ORLANDO, FL -- (Marketwire) -- 03/15/11 -- Its flavorful food and wine, vibrant culture, and picturesque landscapes make Italy one of the world's most desirable travel destinations. Now, through its "Culinary Tour of Italy" sweepstakes, Olive Garden is offering Italian food lovers an opportunity to win an experience of a lifetime: an eight-day immersion into Italian cuisine and culture, including a visit to Olive Garden's Culinary Institute of Tuscany. The Culinary Institute of Tuscany provides inspiration for many fresh, authentic Italian dishes you can find at Olive Garden, and is the training ground for more than 150 of Olive Garden's chefs and team members each year. Four grand prizes of the eight-day tour will be awarded. Additionally, Olive Garden will give away $20 restaurant gift cards daily to first prize winners to enjoy a genuine Italian dining experience at their local Olive Garden. During the trip, four grand-prize winners and their guests will get an insider's look at Olive Garden's Culinary Institute of Tuscany, the Ristorante Riserva di Fizzano-Olive Garden and the Rocca delle Macie winery, and will also experience other cultural excursions in Rome and Florence. Specifically, winners will: Learn the essentials of authentic Italian cooking from Olive Garden's master chef, Paolo Lafata, through interactive, hands-on preparations Experience the local culture and cuisines of various Italian regions, including Rome, Florence and San Gimignano Explore the Rocca delle Macie Winery, learn about its winemaking process and perfect food and wine pairings ABOUT OLIVE GARDEN'S "A CULINARY TOUR OF ITALY" SWEEPSTAKES The sweepstakes is active through May 9, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. ET and all entries must be submitted before that time to be considered. As a new component of the annual sweepstakes this year, Olive Garden guests can check into Four Square and Facebook when visiting the restaurants, allowing them to submit more entries. Guests can enter to win, learn about additional opportunities to submit more entries and review complete rules at www.OliveGardenTriptoItaly.com and www.facebook.com/olivegarden.