Food & Wine: Flavors of Tuscany & Umbria with Ohio University10 days Food & Wine
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Sightseeing with local guides
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Tour pace: On this guided tour, you'll walk for about 3.5 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including paved roads and cobblestone streets, with some hills and stairs.
Overnight flight 1 night
Day 1: Travel day
Board your overnight flight to Florence today.
Florence 3 nights Hotel info
Day 2: Arrival in Florence
Included meals: Dinner
Welcome to Italy! Meet your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.
Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Florence
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Set off with a local guide to see Florence, the city at the center of the Renaissance.
• Visit the legendary Florence Cathedral, known as the Duomo
• Pass Giotto’s Campanile, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture
• Walk past Piazza della Repubblica to the medieval Ponte Vecchio
• Stroll along the Arno River and through the courtyard of the Uffizi Gallery to Piazza della Signoria, center of Florentine life
• Step inside the Basilica of Santa Croce, burial site of Michelangelo and Galileo
This evening, join a local chef for a cooking class where you’ll make pasta by hand, create two kinds of bruschetta and craft tiramisu for dessert. Savor your creations for dinner with accompanying wines.
Day 4: Free day in Florence
Included meals: Breakfast
Enjoy a full free day in Florence or add excursions.
Optional Excursion - Medieval Lucca & the Flavors of the Countryside $119pp* Details
Visit the gorgeous Tuscan town of Lucca, famous for its Renaissance-era city walls, medieval churches and awe-inspiring towers. Then, travel into the Tuscan hills to an agritourismo to learn about the process by which olive oil is extracted and refined. There, enjoy a light lunch and an olive oil tasting session.
Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $129)
Optional Excursion - Fiesole Villa Dinner $95pp* Details
Head just outside Florence to Fiesole, a historic Tuscan town perched on a hill overlooking the Renaissance city. Tonight’s dinner is set in a picturesque villa with panoramic views of the city below. Start your evening with an aperitif and then enjoy a refined Italian dinner with local wine.
Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $105)
Siena 2 nights Hotel info
Day 5: Siena via San Gimignano
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Included entrances: Wine tasting
En route to the enchanting city of Siena, stop in San Gimignano, “the city of beautiful towers.”
• Explore the small medieval town of San Gimignano on your own
• Sample some of the region’s fine wines and olive oils at a winery
• Arrive in Siena for this evening’s included dinner of Tuscan specialties
Day 6: Montalcino & Siena
Included meals: Breakfast, Light lunch
Included entrances: Wine tasting
Today, you’ll visit a winery and explore the vibrant cities of Montalcino and Siena.
• Spend free time wandering the streets of Montalcino
• Taste three acclaimed Brunello grape wines and enjoy a light lunch
• Return to Siena, where a local guide shows you Siena Cathedral, home to major works of art by Donatello and Pisano, and the adjoining Piccolomini Library
• Stroll Siena’s medieval streets, stopping at the historic Piazza del Campo
Perugia 2 nights Hotel info
Day 7: Perugia via Cortona & Lake Trasimeno
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Continue your travels across the Tuscan landscape and into Umbria as you head toward Perugia.
• Explore the hillside town of Cortona on your own before visiting the town's Museum of the Etruscan Academy, home to an impressive collection of Etruscan artifacts
• Visit Lake Trasimeno, where Hannibal battled the Romans
• Enjoy a lunch of traditional Umbrian specialties
Day 8: Sightseeing tour of Perugia
Included meals: Breakfast
Set out on a guided tour of Perugia, the medieval town known for its Etruscan Arch.
• See the Palazzo dei Priori, a medieval palace dating back to 1298
• View stunning artwork inside the 15th-century Collegio del Cambio
• See Perugia Cathedral and wander the tunnels of Rocca Paolina, Perugia’s historic underground city
Enjoy a free afternoon in Perugia or add an excursion.
