Tuscan Table, Cooking and Sightseeing in Montecatini

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Tuscan Table, Cooking and Sightseeing in Montecatini

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Destination for this trip:

Tuscany, Italy; United States

Length of trip:

8 days

Approximate price of this trip per person:

from $ 2849 to $ 2849

Best travel dates to go:

May 01, 2009 to May 09, 2009;

Detailed Description of this trip:

Who doesn’t love Italian food? This tour is designed for wine and food enthusiasts looking to combine the fun of a little cooking with some historical perspective of the region, scenic half-day sightseeing in the countryside, and a touch of luxurious spa relaxation. Over the next week you will experience the local, simple, but often hearty cuisine of Tuscany. Packed with flavor, it is peasant cooking at its best . . . heavily infused with olive oil, tomatoes and beans. You will learn how to shop for fresh ingredients, prepare traditional dishes and above all, enjoy eating authentic and delicious food, the best of the region.

Trip Properties:

Trip Itinerary:

  • Day 1 - United States

    Day 1 – Friday, May 1 Depart the U.S. on overnight flights to Pisa.

    Book your flights to arrive on Saturday if doing your own travel arrangements.

  • Day 2 - Tuscany

    Briefing & Walking Tour at 5:00 pm Welcome aperitif at 7:00 pm
    Saturday, May 2: Arrive Montecatini

    Upon arrival in Pisa, please proceed to baggage claim. After clearing customs, you will be met by the tour manager from our hotel and transferred to the four star Grand Hotel Vittoria Montecatini. Located just 45 minutes from the Pisa airport, the hotel is Italy’s top spa resort in Tuscany. The setting is spectacular, the ambiance is elegant, and you will love the panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and the ancient medieval town of Montecatini Alto. All 84 guest rooms have air conditioning, satellite TV, telephone, minibar, hair dryer, and a safe. In addition to the magnificent Italian gardens, the hotel features an outdoor pool, a fitness room (where staff can organize yoga sessions on request), tennis, discounted golf at nearby La Pievacca Golf Club, and a full service spa, Liberty Beauty Farm. Treatments include aromatherapy, sauna, mud wraps, facials, manicure/pedicure and a variety of massages including hot stones, four-hands, holistic, well-being and anti-stress.

    In the afternoon we will stroll to the center of the town for a private walking tour. You’ll learn about the history of the area. For centuries, Montecatini has been an exclusive world-renowned spa resort, famed for its spring waters, thermal baths, drinking cures, and respiratory treatments. Back at the hotel, we will have an orientation tour, followed by a welcome aperitif with Parmesan cheese, Prosciutto and red wine tasting. While sampling these traditional Italian hors d’hoeuvres, we will all have a chance to get better acquainted and discuss the itinerary for the week. Dinner is at the hotel.

  • Day 3 - Tuscany

    Breakfast from 7:30 to 9:00 am Walking Tour with Lunch from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm Afternoon at Leisure from 2:00 to 7:00 pm
    Day 3 – Monday, May 4: Montecatini

    After breakfast, we will take the funicular to Montecatini Alto and spend time exploring this ancient medieval village. Our local tour manager will be our guide. Montecatini Alto is the old historical center of Montecatini. It was the headquarters of an ancient 14th century castle that was encircled by more than a kilometer of town-walls, with 7 gates and 25 towers. At an altitude of over 950 feet, Montecatini Alto offers an extraordinary panoramic view of the countryside and the inhabited center of Montecatini Terme. After visiting the medieval square, the fortress and the ancient defensive walls, we will stop for lunch at a typical restaurant for traditional Tuscan dishes. Later, you are free to return to the hotel by funicular and spend your afternoon at leisure. Dinner is at the hotel

  • Day 4 - Tuscany

    Breakfast from 7:30 to 9:00 am Cooking Class from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm Spa Package from 3:00 to 7:00 pm
    Monday, May 4: Montecatini

    Today we learn first hand the Italian secret of how to live La Dolce Vita! The art of eating well begins today at our cooking school. After breakfast, we will enjoy our first lesson at the hotel’s private Tuscan Villa. First, we visit a local market with the chef. He will show how only the finest and freshest ingredients are chosen. Back in the hills at our villa, we will experience the culinary traditions, which like many family recipes, are handed down through generations. After the delicious lunch we have prepared, we return to the hotel for relaxation and a bit of luxury. This afternoon you will be treated to an hour of rejuvenation at the hotel Spa. Your package begins with a relaxing Hydrotherapy bath, followed by an olive oil whole body massage. Heavenly! Then, savour the moment with a glass of sparkling wine and strawberries served in the Spa. Your Spa visit concludes with lots of great recipes for beauty treatments, including a home-made body scrub with extra virgin olive oil. Dinner is at the hotel.

