Away from the trendy routes of the majors, away from tourist traps and standardized food, our tours are all about discovering the authentic story of Italy, its food, its people. Read Aka Italy, the travel magazine on Italy
8 rich days exploring sun-blessed places seeping history and beauty at every corner, discovering food so flavorsome your taste buds won't forget.
A foodie heaven 8 day tour in Tuscany, Umbria and Le Marche, taking you every night to a food event steeped in the millennial cooking tradition of Italy.
Spend 8 days in a carefree program speaking Italian, exploring the gems of Tuscany, going wine tasting, horseback riding and cooking in a gorgeous villa in the idyllic Tuscan countryside.
DAY 1. WELCOME TO THE VILLA
Pick up at the airport then after a 1.5 drive take up your rooms. Dine at the villa.
DAY 2. - SIENA AREA
Visit the eerie towers of San Gimignano in the morning and have a no frill no fuss panino , then scoot to Monteriggioni a medieval gem that looks like a tiara of ancient beauty in the rolling Tuscan hills. Dine at the villa.
DAY 3 - WINE TASTING in CHIANTI AREA
Visit the Abby of Coltibuono,. Wine tasting at the intact medieval Castle in Volpaia. Dine out at Radda di Chianti.
DAY4 - A SPA and an ABBEY
Visit the sulfur pools of Bagno Vignoni then lunch at the charming Montalcino; visit the free outdoor spa Bagni di San Filippo and eat at the Tuscan/Irish pub Tir. Na. Nog. - Dine at the villa.
DAY 5 - A GLIMPSE of UMBRIA
Visit the land of wine Montepulciano and eat at the Winery of M.; head to the capital of Umbria, Perugia. Dine out.
DAY 6 - CITY WALL and PENDING TOWER
Climb up the pending tower of Pisa, walk along the ancient city walls of Lucca, see Barga and the Alpi Apuane. Dine out.
DAY 7 - MAREMMA and THE HORSES
Horseback ride for 3 hours across the superb and scenic Maremma landscape. Walk across a see of lush trees to the abandoned Abbazia di San Rabano . Dine at the villa.
DAY 8 - HEAD BACK HOME
Our prices are 40% below market value for a simple reason - our tour concept. When we go on our tours, we use a hotel or a house as a base camp for the entire duration of the trip. We hire a private minibus for our daily excursions. This helps us bring the costs down a great deal.
On top of this, I personally curate all aspects of our trips. I was born in Pompeii and worked in Italy as a journalist and a teacher. The more I learned and discovered about my country, the more I loved it. I moved to Canada four years ago and I realized that too many stories and too many towns in Italy don’t make it into the mainstream media. My goal is to take you to scenic, soul-warming places in Italy and bridge the gap between you and the "magic spots" in Italy no-one else seems willing or able to tell you about.
Francesco Fattorusso - Founder of Italian Academy and Aka Italy Magazine
$2150 (Save $400 when you sign up for 3 sessions of Beginners Classes)
Dates - March 16th - 22nd
8 days / 7 nights
Meet - Fiumicino Airport - Rome
What's not included
Discover places and restaurants foreign tourists have hardly set foot in. In our week-long trip you'll be visiting Pompeii, Naples, Paestum, and the Amalfi coast. Using the Hotel Villa dei Misteri as a base, this tour will take you off the beaten track - away from mass tourism and eating homey food at every meal.
Tour the ruins of Pompeii with Francesco who, as a boy, used them as a playground.
Francesco will also introduce you to traditional Neapolitan food: the panuozzo and pizza al metro. You'll eat in some of the most amazing restaurants in the area: a restaurant hidden on the coast near Positano (accessible only by boat); Brandi pizzeria in Naples, the birthplace of the margherita pizza.
Single supplement - $250
September 14th - 21th
Meet - Railway Station, Stazione Centrale of Naples
What's not included
Plan to arrive at the Hotel Villa dei Misteri by the early afternoon. The hotel will serve as our base camp. We'll present the program for the week, and head out for a meter-long pizza for dinner.
A day exploring the town of Pompei and the ruins. We'll be meandering the streets of Pompeii, visiting the gory amphitheatre, the spectacular "teatro grande" and "teatro piccolo" - the big and small theater. Dinner will take us to the "chioschi", nestled between a shipyard and a seaport - no tourist has ever set foot in this place!