Optional Excursion - Charming Umbria: Assisi & Spello $65pp* Details
Embark on an afternoon tour of Assisi, a hilltop medieval town and the birthplace of Saint Francis. Marvel at the restoration of the Basilica of St. Francis, which was damaged by twin earthquakes in 1997 and painstakingly restored to its original form. After a guided tour of the basilica, take some free time to explore on your own. Afterward, you'll head to the town of Spello for a guided walking tour. Enter through one of the town's three Roman arches and explore the cobblestone streets that wind through Spello. Listen in during a commentated visit to the 12th-century Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, including the Cappella Baglioni. Before heading back, enjoy some free time to indulge in gelato or coffee. Please note: This excursion includes some walking uphill.
Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $75)
Rome 1 night Hotel info
Day 9: Rome via Orvieto
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Included entrances: Wine tasting
Journey across Umbrian valleys en route to Rome. Stop along the way in the Etruscan town of Orvieto for a wine tasting and lunch. Later, arrive in Rome in time for a farewell drink with your fellow travelers.
Day 10: Departure
Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)
Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay to further explore Rome.
Add Rome Starting from $359 pp
Only in Rome can you sip cappuccino at a cafe in front of the Pantheon, buy grapes at a centuries-old market, and have an audience with the pope—all in one morning. For a mix of spectacular art, grand history, and exuberant street life, no other city comes close.
Rome 2 nights Hotel info
Day 10: Sightseeing tour of Rome
Included meals: Breakfast
Follow in the footsteps of the ancient Romans with a tour of the Eternal City.
• Pass by Trajan’s Column and Piazza Venezia, the city’s central hub
• Stop at the ruins of the Forum, from which the Caesars ruled their vast empire
• Soak up over 2,000 years of history in Imperial Rome, viewing the Arch of Constantine, the Arch of Titus and the Temple of Venus and Roma
• Enter the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire, and take time to explore on your own
• End your tour in the Jewish ghetto neighborhood, where you’ll stop at a kosher bakery to sample the famous pizza ebraica, a dense, sweet cake studded with candied fruits
Day 11: Free day in Rome
Included meals: Breakfast
Enjoy a full free day in Rome or add an excursion.
Optional Excursion - Iconic Sights: Vatican City $99pp* Details
This guided tour takes you inside the world’s smallest state, Vatican City. Upon arrival, you’ll first visit the Vatican Museums, which are over 500 years old and hold many of the world’s most important Classical- and Renaissance-era sculptures. Next, step inside the Sistine Chapel, where you’ll gaze up at what is perhaps Michelangelo’s greatest masterpiece. Finally, pay a visit to the enormous St. Peter’s Basilica, the epicenter of the Roman Catholic faith. The artists who have contributed to its glory are some of the best Italy has ever known, including Bramante, Peruzzi, Raphael, and Michelangelo. Masterpieces await at every turn, from Bernini’s magnificent bronze canopy to Michelangelo’s Pietà. Please note: This excursion is not available on Sundays. Backpacks are not allowed in the Vatican and a dress code of no shorts or sleeveless shirts is enforced.
Must be booked 70 days before departure
Day 12: Departure
Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Passport & visa requirements
- In order to enter Italy, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry.
- We recommend having at least one blank passport page for entry stamps.
- There is no visa required for U.S. or Canadian citizens.
- If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact your destination country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
- You will walk for about 3.5 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including paved roads and cobblestone streets, with some hills and stairs.
- Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.
- You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times.
- If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.
Transportation & arrival information
- Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead arrive in Florence and depart from Rome. A Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.
- Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead for an additional cost.
- All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.
- Airlines have varying weight restrictions on baggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.
- Contact your airline for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.
- One carry-on bag of 45 total inches (length + width + height) is also permitted.
- Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.
Clothing & packing tips
- We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.
- A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is recommended for sightseeing.
- You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.
- It is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).
- There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Italy.
- At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.
- If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered.
- If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead at least 30 days prior to departure by logging in to My Account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.
- Tuscany is world-famous for its wine, oil, sauces and pasta. Menus favor subtle, lighter pastas and desserts made with nuts, fruit and honey. Try a dish featuring the region’s Chianina beef, perhaps the most prized breed of cattle in all of Italy. For wine, popular Tuscan reds include Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which are primarily made from the Sangiovese grape. Well-known white wines are also made around the San Gimignano region.
- In Umbria, don’t miss sampling both the reds and whites produced around Orvieto and Perugia.
