Tuscany, the greatest expression of the Italian Renaissance, today proposes itself under a new look: it's the reign of the big maîtres chocolatiers as Paul De Bondt in Pisa; Andrea Slitti at Monsummano; Roberto Catinari at Agliana; Luca Mannori at Prato.
Here they produce a fantastic chocolate of the highest quality defending its purity (100% cocoa butter without any vegetal oils added). Chocotravels will introduce you to them visiting their work shops and boutiques: we'll taste their never ending luxurious creations, true "food of Gods", thanks to their art and fantasy.
Our tour, as usual, will propose you to deep the knowledge of the italian art too visiting the most famous monuments and masterpieces of Florence, Pisa and Lucca completely charmed by the delicious landscape of the green valley that leads to the sea.
The travel, by private bus, is for 25/30 persons: otherwise it would be impossible to visit and meet these artists. Our hotels are always the most charming in any place.
The restourants we propose are rich of taste and offer regional and local specialities.

1° day/Thursday: FLORENCE

Arrival at Rivoli Hotel **** (or similar) at about 2 PM and accomodation.
Afternoon guided visit to this beautiful town capital of the Italian Renaissance.In the centre we'll stop at the "Rivoire"'s, one of the most famous pastry of Florence: here it's possible to taste a delicious cup of hot chocolate or its chocolate and nuts cream.
In the evening: dinner at "La Taverna del Bronzino"or at "Mastrobulletta"'s. Overnight in hotel.

2° day/Friday: FLORENCE/PISA

Breakfast at Hotel. 9AM departure to Pisa.Guided visit to this marvellous town situated on the Arno river and to its famous leaning Tower re-opened to visitors in October 2001. Lunch in a nice place with a particular menu.
Then we'll reach Gello, nearby Pisa where Paul De Bondt and Cecilia Jacobelli are waiting for us in their workshop.
Paul is from Holland while Cecilia is from Pisa: he is considered one of the eight greatest chocolatiers in the world: she is a chocolatier too, but even a charming designer from Carrara Academy. Their love was born thanks to chocolate!
Here they produce 15 different types of chocolate tablets; 40 different pralines with ganaches at tea, rum flambè, fresh cream and chocolate and the latest gluttonery: chocolate and Ben Ryè, a traditional wine from Pantelleria Island. Mediterranean flavours are the secret loves of this nice couple, in fact. At the end drive back to Pisa to visit their chocolate boutique. Later accomodation in a *** Hotel. For dinner we have chosen a typical local tavern: "Da Bruno"(or similar).


Breakfast at Hotel. Departure to Lucca at 9AM. Guided visit to this charming and ancient town: in 180 BC was a Roman colony and at the end of the Roman Empire it was still considered the capital of Tuscany. Wonderful its Cathedral with the romanic prospect by Guidetto da Como, San Michele in Forum and Ilaria del Carretto's tomb. At leasure until 2.30 PM. Then drive to Monsummano Terme, a nice small town in Valdinievole. Here, at 1268 Via Francesca Sud, Andrea Slitti works with his family. In 1969 his father created the "The Slitti Torrefazione" and 19 years later Andrea, charmed by the idea of adding another colonial product to coffee, began to create chocolate "masterpieces". In 1994 he won the Grand Prix International de la Chocolaterie in Paris and now is one of the best chocolatier in the world. From his fabulous production you'll be able to taste and buy: handmade pralines, dragées, 60%, 73%,82% and 100% cocoa tablets, the wonderful Slittosa chocolate cream. He'll offer you a good cup of coffee with a chocolate coffee spoon too!
Our sweet trip continues to Agliana to visit Roberto Catinari's workshop at 378, Strada Provinciale. He introduced the art of chocolate in Tuscany 30 years ago when it was still unknown here. He studied in Switzerland taking a degree in chocolaterie and then came back to his small village, Bardalone, in 1974 where began to work.. He produces more than 120 different types of pralines some with Chianti or Vin Santo wines, cognac and brandy. Among his specialities there is a gianduia cake, a "schiaccia" of milk chocolate with nuts/ puffed rice and almonds. He'll confess you he doesn't want to transform his work into an industrial one: handmade chocolate is his love. Late in the evening dinner in Florence in a typical restourant (as "Buca di Lapi" or similar ). In the night, during a leisurely discovery tour on foot you'll visit interesting bars and chocolateries. We suggest even a good ice cream at the "Perseo"'s in Piazza della Signoria. BB at the Tivoli Hotel****(or similar).


Breakfast at hotel, but for the gluttony lovers we suggest the pastry"Gilli", in Via Roma, or near by "Donnini"s with its delicious croissants.
Departure to Prato to meet our last fantastic friend: the World Champion of Pastry 1997 Luca Mannori in his confectionery and chocolarerie at 2, Via Lazzerini. What about his chocolate? On October 2000, he gained the"Eurochocolate Award" which classified him as the best of the hear. His latest triumphs: at Sorrento with a fantastic cake of white chocolate cream, oranges and pan di spagna and Perugia in October 2001 with a biological one. Luca, his wife Marina and his staff will offer you a real unique aperitif while all around us an incredible amount of pralines, cakes and pastries will enchant us with their flavours.
Lunch at "La Fontana"'s on the green hills near by Prato. Return to Florence. End of oue services.

The quotation includes:

-private bus at disposal for the whole journey
-BB accomodation in Hotels****
-dinners and a lunch as indicated in the program
-Kit with detailed program

The quotation does'nt include:

-extra in general
-entrance fees
-what not specified in "The quotation includes"

On request we can add two days for following some hours of chocolate lesson at De Bondt.

For any further details please send an e mail to info@chocotravels.com
or telephone to 02 733547.

Hotel Belvedere

American Express/ VISA/ Master Card/ Carte Blanche/ Diners Club

Viale Fedeli 10
51016 Montecatini Terme (PT)

Tel: 057 270251
Fax: 057 270252