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 9-day/8-night all-inclusive vacation, you’ll spend three nights in the historic center of Rome, 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. And all will be with a small group as maximum group size is 12 people.

In Rome, you’ll explore the Colosseum, Roman Forum, 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 cooking 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, see 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 in classic Venetian food during a cicchetti food walk and Rialto Market visit.

Rome – Vatican City – Florence – Siena – Greve-in-Chianti – Castellina-in-Chianti – Venice




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

2020 Vacation Dates:

  • 2020 Vacation Dates are coming soon.

Vacation Price:

$4,950 (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.



  • 8 nights accommodations in 4-star or luxury boutique hotels (3 nights in Rome/3 nights in Florence/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
  • Rialto Market and Cicchetti food walking tour and wine tasting in Venice
  • Tuscany Winery visit with lunch
  • 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
  • Special Pricing on a 3-day Amalfi Coast Extension before or after your Classic Italy Vacation
  • 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
  • Help and travel-planning  assistance with flights to/from Italy and travel within Italy before and after the vacation
  • Food Lover’s Odyssey apron and Ebook of our favorite classic Italian recipes
  • 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 two food walking tours, one each in Rome 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 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, Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica and breathtaking hilltop views during our driving tour. In Florence, learn about its history through its art during on your 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.


Day 1: Benvenuti a Roma (Welcome to Rome) – Roman Pasta Lunch – Orientation Walk and Street Food Tour

Arrival at the Rome Fiumicino Airport. Kathy will meet you at 11:30am at the airport and take you to your hotel with a private transfer.  You’ll have time a little time to settle into your room. Meet Kathy in the lobby at 1:00pm for your welcome Roman pasta lunch at a favorite nearby trattoria.

In the late afternoon take an orientation walk and food tour through the historic center of Rome. 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.  Your walk will end in Trastevere with a final tasting and then gelato. You can then choose to enjoy the Trastevere night life on your own or walk back to the hotel with Kathy.

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

In the morning, 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, learn to make a classic Roman lunch together.

In the afternoon, take a private guided tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Capitoline Hill with a local guide. You’ll have time on your own to explore and shop, too.  Enjoy a fun and delicious dinner tonight in Trastevere.


Day 3: 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, famous fountains in Rome and end at St. John in Lateran Church, where you’ll also have time to see the Holy Stairs.
You’ll have about 2 hours 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 4: High-speed travel to Florence – Private Drive to the Chianti Countryside – Chianti Wine Tasting – Dinner in Tuscany

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, we’ll meet our private driver in Tuscany, and he’ll take us to our countryside hotel. You’ll have time to get settled into your hotel before we meet in the early evening for a fun wine tasting at a nearby enoteca and then dinner on a terrace overlooking the countryside.

Day 5: Full Day in Siena

After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll head to Siena for a private walking tour of the city with our local guide. Our walk will include a special visit to one of Siena’s contrada to learn about the city’s Palio and Contrade. We will have lunch together in Siena. In the afternoon, you will have about two hours of free time to enjoy the city on your own.

Dinner tonight will be at a trattoria near our hotel.


Day 6: Full Day of  Art in Florence – Photo Op at Piazzale Michelangelo – Dinner in Chianti

Spend the day in the Renaissance city of Florence. In the morning you’ll meet your local guide who will take you to see The David at the Accademia. You’ll also take a guided walk together in Florence to learn about its history, seeing the Duomo, Piazza Signoria and the Ponte Vecchio. After your guided walk, enjoy a light lunch at a local trattoria.

In the afternoon, you’ll have a guided walk of the Uffizi Gallery. Your local guide will make the art and history come alive during your walk through the gallery.  After the Uffizi, you will have about an hour of free time to shop or sit at a cafe before we meet our driver and head back to the Chianti Countryside. On your way back, you will stop at the Piazzale Michelangelo for a spectacular view of Florence and a photo op.

Dinner will be in Castellina-in-Chianti.


Day 7: Chianti Wines and Tuscany Cooking Class

After breakfast at the hotel, visit the town of Greve-in-Chianti. You’ll explore the local square on our way to a winery in the hills of Greve.  Take a guided tour of the winery before your Tuscan cooking class. Lunch will be what you made in class. After class, you can taste more of the winery’s wines before we head back to our hotel in Castellina-in-Chianti.

You’ll have the late afternoon free to enjoy the afternoon as you like in your hilltown home before your farewell Tuscany group dinner together.


Day 8: 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 9: 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 10 ~ 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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