- For more authentic meals, try local trattorias, small restaurants set away from the main piazzas. A typical Italian meal includes wines and the occasional beer, followed by a few sips of after-dinner drinks like grappa or limoncello.
Electricity & air conditioning
- Italy operates on the European standard 220-240 volts and use Types C, F or L plugs with two or three small, round pins.
- We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other device without a built-in converter.
- The strength of the air conditioning in European hotels is often not as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel.
- Your hotel may provide hairdryers, irons and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.
- Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply.
- There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches.
- Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.
- Italy is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST).
- When it’s noon in New York, it’s 6pm on tour.
- You will use the euro on this tour.
- Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.
- We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed.
- You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees.
- Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
- International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.
- At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
- We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7USD/CAD to $10USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver.
- If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide.
- Tips can only be paid in cash.
Purchasing excursions on tour
- Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on tour.
- Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for optional excursions.
- Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged.
- Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information.
Museums in Florence
- If you are interested in visiting any of Florence's many museums during your free time, we recommend that you make reservations in advance. See uffizi.org for the Uffizi Gallery or accademia.org for the Accademia Gallery. Please note that the museums are closed on Mondays.
See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.
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Best tour ever!
I have been on numerous GoAhead tours and have always enjoyed them, but this tour was by far the best in all regards: Itinerary, food, value and above all tour guide! I am anxious to do another Food and Wine tour in the year to come!
Hi Maria! We're thrilled to learn that this is your favorite Go Ahead tour (so far)! We're anxious to welcome you on another food and wine tour soon. Let us know when you're ready to go!
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | December 05, 2016
Awesome Tour Director and Itinerary
I had an amazing time on this tour. Sabra was a stellar guide. She was very knowledgeable and made sure that our group received the absolute best service from all venues. Sabra exceeded all of my expectations and created a lifetime experience that I will forever be grateful. I would recommend this tour to my family and close circle of friends as well as anyone in search of a once in a lifetime memorable journey. I look forward to future vacations with Go Ahead!
Hi Shanta! We're delighted to learn that you had an amazing time in Italy! Thank you for your kind feedback regarding your Tour Director. It sounds like her personal touches and stellar customer service enhanced your experience, and we are truly happy to hear it. Thank you for recommending this tour. We can't wait to see where you'll go next!
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | November 22, 2016
I was so glad to have been talked into this trip by my friend and frequent flyer of Go Ahead Tours, Dawn. Everything from making the arrangements, the flights ,tours/guides, hotels, food, to tour director was absolutely fantastic. Everything was arranged and we just went. It was nice not to have to wait in line. Sylvanna was fantastic and went out of her way even when it was OUR free time and HERS to take us somewhere or show us something. The things I saw, the history, the people and flavors of Italy were amazing and I will always have that visual in my mind. From the streets filled with shops and homes to the churches, to the vineyards....breathtaking and emotional. I would and have recommended friends and family to go on a tour with Go Ahead. Thank you so much for the experience of a lifetime. Hopefully I will be able to do another one. Sandy
Hi Sandra! We’re glad you enjoyed having all of the details taken care of for you. We certainly love doing it! We appreciate your feedback on your Tour Director, and we’re happy to learn that she added value to your experience. Thank you for recommending Go Ahead, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | November 02, 2016
Great wines, food, and friends
I went on this tour with 5 of my best friends and 3 more of theirs...I was looking forward to everything but especially seeing the Coliseum, on my bucket list for over 50 years. The times with my friends are unforgettable, the sites were spectacular and the food and wines were wonderful. What I forgot was that my 67 year old body wasn't young anymore, and due to arthritic knees and ankles, I did struggle with the long walking tours, much uphill, as well as the mostly uneven terrain. In addition, we booked for July, which felt like being in a sauna! So, my advice to anyone considering this tour is go in a cooler weather month, and be sure you are in good physical condition! Enjoy!!
Hello! We're so pleased you enjoying taking in the sights and sounds of Tuscany and Umbria with your best friends. How wonderful! You're right that Italy in July is typically warm, and the uneven terrain can be more physically challenging to navigate. We're glad that overall you enjoyed your trip, and we thank you for sharing your experience with us. We hope to welcome you on tour again!
