaissance-era sculptures. Next, you'll visit the Sistine Chapel, where you'll gaze on what is perhaps Michelangelo's greatest masterpiece. Finally, you'll visit the enormous St. Peter’s Basilica, the epicenter of the Roman Catholic faith. The artists whose efforts have contributed to its glory are some of the best Italy has ever known, including Bramante, Peruzzi, Raphael and Michelangelo. Masterpieces await at every turn, from Bernini’s magnificent bronze canopy to Michelangelo’s Pietà. Please note: This excursion is not available on Sundays. Advanced reservation and booking is required prior to your final payment deadline. Backpacks are not allowed in the Vatican and a dress code of no shorts or sleeveless shirts is enforced.

Must be booked 70 days before departure

Optional Excursion - Dinner with Tenors $79*pp Details

End your day with an elegant four-course dinner at one of our favorite Roman restaurants. While you dine, you’ll be treated to some of opera's best-loved arias…and you might even join the singers on stage. Don’t miss this lighthearted evening of food and fun!

Day 12

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

A Go Ahead representative accompanies you to the airport for your return flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Florence, Italy
  • Siena, Italy
  • Perugia, Italy
  • Rome, Italy
Temperature Precipitation
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Passport & Visa

In order to enter Italy, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Italian consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Clothing & Packing Tips

To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Italy. Travelers should be in reasonable health to take our scheduled walks, although we will make every effort to accommodate those who chose to stay behind. Be sure to check with your doctor or local health care provider for the latest updates and personal travel requirements.

Cuisine

This tour is specifically designed to highlight the celebrated cuisine of the Italian countryside. Nevertheless, the itinerary also allows for plenty of free time for you to explore the Italian fare on your own. Be sure to try those less familiar pasta sauces and the vast range of cured hams, cheeses, rustic breads and desserts. Tuscany is known for its wine, oil, sauces and pasta, favoring subtle, lighter pastas and desserts (mostly cookies and breads) made with nuts, fruit and honey. For authentic meals, try local trattorias, small restaurants often with only a couple of open tables and hand-printed menus. Italians tend to indulge in long meals featuring wines and the occasional beer, followed by the requisite after-dinner drinks, grappa or limoncello.

Arrival & Transportation Information

Round-trip flights arrive in Florence and depart from Rome. When you first arrive at the airport in Italy, a Go Ahead representative will meet you after clearing customs. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival. All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach. In your free time, you may wish to explore the major cities of Florence and Rome by public transportation. Florence is split up into two separate sections by the Arno River, with most of the attractions spread out around the Duomo. The city is walkable, although frequent local buses are also available.

Museums in Florence

If you are interested in visiting any of Florence's many museums during your free time, we recommend that you make reservations in advance. Additional information is available on the Polo Museale website. Please note that the museums are closed on Mondays.

Electricity

Italy operates on the European standard 220 volts.

Time Zones

Italy is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it is noon in New York, it’s 6 pm in Florence.

Currency

The euro is the currency you’ll be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in Italy, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to access cash at local banks, as needed. You can use most debit/ credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

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3 / 5

3 / 5

Traveled On: 10/18/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: OK

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Tour was OK-tour director was great!

Most of my major concerns have already been addressed by other reviewers (too much walking, steep terrain, hotel quality and location, food quality, etc.). I did want to praise our tour director, Tini. She was very patient (a necessary quality when trying to deal with 32 tour members), and very informative. I would recommend the tour, but with several caveats.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 10/18/2014

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Beautiful Tuscany

I enjoyed seeing the hill towns of Tuscany for the first time. We had beautiful weather, a congenial group of 32, an excellent bus driver and a wonderful tour director. Tini was efficient, supportive, informative, humorous, organized, and always there for us. Our hotels were acceptable with only a few idiosyncrasies, and the meals included in the trip were good. The wine-tastings were also informative and fun. I do, however, have a few suggestions for improving the trip (and its description in the booklet). First and foremost, it is NOT a 2! There was considerable walking every day on cobblestones and up and down steep hills. In most cases, it was the only way to get to the sites; some of the walks required us to go from the hotel to inner city areas at night. The streets are narrow, the sidewalks minimal, and we had several people on the trip who felt the wear and tear by the middle of the trip. Some of the enjoyment of the trip was taken away by the "dread" of yet another arduous walk. Also, the cooking school aspect should have been described better. Most of us were under the impression that we would all be involved in doing the prep work and cooking. Instead, we sat and watched, and then ate the result while sitting in classroom chairs. Not the ideal experience. The Eurochocolate festival turned out to be a main disappointment. There was no"Euro" about it. It was more of a mob scene; there were no exhibits or chocolate sculptures to be seen, and the chocolate-tasting experience was a total failure-boring, and no "tasting" involved-a waste of time. I'm glad I went on the trip. The Italian people we met were friendly and helpful, the landscape and small towns are beautiful, and we had many good experiences. But I think the trip should be labelled a 3, the cooking class description changed to be more informative, and the chocolate debacle left off the itinerary.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/18/2014

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: NC

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Bravo!

