Cafe Florence


Our Newest 2014 Signature Culinary Tour





This will be our first Culinary/Lifestyle Tour that concentrates on Rome, Sicily, Naples and the Villages of the Amalfi Coast. And, although we will be tasting and exploring regional foods and experiences, this unique tour is an actual search. We’re not searching for clues. We’re searching for Italy’s best pizza. We know it exists in the southern part of Italy – but where?


Our Full Tour is 12 nights. It includes sufficient time to really get to know Rome well and two nights in Positano at the famed Le Sirenuse Hotel. But we realize that some of our guests will need to be back at work and so we are offering a shorter, “Piccolo” eight-night version of the program.  So you will see two prices – one for our 8-night “Piccolo Italy” and one for our complete “Primo” “Italy” 12-Night Program. Having lived in Italy for six years, any return on a Signature Program is emotional for us. This one is especially emotional because Bree will be celebrating her 9th birthday, Richard will be celebrating his birthday, and Angela and Richard will be celebrating their 30th Wedding Anniversary. We’d love to have you come celebrate with us.


In order to make certain that this is the best possible experience for our guests, our Italy land program will be managed by Abercrombie & Kent in Italy. This program is custom-designed and is exclusive to Churchill & Turen ltd.


From Rome to seldom visited villages in Sicily, to the treasures of the famed Amalfi coast, we invite you to join us on a taste of southern Italy, a series of authentic experiences with a purpose. Guests on this tour will taste and vote for the “World’s Best Pizza” with press coverage of the results and our efforts at discovery. This will be a journey of friends, with only two hotel changes, free time to explore, and a series of lifestyle experiences designed to help bring back to America an understanding of the art forms of Italian food and, just as important, Italian living and attitude. This is not a “history tour”. This is a unique series of experiences especially designed for guests who want to understand what their lives might be like if they moved to Italy south of Rome.


An introduction to the Italian FOOD CULTURE

Food and meals in Italy are the most important part of Italian life. They tend to be more formal affairs where the entire family sits down to a carefully set dinner table, tablecloth and all Italians have certain taboos when it comes to food combinations and eating certain things at the appropriate time. To the real Italian, lunch is a one to two hour affair with traditionally a two to three course meal, which explains why most things halt for two hours during the day.   Dinner can stretch four or more courses long into the night.


Italians like to socialise outside the home and often meet in bars, restaurants and pizzerias, but gatherings at home are also very much a part of Italian life when Italians gather as a family to celebrate special occasions or just to come together to enjoy a meal on Sunday.


Come and explore the Italian food culture of three very different regions, decide for yourself which part of Italy has the best cuisine. And be a part of a nationwide press release naming the location of ‘ITALY’S BEST PIZZA” as determined by secret ballots of our tour members.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Primo Tour:  Arrival Rome

Today guests will be met in Churchill & Turen style at Fiumicino Airport, assisted through passport control with porters waiting to collect bags from the luggage carousel.  (One group arrival transfer is included)


The remainder of your afternoon and evening are at leisure. (All deposited guests will receive VIP Documentation including a list of recommended Rome Restaurants. We are pleased to make advance reservations on your behalf. Please make your requests three months in advance to our Concierge staff)


Meal Plan: Dinner this evening is on your own.

Accommodation:   Rose Garden Palace  The Four-Star Rose Garden Palace is next to the American Embassy in Rome,and a 5 minute walk from the public gardens of Villa Borghese. Its spa center includes a pool with hydro-massage features and gym. It is convenient to numerous restaurants. It is a favourite of those seeking comfortable accommodations, an excellent location, and a staff that provides personalized service.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

            Primo Tour:  Private Cooking Class in a Family Home with Market Tour


We will be met at our hotel this morning and privately transferred to a residential neighbourhood to experience how to cook traditional Roman and southern Italian dishes in the cosy atmosphere of an Italian family home. We will learn the secrets of delicious home-cooking using recipes passed down from the host’s great-grandmother. Then we depart for a 1-hour market tour, where we will select our ingredients for the day and get to sample some local produce. The Testaccio market which offers the season’s finest and freshest fruits, vegetables, meats and cheese is well known to sophisticated food shoppers in the city.  We will then return to the cooking school where we will start our private three-hour hands-on lesson with our host.  Prepare your own pasta, sauce, main course and dessert before enjoying the fruits of your labour for lunch! After lunch, we will be privately transferred back to our hotel.


The remainder of the afternoon and evening is free to explore Rome on your own terms.


Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation:   Rose Garden Palace

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Primo Tour:  La Vita Italiana – School, Real Estate & Food!

