Food Lover’s Gluten-Free Tuscany Tour – October 2012
You might have noticed that Jennifer has been busily creating things over at her new Zenfully Delicious site, created to empower people with chronic illness and food sensitivities to live a delicious life. She has now partnered with Perillo Tours to offer a sumptuous, gluten-free tour of Italy’s Tuscany region, where you can travel without the worry of what you’re going to eat — and where you’re going to eat it. Personally hosted by Jennifer, this 6-day food lover’s Gluten-Free Tuscany Tour and tasting extravaganza includes everything from historic and market tours, salumi and wine tastings to a cooking class with ingredients fresh from the farmer’s market, all amidst the glory of the Tuscan harvest.
Tuscany (Toscana) is a charmed land. Unrivaled as a cradle of art, Toscana, where the Renaissance first began, is a region of ancient splendor and modern charm. From the largest cities to the smallest hamlets and most remote villages, you will find ancient chapels, hilltop castles, a hidden palace — perhaps an ancient city nestled in the mountains. Each place has a treasure to show you — a fresco in the church, a piazza that has retained its original character, celebrated museums filled with masterpieces, monumental cathedrals and palaces, massive walls and fortresses — each a testament to Toscana’s artistic majesty, exquisite architecture and natural beauty.
And let’s not forget the food and (sulfite-free) wine. Note: Space is very limited on this tour, so reserve now to ensure your spot! See details below.
Thursday, October 11 to Thursday, October 18, 2012
Where We’re Staying
We’ll be staying in the historic Villa Casagrande in Figline Valdarno, a 12th Century medieval village located in the middle of the triangle made up of Siena, Arezzo and Florence.
The hotel also offers a wellness center and spa treatments, and we’ve left some free time so you can indulge in a little self-pampering.
Given the villa’s central location, we’ll be visiting the nearby cities of Chianti, Florence, Siena and San Gimignano. We will taste local wines (sulfite-free), sample gluten-free salumi and other treats on farm and market visits, and celebrate local flavors with a cooking class at the villa. All in the midst of the gorgeous Tuscan harvest. See the complete itinerary below.
Note: This may be adjusted slightly to accommodate market visits and other details.
Day 1: NYC TO FLORENCE – Thursday, October 11
Depart US for Tuscany
Day 2: ARRIVE IN FLORENCE – Friday, October 12
Arrive in Florence and transfer to Villa Casagrande. Gluten-free welcome dinner prepared by the hotel’s chef. Overnight stay at the villa (all nights will be spent at Villa Casagrande).
Day 3: CHIANTI – Saturday, October 13
After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll visit the Chianti region for a brief tour, after which you can explore the village. We’ll have lunch in a local trattoria before departing.
On our return trip, we’ll stop for a local gluten-free cheese and salumi tasting, then dine in a local restaurant on the way back to the villa.
Day 4: COOKING CLASS – Sunday, October 14
After breakfast, we’ll head to the local farmer’s market to pick up ingredients for our gluten-free cooking class at the villa!
Day 5: FREE DAY & WINE TASTING – Monday, October 15
After breakfast at the Villa, the early part of the day is free to explore the wonderful town of Figline Valdarno. You can also book time at the Villa’s spa to treat yourself to some zen-like downtime.
In the afternoon afternoon we will enjoy a wine tasting featuring sulfite-free wine produced at a local cantina with appetizers, followed by dinner in town.
Day 6: FLORENCE – Tuesday, October 16
After breakfast at the villa we’ll travel to Florence to meet up with Tuscan Diva Judy Witts Francini, who will personally guide us through Florence’s Central Market, and take us on a visit to her favorite “foodie street,” followed by lunch.
We’ll then take a guided tour of Florence (and walk off that lunch) as we stroll down cobblestone lanes, through majestic squares and across ancient bridges, pausing along the way to visit and learn about Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria, the cathedral and Giotto’s bell tower and the Accademia (entrance fees and reservation included). Florence offers the largest number of historical buildings and works of art in Italy, as well as several world-class museums. You might like to do a little leather, gold or clothing shopping near Ponte Vecchio.
Savor a gluten-free dinner in Florence before transferring back to the villa for a good night’s rest.
