Let's Go To Italy!

The Chef and I get to do some pretty rad stuff. We've travelled our butts off these last two years and that doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Last year the Chef spent a month in Italy headlining a culinary tour and then he hung out in my families  hometown for restaurant research. It turned out to be a phenomenal learning experience for him but it was pretty hard on us. Thirty days away is way too long for our little family.

So when the Chef was approached again to headline an Italian tour we knew we had to be a part of it. The In Cucina & In Famiglia Custom Tour was born!!

The minis and I in Venice 2012

We leave in June and will be spending a week cooking together as a family, hanging with our family (and hopefully yours) all while in the beautiful homeland of my family. The itinerary put together by Diana is simply spectacular and the Chef and I are beyond excited to be a part of such an amazing trip. We hope you can join us!

June 22-29, 2013

Day 1   Saturday June 22, 2013       Depart Cleveland

Depart Cleveland for Florence, Italy.

Day 2   Sunday June 23, 2013       Florence, San Gimignano

Arrive in Florence, Italy.  Private transfer to hotel in San Gimignano.  Time at leisure to stroll through the cobbled streets of this true Tuscan jewel.  Renowned for its bell towers and strategic location over a hilltop, this will certainly be a place to remember.  By late afternoon we will meet with the Sawyer Family as they will spend some time talking to us about their ideas on nutrition and how good food can be made fun for children.  We will end the short discussion with a lesson in the Italian Language and then we will learn how gelato is made.  At the end of our discussions, we will sample some true Italian gelato from Diana’s favorite Gelateria located on the Piazza Della Cisterna in San Gimignano.  More free time to explore the narrow streets of San Gimignano before dinner and then overnight. 

Day 3   Monday June 24, 2013     San Gimignano, Florence

Breakfast at hotel and then transfer to Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance.  Today we will discover the beauty of this elegant city par excellence with a special tour for children with our bilingual, private and certified guide.  This morning we will visit the Galleria Academia to view the beautiful sculptures by Michelangelo, the slaves or prisoners of the rocks and the unforgettable statue of David.  The Academia houses some of the most important sculptures of Florence. (to avoid the long lines, we will prearrange entrance tickets). Then we are on to the famous Duomo of Florence (the fourth largest church in the world), with its grandiose cupola by Brunelleschi, Giotto's bell tower, and the Baptistery with its famous bronze doors.  Our guided tour will include the Piazza Signoria and the Ponte Vecchio. Part of the walking tour will include a climb up through the Duomo’s cupola to the top.  Children will certainly enjoy this adventure and the 360 degree view from high above.  At the end of the tour, you will have time at leisure to enjoy Florence.  During your free-time, you may choose to rest at a local trattoria or visit the open air markets of the San Lorenzo or the Mercato Del Pulcinello for some genuine Florentine artifacts, leather goods and souvenirs.  Upon our return to San Gimignano we will join the Sawyers in a pasta making session.  Of course we will feast upon our creations for dinner.  Overnight in San Gimignano.       

  Day 4    Tuesday June 25, 2013      San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Orvieto

**For those interested, you may partake in a hot air balloon ride over the gently rolling hills of Tuscany….as the trip draws near, we will have more details!!

Breakfast at hotel and then morning departure for Monteriggioni, a tiny city in the heart of Tuscany which was built over 500 years ago as a military outpost by Siena.  The entire town is intact as it was and as a result, the children will be able to walk the original observation wall which circles the town to enjoy incredible views of the rolling hills below. On our journey south, we will stop in the country side for a rustic picnic and have a brief lesson in Italian.  By Mid-afternoon, the adults will enjoy a wine tasting of the coveted Brunello di Montalcino accompanied by local cheeses, olive oil, prosciutto, and vin Santo.  By late afternoon, we will make our way towards the city of Orvieto, in the heart of Umbria.  The origins of Orvieto date back to the Etruscan Civilization.  The first Etruscan settlements, going back to the 9th century B.C., in fact were found inside the turfaceous caves in the bedrock upon which today rises the city itself.  Dinner will be in an ancient cave. Overnight in Orvieto.  

Day 5   Wednesday June 26, 2013    Orvieto

Breakfast at hotel.  This morning you will have free time to explore this wonderful city. During your free time, you may choose to visit the Duomo as it is the most famous Cathedral of the city.  Construction of this Italian Gothic style structure took 100 years to complete and dates back to 1263.  The Duomo houses the blood soaked cloth which is the relic related to the miracle at Lake Bolsena which occurred in the same year.  The modern day Roman Catholic Festival of Corpus Christi is a result of this miracle. Another possible sight could be Saint Patrick’s Well or you may simply enjoy sitting and sipping a cold glass of local white wine as you observe the local color of the town.  If shopping is your goal, there are many beautiful shops to explore as well.  One of my favorite things to do is to sit back and observe the Orvietani (citizens of Orvieto) themselves as Orvieto is a very tranquil and contained city and independent exploration is a pleasure.  Today we have arranged another fun afternoon in cucina, but first, we will explore the extensive underground city of Orvieto.  This is a fascinating labyrinth of tunnels and twists where we will learn about the activities which took place in them for countless centuries.  Mid-afternoon, we will meet one of our favorite “pizzaiolo” (professional pizza maker) in Orvieto for a private pizza lesson.  It is another day to get down and dirty, this time in cucina – so come prepared!  After preparing the dough and delicious toppings, we will also get to enjoy our pizza creations together. For dessert, we will have gelato together in the main piazza. Overnight in Orvieto. 

