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Food & Wine: Flavors of Tuscany & Umbria

10 days Food & Wine
Tucked-away towns and villas make up the core of Tuscany and Umbria, while the cultural capitals of Rome and Florence offer urban elegance and historic remnants of the once-great empire. From handmade pasta in heavy sauces to wood-grilled steaks, discover the simple, honest flavors for which central Italy’s medieval villages and sweeping countrysides are known.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 28 travelers

Tour pace: You will walk for about 3.5 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including paved roads and cobblestone streets, with some hills and stairs.

Summer dates we love: June 18, July 9, September 24

Visit the EuroChocolate Festival on a special fall departure of this tour.

See itinerary

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

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, 1 cooking lesson

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Florence today.

Florence 3 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Florence

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Italy! Meet your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Florence

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Set off with a local guide to see Florence, the city at the center of the Renaissance. 

• Visit the legendary Florence Cathedral, known as the Duomo 

• Pass Giotto’s Campanile, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture

• Walk past Piazza della Repubblica to the medieval Ponte Vecchio

• Stroll along the Arno River and through the courtyard of the Uffizi Gallery to Piazza della Signoria, center of Florentine life

• Step inside the Basilica of Santa Croce, burial site of Michelangelo and Galileo

This evening, join a local chef for a cooking class where you’ll make pasta by hand, create two kinds of bruschetta and craft tiramisu for dessert. Savor your creations for dinner with accompanying wines.

Day 4: Free day in Florence

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Florence or add excursions.

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

Visit the gorgeous Tuscan town of Lucca, famous for its Renaissance-era city walls, medieval churches and awe-inspiring towers. Then, travel into the Tuscan hills to an agritourismo to learn about the process by which olive oil is extracted and refined. There, enjoy a light lunch and an olive oil tasting session.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $129)

Optional Excursion - Fiesole Villa Dinner $95pp* 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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $105)

Siena 2 nights Hotel info

Day 5: Siena via San Gimignano

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Wine tasting

En route to the enchanting city of Siena, stop in San Gimignano, “the city of beautiful towers.” 

• Explore the small medieval town of San Gimignano on your own

• Sample some of the region’s fine wines and olive oils at a winery

• Arrive in Siena for this evening’s included dinner of Tuscan specialties

Day 6: Montalcino & Siena

  Included meals: Breakfast, Light lunch

Included entrances: Wine tasting

Today, you’ll visit a winery and explore the vibrant cities of Montalcino and Siena.

• Spend free time wandering the streets of Montalcino

• Taste three acclaimed Brunello grape wines and enjoy a light lunch

• Return to Siena, where a local guide shows you Siena Cathedral, home to major works of art by Donatello and Pisano, and the adjoining Piccolomini Library 

• Stroll Siena’s medieval streets, stopping at the historic Piazza del Campo

Perugia 2 nights Hotel info

Day 7: Perugia via Cortona & Lake Trasimeno

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Continue your travels across the Tuscan landscape and into Umbria as you head toward Perugia.

• Explore the hillside town of Cortona on your own before visiting the town's Museum of the Etruscan Academy, home to an impressive collection of Etruscan artifacts

• Visit Lake Trasimeno, where Hannibal battled the Romans

• Enjoy a lunch of traditional Umbrian specialties

Day 8: Sightseeing tour of Perugia

  Included meals: Breakfast

Set out on a guided tour of Perugia, the medieval town known for its Etruscan Arch.

• See the Palazzo dei Priori, a medieval palace dating back to 1298, and the Perugia Cathedral

• Wander the tunnels of Rocca Paolina, Perugia’s historic underground city

Enjoy a free afternoon in Perugia or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Charming Umbria: Assisi & Spello $75pp* Details

Embark on an afternoon tour of Assisi, a hilltop medieval town and the birthplace of Saint Francis. Marvel at the restoration of the Basilica of St. Francis, which was damaged by twin earthquakes in 1997 and painstakingly restored to its original form. After a guided tour of the basilica, take some free time to explore on your own. Afterward, you'll head to the town of Spello for a guided walking tour. Enter through one of the town's three Roman arches and explore the cobblestone streets that wind through Spello. Listen in during a commentated visit to the 12th-century Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, including the Cappella Baglioni. Before heading back, enjoy some free time to indulge in gelato or coffee. Please note: This excursion includes some walking uphill.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $85)

