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“Exceptional service and a wonderful dinner cooked by Simonetta”

Tuscan Sunshine Tours
Ranked #23 of 134 Food & Drink in Florence
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Tuscany by natives- visit with us Cities of art in Tuscany- the most scenery and authentic landscapes -that only natives from this country can show you- we will spend with you memorable day excursions- sharing with you all our knowledge about our territory, History, traditions, food and wines- Proud to propose also special tailored day tours transfers from to Florence and Tuscany- to better maximize our private services- at disposal-Mercedes newest - deluxe minivans and sedans provided of official tour licenses and car insurances -
Useful Information: Lockers / storage, Baby buggy parking
Georgia
Level Contributor
32 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Exceptional service and a wonderful dinner cooked by Simonetta”
Reviewed 23 June 2014

This trip was with my cousin, his wife, and a friend of theirs who had used Tuscan Sunshine Tours two years ago. They raved about Franco so we booked them to pick us up at the Rome airport on a Sunday and take us to Florence. On Monday we had Stefano, Franco's partner, for a tour through the Chianti area with a light snack at a winery (see separate review of Castello Monterinaldi). Only a light snack because we had arranged for a dinner in Stefano's home, cooked by his wife, Simonetta. Then on Tuesday Stefano picked us up at our hotel and drove us to Venice with stops in Bologna and Verona.
By the time he dropped us in Venice, I felt that I was saying good-bye to a dear friend.
Our driver from Rome to Florence was a colleague of theirs: Marco. He was right on time and very helpful at the airport as well as being an excellent driver. He answered our questions when we had them on the 3 hour drive to Florence, but also was quiet when we gave in to jet lag and napped.
The next morning Stefano was at our hotel a few minutes early to get us on our way. Even though their web site shows a sedan for 4 people, he was in a medium size van so we were very comfortable. He is so enthusiastic about the region and very knowledgeable about the grapes and olives. He grows his own grapes and has olive trees so you trust that he knows what he is talking about. We had a delightful day! He took us to a meat shop in Creve in Chianti and walked with us explaining all the different food items and took us down to the storage cellars. We stopped at another little village that was very quiet and picturesque with few tourists before taking us to the winery. After the winery we stopped at Castello Vicchiomaggio where Michelangelo painted the Mona Lisa. It is now a hotel with beautiful views of the Tuscan landscape. We then drove back to Florence where Stefano dropped us at our hotel to rest for an hour or so before he picked us up for dinner.
He drove us to his home via a very scenic route and showed us his olive groves. His home very comfortable and even though we were paying customers, he and his wife Simonetta treated us as guests. Simonetta is as warm and friendly as Stefano and a wonderful chef! We started with prosecco in the living room before we moved to a beautifully set table. We had delicious appetizers of flash fried zucchini blossoms and other veggies, olives from their trees, beef rolled around cheese and lemon, the best pate I have ever had, etc. Then we had fresh pasta with pink and green tomatoes and olive oil (again from their own trees). The main course was veal with mushrooms. For dessert she made a special lemon "cake" for my cousin's birthday (we had told Franco in advance) that was heavenly. Stefano served his own wine that was delicious. Just one of the most wonderful experiences (and really good food) I have ever had in my travels.
The next day Stefano picked us up at our hotel early to drive us to Venice. Franco had suggested stops in Bologna and Verona on the way which we did. Stefano was very good about telling us exactly when and where he would pick us up in each city. But the best experience was when we got to Venice. I had worried for months about how we were going to get ourselves and considerable luggage (we were going on a cruise out of Venice) to the water taxi to get to the hotel. It didn't appear that cars could get very close to the water taxi stand, but Stefano had it all under control! He knew exactly where to go, he got very close, he took our luggage and negotiated our taxi for us in Italian and then helped get us and our luggage onto the taxi. It was so sad to say "arrivederci" to him. I can't recommend this company highly enough! They are wonderful.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank AnneBinGA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Lexington, South Carolina
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Wonderful way to see the Tuscan countryside”
Reviewed 19 June 2014

Our time with Franco was delightful as he drove us to San Gimignano and Siena from Firenze. The service was perfect and his recommendations of what to see were spot on. Note - these gentlemen take their cues from the customer - if you're quiet during the drive, they likely won't fill the car with chatter, but Franco was absolutely wonderful when we started asking specific questions about the history of the area. He really knows his stuff and it was a pleasure to learn from him in between destinations. San Gimignano in particular was an absolute highlight of our time in Italy.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Becca W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Halifax, Canada
Level Contributor
283 reviews
110 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
“Exceptional tour”
Reviewed 10 June 2014

The 3 day tour that the 8 (4 couples) took was exceptional. From picking us up at the airport to the day tours, we had a great time. Knowledgeable and experienced driver made this tour one to remember for a lifetime.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
Thank shepherd35
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Robertsdale, Alabama
Level Contributor
26 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Tuscany in a day”
Reviewed 6 June 2014

We had a wonderful day with Franco touring montepulciano and pienza. He also took us to a local farm called podere il Casale Where we had a fantastic lunch. It was so delicious and fresh. Everything was straight off of the farm. Franco was very informative, friendly, and couldn't do enough to help us. Everyone should travel with this company!

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
Thank 957pat60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Unforgettable day in Chianti”
Reviewed 26 May 2014

My husband and I booked a day tour with Stefano and Tuscan Sunshine Tours through a recommendation from my brother who had toured with them a few years ago. This day in Chianti was truly the highlight of our two weeks in Italy. Stefano picked us up in the morning from our hotel in Florence. He is extremely knowledgeable and informative of the region as he has lived there his whole life. Since we were in his Mercedes, he was able to drive on roads and back country that no tour bus could ever get to. We saw Castles,vineyards, olive trees, old stone farms and medieval hamlets. We explored Badia a Passignano, the Antinori Vineyards, Montefioralle and Greve, the Capital of the region. We visited the worlds oldest butcher shop and went into their cellars where they keep their aged cheese. We tasted Chianti wine in one of the oldest family run wineries and had an amazing lunch, completely alone, overlooking the Tuscan hills, surrounded by wild flowers. Can you say romantic? We hardly saw another person in some of the areas we went to and I felt like we were in the "real" Italy! Stefano knew all the best places to stop and take photos and never rushed us through any of the experience. We went down into centuries old wine cellars and saw the barrels used to make thirty year old balsamic vinegar. It was truly a treat for the eyes and palate. The day did not end with the tour because Stefano came back to our hotel in the evening and drove us to his home in the hills of Florence. His wife, Simonetta, had prepared a gourmet Tuscan dinner for us. We had olives from their orchard and wine from their vineyards. Course after course of the most wonderful food, prepared with patience and love, finishing with the most amazing tiramisu I've ever had. It was truly a day and evening to remember. Thank you Stefano and Simonetta, we can't wait to come back and see you again!

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Christina T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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