Day 6   Thursday June 27, 2013     Orvieto, Civita Di Bagnoreggio, Rome

Breakfast at hotel and then by early morning, we will begin our journey towards Rome. On our way to Roma, we will stop in the almost abandoned ancient town of Civita Di Bagnoreggio. This tiny town is perched upon an ancient tufa rock and is accessible only by crossing a foot bridge to get there.  This town dates back over 2500 years to the fascinating Etruscan civilization.  Before arriving in Rome, in the outskirts of the city, we will stop at one of Diana’s favorite “agriturismi/campagne” for a special day in the Italian countryside.  Here we will see live animals and many crops which sustain the typical Italian diet.  The Sawyers will talk to us about their ideas on the importance of the concept of “0 kilometers” and genuine food and how a farm functions in harmony with nature.  We will all have a chance to plant some seeds and harvest some crops before we indulge in a true Italian style country lunch. Our lunch will be very hands on as we are guided by the Sawyers in the preparation of our meal. At some point this afternoon we will sneak in an Italian lesson as well.  In the late afternoon we will arrive to Rome.  Check in our hotel.  The remainder of the evening is yours to explore or to rest.      

Day 7   Friday June 28, 2013      Roma Antica

Breakfast at hotel.  This morning we will gather for a tour of Ancient Roma and all its glory.   As we plunge into the vivacious traffic of Rome, our senses will be simultaneously stimulated by antiquity and modern day society.  We will feel the heart-beat of the city as we pass through the Piazza Venezia where we will admire the huge monument dedicated to the first Italian King Vittorio Emmanuelle II. Today, this has been dedicated to the memory of the unknown soldiers with the eternal flame.  We will pass the Teatro Marcello and The Circus Maximus, the site of many chariot races.  We will take a stroll through the Roman Forum, rich with antiquity.  Through the main square of Rome, crossing the Via Sacra (the Sacred Way), the most important street in ancient Rome where many triumphant processions took place.  We will see the ruins of some ancient monuments as well as the Triumphal Arches of Titus and Septimius Severus, the Curia, seat of the Roman Senate, the Basilica Emilia and the Basilica Julia which were both used for business transactions. We will also see The Vesta Temple with the house of the Vestal Virgins, and finally the Temples of Antoninus and Faustina, Vespasian and Saturn.   If you choose, you may enter The Coliseum the magnificent Flavian Amphitheatre where we will envision the gladiator duels, wild beast fights and naval battles which were arranged for the entertainment of the Roman people. The Arch of Constantine is visible from here as well. At the end of our guided tour, we will have time to relax at an outdoor café or discover something new in the Eternal City.  the Roman Forum, the Coliseum, the Circus Maximus, The Piazza Venezia and the Trevi Fountain.  Afternoon at leisure and then Farewell dinner at one of Diana’s favorite restaurants in Roma and then gelato at her favorite Gelateria in Roma.  Overnight in Roma.

Day 8    Saturday June 29, 2013   Depart Rome

Transfer to Fiumicino International Airport for overseas flights.  Arrivederci Bella Italia!!!                        

This Once in a Lifetime Custom Journey Includes the Following:

  • 6 Nights stay in hotels
  • 6 Breakfasts
  • 2 Lunches which include wine
  • 5 Dinners which include wine
  • A private driver throughout entire journey
  • 2 Private airport transfers: Upon arrival in Florence on June23rd and upon departure from Roma on June 29th
  • Several Cooking lessons and kid friendly culinary discussions
  • 2 or more Lessons in the Italian language
  • 3 private certified bilingual Guides: Florence, Orvieto, and Roma
  • 4 Entrance tickets: to the Galleria Academia in Florence, to the military observation walk in Monteriggioni, to the subterranean caves of Orvieto and to the Coliseum in Roma
  • 1 Pizza Lesson
  • 3 if not more gelato treats
  • 1 wine tasting (for the adults) which includes a light meal
  • The accompaniment of Diana Maiola Cirino and Jonathan and Amelia Sawyer and family
  • A Kick-off Party hosted by Diana Maiola Cirino and The Sawyers to include a lesson in the Italian language

If interested in travelling with us, #teamsawyer, to Italy please email Italian Tours by Diana as the trip is quickly filling up. 

Bon Viaggio!!