Piccolo Tour:  Arrival in Rome

This morning, Primo tour guests will spend the morning in the surrounds of the Universita’ La Sapienza of Rome where a student from the University will explain the education system and culture in Italy.  Almost everybody attends a publically funded education institution which is free to use to students including University.  The Italian academic system has some unusual facets such as no time limits to complete courses, meaning students often do not complete University education until their 30’s. This is also a fabric of Italian life as it is not at all unusual for 30 and 40 year-olds to still be living at home with parents to save on rent, restaurant, and dry cleaning costs.


Enjoy lunch at the pizzeria Gusto, where we will sample different varieties of pizzas and cap off lunch with an amazing tiramisu.


In the afternoon, we will join an expert on the real estate market in Rome today. You will understand what drives demand, the situation with mortgages and Italian attitudes towards home ownership. This is a Churchill & Turen exclusive and it will give you a sense of life in Rome that few tourists ever get to see.


Arriving Piccolo Tour guests will be met at Fiumicino Airport, assisted through passport control with porters waiting to collect bags from the luggage carousel.  (One group arrival transfer is included, individual transfers at extra cost).


In the evening everyone reconvenes for welcome cocktails (30 minutes open bar) for those just joining us. This will be followed by dinner at a nearby Roman institution, Canova Tandolini.  Enjoy a relaxed and convivial meal where seasonal Roman specialities will be served family-style for you to experience as many tastes of Rome as you wish.


Meal Plan: Breakfast (Primo tour guests), Lunch (Primo tour guests), Dinner (all guests)

Accommodation:   Rose Garden Palace



Thursday, 25 September 2014

Learn the secrets of authentic Roman pizza making with “Personal Choice” Touring

in the afternoon.

Mid-morning transfer to an off the beaten path area of Rome where, behind an unassuming restaurant façade, lies our favourite pizzeria in Rome, which has been opened just for you.  In the kitchens your pizzaola will be waiting to explain what changes a pizza from being good to being exceptional.  Tonino, a genuine pizzaologist, has explored the chemical reactions of the various ingredients down to the right Ph levels to create the absolutely perfect combination for his pizzas.   Toni speaks fluent English and will be happy to give you an insight into running a successful restaurant business in Rome.


Learn the art of making pizza with a hands-on lesson which will be served for lunch after being cooked in the wood-fired oven.  


This afternoon we have selected three Personal Choice Touring Options from which to choose.


Option 1:  Secret Boutiques of Rome (maximum 10 guests)

Along with eating well, another Italian obsession is La Bella Figure, the fashion industry is one where Italy leads and the world follows.  Spend the afternoon with a fashion expert with the possibility to go behind the scenes of the best boutiques and artisan workshops in the city.  Discover how jewelry, leather goods and clothing are transformed from the designer’s imagination to one of a kind pieces.


Option 2:  Not All Art in Italy is Classical – The Maxxi

Rome is a vibrant living city, and has been for thousands of years.  In a city with so many ancient, monumental buildings the Maxxi is a striking and modern contrast in the heart of the city devoted to modern Italian arts.  One section of the museum is devoted to architecture of the 20th century; the other side is an interpretation of modern day Italian society. 


Option 3:  Gastronomic Walk of the Trastevere

Above all cities in Italy, Rome is most renowned for its street-foods.  The mixture of people’s in the ancient Trastevere district means there is a hive of small stores.  Meet the owners and producers as you explore the district tasting fresh pastas, salumi, baked goods, sweets and pastries.  The unique tastes of the Jewish ghetto are also not to be missed.   Our food walk culminates with a tasting of Italian wines.


(We will ask that you make your “personal Choice” at the time of final payment)

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation:   Rose Garden Palace

Friday, 26 September 2014

Rome – Flight to Sicily

We bid farewell to Rome this morning, traveling to Fiumicino Airport for a flight to the Island of Sicily and the city of Catania (flight not included as it may be part of your international ticket. The approximate flight time is 1 hour 15 minutes).


Upon arrival, porters will manage your luggage, and then it is just a short transfer into the city of Catania.  We catch the end of the city’s fish market, a riot of colour and smells.  You will notice the main customers are men, in most Italian markets it is the women who do the shopping.  For the senior community here it’s the men who buy the daily fish before they join together in the park for impassioned games of cards.  Then its home with the catch of the day.


