Tentative Itinerary for Italy Tuscany Tour 2019
Day 1 & 2: Depart Newark April 17 for Munich and Pisa on an overnight flight. Arrive Pisa the following day at 12:20 PM April 18. We will catch a train to La Spezia, Italy where we will stay at a local airbnb in the center of town and within easy walking distance of the train station. After a meal in the village and some unpacking, we will relax with a welcome glass of wine and catch up on some sleep ready for Cinque Terre the next day.
Day 3 & 4: April 19-20. We will explore Cinque on foot, train or ferry. Cinque Terre is made up of the 5 towns of Vernazza, Corniglia, Monarola, Riomaggiore, and finally Monta Rosa along the sea shore built on the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean. This region is a Steve Ricks favorite. We meander along zigzagging streets, through vineyards and along the rocky seaside perhaps catching a local market day, a singing florist, and a castle or two perched along the high cliffs. WE will experience biscotti dunked in a local sweet wine and enjoy a pasta and pesto culinary delight. My gastric juices are beginning to surge in anticipation of these repasts. I hear the anchovies in this area are quite different from American anchovies and worth a taste. WE will stroll through olive groves and enjoy the vistas and savor the Virgin Olive Oil typical for this region. And who can forget shopping! (For a visual experience watch the youtube clip below).
Day 5: April 21 Sunday we will head into Florence via train mid-morning to begin a cultural tour of this historical and cultural city of art, architecture, food and wine. Here we will stay at a monastery in North Florence overlooking the city. In the evening we will experience a yoga class with a meal after on the top of a building once again overlooking the evening sky and magical city of Florence. Or even an evening tour of the city to acquaint ourselves with its oddities and grandeur before we step into the city’s mysteries the next day.
Day 6: April 22 after our included monastery breakfast we will head into the city where we will head to the Uffizi Gallery having already booked our tickets on line to avoid the long lineups of others seeking entrance to this palace. This evening we will enjoy either the evening tour or the yoga adventure depending on which one we did the evening prior. REMEMBER wear good walking shoes and bring an umbrella in case of rain. Eating will be at local establishments and whatever appeals to us. Returning in the evening to our Monastery stay.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61uXUxmpKWg Rick Steve’s journey through the Uffizi
Day 7: April 23. This is the day where we take cooking classes and get to reap the rewards of our efforts. This class is approximately 5 ½ hours and we eat what we prepare. WE return for our last night at the monastery.
Day 8: April 24. This morning after breakfast we will complete our visit to Florence with a walking tour of the city catching sights of the David and hearing about some of the city’s oddities, followed by a food tasting experience in the city (Neapolitan Pizza) by an Italian Pizza Craftsman.
WE depart Florence in the early pm and head to the Tuscan Hills, picking up our luggage at the monastery. We will rent a car at this point (probably from the airport) and drive to our next destination spending the next several days at a Tuscan farm retreat. (I REFUSE TO DRIVE IN ITALIAN CITIES. Crazy drivers. However, the country roads I can handle)
Day 9: April 25. We will have a sleep in in our comfortable lodging on a Tuscan farm before exploring the region for its wineries and castles. Civiti is a wonderful place to climb and visit. Or Lucca. Eating in tonight we will have shopped at a local market and purchased our requisite bread, cheese and wine for a picnic along the way or an evening meal in our chateau.
Day 10: April 26 Another day of frolicking in the hills and sampling the culture and scenery of the area. Perhaps a farm tour or more cooking. The Virgin Olive Oil is a must between Florence and Lucca, so I say let’s head there. Testimonials reveal it is a wonderful way to spend 4 hours with a 4 -course dinner and a historical glance at olive oil manufacturing. Oh, yummy says my tummy.
Day 11: April 27. A short drive to Pisa where we can explore this city for its food, architecture and of course the tower, which I hear is leaning less these days. I am guessing this will include more wine.
Day 12 & 13: April 28 & 29. We head to a stone retreat farm to stay here for 2 days. I have seen the bathtubs. WE may never get out of the tub. We head for a mountain top experience here. This stay will encompass travel to Vinci and the home of Leonardo along with a side trip to Dante territory. (I have actually read the Divine Comedy at University- remembering only the basics unfortunately)
Day 14: April 30 we leave behind our romance with Italy and head back to Pisa to catch our plane home to NC. Perhaps a stop along the way for one more glimpse of the hills and a toast to our wonderful holiday.
More details will follow as we unpack the baggage in our heads and prepare for an adventure which will take us on archeological digs within ourselves. This sacred time will be a time of reflection and education, of eating and drinking in both the food and the culture. It will be a time to find ourselves by getting lost in our journey and our hearts. There may be some changes along the way to our destination. We want to walk amongst the Florence gardens and participate in other highlights which I have not included here.
In the meantime, you can contact me at 919-616-6373 or email me at for any questions you have. In preparation you will need a passport, health insurance and medical forms to be filled out in case of an emergency along the way.