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | August 10, 2016
Our “Food & Wine: Flavours of Tuscany & Umbria” tour was wonderful. Sabra, our tour director, was extremely knowledgeable regarding every aspect of the tour — the architecture, the history, the wines and the people of the regions we visited. She communicated this knowledge clearly with passion and a great sense of humour. We were also fortunate in the selection of our city guides. In Assisi, Marco brought the story of St. Francis to life through the Basilica’s frescoes. Like Sabra, his passion for the subject was infectious. We looked forward to every dining experience and the wines that were chosen to complement them. And then there was the gelato… slightly different in every location but always a treat. The views, the art, the history, the food and wine were magnificent. This was our third tour with GoAhead. We are making plans for a fourth.
Hi Vernon! We’re happy to learn that your Tour Director and local guides brought the history and culture of Tuscany and Umbria to life. We will certainly share this feedback with our team internally, as well as their supervisors. We’re also glad that you enjoyed all the culinary experiences you had, as well as the wines to complement each one. And, of course, who could forget the gelato? Delicious! Thank you for choosing Go Ahead. We look forward to welcoming you on your fourth tour!
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | November 14, 2016
Amazing experience all around!
I cannot say enough good things about our tour. Our tour director, Carmen, was absolutely amazing. She always took the time to show us little things out of the way, know all the best places to eat, and always told us where to get the best gelato. She was so helpful when my mom had to go home early, and made sure a taxi was arranged for her to go to the airport early in the morning. The vineyards they took us to were educational, but their idea of a "light lunch" is a misnomer. All of the local guides were very knowledgeable, and gave us plenty of time to look around, shop, and ask questions. The only one that I wasn't 100% satisfied with was our guide at the Vatican. He was late to show up, and then he really rushed us through St. Peter's and didn't give us time to look at things or take pictures. Our group became like a family, even though we had just met. We all still keep in touch, and are planning another tour together in the future! I can't say enough good things about our experience!
Hi Laura! Thank you for the lovely feedback about your Tour Director. We’re so glad she was able to provide useful tips throughout your tour. Although we’re pleased to learn that most of your local guides did a great job, we regret to learn that one of your local guides didn’t meet your expectations. We are sorry you felt rushed through St. Peter’s and that you didn’t feel like you had all the time you wanted. We will be sure to communicate this feedback to the supervisor of your local guides. We love to hear that your group felt like family and that you are planning another tour together in the future. Thank you for your review, and we look forward to welcoming your group on tour again.
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | July 18, 2016
Fabulous Food and Views!
First I have to do a shout out to our terrific Tour Director Carmen. She shared her passion and insights to help us enjoy the experience even more. The food was sublime in every spot we ate at. From the local pizzeria, which Carmen recommended, to the choice of restaurants all along the way. Who would know a little out of the way farmhouse would provide us a stunning 4 course dinner full of fresh and simple Tuscan tastes! Only down side was that each hilltop village brought more charms which made us want to linger and explore, Lots of walking across serious lanes with hills and steps galore. It will challenge the less than mobile. Eat and drank beautiful foods and wine every day yet because of the walking didn't gain a pound. Only complaint on the actual tours was that we were rushed though the coliseum. Would have liked another hour there but our local guide rushed us. Didn't spend more than 2 hrs on the bus at any given day and most days much less than that before we stopped to embrace another view, historical gems, or a delicious meal. It was quite hot for most of the trip but after a few days you just get over it. Hotels were in great locations within walking distance to key areas for free time exploration. Not fancy but clean, good breakfast, and my rooms all had great views and/or balcony! Our driver Marco took us on a couple of side trips which resulted in spectacular views and a lovely lunch choice at the lake. He was engaged, friendly, and kept us feeling safe in all travel locations. Thanks Marco.
