Is Wine & Cooking in the Heart of Chianti and Florence, Tuscany For Me?

Please read this page carefully to make sure it is a right fit for you.

  1. Your Disposition - Our vacations are focused on having a good time with new friends. Everything we do revolves around that. People seeking a self-centered vacation might reconsider. Our groups tend to span all ages, men & women, singles & couples... everyone is welcome, and when our guests come ready to embrace a new culture, look forward to trying new things, and interact with other guests, it is always amazing. Even the way our guests see us is important. If you see us as "providers of a service", you may reconsider our trips. We bring you into our family and become part of the group with you... as though you are visiting friends and family. If you are able to be in this frame of mind, our trips will be like nothing you have ever experienced, but if you are looking for a more detached relationship with us, our trips may not be for you.
  2. Be Ready to Embrace the Culture - Our trips focus on bringing you into the true culture of the place, but some guests want to see it, but not live it. We embrace the culture and do things the way locals do, which may or may not be what you are looking for. This includes little things like not having cappuccino with our meals (Italians only have cappuccino as a breakfast beverage), not having bacon and eggs for breakfast (Italians have coffee or tea and pastries), or larger things, like the fact that we have our dinners after 8:00 PM, like the Italians do. Every step of the way we adapt to the local culture, rather than asking the local culture to adapt to us. This also tends to make us much more welcome guests than other groups!
  3. Physical Intensity - You by no means need to be athletic for this vacation, but you must be able to handle some level of physical exertion. A good rule to follow would be to ask yourself if you can do three flights of stairs, then continue walking without needing to sit down for a while. Or, if you can walk up to 2 miles per day.
  4. Age Concerns - We have had guests as old as 90 years old with no problems whatsoever. Age is not a limiting factor, so long as you are in good physical condition with no health problems that exertion would complicate.
  5. Altitude - Radda in Chianti is at an altitude of 1,700 feet (500 meters). The highest altitude of the week will be 2,000 feet (600 meters) in Montepulciano.
  6. Walking & Bus Time - In Italy, walking is always a larger concern than it probably is back home. This is because the towns are ancient, and much is closed to vehicle traffic. Some guests are also concerned about how much time they will spend in a bus. While we are in a very central area, we try to go to some of the most interesting places. Some days will have more travel time, and some very little.

Total Walking & Bus Time for the Week

  • Total Walking All Week: ~8 miles (12 km)
    This is the total for the entire week, not per day.
  • Total Time in Bus All Week: ~11 hours
    This is the total for the entire week, not per day, and does not include transfers at beginning and end of the week.

Detail Day By Day:

While in Radda in Chianti
Radda is a Tuscan hill town. There are moderate inclines while walking in town. The town is very small, but being on a hill, there will be some up and down, as well as stairs as you explore the town.

Day Walking Bus Rest Time
Saturday On Saturday when you arrive, you will be walking from piazza to the hotel for check in. We will help with your bags if you desire. The total is just about 200 feet (60 meters) on a very slight incline. Dinner tonight will be at a restaurant in town that will be the equivalent of several flights of stairs each way (down on the way to dinner, and up on the way back). Total walking Saturday is about 0.25 miles (0.4 km) The only time you will be in the bus today is to get to Radda. The drive from the airport is 37 miles (60 km), and should take roughly an hour due to winding roads and traffic. n/a
Sunday There is very little walking today, and no hills to speak of as we'll be in Radda throughout the day. Total walking today is about 0.25 miles (0.4 km) n/a After lunch we will have an hour to an hour and a half of rest at the hotel before our first cooking class begins.
Monday This is a long day out, with about 1.2 miles (2 km) of walking all day. Most of the walking is during the afternoon in Montepulciano. You will have free time to browse the town on our way to the main piazza. This is about 1/2 mile (0.8 km), which is on an uphill incline. If you prefer not to do this, there is a city bus that will bring you to the piazza. There is also a 0.4 mile (0.6 km) walk after the last winery that is all downhill. This is one of our longer driving days of the week. The drive to Montalcino is 48 miles (78 km), which will take about 90 minutes in the morning. From there, Pienza is 19 miles (30 km), which will take about 30 min. Next the drive to Montepulciano is 7 miles (12 km), taking about 10 min, and finally the drive home is 49 miles (78 km), which will take about 80 min. Today is a full day out. We will not be back in town until after dinner . Most guests take time to close their eyes on the bus ride.
Tuesday Tuesday we will be in Cortona. Figure about 1/2 -1 mile (0.8 km) of walking total today, most of which is flat. The drive to Cortona is 55 miles (90 km), and will take about 90 minutes each way. After cooking class we'll have free time in Cortona. There will be time to freshen up before dinner in Radda.
Wednesday When we visit the cashmere farm, our mini bus may not be able to get all the way there. If this is the case, we may need to walk about 0.25 miles (0.4 km) each way. The cashmere farm and the winery do not have much walking, however they are rural areas. Some walking will be on dirt roads or walkways. Most of our walking today will be in Siena. Figure roughly a mile or two of walking today, mostly on flat surfaces. The drive to the cashmere farm and winery is less than 10 minutes. The drive to Siena is about 19 miles (30 km), and will take about 40 minutes each way. On the bus to Siena after lunch.
Thursday Our day in Florence will be a lot of walking. Our foodie tour, museum visit, time on our own, walking to the meeting point, etc will be roughly 4 miles miles of walking You may walk more, depending on your enthusiasm while exploring the city. The drive to Florence is about 33 miles (53km) and will take about 1 hr 20 minutes each way. On the return ride from Florence to Radda. We should also have time at the hotel to freshen up before the Grigliata.
Friday There is not much walking today. There will be about a total of 1 hour in the bus today, half hour each way. After lunch, we will have about an hour and a half of rest time at the hotel before our cooking class.

Special Needs we can (and cannot) cater to in Chianti

Physical Limitations You must be able to walk up to at least 4 miles in a day. You must be able to at least walk a couple of flights of stairs without rest in order to come on this trip in order to go on the excursions.
Food Limitations We can cater to most food allergies, vegetarian diets, and to some extent kosher diets. We will substitute with other dishes if you let us know in advance. We can even cater to a gluten-free diet. Our cooking class menus will not change based on a guest's food limitations, but even in the classes, we can usually offer alternatives to eat. That said, if you do have limitations, it is important that you have a positive attitude about it. We are happy to substitute, but the variety of alternatives may be limited.