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Tuscan wine tours departing from Florence

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Aug 23rd, 2015, 11:53 AM
  #1
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Tuscan wine tours departing from Florence

My husband and I are looking for a tour that includes a dinner and wine tasting in a castle. My husband is very excited about the Castle aspect. We will be in Florence in mid-September for 4 days including one day hiking tour to cinque terre. We read about a tour by Viator that departs at 2pm and goes to a Castle and countryside for 5 hours. I was hoping to find a tour that may be shorter in duration or later in the evening so we still have time during the day to see Florence sights. The Viator tour doesn't include dinner either. Thanks for your help!
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Aug 23rd, 2015, 12:35 PM
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I believe Viatour is a booking agency and maybe just books you (sort of like booking something with Expedia).

The Florence Tourist office has a list of tours. Perhaps send them an email or search the website.

I don't imagine you will find anything much shorter than 5 hours though. If it is an hour drive to the castle (and an hour back), that only leaves you 3 hours for the tour, wine tasting and dinner. Not very long at all.

As you can see from this tour with CAF, 5 hours is typical (theirs is 5:15).

http://www.caftours.com/chianti-auth...-a-castle.html
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Aug 23rd, 2015, 04:00 PM
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We will be in Tuscany next year and I was looking for something similar. Check out the castle/winery attached. They do a dinner on Friday nights that sounds lovely. I would hire a driver and just go the two of you, skip the tour. Have fun.
http://www.verrazzano.com/en/wine-tours/
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Aug 23rd, 2015, 08:36 PM
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Castello di Valenzano, which is just outside of Arezzo, is one of the few castles in Tuscany that has a small restaurant onsite that is open to all comers most evenings (most castles only do weddings). I doubt if the restaurant is outstanding, and the castle estate does not produce wine, but the castle itself what most people expect an Italian castle to look like and they probably would be happy to pour you various wines to taste with your meal (which is a better way to taste wines anyway). The chef would probably be very flattered if you asked in advance for a meal with wine pairings.

http://www.castellodivalenzano.it/in...lang=en&back=1

http://www.castellodivalenzano.it/ri...te.php?lang=en

The castle is about 90 minutes from Florence. You could arrange for a driver to take you there from Florence and back -- which at a night rate would be pricey -- so if you want to cut the cost, you could go to Arezzo by train and take a taxi from the train station to the restaurant. After dinner, the restaurant could call a taxi to take you back to the station (trains run until about 10.30) but were it me, I would pre-arrange to have a taxi ride all the way back to Florence after dinner. I have no idea of the cost but the Castello, which is also a hotel, probably arranges transfers from Florence airport all the time, and could quote you a price.
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Aug 24th, 2015, 02:19 PM
  #5
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Thank you for the posts so far. Guess my husband is no longer set on having to go to a castle for the tasting. If there are other wineries not in castles closer to Florence that would be wonderful!
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Aug 24th, 2015, 02:23 PM
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The main issue is whether you want to eat dinner. There are no end of castles on wine estates. They were an historic necessity to protect the fields, wine being of great value.

If you don't want to eat dinner, but just taste wine, you can go to a castle or not go to a castle. They are all over the place near Florence -- but if you really want to learn about wine and don't care about a castle with turrets, you don't need to leave Florence at all. There are plenty of good wine shops in central Florence.
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Aug 24th, 2015, 02:58 PM
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Dinner isn't necessary either. We kindve wanted to get out of Florence and more into the countryside. So a castle and wine tasting experience just outside of Florence would be great!
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Aug 24th, 2015, 05:19 PM
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If the wine or eating is not important, consider spending the money on a driver who will show you the prettiest countryside nearby, and stop for a moment in a charming small town or borgo, or a winery. There are usually lots of recommendations for drivers on TripAdvisor, Slow Travel or even here. Your hotel might be able to arrange a driver for you.

If a castle is most important, you could try Castello di Gabbiano, which is about 40 minutes outside of Florence. They do wine tours, but be aware that then inside of the castle has been renovated to be a hotel.

http://www.castellogabbiano.it/cg/en...wine-tours-eng

http://www.castellogabbiano.it/cg/en/

(they also have a restaurant, but it is not in the castle, but in an annex away from the castle, without much atmosphere or good food)

If you'd like better wine, this winery is about hour outside of Florence. The wine tours are 90 minutes. However, it has an historic villa, not a castle

http://www.vignamaggio.it/english/wi...-wine-bar.html

http://www.vignamaggio.it/english/vi...cal-villa.html

You can probably find others. Ask on Slow Travel if anyone can make a recommendation for a driver and a destination for a trip of less than 5 hours.
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Aug 24th, 2015, 05:23 PM
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This is a better link for the Castello di Gabbiano, but it still takes rather long to load

http://www.castellogabbiano.it/cg/en/the-castle
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Aug 24th, 2015, 05:28 PM
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(But just as an aside, castles are quite charming to see sitting on the hills, amid the vinyards, but they are actually can be very boring to go inside, and many are now hotels or wedding reception-type places. So if you don't need the wine stop, you can see lots of castles driving around, but also see the tiny towns and the vistas as a driving excursion. You just need to be sure you hire a local who from the area who knows where to go.
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Aug 25th, 2015, 04:59 AM
  #11
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Thanks so much for your great information! Do you think any of those wineries would accessible by bus?
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Aug 25th, 2015, 03:12 PM
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I don't think you can find any that take less than 5 hours if you are planning to take the bus both ways. You'd need to study the bus schedules, and it might be that by the time you took the bus ride, got to the venue, did the tour (90 minutes), walked back to the bus stop and waited for the next bus and rode back, it would be 5 hours. So you might was make it simple and just book the professional tour.

But here are 2 in Greve that -- unless the bus routes have changed -- you can reach by bus. (Although you might also look into taking a taxi back if the waits between buses are too long. I don't have the schedule.)

http://www.vicchiomaggio.it/eng/services.html

http://www.verrazzano.com/en/wine-tours/

I'm guessing that you are going other places in Italy either before or after Florence. Would you consider having dinner and spending the night at the first place I mentioned -- Castello di Valenzano -- either on your way to Florence or leaving it? Doing that, you would get up the next morning and take a taxi to the Arezzo station and either then begin your visit to Florence -- or if you were doing on your last night in Florence, you could just head out to Arezzo around 6pm, then take a taxi to the Castello to have dinner and sleep there. The next morning, go back to the Arezzo train station and continue on to your next destination.

If you already have hotel reservations in Florence you can easily cancel a night unless you pre-paid.
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Aug 25th, 2015, 06:12 PM
  #13
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Check the itineraries offered by Luca Garapa at Hillsandroads.com. We had great day trips and a few amazing lunches at wineries just outside Florence. He will customize to suit your interests. Highly recommend him!
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