Taste of Classic Italy Vacation

Taste Classic Italy Vacation Package

Take a moveable feast through Rome, Florence, the Tuscan countryside and Venice.  For the food-loving traveler or the first-time visitor to Italy,  experience a gourmet version of the classic Italy vacation.  On this 11-day/10-night all-inclusive vacation, you’ll spend four nights in the historic center of Rome, another four nights in Tuscany’s Chianti countryside, and two nights in Venice. Experience the main sights and indulge in the best food and wine in each city. All accommodations will be in luxury boutique hotels. This vacation combines the classic sights with two cooking classes, three food tours, a winery visit and authentic, local dining experiences.

In Rome, you’ll explore the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museums and special sights not every visitor to Rome experiences, and all with a local guide. Walk a locals’ market with our chef, purchasing ingredients for your Roman pasta class. Chef Kathy will take you on a food-lovers’ walk in Rome to sample some of the best street food and gelato in all of Italy.

In Florence, you’ll visit the Uffizi Gallery, see The David, the Ponte Vecchio, and Duomo with our favorite Florence guide. You’ll enjoy the Tuscan countryside  while staying in the hilltown of Castellina-in-Chianti, learn to cook classic Tuscan cuisine with two Italian mammas, visit wineries in Chianti and spend a day exploring the medieval city of Siena. In Venice, you’ll visit St. Mark’s Cathedral, the Doge’s Palace and take an amazing private boat ride along the Grand Canal and smaller canals. Experience the Venice not many people see and indulge on classic Venetian food during a cicchetti food walk and Rialto Market visit.




  • In addition to vacation dates listed below, we can open new dates for this vacation, based upon availability, for groups of 4 people. Contact us now to see if your dates are available.

2019 Vacation Dates:

  • May 27 – June 7, 2019 (Private Group Vacation for the O’Hanlon Group)
  • October 20 – 30, 2019 (FULL)

2020 Vacation Dates:

  • May 28 – June 7, 2020

Vacation Price:

$4,995 (based on double occupancy)
Single Occupancy Supplement charge: $650 per person

Maximum Group Size: 12 people


  • To secure you spot on the trip, a non-refundable deposit of $1,250 per person is required.
  • The remaining balance is due 90 days prior to vacation start date.
  • You can make payments by credit card, bank transfer, or check.



  • 10 nights accommodations in luxury boutique hotels (4 nights in Rome/4 nights in Tuscany’s Chianti Countryside/2 nights in Venice)
  • All meals: all breakfasts, lunches and dinners, wine included with lunch and dinner
  • Transportation to all excursions and activities
  • Two full-meal hands-on cooking classes: one each in Rome and Tuscany
  • Food of Rome walking tour and tastings that end with a gelato tasting
  • Food walking tour and tastings in Florence
  • Rialto Market and Cicchetti food walking tour and wine tasting in Venice
  • Tuscany Winery visit with lunch
  • Guided visit to Tivoli and the Villa d’Este with a gourmet picnic lunch in the Castelli Romani
  • Private guided tour of the Vatican museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Private guided tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill
  • Private walking tour of historic Rome; seeing the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Piazza Navona
  • Private driving tour of Rome visiting sights around Aventine, Janiculum Hill and more
  • Private guided walking tours of Florence, visiting the Uffizi Gallery, Duomo and Accademia to see the statue of David
  • Private guided walking tour of Siena
  • Private Guided Boat tour of Venice
  • Private guided walking tour of the Rialto Market, St. Mark’s Square and Cathedral and the Doge’s Palace
  • Visit to the Island of Murano and to artisan glass shops on the island
  • Airport transfer from the Rome airport to your hotel in Rome at the beginning of the vacation
  • Airport transfer from your hotel in Venice to the Venice airport at the end of the vacation
  • The right amount of free time in Rome, Florence, and Venice for you to shop/take photos/people watch/food shop, etc. all at your own leisure
  • Help and travel-planning  assistance with flights to/from Italy and travel within Italy before and after the vacation
  • Food Lover’s Classic Italy Recipe booklet and apron
  • Alumni Reward: Receive $200 credit towards your next Food Lover’s Odyssey Vacation

**Airfare, transportation to Rome before the vacation and from Venice after the vacation, travel insurance and expenses of a personal nature (souvenirs and other personal items) are not included in the vacation package price.



