The two of the most popular things to do when you go to Tuscany are drink wine and take a cooking class. Well, since we can't travel right now, what if there was a way to put a sommelier and a Tuscan chef right in your kitchen?
COVID-19 has reinforced our need for connection to people. Linda Sorgiovanni from Italy Customized wants to come into your home, virtually. Linda collaborates with her friend Claudio Bisanzio on a unique cooking class and wine tasting with you and your family and friends. The 2-hour experience includes wine, a food menu with step by step coaching during the cooking process, a recording of your cooking class, a recipe booklet, and memories that will inspire you to travel to Tuscany to experience the real thing.
This virtual experience's price is very reasonable—$ 50 per person up to four people and $40 per person for larger groups. We recommend that groups are not larger than eight people.
Yes, there is a pretty big time difference between Florence and the United States. But don't fret; Linda and Claudio are night owls and will work directly with you to schedule a time that works for you and your guests. You can email Linda directly to set up your class.
It was a brisk December afternoon, my wife and I were sitting in the Piazza della Republica in Florence waiting to meet up with our friend Linda Sorgiovanni. You've heard Linda on the podcast before, she owns and operates Italy Customized with her business partner Alberto Bassilichi. However, our afternoon plans were to experience the other business they own and operate, Urban Adventures Florence.
We were excited because Linda was going to give us a sample of the Florence Foodies Walk. The walk, a two-and-a-half exploration of the city streets, where we found some hidden gems and experienced the following:
Truffles. Gelato. Chianti. Olive Oil. All the essentials of the Italian food pyramid were included on this Florence tour. Leave the diet at home and embrace the feast that is Florence.
A local, English speaking guide gives the tour, and for about 75-bucks, everything you eat and drink is included.
We were fortunate to have Linda give us a private walk, but it would have been amazing to have other people to share the experience with and get different reactions.
Our first stop was a new Antinori wine bar/restaurant that included a small museum. Besides giving the history of the Antinori family, the courtyard housed a replica "Crazy Cart," which could haul up to 2000 bottles of chianti.
The next stop was a short walk from the Piazza Santa Maria Novella. We went behind the scenes at Top Bakery, where the owners were making their world-famous Panettone. A sweet cake popular around the Christmas holiday. Close your eyes and imagine the most fabulous smell a bakery can produce. That's what we experienced at Top, and everything we tasted was just as delicious!
It was time to sit down, Linda had something special planned as we walked into Procacci, a wine bar. We stared with the most refreshing glass of Prosecco and followed it up with not one, but two truffle and butter sandwiches that were simply unforgettable!
Our final stop, Forno di Antonio Mattei. A quaint little shop where we sampled biscotti. Not only did we taste several varieties, but the shop documents the history of the family and the business that is still thriving today. We purchased our biscotti in the replica "hatbox" that was traditional before modern packaging.
We ended our tour at Linda's office to record this podcast. Enjoy! You will want to experience one of the Urban Adventures Florence tours. We want to save you some money doing so! When you book online, enter the promo code, TOTAL TUSCANY, and you will save 5% off the purchase price. If you love (or like) food, and wine, Urban Adventures Florence will give you the best day ever!
Hosting a podcast explicitly dedicated to Tuscany has many advantages. The one we like the most is the network of friends that we have made over these 59-episodes. We hope that when you listen to every episode that you feel you have created a bond of some sorts with our guests as well.
We have discovered that not one size fits all when it comes to travel. Some of you like to do your planning. Some of you are not that detailed and want everything mapped out down to the smallest detail. This service is where Italy Customized comes in and is here to help.
Linda has lived in Florence for the past 18-years; she has dual citizenship, Australian and Italian. Her credentials described on the Italy Customized website tell you she had cut her teeth in the travel and tourism industry.
Our interview covers a lot, like the strangest request Linda has gotten when putting a tour together. She also reveals her hidden gems. Those places off the beaten path that tend to go unnoticed by tourists because they are on the road(s) less traveled.
Linda is part of our network of friends. We share a common passion, a love for Italy and the desire to tell stories or create an experience that inspires you to travel, experience a different culture, and take in a part of the word that still seems it like it was centuries ago.
We would love to hear your stories! Email us your pictures, and where you are at and with your permission, we will share them on our social media channels. The more we share, the more we inspire. The more we inspire, the more we live!
Travis Justice & Pat Campagna have been traveling to Tuscany since 2009. They produce the Total Tuscany Podcast and all the content on this website.