Rome 1 night Hotel info

Day 9: Rome via Orvieto

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Included entrances: Wine tasting

Journey across Umbrian valleys en route to Rome. Stop along the way in the Etruscan town of Orvieto for a wine tasting and lunch. Later, arrive in Rome in time for a farewell drink with your fellow travelers.

Day 10: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay to further explore Rome.

Add Rome $359 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

Only in Rome can you sip cappuccino at a cafe 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 exuberant street life, no other city comes close.

Rome 2 nights Hotel info

Day 10: Sightseeing tour of Rome

  Included meals: Breakfast

Follow in the footsteps of the ancient Romans with a tour of the Eternal City.

• Pass by Trajan’s Column and Piazza Venezia, the city’s central hub

• Stop at the ruins of the Forum, from which the Caesars ruled their vast empire 

• Soak up over 2,000 years of history in Imperial Rome, viewing the Arch of Constantine, the Arch of Titus and the Temple of Venus and Roma

• Enter the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire, and take time to explore on your own

• End your tour in the Jewish ghetto neighborhood, where you’ll stop at a kosher bakery to sample the famous pizza ebraica, a dense, sweet cake studded with candied fruits

Day 11: Free day in Rome

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Rome or add excursions.

Optional Excursion - Iconic Sights: Vatican City $109pp* 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. Backpacks are not allowed in the Vatican and a dress code of no shorts or sleeveless shirts is enforced. Due to events surrounding the Holy Year Jubilee in Rome in 2016, we cannot guarantee entrance into St. Peter’s Basilica between December 8, 2015 and November 20, 2016.

Must be booked 70 days before departure

Optional Excursion - Gourmet Eataly: Visit & Tasting $115pp* Details

Located in the heart of Rome, Eataly is a high-end market made up of a variety of restaurants and food and beverage stalls. With your guide, taste a variety of different treats (beer, bread, mozzarella, ice cream and coffee) while learning about their unique characteristics and how each is made.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $125)

Day 12: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your 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.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 12/12/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NC

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

First Time Tour

This was my first tour my husband and I had a blast everything went off without any difficulties. The monthly payment and time given to pay was so amazing to not owe anything when time came to travel was great all we had to do was show up and let the experience begin. I wish we could do this every year but at this time not financially possible our next adventure will be 2020 when we will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary can't wait. If anything change between now and then, I will definitely book another tour with Go Ahead.

 

Hi Patty! Welcome home, and thank you for your review. We are so happy you and your husband enjoyed your first tour, and we’re honored you chose to travel with us. It’s also great to hear you found our payment policy to be accommodating and convenient. Our goal is to make travel feasible for everyone, and we do as much as we can to make that happen. We look forward to traveling with you again on your 30th wedding anniversary, but do let us know if you’d like to travel sooner. Thank you again for your review!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | January 11, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 9/5/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: FL

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Good tour for the price

We enjoyed the food and tours. The main problem was our tour guide. There was virtually no itinerary posted for next day. Even to indicate whether we were walking or a bus was involved. Consequently, some days the walking was too long for us. She also gave us an option, probably not Go Ahead approved, to have an authentic Italian dinner. It turned out to be expensive and not particularly good. And we could only pay in cash, which seems very unusual.