For us, lunch is overlooking the Mediterranean Sea enjoying our own catch of the day.   After lunch, we travel along the coast to the Ragusa area, a zone ramping up in importance internationally for its food and wine culture.   One of the most southerly points in Europe, geographically Ragusa lies, more towards the equator than the north coast of nearby Africa.   As a trading crossroads between Africa, Europe, Arabia and the Americas the melting pot of Sicilian foods is truly unique. It is one reason that top food writers are predicting a surge in popularity for heart healthy Sicilian cuisine. In fact, several respected food writers have proclaimed Sicilian cuisine to be healthier than its challengers from the north, such as the Tuscans, with their love of steak.


Our hotel for the next three days is a unique luxury residence, Eremo della Giubillana.  They take food seriously here.  Much of the food and wine you will try here has been produced on their own farm within

or the immediate vicinity. In the early evening we join local Italians for another great tradition, the passeggiata.  Traditionally Italians take a walk with their families through the city squares and streets before dinner, taking time to catch up with friends.  Join the passeggiata in Ragusa-Ibsa before another Italian tradition, the aperitivo (pre-dinner drinks with a kind of tapas).  During aperitivo, another Churchill & Turen exclusive, a former policeman will provide a discussion, on that most discussed of topics, the Mafia.  Learn how the Sicilian Mafia is not like a Godfather movie, but a much more sophisticated commercial and political system.  Also discover the recent anti-mafia movements and successes in finding fugitives on the ‘most wanted’ list. This is the real deal so wear a vest.


After time at leisure for dinner on your own in Ragusa-Ibsa, we return to the hotel.


Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation:   Eremo della Giubillana

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Sicilian Food Walk and Wines



The fresh produce of Sicily is prized across Italy and Europe due to the flavours which literally burst with the taste of the sun. In the morning we journey to a kitchen garden with a sensory walk discovering the distinguishing smells of the produce, there are even 20 different types of basil to try (a key ingredient of the Margherita pizza).  You have the chance to help pick lunch before a hands-on experience in the kitchen.  Learn how to make the genuine Sicilian caponata (an eggplant stew, and staple of Sicilian cuisine) before a light lunch in the garden with the opportunity to try an array of Sicilian home-prepared specialities.


The subject of Italian food culture always goes hand in hand with the Italian wine culture.  The island of Sicily produces some of the best and most unique wines in the whole of Italy, thanks to the climate and soil.  Spend this afternoon discovering wine culture which dates back millennia in the region of Vittoria.  Our hosts however are modern business people and winemakers,  having taken up the reins only in the 1980’s but are now producing critically acclaimed wines.  The red soil of fine light sand is close to the sea and incredibly permeable which makes Vittoria ideal for producing Nero Davola and Frappato wines.   We discover the winery today before a sommelier-led tasting of wines as well as the opportunity to quiz the wine makers about techniques, tastes and the business of running a modern winery in Italy.


This evening is at leisure, so a shuttle to the village will be provided by the Shuttle Bus for sale company for those who wish to dine outside of the hotel.


Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation:   Eremo della Giubillana

Sunday, 28 September 2014

                     Farmhouse Cheeses and an afternoon      of leisure

Today’s excursion is a field to fork experience, where we are invited to a dairy farm which produces its own milk as well as cheeses.  In resplendent rural Sicily you have the opportunity to interact with the farmers and cheese-makers about their jobs, and see how the very best Sicilian ricotta cheeses are made (also a possible pizza ingredient).   Enjoy a rustic picnic lunch of the farms products. 


The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure on your estate to relax before dinner in the hotel’s excellent restaurant.


Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation:   Eremo della Giubillana

Monday, 29 September 2014

Arrival in Naples and the C&T “Pizza Walk”

We travel this morning to Catania for our short internal flight to Naples (flight not included in tour cost).   Italians have a saying, “See Napoli and then die”: it means that all aficionados of beautiful things must visit the city at least once in their lifetime. Naples is a poignantly beautiful city situated in the middle of the Gulf of Naples in the shadow of the Vesuvius volcano, where the sun shines usually three hundred days a year.


NB – Throughout the Amalfi section of the trip it is necessary to split the group into buses sized 16-19 seats.  Larger buses are not permitted.


After porters take the luggage we head straight into the heart of Naples for some intensive pizza tasting. This could be “ground zero” in our search. 


To start however, our unusual guide, the most famous puppet of Naples, Pulcinella (Punch) recounts us with recounting an ancient tale “Pizza, the Poor People’s Sustenance”.  Pizza was originally a creation in the poorest parts of the city sold from carts.  Those carts evolved into today’s small stores producing the very best Neapolitan pizzas.  Our pizza walk involved 8 stops, four of which for tasting, and four for seeing the pizza heritage.  At the end of the walk, you will definitely have a favorite and your vote may bring them widespread recognition in the


Continue to our home for the next days in on the Amalfi Coast with breath-taking views over the Mediterranean Sea.


