Rome, Siena, San Gimignano, Greve in Chianti, Radda in Chianti, Montalcino, Pienza, Montepulciano, Torgiano, Montefalco, Bevagna, orvieto, Roma, Frascati, Genzano,...
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departure.
Rome will make your mouth water with the ineffable flavors of cuisine emboldened with history and tested with time. Sip the bittersweet flavor of an espresso in view of detailed baroque fountains. Sample the crumbly herbaceous Pecorino cheese directly from the makers' shelf. Wander along vast vineyards blanketing the hillsides leading to medieval walls. Your custom tailored tour immerses you in the culinary delights of Italy, letting you bask in the flavors of fresh pasta and a culture known for...
Siena – Introduction to Medieval Tuscany
The Tuscan hills roll along the landscape punctuated with cypress trees. The historic walls of Siena have protected the city for centuries, surrounding the towers and marble façade of the cathedral. Your private transfer meets you at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport and escorts you north into the famous Tuscan countryside. The height of the city’s power began in the 12th century. By the 14th century, the lavish artwork and architecture rivaled the beauty of Florence. Red clay bricks crafted from the earth outside the city shaped the rosy hues of the palazzo in the main square of Piazza del Campo.
The Torre del Mangia rises to a height of nearly 335 feet above the brick square. Two brothers erected the tower in the mid 14th century, which provides an elaborate panorama of Siena’s red-tiled rooftops with the emerald hills of Tuscany in the background. The black and white stripes along the Cathedral’s Gothic marble façade add a unique flair to the piazza, standing out from the surrounding red buildings. The large rose window provides beaming light to fill the nave. The interior contains mosaic panels along the floor with 56 different depictions of Biblical history.
After exploring the splendor of the historic city center, your guide meets you at the hotel and escorts you to a charming vineyard in the countryside for your welcoming taste of Siena. Your tasting menu fills the table with traditional succulent dishes of Tuscany, from roast boar to pici noodles. You have a sensational view of the landscape outside the window as the dining room fills with the mouthwatering aromas of dinner. Each dish is balanced with a perfectly paired wine produced on the vineyard. When you taste the roast boar and sip your wine, the flavors marry, combining the savory taste of the meat with the mineral rich quality of the wine.
Siena – Indelible Hills of Tuscany
In the morning, the cafes in the Piazza del Campo set out their tables beneath wide parasols. The golden shine of the Tuscan sun spread across the city illuminating the hidden niches of the labyrinthine streets. Your guide meets you at the hotel in the morning and escorts you through the famous Tuscan landscape to the town of San Gimignano. The medieval walls have protected the city from intruders for almost a millennium. Only 13 towers of the original 72 remain.
The structures were once considered symbols of power, causing the local noble families to build a familial edifice and prove their wealth. The historic city has been frozen in time, mounted on the hilltop with a view of the wildflowers and vineyards growing along the valley floor. The main square of Piazza della Cisterna has a triangular shape adorned with the base of past towers. The town is known for producing a refreshing white wine known as Vernaccia. Your guide provides you with a sample of the wine.
The light hay color leads to an aroma hinting at pear and melon. The flavor offers a lingering citrus reflective of the terroir of the Tuscan hills. Saffron had played a role in San Gimignano’s economy since the 13th century. In the fields around town, the harvest takes place at dawn before the flowers open to the sun. The stems are dried immediately to maintain the flavor. Visit the local saffron farm to witness the production and harvest of the small but powerful seasoning firsthand, to witness the purple flowers with their interior crimson stems shining against the Tuscan backdrop.
Siena – True Tuscan Wheels
Tuscany is filled with splendid surprises, from the distinct flavors of the wine grown around the celebrated hills to the hot springs of Bagno Vignoni in the region known as the Val d’Orcia. The medieval walls of the main square surround a pool more than 160 feet long. The reflective water bubbles at a temperature more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit and is known around Tuscany for its therapeutic properties. Along the hills of the Val d’Orcia, your guide leads you along the baroque streets of the town of Pienza. In the 15th century, the pope chose to renovate his hometown, turning the medieval village into an homage to the opulent design of the times.