We'll be taking the a train to reach Sorrento (20 min trip from hotel). In the morning, we'll explore Sorrento's nooks and crannies, shops and restaurants. Our morning will end at the Salumeria Apreda (a traditional delicatessen) where we will be making a traditional packed lunch. We'll then take a ferry to visit the island of Capri and Villa di Tiberio. In the evening we'll head back to Sorrento to eat at the Cantinaccio del Popolo.
We'll head to Positano and spend some time exploring it before taking a boat to reach a restaurant hidden on Amalfi coast. After lunch, we're off to Sant'Agata dei due Golfi, a mountain which overlooks the golf of Naples and the Amalfi Coast. Dinner will be in Nerano, an idyllic little fishing village on the Sorrento coast.
Today we go to Paestum via mini-bus where we'll explore the three amazingly well-preserved Greek temples. The area is renowned for buffalo rearing and for their buffalo mozzarella so we'll also learn the ins and outs of mozzarella making - with some tasting along the way. Dinner is in Vietri - a town famous for their homemade glass.
We'll explore Napoli by visiting the mystical Cappella di San Severo; the spectacular Monastero di Santa Chiara Cloister; the severe Angioin Castle and the lavish Royal Palace - see pics below. We'll be eating at the restaurant where Pizza Margherita was born - Pizzeria Brandi and we'll have a coffe at the famous Caffe' Gambrinus. We'll end the day with a dinner at Rossiello, a restaurant in Marechiaro.
You'll be walking on the scorched path running around the crater of Vesuvius. The location offers an incredible view of the Bay of Naples. Dinner will be at Mustafa' on a patio by the sea on the Sorrento Coast.
We'll have breakfast together and a final lesson by the swimming pool. We can arrange transportation to the airport or railway station for you. Buon viaggio!
If there is a gosh-I-am-so-lucky-to-be-here type of food event, this certainly is a sagra in Italy.
The word sagra speaks for itself, as it means feast and blessing of local produce. In fact Italian sagre are more than just food festivals. They are a way to put you in touch with the heart of Italy and with food that will quieten any storms in your heart.
At their best they see an entire, rural, medieval village involved in making genuinely local food, showcasing local produce, traditions, re-enactments and music. Italian sagre are must-go events because they shy away from busy, modern cities. They thrive instead where authentic Italian food thrives: in the tiny medieval hamlets, villages and small towns scattered across the country; among communities that have preserved Italian culinary heritage to this day.
Fiumicino Airport, Rome
What's not included
The Palio dei Castelli at San Severino starts at the beginning of June and has archers, horsemen, and delightful food swirling around the streets of this enchanting town.
Italian sagre put you in touch with the best culinary traditions of Italy taking you to outdoor, festive banquets that put a smile on your face for long time.
If there is a gosh-I-am-so-lucky-to-be-here type of food event, this certainly is a sagra in Italy. The word sagra speaks for itself, as it means feast and blessing of local produce. In fact Italian sagre are more than just food festivals. They are a way to put you in touch with the heart of Italy and with food that will quieten any storms in your heart.
Le Marche is a region of superlative wines as well. There are many types of vines, but the queen of the region is verdicchio bianco. Like in many other areas in Italy, farmers here tend to form wine cooperatives to preserve the quality and the standards of their wine. At the little town Camerino many wine cooperatives bring their best whites and reds to the festival Il Ducato in un bicchiere.
No doubt the city’s line-up of events here is staggering. But if there is a festival that has the stamp cool printed all over it, this is Piacere Barbecue. It is held in mid June and for two weeks it gives you a field filled with dozens of grills, roasters and barbecues on which you get to barbecue your own food. An before that, you also have the chance to take a class to learn how to do it properly.
The bringoli are a type of pasta typically made in this town. In November the sensational town of Anghiari plays hosts of this incredible festival in a heart-warming way. Tables are laid in the main piazza and its surrounding alleys and delicious food is served all night.
Festa dei bringoli at Anghiari, Tuscany.
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Toronto, ON, Canada
All participants are responsible for their own travel and health insurance.