General Itinerary: PFA to Tuscany with Taste of Italy’s Astrid Ensign, Oct 2017

General Itinerary: PFA to Tuscany with Taste of Italy’s Astrid Ensign, Oct 2017

Portland Food Adventures in TUSCANY

with Tasty of Italy’s Astrid Ensign

October 1-8, 2017


This is a general itinerary updated as of March 1 to give you a flavor for this wonderful Tuscan trip with Portland’s Astrid Ensign of Taste of Italy and Chris Angelus of PFA are dedicated to providing the best experience possible. So as we progress, the restaurants and events are the ones Rick has chosen that he wants you to experience, but are subject to change.

Subscribe to the PFA mailing list to make sure to be updated. And we recommend watching the Rick Steves episodes centering around Florence and Tuscany to whet your appetite in gaining an appreciation for the special destination that Tuscany is, if you haven’t already. They stream on Hulu.

To get more information, or book your spaces, please call Chris Angelus at 503-395-5900 for serious inquiries, or email SEE BOTTOM OF PAGE FOR PRICING AND RESERVATION INFORMATION.

August or September, 2017, about a month before our trip, our group will have the opportunity to get to know one another at a fun hosted lunch in Portland on a day and at a place to be determined.

Tuscany — October 1-8th, 2017


Oct 1 – Day 1

Welcome to Firenze! Transfer to our perfectly located 4-Star hotel, the Pitti Palace, for an afternoon check-in. You’ll be based at Ponte Vecchio in the heart of the historical center.

PM: We will convene on the hotel terrace for a welcome aperitivo, followed by a pre-dinner walk to a panoramic point, and then have the unique opportunity to listen to Gregorian chanting in a Romanesque church with a view over the city – at sunset! Our welcome dinner will set the tone for our trip – at a lovely Florentine restaurant serving rare, deep Renaissance recipes.   

Oct 2 – Day 2
AM: We’ll walk to a neighborhood mercato-farmers market. After, a walking tour with Elisa, our Florence native-art history guide, to see some rare corners of the city and discover historical gastronomic curiosities. Lunch will be at a favorite trattoria for local specialties.

PM: Afternoon at the Uffizi Museum – Settle in with Botticelli, Donatello, Caravaggio, and of course, Michelangelo. Before dinner, something very special – an in-depth Tuscan wine tasting and food pairing of DOCG wines with Sommelier Stefano and then we’ll have a wonderful dinner in his restaurant.


Oct 3 – Day 3 AM: This will be a free day for endless options to fit individual preferences. We will help you with activities that appeal to you most: Food tastings, gelato tour, caffe route, more wine, cheese, olive oil, bread, chocolate shops. Or, you might want to relax at a Wellness-spa, take in some yoga, or have a massage. We can suggest some great spots. Astrid can turn you on to the best locations for artistic endeavors-painting, photography, drawing, cycling excursions, climbing towers, specialty museums, leather markets, or a gastronomic adventure to the tripe food cart.

PM: In the early evening, we will depart Florence and the hotel (returning in a few days) and head south for a stay in the Tuscan hills. Travel through Gallo Nero Chianti. As the sun goes down, we’ll arrive in the little village of Panzano at Dario Cecchini’s, for bistecca fiorentina for dinner. (Dario is such a special chef Chef Cathy Whims hosts him at her Maialata in the Willamette Valley–he will be (or have been) there this year in March!) After dinner arrive at an ancient Etruscan farm and retire to our very special rooms for two evenings.


Oct 4 – Day 4
AM: We will drive southwest towards the Tuscan coast for a day excursion to see mozzarella production at a family operated eco-friendly free range bufala farm. Learn why Guido cares so much about his herd, why quality is important, and watch expert cheese makers transform the milk into braids of mozzarella. You’ll visit the bufala in pasture. And for lunch taste ricotta, smoked provola, stracchino, aged cheeses, yogurt, and the specialty café crema di latte di bufala.

PM: After lunch we will drive to a Michelin star restaurant at the estate farm in the Borgo San Pietro countryside for dinner.


Oct 5 – Day 5
We will tour the original cantina and aging cellars, see the ancient frescoes and learn about the history of the estate, stroll the peaceful garden, with a historical tour of the estate built in 1105. Aromas will tantalize you at a morning cooking lesson, learning Tuscan recipes with Chef Benedetta & Chef Rick, with lunch being the wonderful food prepared in that lesson. Later, there will be free time to relax by the pool, stroll the gardens, visit the 11th century Abbey, sip vin santo by the fireside, or hike trails in wild boar territory.

PM: Return to Florence for a free afternoon.


Oct 6 – Day 6
AM: Today, a full day excursion. First, for a truffle hunt to unearth truffles with Salvatore and Massimo followed by a 5-course truffle lunch with talented cook Letizia, a feast on the terrace.

PM: After lunch we will drive up to a medieval hilltop village to visit a third-generation family production facility, then a porchetta demonstration with butcher Andrea, followed by an aperitivo and bountiful charcuterie on the family’s terrazza. We will drive back to Florence for an open evening for you to do what you wish.           

Oct 7 – Day 7
AM: We will have a lovely half day excursion on our last full day to celebrate the best of Chef Rick Gencarelli’s restaurants, senza panini! First, we’ll stop to see an artisan pasta laboratory, hosted by a family of pasta makers-Lucia, Antonio, and Marco. We will do some wine tasting.  Time permitting, we’ll walk by the sea before we return to Florence with time to prepare for departure the following morning.  

Our finale will be dinner at a Michelin Star restaurant, to toast and reminisce about the wonderful experiences and new friendships we’ve made.


Oct 8 – Day 8
AM: Arrivederci! We will transport you to Florence Airport, or you may continue your adventure on your own!
* Itinerary subject to change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances, activities may change so that we can provide you with the best trip possible. Transport may be by private car or reimbursed taxi from and to the airport, depending on departure and arrival time.

Also, we have another PFA trip with James Beard Nominated Chef Jose Chesa of Ataula, 180 and Chesa in Barcelona beginning on 9/20.
You are welcome to join us there before this trip, too! (Take $750 off pp to join us on BOTH trips!)



THIS TRIP IS A GO. THE MINIMUM GUEST COUNT HAS BEEN REACHED J. $5495/pp Double Occupancy / $800 single supplement (see deposit and payment details below)

$2495/pp non-refundable deposit due upon reservation. Then, balance of $2500 + applicable supplements due by 7/01/17. All payments made and/or on deposit after 12/31/16 are non-refundable. Payments other than initial $495 deposit (fees added if using credit card through our website payment system) may be made by check only (no fees).

Our trips include accommodations in a beautiful, 4-Star hotels, hotel taxes, buffet breakfast, all transfers to and from the airport, all dining experiences cited in itinerary, a welcome lunch in Portland to meet your fellow travelers ahead of time, and transportation to our excursions away from the city. They do NOT include airfare or trip insurance (can be purchased online), tips, mini-bar, incidentals and personal expenses.

We can help you with excursions before, during and after as well.

Ready? Contact or call 503 395-5900 to get more info or to book your spot(s). LIMITED AVAILABILITY for this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Photos ©2017 Taste of Italy. All rights reserved.

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