Hi Therese, We’re pleased to learn that your overall tour experience was enjoyable. It’s especially great to know that your Tour Director and driver played major roles in the success of your trip by sharing their passion and knowledge with the group. How wonderful! We will be sure to share this feedback with their supervisor. We can definitely understand wanting more time in certain places, particularly in the charming hilltop villages. We appreciate your thoughts on time spent at the Colosseum and regret that you felt rushed. While we do have to stick to a schedule, we never want travelers to feel as though they missed out on something. We will certainly share your feedback with our Product Development team. Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | July 08, 2016
Our Italian experience
We feel that we would not have experienced all the wonderful things that we did without Go ahead tours. Our tour director Carmen D. was knowledgeable, professional, fun and her easy going way helped our group meld in an instant. Our daily agendas were always on time with no pitfalls. We especially enjoyed the Renaissance diner Theatre and the Cordon Bleu cooking experience. Our excursions with our driver Marco were comfortable, safe and most enjoyable. We would not hesitate to recommend this tour, nor would we hesitate to look into future tours with Go Ahead.
Hi Neila! We appreciate the wonderful comments about your tour and Tour Director. It’s great to know that your trip went off without a hitch! Thank you for recommending this tour, and we hope to welcome you on tour again.
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | August 11, 2016
A Dream Come True
This was my second time traveling to Italy with Education First, the first being with Go Ahead's sister company, EF College Break. I went with my mother as it was her first time ever traveling abroad, and I am so glad we went with Go Ahead. The tour was perfect for her first trip and featured lots of amazing sightseeing, tour guides, cities, and FOOD. The amount and quality of food and wine on this trip was unparalleled. I absolutely recommend it for any adults looking to travel to Central Italy, though I would point those in their 20s to EF College Break as my group had a demographic of mostly 40 - 60-year-olds.
Hi Shaina! We’re so glad you and your mother enjoyed your first Go Ahead tour. We appreciate your feedback on the itinerary and the food. It’s great to know that you feel the quality of the food and wine was very high. We will be sure to share this with our Operations team. Thank you for your recommendation, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | August 11, 2016
First Time Tour
This was my first tour my husband and I had a blast everything went off without any difficulties. The monthly payment and time given to pay was so amazing to not owe anything when time came to travel was great all we had to do was show up and let the experience begin. I wish we could do this every year but at this time not financially possible our next adventure will be 2020 when we will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary can't wait. If anything change between now and then, I will definitely book another tour with Go Ahead.
Hi Patty! Welcome home, and thank you for your review. We are so happy you and your husband enjoyed your first tour, and we’re honored you chose to travel with us. It’s also great to hear you found our payment policy to be accommodating and convenient. Our goal is to make travel feasible for everyone, and we do as much as we can to make that happen. We look forward to traveling with you again on your 30th wedding anniversary, but do let us know if you’d like to travel sooner. Thank you again for your review!
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | January 11, 2016
Best Tour Director
Let me start off by saying that Marta P. was outstanding! She really went above and beyond her duties to make our tour extra special. We have traveled extensively and Marta is by far, the best Tour Director we have experienced. The trip was wonderful, with good hotel accommodations, meals and a nice relaxing itinerary. The only complaint we have for the whole trip was the optional dinner at the Villa. We ordered lamb chops, which were awful, two small chops with little meat full of grizzle. Other that that,the trip was great!
Good tour for the price
We enjoyed the food and tours. The main problem was our tour guide. There was virtually no itinerary posted for next day. Even to indicate whether we were walking or a bus was involved. Consequently, some days the walking was too long for us. She also gave us an option, probably not Go Ahead approved, to have an authentic Italian dinner. It turned out to be expensive and not particularly good. And we could only pay in cash, which seems very unusual.
Dear Elaine, Thank you very much for joining us for this culinary journey through Tuscany. We are so pleased to learn that you enjoyed the food and the tours. We pride ourselves on having a team of talented and experienced Tour Directors all over the world, and are surprised to learn that yours fell short of your expectations. We will share your comments with this Director’s manager, and will continue to monitor her performance through the Tour Evaluations. Our local Tour Directors often provide additional opportunities for our travelers to experience the destinations on tour. These opportunities are separate from the Go Ahead itinerary and as such sometimes cash payments are necessary for the Tour Director to facilitate the excursion at the last minute. Thank you for sharing your feedback, and for traveling with Go Ahead. We do hope to welcome you onto another tour in the future!