Dinner is on your own this evening – if you are able.


Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation:   Hotel Monastero Santa Rosa  – Close your eyes and picture the most tranquil, magnificent, beautiful location for a hotel and spa. What you just envisioned is the reality you find at Montasero Santa Rosa Hotel and Spa. This getaway is hidden along the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Imagine how tranquil a converted monastery could be then pour in loads of luxury, comfort, and the a dramatic cliff-side setting. The hotel is not another huge hotel. This is an exclusive hotel with only 20 rooms and suites. You will be the center of attention to the staff. Inside the facility you will discover amazing rooms, libraries, game rooms, and beauty. Outside you can explore the incredible pool overlooking the cliff, the hidden gardens, and stare in awe at the water below.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Who is the best Pizzaola? An Evening at a Villa

This morning you have an opportunity to sleep in and enjiy the morning to relax and recoup.  Enjoy the hotel’s stunning pool, spa or the delights of Amalfi town.


In mid-afternoon we journey along the coast towards Sorrento and a private villa which is all ours for the evening.   An air of calm drifts over as you enter the English gardens and enjoy a freshly squeezed orange juice and plum cake before the ‘work’ begins.  Split into two teams we take what we have learned, so far, to create our own personal versions of “the world’s best pizza”.  We also learn how to make traditional bread and a lemon tiramisu.  This will all be enjoyed in the surrounds of the villa for dinner with plenty of the villa’s own wines. 


Meal Plan: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation:   Hotel Monastero Santa Rosa

Wednesday, 01 October 2014

We visit one of Italy’s most luxurious islands – a special taste of Capri       

This morning, we glide across the sea by private motorboat to the exquisite island of Capri.  Here you will be met by a local food expert who knows the best addresses on Capri for our unique Food Lover’s Tour. 


Today, we learn about food and local life from a Capri resident. We will discover the traditions of the Isola Azzurra, the blue Island. Walk along the ancient streets of Capri, we will discuss the typical food traditions, like insalata caprese, raviolo caprese and the torta caprese. All products are grown naturally. Then, we will learn how to learn how to roll out the perfect ravioli Capresi, and create the perfect torta di Capri, and limoncello in a special cooking course featuring regional specialties. We will do some island touring before returning back to Amalfi.


As our farewell dinner this evening we head to the venerable Ristorante Don Alfonso 1890 a restaurant with its coveted two Michelin stars.   Located in the heart of the Sorrentine Peninsula, between the gentle slopes descending into the Gulf of Naples and the daring and breath-taking coast of the Gulf of Salerno,  Don Alfonso reflects a philosophy that is innovative while respecting the local food culture to delight even the most refined palate with healthy and delicious dishes.  Guests may also wish to take a tour of the impressive wine cellar.


Meal Plan: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Monastero Santa Rosa

Thursday, 02 October 2014

Main Tour:  Depart Rome

Post Tour:  Sorrento or Mt Vesuvius to Positano 

Guests on the Piccolo tour will be transferred to Rome airport for the outbound flight.  (One group departure transfer is included, individual transfers at extra cost).

Today, our Primo tour guests will be met by an expert English-speaking for a private six-hour excursion around the Sorrentine peninsula. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the Bay of Naples and Mt Vesuvius from the top of the sheer cliffs on which the city is built. Sorrento is famous for its citrus trees, particularly the lemon trees from which Limoncello is made; explore the area with your driver guide who knows the best spot for a little taste! Or you may wish to visit the artisan shops of the famous Cameos which are the typical art of the area. Enjoy a two courses lunch in Sorrento (inclusive of ½ bottle of water and ¼ bottle of wine). Continue around the coast to visit Massa Lubrense, a sleepy fishing village and Santa Agata dei Due Golfi, from where you can see both the Bay of Naples and Bay of Salerno.


At the end of the tour you will be transferred to your hotel in Positano, the Five-Star, Le Sirenuse.

If the group prefers, we would be pleased to offer a second option for this glorious day:


Alternative: A Full day tour to Mount Vesuvio including a vineyard visit and wine tasting

Today after breakfast you will be met by your expert English-speaking guide and private bus for full day excursion to Mount Vesuvio It’s the  only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted within the last hundred years. Your English-speaking guide will take you on one of the 9 trails that let visitors discover all of the beauty and peculiar features of the Somma-Vesuvius volcanic complex. Each trail has been made safe using special engineering techniques. Enjoy a two courses lunch (inclusive of ½ bottle of water and ¼ bottle of wine).


