LIBERTYVILLE, Illinois – What could be more fun than to spend Thanksgiving or Christmas in Florence, the city of great Renaissance art and Tuscan cuisine? The good news is that TourCrafters’ newest land-only package, “Off-Season Florence and Chianti,” starts at only US$385 and is valid any day from November 4 to March 15. (The bad news is that the tab is higher during trade fairs and religious holidays.) The price includes 5 nights’ hotel accommodation, daily buffet breakfast, arrival transfer from the Florence airport, a half-day tour of Chianti with wine tastings, a pizza and gelato cooking class, a free gelato at the famous Vivoli, service charges, and taxes.
The road trip through the Chianti wine district is a delight, displaying the beautiful scenery of Tuscany, with a visit to the picture-perfect medieval town of Monteriggioni. Here, you can taste up to 10 different varieties of Tuscan wines (and some savory local products) produced by two family-owned wineries, while an expert guide teaches you how to savor and recognize a true Chianti. The cooking class is also a learning experience, making authentic Italian pizza and gelato, which you can enjoy eating after the class. For those unscheduled hours, there are several optional tours of Florence (city sightseeing, the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia) as well as Siena, San Gimignano, and Pisa.
The hotel included at the starting price of US$385 is the centrally-located, 3-star Hotel Alba, which boasts mini-bars, satellite TV, CD players, and free Wi-Fi. The 3-star Hotel Meridiana costs US$428, but that includes a 3-course dinner at the Restaurant Riflessi. And those who choose the luxurious Hotel degli Orafi (for US$609) will have all the comforts of home plus the view of the River Arno and Ponte Vecchio seen in the Merchant/Ivory film “A Room with a View.”
Prices do not include air fare – which can be arranged by TourCrafters reservationists – or city tax, which must be paid directly to the hotel in euros.
For more information, visit www.tourcrafters.it/tour.lasso?ID=112 . For reservations, call 800-482-5995.