The town provides a delicate balance of architecture, cuisine, and Tuscan tradition. Palazzo Piccolomini casts an imposing shadow over the public square. The palace was erected in the mid 15th century. Architects and historians consider the structure the first example of Renaissance architecture. The magnificent garden adorns the rooftop providing an open panorama to the countryside and the rooftops of Pienza. Marble pillars support the arcade. The design combines harmony with functionality. Artisan shops display wheels of local cheese, referred to as cacio. The Pecorino of Pienza is made from sheep’s milk and aged to perfection.
Outside of town, you visit a private dairy for a demonstration on how the Pecorino is produced. The sheep feed on the meadow grass, juniper bushes, and wild herbs, adding depths of flavor to the cheese. Your guide leads you through the process of cheese making, from heating the milk to grating the curds. Once the cheese maker collects the curds, they add it to a salt solution before wrapping the mixture in walnut leaves. The cheese ages in a cool, humid cellar. The cheese maker periodically adds moisture by rubbing local olive oil along the outside. In the tasting room, your guide provides a large sample of the type of cheese you watched the dairy make, which takes up to 60 days to properly mature.
Torgiano – Finding the Right Truffle
In the morning, the clerks at the gelaterias around the historic city center begin mixing the ingredients for a perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors. Cafes open their doors to business people in search of an espresso before work. Your guide meets you at the hotel after breakfast and whisks you away from Siena, traveling south into the region of Umbria. The hills of Tuscany turn into soaring ridges and golden fields. The medieval walls of Torgiano rise along the hillside with the mountaintops overtaking the horizon.
The town prides itself on culinary tradition, producing wine, olive oil, grain and honey used in the cultural cuisine of Umbria. The single fortified tower crowns the village and watches over the slopes leading into the meadow. The interior of the Madonna dei Bagni contains 700 ceramic votive tiles made at the end of the 17th century. In the late morning, you venture out with a local guide and follow a pack of hunting dogs in search of the lavish truffle. Wander through the countryside, beneath the shading oak trees and over the limestone ridges to find the elusive, indulgent ingredient.
At lunch, you delight on the flavor of Strangozzi in a restaurant hidden in the medieval lanes of town. The cellar-like ambiance adds to the historic layers of the city. The scent of a tomato based sauce drifts out of the kitchen. The type of pasta is named after the shoelace shape filling the plate. The dish is garnished with the truffle you found during the hunt. Shavings add a unique, pungent quality to the pasta, blending the savory taste of the white truffle with the semi-sweet flavor of the tomato sauce.
Torgiano – Wine Discovery in Umbria
The tranquil streets of Torgiano fill with semblances of contemporary life in the morning. Old men read the newspaper outside of quiet cafés. The sunlight reaches over the valley to highlight the walls of the medieval town. After breakfast, you venture out into the small towns of Umbria beginning with Montefalco. Vineyards ascend the hillside reaching to the lush cypress trees beneath the rosy colored buildings on the hilltop. Cobbled streets meander along the stone structures inside the ancient walls. The walls offer an enchanting view of the Spoleto valley, which embodies the lush nature of the region.
The town stands nearly 165 feet above sea level. Marvelous frescoes decorate the numerous medieval churches, including the 14th-century edifice of Saint Francesco Church, which contains artwork produced by Perugino and Corraduccio. Visit a local vineyard on the outskirts of town to sample the celebrated wines produced on the hillside. Monks began producing wine in the region in the 16th century. Vineyards now cover nearly 2,400 acres, much of which contains Sagrantino grapes. The bold flavor pairs well with sharp cheeses and black truffle. The prominent tannins provide a burst of flavor akin to plum coating your palate.