“The best trip ever!!! I need Kathy to plan all my trips from now on. Great people, great food, beautiful scenery.” Aimee (Flower Mound, TX) – Has booked her secnd trip with us.

“I had the best time. It was wonderful. We did so many different things, and I loved how you mixed all the fabulous food with visits to the area. The food was unbelievable. Going to the market with you was probably the most fun thing out of so many of the fabulous things that we did.” Teri (Sparta, NJ) – Has booked her second trip with us.

“What an amazingly fun trip! One of the best adventures I have experienced. Looking forward to traveling with Kathy again next year.” Judy (Huntsville, AL)

“I’ve never been a group tour person, but now I don’t think I can travel to Italy again without Kathy. It was one of the best vacations ever.” Teri (McLean, VA) – Has booked her third trip with us!




You’ll enjoy a two cooking classes, in Rome and Tuscany, and three food walking tours, one each in Rome, Florence and Venice. Experience, both  by tasting and cooking, how varied the food is in each region and how that region’s food has played an important part in its history and culture. In Rome, we’ll enjoy both a pasta-making class and a food walking tour through one of Rome’s major food districts that will include a visit to the market. In Tuscany, we’ll explore the food of Florence during our walking tour and learn about typical Tuscan cuisine during our cooking class in the Chianti countryside. In Venice, a fun and fabulous local food expert will take us on a Rialto Market and cicchetti tour.

In addition to all the delicious food and cooking classes, we’ve mixed in visits to classic sights of each region and some off-the-tourist track ones, too. In Rome, explore the Roman Forum, Coloseum, Palantine Hill, Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica and breathtaking hilltop views during our driving tour. In Florence, learn about its history through its art during our private guided walking tour of the Uffizi and the Accademia to see David. See the Duomo and Ponte Vecchio and see the city from the Piazzale Michaelangelo. Enjoy the Chianti wine country and its wine. Enjoy a winery visit with a wine-paired lunch in Chianti. See Siena on an exclusive private guided walking tour. Experience the beauty of Venice on a private boat tour through its glimmering canals. Throughout your vacation, you’ll be surrounded by locals. We’ll dine at restaurants favored by food-loving locals. Local guides and food experts will be with us to share their cities and the culture with us.

Tivoli/Villa d’Este
Vatican City


Day 1: Benvenuti a Roma (Welcome to Rome) – Orientation Walk – Roman Pasta Dinner

Arrival at the Rome Fiumicino Airport. We’ll meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel with a private driver.
You’ll have time to settle in and relax until we meet later in the afternoon for our first group activity.

Together we’ll take a late afternoon welcome and orientation walk through the historic center of Rome with a gelato stop, of course. See and learn about the important sights in the historic center: the Piazza del Popolo, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and Piazza Navona. After our walk together, you’ll have time to enjoy the Piazza Navona on your own before we head to a favorite Roman trattoria for our welcome dinner.
After dinner you have the evening free and can choose to have a late night out in Rome or head back to the hotel with Kathy.

Day 2: Market Tour – Roman Cooking Class – The Colosseum and Roman Forum

In the morning, we’ll meet our local chef for a tour of a Roman food market. Learn about local and seasonal ingredients and purchase items for our cooking class together. After the market tour, we’ll learn to make a classic Roman lunch together.

In the afternoon, we’ll take a guided tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum together. You’ll have time on your own to explore the Forum and Capitoline hill in the afternoon.

We’ll have a fun dinner tonight in Trastevere.


Day 3: Villa d’Este and a Picnic in the Roman countryside – Evening Food Walking Tour of Rome
After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll spend a day away from the city and in the countryside just outside of Rome, visiting the Villa d’Este gardens. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch together.

After returning from our day in the countryside, you’ll have the late afternoon free to roam Rome on your own.