 

Dear Elaine, Thank you very much for joining us for this culinary journey through Tuscany. We are so pleased to learn that you enjoyed the food and the tours. We pride ourselves on having a team of talented and experienced Tour Directors all over the world, and are surprised to learn that yours fell short of your expectations. We will share your comments with this Director’s manager, and will continue to monitor her performance through the Tour Evaluations. Our local Tour Directors often provide additional opportunities for our travelers to experience the destinations on tour. These opportunities are separate from the Go Ahead itinerary and as such sometimes cash payments are necessary for the Tour Director to facilitate the excursion at the last minute. Thank you for sharing your feedback, and for traveling with Go Ahead. We do hope to welcome you onto another tour in the future!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | October 07, 2015

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/18/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

"My Wonderful Trip"

I had the best time in Italy!! Everything was great; the food & wine, the Tour Director, hotels, the excursions we took to wonderful and amazingly beautiful places!!!! I am ready to book my second tour!! Thanks a million to our tour director Sylvana. She was a very friendly and warm person, who worked very hard to make things very enjoyable.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/4/2014

Number of Past Tours: 7

From: MO

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Loved Tuscany & Umbria

We combined this tour with the Walking Tour of Tuscany, which gave us a memorable three weeks in Tuscany & Umbria. It was our second time traveling with our Tour Director, Valerio, and he did a great job. He definitely went out of his way when we had a minor health issue in Perugia and needed help getting to a clinic in the middle of the night. Highlights of the tour were our local guides in Florence, Alessando (?) and Siena (Silvia), and the open air luncheon by Lake Trasimeno. Orvieto, Siena, Assisi, Cortona...all these and other towns we visited were amazing. I would definitely recommend this tour.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 9/17/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: ME

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Best Tour Director

Let me start off by saying that Marta P. was outstanding! She really went above and beyond her duties to make our tour extra special. We have traveled extensively and Marta is by far, the best Tour Director we have experienced. The trip was wonderful, with good hotel accommodations, meals and a nice relaxing itinerary. The only complaint we have for the whole trip was the optional dinner at the Villa. We ordered lamb chops, which were awful, two small chops with little meat full of grizzle. Other that that,the trip was great!

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 9/5/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Good overview of Tuscany and Umbria

This tour was a good first timers tour of Tuscany and Umbria. The itineray included a good list of cities in the regions, and the Roman extension was good. This is a whirlwind tour, changing hotels 4 times. If you want to get a feel for the area as a first trip, this is a great choice. The weather in September was perfect, the view of the countryside magnificent. Our tour directly, and regional experts were all outstanding. Maria made sure everyone was comfortable, included and having a great time. She was perfect. She went above and beyond and made opportunities available that were not necessarily on the itinerary, like a countryside meal at a family restaurant that was fun as the 82 year old cook came out of the kitchen and showed us how to roll pasta! The credentials of the local experts were amazing, including some PhD archealogists/historians. Things move fast on this trip, and you'll find yourself wanting to go back to certain places in the future, which was the point for us. Billed as a food and wine tour, we visited a few wineries and learned some about the regions wines, and the cooking class was very good. As for the food....well....this is not a luxury trip, and the food served is good, local, but got pretty redundant. There are obviously places that cater to tour groups and that is where we ate, and the menu is bruschetta (bread with toppings), a bread basket, pasta, a few thing slices of meat if you were lucky, and tiramasu. Every. Single. Meal. We never saw any fresh fruit or vegetables, seafood was served only once in 12 days. There is so much more to eat in Italy! This was a disappointment. The hotels were the worst part of the trip. I Travel extensively for my job, so I know what is available in the marketplace. If a full service Marriott or Hilton in the US is a four star, and a Courtyard or Hilton Garden Inn in the US is a 3 star, these hotels are between a 2 to 2.5 star. Hotels selected cater to tours. There must be an agreement to serve the same breakfast in each of these hotels, as it never changed. Pastry, canned fruit, canned juice, hard boiled eggs and runny scrambled eggs, salami and cheese. This mattered becauses lunch tended to be very light....bread, salami and cheese was typical, so you want a healthy breakfast. The coffee machines do make very good coffee. The rooms were tiny, some of the locations were out of the way and you had to bus or cab everywhere, and some of the rooms were just pretty terrible. In on city (Sienne? Hotel Garden) we were in a basement annex with 1980s furnishings. I would recommend this trip with the caveats that the food is good but redundant and almost all carbs, the hotels are a negative, but you'll see a lot in a short amount of time.