Rome – On the Road to Rome
In the morning, the medieval walls of Torgiano fade behind the hillsides as you make your way south to Rome. Your private transfer leads you to the stunning town of Orvieto, which contains traces of its original foundations laid by the Etruscans. A network of caves meanders through the tufa stone beneath the town. The quadrangular Torre del Moro stands more than 130 feet tall. The structure was erected in the 13th century to keep out foreign invaders. The observation deck provides a splendid panorama of the verdant hills and sloping rooftops of the town. Outdoor markets fill the Piazza del Capitano del Popolo on Thursday and Saturday mornings.
The vibrant stalls fill with local farmers selling produce, vintners offering wine, and cheese vendors providing samples of their variety of local cheeses. The market nearly overshadows the grandeur of the Palazzo del Popolo, a structure built with volcanic tufa stone. Elegant cornice window displays and floor arches create an air of importance, along with gorgeous embellishments. Once in Rome, you settle into the comforts of your luxurious hotel with a view of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. The neighborhood known as the Prati contains lavish hotels and fabulous restaurants, each adding to the delicate aromas along the cobbled streets.
The remainder of the day is yours to indulge in the wonders of Rome, from the architectural marvels of the Pantheon to the detailed artistry of the Trevi Fountain. For the perfect introduction to Rome, you venture to Gelateria dei Gracchi, located in a hidden piazza near the Vatican. The aroma of the shop blends sweet and savory, from strawberries to dark chocolate. The colors of each flavor make your mouth water before you have even sampled the gelato. Choose a mixture of three flavors that best represent you and the gelateria, combining chocolate-and-rum, pistachio, and vanilla, each providing a creamy welcome to Rome.
Rome – The Lazio Country
Rome has a unique charm emanating from the combination of contemporary life wrapped up in historic architecture. The aroma of fresh brioche connects the past and present with a scent that hasn’t changed for centuries. Your guide meets you after breakfast and escorts you into the hills outside of Rome to discover the enchanting ambiance and captivating flavors of the combined towns known as Castelli Romani. The town of Frascati contains a fresher air with a cooler climate, making the town a hotspot for Romans to escape the sweltering summer of the city dating back to the Roman Empire. Wealthy villas continue to line the streets, including the Villa Aldobrandini, a 17th-century estate designed by the nephew of a pope.
The main piazza contains a faded grandeur looking up to the terraced gardens of the splendid villa. Your guide leads you through town and introduces you to a local chef roasting a small pig on a spigot. The suckling pig, known as Porchetta di Ariccia, is a local delicacy of the Castelli Romani. The scent of the spice rub wafts through the air blending with the aroma of the open fire. As lunch cooks, you traverse the vines of a nearby vineyard famous for its production of Bianco Frascati Superiore. The vintner explains the process of the wine before pouring you a sizeable sample. The nose contains an herbal accent over the scent of fresh grass. The flavor coats your tongue with soft minerals before dissipating rapidly.
Rome – The Diverse Flavors of Rome
When in Rome, you experience as much with your eyes as you do with your taste buds. The culture of the city is as much a part of the food as the ingredients, both combining for the perfect pair. In the morning, your guide leads you on an exceptional half-day tour of the visual artwork of Rome and Vatican City. Once in St. Peter’s Square, you see the glinting dome of the basilica up close. The towering figure stands taller than 137 feet above the cobbled floor of the open piazza. The interior contains lavish adornments, including Michelangelo’s first Pieta, created when the artist was only 24-years old.
He sculpted the figures of a young Mary cradling the body of Jesus out of a single slab of marble. Your guide leads you through the opulent nave of the basilica before entering into the polished marble halls of the Vatican Museum. The galleries contain exceptional artwork and artifacts from around the world, including a vast collection of Egyptian ornaments. The Gallery of Maps contains bright frescoes lining the walls, each depicting a portion of Italy during the 16th century. The maps shed light on the known cities, countryside, and geographical features from the Apennine Mountains to the Mediterranean Sea.
