Florence (photo by PapaPiper/Flickr)
Italia Rail, the company that has been, for the last decade, the largest international vendor of Italian rail tickets, is taking that expertise and branching out into rail/hotel/tour packages. Its first program, available from now until the end of March, allows travelers to see the iconic city of Florence in a no muss, no fuss way that's wonderfully affordable. For just $479/person, the new Italiapass arranges for first-class, round-trip rail tickets between Florence and either Rome or Milan; four-nights in a true four-star hotel; a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus pass; a booklet of discounts at a slew of Florentine venues; and one unique tour/experience/class, guaranteed to enhance the visitor's understanding of Tuscan culture.
So the "Goldilocks approach"--not too much hand holding (hotels and transport are set, there's some sightseeing) and not too much (you won't be stuck on a 40 person motorcoach tour for days on end).
And we have to say that the tours being offerred are not the standard "stare at David and then get back on the bus" fare too many visitors to Florence experience. Instead, participants will:
- Take market tours followed by cooking classes with Florentine master chefs
- Tour areas of the Uffizi Gallery that are usually only open to VIPs
- Head out into the Tuscan countryside for a day of wine tasting curated by a master sommelier (who accompanies the group)
- Explore the rural areas around Florence by horseback
- Or tour nearby San Gimignano and Sienna, followed by a dinner at an authentic Chianti villa
To learn more about this new, and pretty nifty, program click here or call 877/375-7245.