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | October 07, 2015
Good overview of Tuscany and Umbria
This tour was a good first timers tour of Tuscany and Umbria. The itineray included a good list of cities in the regions, and the Roman extension was good. This is a whirlwind tour, changing hotels 4 times. If you want to get a feel for the area as a first trip, this is a great choice. The weather in September was perfect, the view of the countryside magnificent. Our tour directly, and regional experts were all outstanding. Maria made sure everyone was comfortable, included and having a great time. She was perfect. She went above and beyond and made opportunities available that were not necessarily on the itinerary, like a countryside meal at a family restaurant that was fun as the 82 year old cook came out of the kitchen and showed us how to roll pasta! The credentials of the local experts were amazing, including some PhD archealogists/historians. Things move fast on this trip, and you'll find yourself wanting to go back to certain places in the future, which was the point for us. Billed as a food and wine tour, we visited a few wineries and learned some about the regions wines, and the cooking class was very good. As for the food....well....this is not a luxury trip, and the food served is good, local, but got pretty redundant. There are obviously places that cater to tour groups and that is where we ate, and the menu is bruschetta (bread with toppings), a bread basket, pasta, a few thing slices of meat if you were lucky, and tiramasu. Every. Single. Meal. We never saw any fresh fruit or vegetables, seafood was served only once in 12 days. There is so much more to eat in Italy! This was a disappointment. The hotels were the worst part of the trip. I Travel extensively for my job, so I know what is available in the marketplace. If a full service Marriott or Hilton in the US is a four star, and a Courtyard or Hilton Garden Inn in the US is a 3 star, these hotels are between a 2 to 2.5 star. Hotels selected cater to tours. There must be an agreement to serve the same breakfast in each of these hotels, as it never changed. Pastry, canned fruit, canned juice, hard boiled eggs and runny scrambled eggs, salami and cheese. This mattered becauses lunch tended to be very light....bread, salami and cheese was typical, so you want a healthy breakfast. The coffee machines do make very good coffee. The rooms were tiny, some of the locations were out of the way and you had to bus or cab everywhere, and some of the rooms were just pretty terrible. In on city (Sienne? Hotel Garden) we were in a basement annex with 1980s furnishings. I would recommend this trip with the caveats that the food is good but redundant and almost all carbs, the hotels are a negative, but you'll see a lot in a short amount of time.
Thank you for taking this culinary journey with us, and for taking the time to provide this thoughtful and thorough review of your time with us in Italy. We are so pleased that you enjoyed your trip, and that Maria was able to guide you through a memorable experience. We regret to learn that you found the food in Tuscany to be repetitious. As I’m sure you saw during your pasta-rolling demonstration from the 82 year old cook at the family restaurant, this is a region of people who take a lot of pride in their signature dishes! We do our best on our Food and Wine tours to select meals and menu items for included meals that exemplify the culture and tastes of the region visited. We know that our travelers have a range of diverse preferences, so we do have free time built into the itinerary for those interested in exploring the restaurants of the region on their own. We do our best to select hotels that will provide our travelers with the best possible experience. We choose these hotels to be either centrally located or near public transportation, to be comfortable and have all the amenities we are looking for, and to be safe. We regret to learn that the hotels on this tour did not meet your expectations, and we want to ensure you that we are constantly monitoring the performance of these properties to ensure that they continue to meet our high standards of quality. We will keep your comments in mind as we review these properties’ performance moving forward. Thank you again for traveling with Go Ahead, and we hope to welcome you onto another tour again soon!
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | September 18, 2015
"My Wonderful Trip"
I had the best time in Italy!! Everything was great; the food & wine, the Tour Director, hotels, the excursions we took to wonderful and amazingly beautiful places!!!! I am ready to book my second tour!! Thanks a million to our tour director Sylvana. She was a very friendly and warm person, who worked very hard to make things very enjoyable.
