Eat your way through yummy Tuscany

Tuscany vineyard

Here’s an updated list of great new package tours for Tuscany. Tempo Holidays has food and wine-based packages for independent travellers who want to drive or get around on traditional Vespa scooters. Vrrroom!

Deals on this blog are quoted in Australian dollars. Links for Tempo Holidays worldwide are listed at the bottom of the post. The travel deals are the same. Just the currencies are different.

View over an amphitheatre, Tuscany

Learn about the production and use of saffron in typical Italian dishes while staying near Orvieto on the three-day Saffron Secrets Special from $A420 per person twin share (excluding car rental). The package includes two nights in charming Villa Ciconia with breakfast, a cooking class followed by a lunch of the prepared dishes, a visit to Artisan Saffron Production and one dinner.

Tuscany vineyard

Or discover the Tuscan countryside in true Italian style on the Tuscany Cooking and Vespa Experience from $A565 per person twin share. The package includes two nights at the Borgo San Luigi Resort in central Tuscany with breakfast, Vespa scooter rental, a cooking class with Chef Matteo D’Amato cooking classic Tuscan cuisine followed by a meal.

The three-day Great Wines of Tuscany package is priced from $A751 per person twin share. The package includes two nights at charming Villa Cicolina, visits to two wine producers including where one of Italy’s best known and most expensive wines – Brunello – is produced, wine tastings, a hands-on cooking class, two breakfasts, one lunch and one dinner.

Tuscan cuisine is appreciated  for its quality produce – it’s a typical expression of the Mediterranean diet. Tuscany is also famous for its white truffles.  Tuscany is also the home of Chianti. It’s  always a very dry red wine, with a concentrated fruit character, most often made entirely from the sangiovese grape. Chianti can range in style from light to full bodied with tart cherry and violet aromas and flavors. It can age 10 or more years in a good vintage.

The three-day Ancient Flavours of the Tuscan Countryside package starts from $A722 per person twin share and includes two nights in 4-star accommodation in the Chianti countryside, a cooking class, one guided visit and tasting at a wine cellar, two breakfasts and one lunch. The Great Wines and Ancient Flavours deals are self-drive packages and are also available as private tours.

The main tourism season stretches from mid-April to the end of September with July and August the peak months. The best time to visit Tuscany is from April to June and from September to October when weather is usually good, prices lower and there are less tourists. The climate is generally mild, with hotter temps in valleys and near the coast, and colder temps up in the hills in winter. In the mountains skiing is popular during winter.

Tuscany can be criss-crossed in a matter of hours, so that makes touring around the area a liesurely experience. I found  www.discovertuscany.com to be very helpful for directions.There’s no all-day gruelling trek to get to where you want to go. The traffic around Florence and Siena can be hell during peak summer. The A1 (Autostrada)  from Bologna reaches Northern Tuscany, bypasses Florence and then on to Cortona and Rome.  Two four-lane non-toll roads exist. The SS1 (Via Aurelia) along the coast is four lanes almost all the way from Livorno Sud (south) down to Tuscany’s southern border with Lazio. The Firenze-Siena which starts near the A1 Firenze-Certosa entrance/exit is also a toll free road, links Florence and Siena and is four-lanes and skips most of the small towns the SS2 goes through. The small country roads are winding and progress can be slow, but you get to see a lot of country life and great scenery. In towns, the speed limit is 50km/h, and then 70km/h on smaller rural roads and 110km/h on the Autostrade.

CHECK LIST:
For bookings, contact your local travel agent or Tempo Holidays at www.tempoholidays.com,  or www.tempoholidays.co.uk For more details email info@tempoholidays.co.uk or  info@tempoholidays.com. For more information, check out Tempo Holidays’ latest specials and promotions.

For more info:
www.discovertuscany.com/blog/

www.athomeintuscany.org/

www.italytravelnotes.com/2011/05/18/visiting-tuscany/

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