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My family and my wife's entire family will be traveling to Italy next year. We will be spending 3 weeks together in a house in Umbria. After that my wife and I will be heading off by ourselves to Tuscany and/or Piedmont. We are looking for a tour company that schedules tours/tastings at some of the region(s) top producers, dining reservations at fabulous restaurants, and knockout accommodations. If you anyone thinks I can do this on my own I will take any suggestions.

Thanks
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Sounds like a great trip. I would agree no need for a tour company. Why share your experience with a bunch of people you didn't choose to be with?
Do some web research and call or email for tasting appointments. Definitely hit the Fortezza, but I would not rely on last minute decisions on where to go.
See if you can get into Soldera. Awesome.

Do go to Piemonte. Go here Aldo Conterno and see Giacomo. Great guy, great host. Send him an email and ask for an appointment.

Dine here and sleep in the hotel next door Le Torri
Well, so far those who have been suggested that I plan it myself. Any winery, foodery, and sleepery Big Grin recommendations out there, pass them along if you have a couple minutes. I'll be in Rome at the end of the month as well before a cruise and I would love to know of any well stocked wine shops to hit so we can load up before boarding. With a $18 corkage fee on the boat it is a no brainer.
Eric - I've biked through Tuscany and Umbria and I can attest that the best experiences will be with your family/ friends and not with a tour. Great wine towns in Tuscany include Montalcino (Fattoria dei Barbi has an excellent restaurant and tour), Montepulciano, and Greve/ Radda in Chianti. The restaurant at Badia a Coltibuono is also excellent. In Umbria, go to the town of Montefalco and taste the wonderful Sangratino red wine.
If you're going to be in Rome and have any time, I would suggest a tour there, but not the usual type. I know a PHD Professor of Architectural History at the American University in Rome who does private walking tours. Pricey but worth every penny especially if you're a large group, and even more importantly for your kids. A day with her was like taking a college class for a whole semester. If you're interested I will give you her info off line.

Here's a great restaurant in Montalcino Le potazzine
quote:
Originally posted by Deryl1:
If you're going to be in Rome and have any time, I would suggest a tour there, but not the usual type. I know a PHD Professor of Architectural History at the American University in Rome who does private walking tours. Pricey but worth every penny especially if you're a large group, and even more importantly for your kids. A day with her was like taking a college class for a whole semester. If you're interested I will give you her info off line.

Here's a great restaurant in Montalcino Le potazzine


Deryl,

Would you still be willing to send me your professor friend contact info. I would like to arrange something. Qhdeputy@me.com
quote:
Originally posted by Qhdeputy:
Well, so far those who have been suggested that I plan it myself. Any winery, foodery, and sleepery Big Grin recommendations out there, pass them along if you have a couple minutes. I'll be in Rome at the end of the month as well before a cruise and I would love to know of any well stocked wine shops to hit so we can load up before boarding. With a $18 corkage fee on the boat it is a no brainer.

Eric, if you are still taking that cruise and need a wine shop to load up on, you can't do better than visiting Enoteca Costantini. Make sure to go into their underground wine room - they have a huge selection from all regions of Italy. And if you are spending more than €150, make sure to ask for the form that gets you the VAT rebate.

Enjoy.
I would like to thank everyone who helped me out with suggestions for our Italy vacation. A special thanks to WIML and On the Wine who spent alot of time responding to my emails. My wife and I had a chance to meet up with On the Wine for a couple of meals. He was a very nice individual and a wealth of wine knowledge. Thanks for small Tuscan Tour : )

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