  • Day 5 - Tuscany

    Breakfast from 7:30 to 9:00 am Cooking Class with Olive Oil Tasting from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm Private Tour to Lucca from 3:00 to 7:00 pm
    Tuesday, May 5: Montecatini / Lucca

    This morning we visit a local “olive oil press” where we’ll see the olives being washed, mashed into pulp and then pressed to remove the oil. Back at our private Villa, we will enjoy an olive oil tasting followed by our second cooking lesson with lunch. In the afternoon, we depart for the medieval town of Lucca, a rich heritage of churches, palaces and squares. Lucca is well known for its magnificent 16th and 17th century ramparts, having remained intact around its narrow streets. We return to Montecatini in the early evening for dinner at the hotel.

  • Day 6 - Tuscany

    Breakfast from 7:30 to 9:00 am Pizza Making Course with Lunch from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm Private Tour to Pisa from 3:00 to 7:00 pm
    Wednesday, May 6: Montecatini / Pisa

    Today’s class is making pizza, followed by lunch in our Tuscan Villa. First, we will visit a local market to prepare for the lesson. Our chef will show how only the finest and freshest ingredients are chosen to make the perfect Italian pizza. Back at our Villa, the cooking begins and we end with a wonderful pizza lunch. This afternoon, our adventure takes us to Pisa. We will see the incredible Leaning Tower (entrance fee of €15 not included, but you can purchase a ticket on the spot if you wish to go inside). Other sightseeing includes the bell of the 900-year-old Cathedral of Pisa and the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles) to see the Baptistery and Duomo. We return to the hotel for dinner.

  • Day 7 - Tuscany

    Breakfast from 7:30 to 9:00 am Morning at Leisure for Shopping and Sightseeing on Own Farewell Dinner with Cooking School Graduation from 5:00 to 10:00 pm
    Day 7 – Thursday, May 7: Montecatini

    Enjoy this morning at your leisure. Spend time exploring the town of Montecatini where the local market stalls sell everything from clothes to shoes, scarves, and accessories. After lunch at the hotel, we visit a local Torrefazione for a truly Italian “espresso” experience. Later at our private Villa, we toast our culinary expertise with a farewell aperitif followed by Cooking School graduation and dinner. Not only will you return home with lots of great recipes, but your Chef will also have a little gift to take with you.

  • Day 8 - Tuscany

    Breakfast from 7:30 to 9:00 am Private Tour to Chianti from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
    Friday, May 8: Montecatini / Chianti

    We depart immediately after breakfast for the Chianti region, known for its wineries. The beauty of this area is evident by the many images found here: the soft landscape, the vibrant colors, the ancient castles, secular parishes and beautiful villas. After a visit to the town of Greve, we will stop for a wine tasting and light lunch in the magnificently restored Castle of Verrazzano. The castle is located on a hilltop in the Chianti Classico area. This was the first grape growing and wine producing area in the world decreed by an official proclamation. It was made by the grand Duke Cosimo III de' Medici in 1716. The castle was first an Etruscan, and then a Roman settlement, before becoming the property of the Verrazzano family in the 7th century. Giovanni da Verrazzano, who discovered the bay of New York and part of the east coast of America, was born here in 1485. Through years of changing ownership, the castle has been returned to its ancient splendour, thanks to the patient work of the present owner, Cavaliere Luigi Cappellini. There is a great tradition of winemaking here. The "vineyards situated in Verrazzano" are mentioned in a manuscript dating back to 1170 which is preserved at the Abbey of Passignano. We return to Montecatini for our final dinner at the hotel.

  • Day 9 - Tuscany

    Breakfast from 7:30 to 9:00 am
    Saturday, May 9: Departure.

    After breakfast we transfer back to the Pisa airport for return flights home

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