 

Thank you for taking this culinary journey with us, and for taking the time to provide this thoughtful and thorough review of your time with us in Italy. We are so pleased that you enjoyed your trip, and that Maria was able to guide you through a memorable experience. We regret to learn that you found the food in Tuscany to be repetitious. As I’m sure you saw during your pasta-rolling demonstration from the 82 year old cook at the family restaurant, this is a region of people who take a lot of pride in their signature dishes! We do our best on our Food and Wine tours to select meals and menu items for included meals that exemplify the culture and tastes of the region visited. We know that our travelers have a range of diverse preferences, so we do have free time built into the itinerary for those interested in exploring the restaurants of the region on their own. We do our best to select hotels that will provide our travelers with the best possible experience. We choose these hotels to be either centrally located or near public transportation, to be comfortable and have all the amenities we are looking for, and to be safe. We regret to learn that the hotels on this tour did not meet your expectations, and we want to ensure you that we are constantly monitoring the performance of these properties to ensure that they continue to meet our high standards of quality. We will keep your comments in mind as we review these properties’ performance moving forward. Thank you again for traveling with Go Ahead, and we hope to welcome you onto another tour again soon!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | September 18, 2015

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/18/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: NJ

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Exceeded Expectations

Our Tuscan and Umbrian experience managed to be even more than we had anticipated. The food offerings ran the gamut of local cuisine- from pastas to a variety of meats and seafood, all with great wines! Antipasti to Dolci- we tasted it all and even managed to learn to cook some iconic dishes. Hotels were, for the most part, located to allow free time exploration, and the optional excursions (especially Lucca and Colle Verde) were well worth the time. Most importantly, we had a small group of friendly companions and a great tour director in Sylvana. She really went above and beyond to make this a valuable experience (as well as our driver, Romano, who could find his way in and out of anywhere- even if it didn't seem to be on the map!). All in all, a great experience that we will try to duplicate with Food and Wine: Northern Italy in 2016.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/16/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

overall experience

The tour was more than I expected. All the tour guides, and Laura, our tour director, are great historians. Wine tastings were fun and the food pairings with the tastings were delicious and more than adequate. The pasta class was a real hit, and bonded fellow travelers for the entire rest of the trip. The traditional Umbrian specialties luncheon at the Lake Trasimeno was fabulous and very plentiful. I only took the additional Rome excursion, visiting Vatican City, which was great, and so cannot comment on other optionals. No wonder most first time visitors like myself vow to return.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 7/18/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

An AwesomeTour Director

Sylvana our Tour Director was outstanding. At the end of the day she was still giving us feed back as to what to do with our free time, restaurants, shops, etc. She went above and beyond!. The accommodations were adequate but some were just too far for walking, but for the most part, they worked. The meals were delicious and in lovely restaurants, the cooking school was a blast and truly lots of fun, the towns which were on the itinerary were spectacular. The negative of the trip was that there were just too many explanations on churches with way too much detail ....there has to be more to a town then the church, although very beautiful and noteworthy. We had a very small group which was very lucky. I do feel that the side trips which one had to pay extra, should have been included in the itinerary. This was my first trip to Europe and an awesome trip it was!

 

Dear Cindy, Thank you very much for traveling with us, and for writing your review of your recent trip to Italy! We are so pleased that you found your Tour Director to be outstanding, and that the many culinary components were real highlights for you. There certainly are many churches to see in Italy and we continue to include them on our tours because they are often the center of the small communities that are visited, as well as truly beautiful architectural works. That being said, we of course will take your feedback into consideration as we continue to improve our sightseeing excursions. Go Ahead also strategically offers optional excursions that allow our travelers the opportunity to customize their time abroad as much as they like! Some people would rather plan their own free time, and some would rather sign up for an optional and let us do the planning. Thanks again for writing your review, and we hope you travel with Go Ahead again in the future!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | August 10, 2015

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 7/14/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NV

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Too much walking uphill

We were surprised by the amount of walking on this tour. Of course it was very hot which added to the problem. Our tour director did as much as she could, but we still had to take taxis at certain times.

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