Day 7: SIENA & SAN GIMIGNANO – Wednesday, October 17
After breakfast at the hotel we’ll leave for Siena, where after meeting our local guide, we will visit this wonderful city. Siena is the city of the blessed Virgins and the “Balzana”, black and white; decisive, just as its heraldic symbol; passionate and contemplative; always climbing and descending; clear and at the same time obscure; steep and narrow streets; the red of the Piazza del Campo appearing blinding and suddenly. In the alleys, in the museums and oratories of the Contrada, the spiritual songs of the Palio evoke very ancient rituals and modern allegories, while during the evening the shuffling of soles on the deserted pavement is in contrast with the peacefulness of the green valleys providentially enclosed within the wall, which ancient administrators had erected hundreds of years before it became common practice.
We’ll also stop for a visit and wine tasting at a local farm. After lunch on your own, we’ll depart to San Gimignano (with a guided tour). The towered silhouette of San Gimignano rising from the hills of the Upper Elsa Valley, facing the land of Volterra and positioned right on one of the most important stretches of the medieval Via Francigena, is famous all over the world. A similar renown can also be claimed by its Vernaccia wine, recently awarded the D.O.C.G., the highest acknowledgement and guarantee for quality in Italian oenology.
Day 8: ARRIVADERCI! – Thursday, October 18
Transfers from Villa to Florence airport.
- English speaking Tour Escort
- 06 Nights accommodation in a Tuscan Villa (http://www.villacasagrande.it)
- Cooking class
- Market visits with lunch
- Gluten-free continental breakfasts at the Villa
- Six (6) Gluten Free dinners including:
- Welcome Dinner (drinks included)
- Farewell Dinner (drinks included)
- Dinner at Villa following cooking class (drinks not included )
- Dinner in Florence (drinks not included)
- Dinner in Chianti region (drinks not included)
- Dinner in Figline Valdarno (drinks not included)
- Wine tasting (sulfite-free) at the Cantina near the Villa including appetizers
- Half-day tour of Florence including full day bus + half-day step-on guide
- Admissions and reservation for the ACCADEMIA
- Half-day tour of Chianti with guide
- Gluten-free lunch in a typical trattoria
- Gluten-free salumi and cheese tasting
- Full-day Siena and San Gimignano tour with wine tasting (sulfite-free)
- Roundtrip private transfers: Airport – Hotel – Airport (arrival and departure: Florence Airport)
- Porterage in/out of villa (1 suitcase per person – extra luggage pay on the spot)
Hotel & Tours
Includes hotel, transfers, dinners, lunches where specified, market visits and tastings:
- Regular Price: $2,150 per person (double occupancy*)
- Zenfully Delicious Lifetime Member Price**: $1,950 per person (double occupancy*)
*Supplement Double (Standard) for single use: $294
**See Lifetime Member details here. Lifetime Members will receive a special promotional code to book their tour.
Booked through our tour:
- $925 plus departure taxes (approx. $90-$120) – based on availability
Terms & Deadlines
A non-refundable $250 deposit is required by May 1, 2012 to secure your place.
Airfare is due no later than July 4, 2012.
Remaining balance is due no later than August 3, 2012.
Cancellations cannot be made after June 29, 2012.
Lifetime Members will receive a special promo code via e-mail.
About your tour hosts
Zenfully Delicious (zenfullydelicious.com) was founded in 2010 by Jennifer Iannolo to empower people with chronic pain and food sensitivities to live a delicious life. By celebrating food, wellness and a healthy dose of self-pampering, the site’s team is out to live la dolce vita no matter what — and to encourage others to join them for the ride. After 15 years in the world of fine food and wine, working with the world’s greatest chefs, Jennifer is determined to continue savoring the flavors, textures and colors (though now gluten-free ones) that inspired her to launch her career in the first place.
Perillo Tours (perillotours.com), the largest tour operator to Italy, has been a family-run business for more than 65 years. Led by three generations beginning with Joseph Perillo, then Mario Perillo and now Steve Perillo, Perillo Tours serves clients with the best all-inclusive vacation values available including fully escorted tours to Italy, Hawaii and Israel, which all provide excellent sightseeing, first-class and deluxe hotels, and experienced, knowledgeable tour guides. All tours include transfers, baggage handling, American-style breakfasts, tips, taxes, and dinners (some wines included).