Our Tuscan and Umbrian experience managed to be even more than we had anticipated. The food offerings ran the gamut of local cuisine- from pastas to a variety of meats and seafood, all with great wines! Antipasti to Dolci- we tasted it all and even managed to learn to cook some iconic dishes. Hotels were, for the most part, located to allow free time exploration, and the optional excursions (especially Lucca and Colle Verde) were well worth the time. Most importantly, we had a small group of friendly companions and a great tour director in Sylvana. She really went above and beyond to make this a valuable experience (as well as our driver, Romano, who could find his way in and out of anywhere- even if it didn't seem to be on the map!). All in all, a great experience that we will try to duplicate with Food and Wine: Northern Italy in 2016.
An AwesomeTour Director
Sylvana our Tour Director was outstanding. At the end of the day she was still giving us feed back as to what to do with our free time, restaurants, shops, etc. She went above and beyond!. The accommodations were adequate but some were just too far for walking, but for the most part, they worked. The meals were delicious and in lovely restaurants, the cooking school was a blast and truly lots of fun, the towns which were on the itinerary were spectacular. The negative of the trip was that there were just too many explanations on churches with way too much detail ....there has to be more to a town then the church, although very beautiful and noteworthy. We had a very small group which was very lucky. I do feel that the side trips which one had to pay extra, should have been included in the itinerary. This was my first trip to Europe and an awesome trip it was!
Dear Cindy, Thank you very much for traveling with us, and for writing your review of your recent trip to Italy! We are so pleased that you found your Tour Director to be outstanding, and that the many culinary components were real highlights for you. There certainly are many churches to see in Italy and we continue to include them on our tours because they are often the center of the small communities that are visited, as well as truly beautiful architectural works. That being said, we of course will take your feedback into consideration as we continue to improve our sightseeing excursions. Go Ahead also strategically offers optional excursions that allow our travelers the opportunity to customize their time abroad as much as they like! Some people would rather plan their own free time, and some would rather sign up for an optional and let us do the planning. Thanks again for writing your review, and we hope you travel with Go Ahead again in the future!
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | August 10, 2015
The tour was more than I expected. All the tour guides, and Laura, our tour director, are great historians. Wine tastings were fun and the food pairings with the tastings were delicious and more than adequate. The pasta class was a real hit, and bonded fellow travelers for the entire rest of the trip. The traditional Umbrian specialties luncheon at the Lake Trasimeno was fabulous and very plentiful. I only took the additional Rome excursion, visiting Vatican City, which was great, and so cannot comment on other optionals. No wonder most first time visitors like myself vow to return.
Too much walking uphill
We were surprised by the amount of walking on this tour. Of course it was very hot which added to the problem. Our tour director did as much as she could, but we still had to take taxis at certain times.
Exceeded our expectations
We went on a 10 day Wine & Food tour of Tuscany with our friends for their 30th wedding anniversary. The whole trip was terrific. The transportation was clean and comfortable for sightseeing, the accomodations were great and the included meals were at local restaurants with personal service. I was happy to see we were treated as if we were a party of 4 rather than a large tour group. There were no buffets or rubber chicken. Each meal was unique and featured local farm-to-table offerings. The food and wine tastings were terrific. Best of all was our tour guide, Raff. He was sooo knowledgeable and helpful and really a lot of fun to be with. He took care of a large group (with plenty of easily distracted stragglers) with patience and humor. And he gave us excellent advice and recommendations at each of our stops. His help made us feel we had really experienced Italy intimately. The only critique I would have is that we had some significant travel issues (a 2-day delay) due to an insufficient layover in the itinerary. And the phone contact was not responsive and did not follow up with us. We worked things out on our own and once we got there, it was great. Everyone associated with the tour itself was fantastic. But the Go Ahead travel assistance line was disappointing.
Dear Marnie, Happy 30th wedding anniversary! We are so touched and honored that you chose to commemorate this occasion on tour with us. From your review, it sounds like this was a tour full of highlights, and we were so pleased to hear that Raff was able to provide an intimate and insider view of Italy. We are sorry to hear about the difficulty you had with your travel delays. We work hard to provide our customers with assistance at every turn, and understand how important it is to feel supported in urgent situations. We are disappointed to hear that you felt your concerns were not met with adequate follow-up, and we will be reviewing and addressing this issue internally. Thank you very much for taking the time to write this review, and congratulations on 30 years of marriage! Best wishes,
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | July 10, 2015