Many of you may be familiar with the Passports with Purpose annual travel blogging fundraiser (if not, there are more details below), and if you’ve visited WhyGo Italy before you know about my obsession with Italian food and Italian markets. It gives me great pleasure, then, to participate in Passports with Purpose 2011 by giving you a chance to win a private tour of Florence’s iconic San Lorenzo market.
Judy Witts-Francini, usually known as the Tuscan Diva behind Divina Cucina, has lived in Tuscany for more than 20 years and knows the San Lorenzo market like the back of her hand. She is internationally recognized for her expertise on Tuscan and Italian cooking, has long offered guided Tuscan market tours as well as cooking classes in her Tuscan kitchen, and has graciously donated a private tour of the San Lorenzo market for this year’s Passports with Purpose fundraiser.
Before I get to the prize details, here’s a bit of background on Passports with Purpose, how you can get involved, and how you can win awesome prizes.
What’s Passports with Purpose?
Passports with Purpose is an annual travel bloggers’ fundraiser, now in its fourth year. In previous years, with the help of a very cool community of bloggers and their readers, Passports with Purpose has raised money for Heifer International, American Assistance for Cambodia, and LAFTI International. In 2009, Passports with Purpose raised almost $30,000 to build a school in Cambodia, and last year we raised more than $64,000 to build a village in India.
The 2011 goal is to raise $80,000 for Room to Read in order to build two libraries in Zambia.
The way Passports with Purpose works is that participating bloggers (like me) procure prizes (like the one listed below). Readers (like you) buy tickets for a chance to win a prize – each ticket is a $10 donation (tax deductible) to that year’s beneficiary, and you can choose which prizes you want your tickets to be counted toward. You buy as many tickets as you like, donating money in $10 increments, and at the end of the fundraiser a winner is drawn for each prize.
This year, the fundraiser ends on December 16, and prize winners will be notified on December 23.
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The list of prizes is pretty fabulous, and I encourage you to check them all out. You’ll find the list of all the prizes – including the Private Florence Market Tour – on this page, and you can read more about Passports with Purpose here.
Private Florence Market Tour: Prize Details
This prize is for a Private Florence Market Tour with the market maven herself, Judy Witts-Francini. She’ll lead your group (maximum of four people) through the Mercato Centrale, introducing you to the wonders of Italian market shopping.
You’ll meet vendors, sample balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, learn what staples should be in any Italian pantry, and get cooking tips from Judy along the way. Judy plans these tours around the lunch hour on purpose, so you can not only see the glorious goodies on offer but can enjoy a typical Florentine lunch as well.
Private Florence Market Tour: The Nitty Gritty
- Four-hour experience, usually 11am-3pm
- Includes lunch at a local trattoria
- Includes Divina Cucina cloth shopping bag
- Includes dining tips for Florence from Judy herself
- Maximum 4 (four) people
- Subject to Judy’s availability (she already knows she will not be available on the following dates: March 25-April 10, May 13-19, Sept 8-20, Oct 6-30, Nov 4-10 – Judy’s in demand, and more bookings could come up any time, so once you win, get your tour booked as soon you can!)
- Must be used within one year of the prize announcement on 23 December 2011 (in other words, expires 22 December 2012)
At €125 per person, the value of this prize is €500. The value of the knowledge you’ll gain by hanging out with the Tuscan Diva for half the day? Priceless.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
More Information About Judy & Divina Cucina
This market tour used to be a regular among the tours and cooking classes Judy offers through her Divina Cucina site – but she’s gotten so busy that these Florence market tours have been discontinued. In other words, the only way to get this classic guided tour of Florence’s market from the Tuscan Diva is by winning this prize!
If you don’t win, or if you’d like to spend more time with Judy while you’re in Tuscany, she does still offer an array of cooking experiences. You can spend an entire day shopping in a local market and then bringing your spoils back to Judy’s cooking studio to make magic with your ingredients, or you can spend a week in her studio in Colle Val d’Elsa in the beautiful Chianti region alternating between cooking classes and visits to markets, butchers, wineries, and cheese makers.
If you’re so inclined, you can even schedule some one-on-one time with the Diva herself. And as if that weren’t enough, you can bring the Diva home with you by getting a copy of her cookbook, “Divina Cucina’s Recipes: Secrets from My Tuscan Kitchen.” All the recipes, she proudly declares, are “Tuscan husband approved.”