Vesuvius vineyard & wine tasting

Almost 25 centuries ago, the founders of Magnae Graecia imported and cultivated vineyards on the volcanic soils around Naples’ Bay, part of which is mythic Vesuvius. The ancient Roman empire writers described the mount Vesuvius as having been covered with vineyards and gardens, only except the top which was craggy. To confirm this is the original Roman fresco, found in Pompeii “Bacchus and Vesuvius”. Despite of the volcanic eruptions and diseases, these grape vineyards are still presented on the slopes and today by DNA tests are approved as autochthonous. The guided visit includes a walk inside the hill vineyards of the local professional family run winery, explaining the grapes, cultivation methods, local traditions (history pieces for cultivation) and modern wine technology and wine tasting. All this while enjoying the marvellous panorama over the Tyrrhenian Sea.


Meal Plan: Breakfast – Lunch

Accommodation: Le Sirenuse

Friday, 3 October  2014

Post Tour:  Positano at Leisure

Today enjoy a day at leisure in Positano.


Le Sirenuse organizes some complimentary activities every day for its guests on-board the hotel’s boat. The calendar for next year is not ready yet but below is an example of activities offered (subject to availability and weather conditions).


10.30 am and 2.30 pm

The Hotel boat, an old, glorious and very comfortable wooden fishing boat, goes out twice a day and these trips are the perfect way to enjoy the views of the unspoilt coastline. Take your bathing suits with you so that you can take a dip in the clean, cool Mediterranean Sea. Complimentary drinks are served on board.

Activity time: 2 hours and a half
Meeting point: The wooden dock at the centre of the beach
Maximum number of participants: 12 persons

6.30 pm – 8.45 pm (this time will vary following the sunset timing)


Observe the village of Positano from the sea on board of the glorious, old fishing boat of the hotel: the Sant’Antonio. Champagne and finger food will be served while the sun goes down and the lights go on in the village houses. You’ll be back by 8.30pm, on time for dinner.

Activity time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Meeting point: The wooden dock at the center of the beach
Maximum number of participants: 12 persons

Meal Plan: Breakfast

Accommodation:   Hotel Le Sirenuse


Saturday 4 October  2014

Post Tour:  Departure from Positano

Today the Primo group will be transferred to Rome airport for your outbound flight.    (One group departure transfer is included, individual transfers at extra cost).


Meal Plan: Breakfast



The cost in Euros, per guest (based on two) for the Piccolo Tour is                       5,992

The cost in Euros, per guest (based on two) for the Primo Tour is                         8,485


A Non-Refundable Deposit of Euro 1,000 Per Person is Required via Credit Card at Time of Booking


Final Payment will be due on or before  June 22, 2014



  • All accommodations as indicated on “run of house” basis.
  • Buffet breakfast
  • Welcome cocktail open bar (30 minutes) on 24 September
  • Dinners where stated (three courses set menu, Unlimited wine, beer and bottled water (cocktails not included)
  • Lunches where stated
  • Private transport by 30 / 52 seater bus or similar in Rome and Sicily, 16 seat buses in Amalfi
  • Private motorboat for travel between Amalfi and Capri
  • Three hands-on cooking experiences (plus one in the Rome pre-tour)
  • Fashion expert on 24 September
  • Lecture by former policeman on 26 September
  • Private use of a villa on 1 October
  • Entrance fees, food and wine tastings as stated
  • Expert local English-speaking guides/experts for stated tours and meals
  • English-speaking representatives during all transfers
  • Hotel and airport porterage
  • All current taxes
  • Bottled water onboard motorcoaches


  • All air travel and associated costs
  • Meals not stated as included
  • Gratuities
  • All items of a personal nature (e.g. beverages, telephone calls, laundry, personal insurance)
  • Anything not specifically mentioned in the “Inclusions” list above.


Churchill and Turen Ltd. acts as agent for the passengers in all matters pertaining to travel and also as agents for the operators, thereof, and as such assumes no liability or responsibility in connection with the provision of/or operation of any service. Churchill and Turen Ltd. does not own, control, or operate any of the suppliers furnishing component parts to any custom or brochure tour program. Churchill and Turen will, therefore, not be deemed negligent for loss or damage to property or injury to person from action caused by any act of omission, intentional, negligent, or otherwise, by such third-party suppliers including, but not limited to Abercrombie & Kent Italy and Croatia.


Please note:  Payment will be processed outside the United States and your credit card company will likely charge a foreign transaction fee for this payment.  Please check with your credit card company for more information.