The gilded edges of the coffered ceiling accentuated the majesty of the room leading you deeper into the museum. In the evening, you indulge in your final meal in Rome at a restaurant dedicated to seasonal ingredients and the heritage of Roman cuisine. The rustic interior highlights the history of the city as seen through the eyes of a local. The chef cooks dishes inspired by family recipes and even ancient concoctions. When the potato gnocchi dressed in a light tomato sauce with cured guanciale hits the table, you know you will receive the perfect meal.
Rome – A Flavorful Farewell
You have come to cherish your mornings in Italy. You choose to sit at an open table in a nearby piazza before the crowds roll in. The sunlight bounces off the parasols shading the café. The fountains trickle with water, creating the serene soundtrack of breakfast. In Rome, you indulge in one final Italian coffee before venturing to Fiumicino Airport. You make your way to the Café Barberini to sample the fresh pastries made in house and sip a traditional Italian cappuccino, which involves a freshly brewed espresso topped with rich foam. You take the elegant flavors of the city with you as your private transfer escorts you to the airport for your flight home.
- Sample the celebrated wines Montepulciano on a wine tasting tour of Tuscany
- Indulge in a fabulous excursion to hunt truffles before tasting the bold flavor shaved over a traditional pasta dish of Umbria
- Visit a Tuscan dairy to learn the methods of creating regional Pecorino cheese before sampling the artisan flavor
- Enjoy an olive oil tasting in a small village to discover the differences in Virgin versus Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Relish the delicate balance of aromas and tastes during a sampling of the wines produced in the celebrated town of Montefalco
- Delight in a flavorful lunch in a traditional village of Lazio with a view of the hills overlooking Rome
- Witness the opulent artworks and staggering history of Rome embodied in the architecture and displayed in the museum galleries
- Relish the creamy texture and large variety of flavors during a gelato tour of Rome
The best of Italy can be found inside the homes of Italians, when the table fills with regional dishes and the wine flows freely. Your 9-day culinary tour leads you through the true culture of Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio, revealing the celebrated flavors shaped by tradition, passed down through generations, and treasured by visitors and locals alike. Your gastronomical excursion begins with your arrival at Fiumicino Airport in Rome. Your private transfer meets you at baggage claim and leads you north to Tuscany at the town of Siena.
Your guide leads you on a tour of the medieval city before embarking on an introductory wine tour of a local vineyard. The next day, you venture into the Tuscan countryside to visit the towns of San Gimignano, Greve in Chianti, and Radda in Chianti. Stroll along the cobblestone streets of the historic towns before sampling the wines of the districts, each producing stunning varietals based upon the soil and microclimates. Travel to the towns of Montalcino, Pienza, and Montepulciano to discover the unique blend of medieval and baroque architecture rising above the hillside.
Visit the vibrant market of Pienza before touring a local dairy for an in-depth lesson on the methods of making the delicious Pecorino cheese. Then, you venture south to the region of Umbria at the town of Torgiano. The serene medieval streets lead you along the historic walls overlooking the lush plains and hills. Follow your guide on a truffle hunt before relishing the bold flavors of a regional lunch. Enjoy an olive oil tasting to learn the difference between the creamy varieties of oils.
Next, you uncover the treasures of Umbria with a tour of Montefalco and Bevagna. The former produces the sensational wines in vineyards overtaking the hills beneath the medieval towers. The latter town highlights the blend of Roman antiquity with medieval life. You sample the flavors of Umbrian gnocchi in the captivating town of Orvieto en route to Rome. Once in the Eternal City, you have the day at your leisure to stroll along the ancient lanes revealing the intricate balance of sweet and savory gelato. The following day takes you into the towns outside of Rome collectively known as the Castelli Romani.
Relish the flavor of a succulent lunch cooked over an open fire. Meander through elaborate gardens and palaces containing divine terraces in Frascati, Genzano, and Ariccia. Then, your guide escorts you through the city in search of the artistic tastes of history, from the ancient architecture to the Vatican Museums. In the evening, you indulge in the traditional cuisine of Lazio in a celebrated restaurant known for its regional specialties. Your private transfer meets you in the hotel lobby on your final day and leads you to the Fiumicino Airport for your flight home.
$2,470 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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