Ah, Florence. It’s the birthplace of the Renaissance, sometimes called “the Athens of the Middle Ages,” an epicenter of fine living and high culture, even today. Food, fashion, cinema and literature all find their way to Florence – and you could, too, with one artistic wave of your paddle. When you do, you’ll plunge into a Florence and Siena arts-and-culture immersion for two couples, complete with a visit to Fontodi, creators of the famed Flaccianello.
Your journey to the good life begins with three luxurious nights at a five-star hotel in Florence. You and your friends may feel a bit like Lorenzo de’ Medici himself as you receive a private tour of incomparable Florence, starting at the Accademia, where you’ll skip the lines and view Michelangelo’s legendary statue of David. From there, it’s off to the famous Uffizi Gallery to peruse its celebrated collection of Renaissance masterpieces, including those by artists Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and Raphael, and to gain firsthand insight into Florentine life at the height of its political power. Later, enjoy a scenic walk and view of Florentine life from the Ponte Vecchio, famed for its jewelry shops and history.
Nearby, Siena and San Gimignano also await you. You’ll have a full day to discover two of Tuscany’s most beautiful towns, beginning in Siena with a walking tour of the fabled medieval city and admiring its sights. Take in the shell-shaped Piazza del Campo, home of the famous Palio horse race – and the Gothic-Romanesque Duomo, filled with masterpieces of painting and sculpture. Then, head to a local winery for a tasting followed by a drive to the medieval hill-town of San Gimignano. Explore this walled town, with its perfectly preserved towers and buildings, and its views, and enjoy what has been called “the best gelato in the world.” From there, ride in comfort through the stunning vineyards back to your hotel.
And speaking of vineyards, this may be an excellent time to mention your hosts, the Manetti Family and Fontodi. While in Tuscany, there is no finer way to savor the flavor that is Chianti Classico than a visit to Fontodi’s stunning estate. You’ll be treated to a private tour and tasting at Fontodi with Letizia and Giovanni Manetti and enjoy the beauty and history of their property – the vines here have been cultivated since the time of the Roman Empire, and vinification dates back as far as the 16th century. Together with your hosts, you’ll also indulge in lunch prepared by Dario Cecchini, the celebrity chef who the LA Times called “the world’s most famous butcher.”
The culinary journey continues back in Florence, at its most celebrated eatery, Enoteca Pinchiorri. Tucked within a glorious 16th century Renaissance palace, this Michelin Three-starred restaurant is considered by many to be the apex of Italian gastronomy. Known not only for its food, this Relais & Châteaux restaurant is also home to more than 120,000 bottles of wine and more than 4,000 vintages. Your hosts Letizia and Giovanni will again join you for this delicious, once-in-a-lifetime dinner.
Your keepsake from this journey is none other than a Balthazar of 2015 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve – an incredible keepsake from an incredible experience.
Florence is meant for those who know how to live – and how to bid!
Airfare to Italy is not included. Roundtrip, ground transportation from Florence to Fontodi is included, but ground transportation around Florence is not included. The tour of the Uffizi Gallery and Accademia includes a four (4) hour tour with a private, English-speaking guide. The day trip to Siena and San Gimignano includes a full-day excursion by Mercedes Viano minivan with an English-speaking driver/guide, a two (2) hour walking tour in Siena with a private English-speaking guide, and the wine tasting at the local winery in Chianti. Visit to be scheduled for mutually agreeable dates.
Giovanni Manetti of Fontodi and Perfetto Traveler, with thanks to Christin McKay, Luxury Travel Advisor with SmartFlyer