This was a well done tour. 32 of us embarked on a tour of Tuscany with excellent results. This was my 3rd Goahead tour and I was very pleased with it. Tini, our guide, was organized, knowledgeable, good humored, patient and fun. The hotels were good and their staffs were very accommodating to our wishes and questions. The airport to hotel transfers and back went smoothly. The bus drivers and guides were all very professional and approachable when we had questions. A concern that many of us had was the amount of walking that was required. Goahead had rated it a category 2 for walking. I felt it should be rated a 3. The streets and sidewalks were crowded and in many places the pavement and cobblestones were broken and uneven making walking particularly hazardous. The Euro Chocolate Festival was a disappointment. It was crowded with pushing and shoving crowds, many smokers, disorganized, noisy and generally unpleasant. The so-called chocolate tasting lasted 45 minutes and was the biggest disappointment of all. The speaker presented the history and science of cocoa and we had 3 finger nail size pieces of chocolate to taste. I would recommend that this be dropped in future tours. The cooking class was fun although I would have preferred that all of us could have eaten the meal at a table instead of from our chairs. The Fiesole Villa Dinner was a highlight. Good food, good group of people, and attentive service made this a fun evening. Larry

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/12/2013

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Tour Director

Our Tour Director Arianna was Superb! She was very Knowledgeable and made the trip a pleasure for our whole group. We would feel comfortable on any future trips to Italy with her. She also made the whole trip run smoothly. Arianna did a great job.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/12/2013

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Tour of Tuscany and Umbria

This was our second tour in the region. We found we absorbed even more of the history because we could focus on the main sites. All the local guides were excellent and our tour director, Arianna, was terrific. She showed a DVD from the race in Siena that was a highlight after spending time in the piazza. The weather was perfect and we enjoyed the wonderful wine tasting and dining. After all the good food, including the cooking class, we still lost weight from walking the many historical and beautiful sights.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/10/2009

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best tour ever

I have been on four Go Ahead tours so far and I can honestly say this one was the best ever. You will fall in love with Italy and especially the Tuscany area.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/13/2012

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: OK

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Trip of a Lifetime

This tour is a wonderful balance of history through guided tours, free time for shopping, and really, really fun planned activities like private cooking lessons from Florentine chefs. The wine tastings are so much fun, as well. I recommend this tour for anyone who wants to get a genuine "taste" of true Italian/Tuscan culture.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/13/2012

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: LA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Tuscany, Umbria, Eurochocolate

This trip was amazing! Worth every penny and more. Linda, our tour guide, was outstanding and made this the trip of a lifetime for me. I never felt that she was doing a job while touring with us and she seemed to enjoy the trip as much as we all did even though she lives in Rome and has probably seen the Italian countryside hundreds of times. Her knowledge and enthusiasm was evident all day, every day! The winery tours, churches, museums, restaurants and cooking school were fabulous. The tour group was fantastic and I hope to stay in touch with many of the people I met on this trip. Thanks Goahead for such an wonderful experience!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/12/2011

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Great Trip

This was a wonderful tour. We got to see much of authentic Italy. The small villages were breathtaking and so steeped in history dating back many centuries. The Go Ahead Tour Guide was extremely knowledgeable and made all of the landmarks and destinations come to life before we ever arrived. Thank you for being organized and thorough. Enjoyed it immensely and would highly recommend it.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/12/2011

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: NC

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Food, Wine and History

This tour was a great combination of exploring history, art and culture along with wonderful food and wine. Visiting Lucca, San Gianamo, Cortuna, Assisi, Montalacina and Orveita as a bonus in between such great cities as Florence, Siena, Perugia and Rome was such a treat. One note of concern was the Pace rating though - it is more of a three since the cities are mostly inaccessible by bus and those with limitations in mobility had a difficult time reaching some of the cities and keeping up on tours. They need to be prepared to get a taxi since uphill, cobblestone streets and canes are not a good fit. The Tour Director was fantastic and extremely educated and helpful. My group had a fantastic time and would really love to see even more of Italy and drink more wine!

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