We’ll join back up in the early evening for an evening food walking tour of Trastevere, ending the evening along the Tiber River. In the Summer, there is an evening festival along the Tiber that the group can enjoy.


Day 4: St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum – “Off the beaten path” driving tour of Rome – Special Arriverderci Roma dinner

We’ll have a morning visit to Vatican City with a private guided visit to the Vatican Museums, Sistene Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. You’ll have some time on your own in and around St. Peter’s Basilica before we head to a nearby trattoria for lunch.

After lunch, we’ll take a driving tour around Rome to see the lesser-seen sights, amazing hilltop views and famous fountains in Rome.
You’ll have the rest of your last afternoon in Rome free to explore, sit at a café or relax.

Tonight dinner is a special Roman dinner as we say arriverderci Roma.


Day 5: High-speed travel to Florence – Welcome to Florence and the Uffizi

We’ll have breakfast at our hotel in Rome and then it’s on to Tuscany. We’ll take a morning high-speed (Le Frecce) train from Rome to Florence.
In Florence, you’ll check into your hotel and have time to relax.
Lunch will be light fare before our early-afternoon guided visit to the Uffizi Gallery. You’ll travel in time via art on our guided tour of the Uffizi Gallery with our favorite Florence guide.
After the Uffizi tour, you will be able to stay and linger on your own for a while.
We’ll meet back in the early evening for an orientation walk of Florence before we head to dinner at a favorite trattoria.


Day 6: A Full Day of Food, Wine and Art in Florence

We’ll spend the morning on a food and market tour of Florence. We will finish with a seated tasting that will leave you nice a full.

After lunch a little time to relax, we’ll take a guided visit to see Michelangelo’s David and the Duomo.

You’ll have free time after our visit until we meet back together for a truly Tuscan dinner.


Day 7: Full Day in Siena – Tuscan Cooking Class and Walking Tour

After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll head to Siena for a Tuscan cooking class with our favorite Tuscan mamma.

After our cooking class, we’ll take a short guided walk through Siena to learn about its main sights and history. You’ll have the rest of the afternoon and early evening free to enjoy Siena on your own.

We’ll head back to Florence in the early evening and have dinner at a favorite restaurant.


Day 8: Hill Towns of Chianti and its Wine

After breakfast at the hotel, we’re off to the vineyard covered hills of Chianti. We’ll visit a winery, learn about Chianti wines and have lunch paired with the winery’s wines.
After lunch we’ll spend the afternoon in a picturesque hilltown, or 2 if time permits, of Chianti. The afternoon will end with gelato before we head back to Florence for our last night in Tuscany together.

Dinner will be at a favorite restaurant in Florence.


Day 9: High-Speed Travel to Venice – Guided Walk of St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace with a Private Boat Tour of Venice

After breakfast in Florence, it’s on to Venice via the high-speed Le Frecce train. From the train station in Venice, we’ll take a private water taxi to our hotel.
Settle in and relax in your hotel before lunch. Lunch will be at a favorite trattoria.

In the late afternoon, we’ll take a guided walk of St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace with a local guide. Enjoy the beauty of Venice and its canals on a private guided boat tour of the Grand Canal and its smaller canals.
Dinner will be at a favorite restaurant known for its dishes based on traditional recipes and local seafood.


Day 10: Rialto Market tour and Cicchetti Crawl – Afternoon in Murano – Farewell Venetian Dinner

In the morning, we’ll take a guided visit to the Rialto Market and its surroundings. You’ll see more of Venice and lunch like locals as we take a cicchetti crawl to nearby bacari (wine & cichetti bars).

In the afternoon, you’ll have the option to head over to the Island of Murano with Kathy to visit artisan Murano glass shops or to explore Venice on your own.
Tonight is our farewell dinner together at a top Venetian restaurant.


Day 11 ~ Arriverderci Italia

Breakfast at the hotel and then we’ll say good-bye. Your water taxi will take you to the Venice Airport.


***Sequence of classes, activities and excursions may vary. The final itinerary will be given to each guest on the first day of the vacation. Whenever there are local festivals or events happening during a tour, we will try to include them with adjustments to the itinerary to enhance your vacation experience.

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