Day 1 - CIAO BELLA! FLORENCE TO SIENA
We’ll pick you up at the airport or train station in Florence & bring you to Fattoria Valle, a romantic farmhouse in the Chianti hills that’s been transformed into an upscale bed & breakfast. Check in to your room, visit the outdoor swimming pool, or walk through the vineyards & olive groves.
Then enjoy a light lunch prepared with local ingredients, after which we’ll head to Siena (15 minutes by car) for a guided tour. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Siena city center is home to some of the most remarkable art & architecture from the 13th to 16th centuries, as well as a distinct enogastronomic heritage. We will explore the towers & palaces of the city, visit the piazza where the 400-year old tradition of the Palio horse race takes place, & sip a refreshing spritz where we can watch the colorful characters in the town square.
Dinner will be in a nearby restaurant with expert wine pairings, after which we will retire back to our villa for the night.
Day 2 - SMALL TOWNS, BIG WINES: SAN GIMIGNANO & VERNACCIA
This morning we’ll head to another UNESCO World Heritage Site, San Gimignano. A charming town with spectacular views of the rolling hills of Tuscany, San Gimignano has some of the most impressive medieval towers in all of Europe. We’ll have the morning to wander the narrow streets, browse the artisan boutiques & enjoy a refreshing gelato. From there we’ll continue down the winding Chianti roads to Torraccia di Chiusi, an estate that focuses on local seasonal fare & organic, hand-harvested wines. Here we’ll enjoy a late lunch & wine tasting with a view of the San Gimignano towers in the distance.
We’ll relax after lunch back at our villa before heading to Castell’in Villa, the 298-hectare estate of Princess Pignatelli. The estate has extensive vineyards for producing Chianti & “Supertuscans,” olive groves for extra virgin olive oil & woodlands for hunting hare, peasants & wild boar. We’ll taste the princess’ wines & hopefully greet her if she happens to be home. Then we’ll go back our villa, il Castagno, for the rest of the evening.
Transfer to Siena for tour of the town that will make you discover the food specialties of the area while admiring the most important sights of this famous town. (no need for lunch after the tour) Free time in town. Check in at your hotel a charming place just outside Siena walls.
Day 4 - ANCIENT ABBEYS & FULL-BODIED REDS IN MONTERIGGIONI
Take your time with a leisurely buffet breakfast at the villa (fresh breads, artisan jams, local honeys, salami & cheeses, juices, coffee & tea), after which we’ll head to the abbey of Abbadia a Isola. The abbey was founded in 1001 on a land inhabited by the Etruscans going back to 800 BC, whose incredible tombs are still extant.
From the abbey, those who would like to can hike along the Francigena Way, a medieval pilgrimage path running from the northern tip of France down to Rome (from the abbey to Monteriggioni will take about 1 hour on foot). Those who would rather not walk are welcome to ride in the van.
We'll reconvene in Monteriggioni, a charming village enclosed in medieval defensive walls, before heading to Felsina winery for a tasting & lunch. A small family-owned vineyard, Felsina features an impressive diversity of wines & olive oils, all produced on the estate.
In the late afternoon, we’ll head back to the villa to relax & enjoy a casual dinner.
Day 5 - MONTEPULCIANO AND PIENZA
Transfer to a terracotta making factory for a visit of this ancient craft. We will then make it to our new accommodation, just outside Montepulciano. Lunch will be at an historical cellar in town. Have some free time in town (Montepulciano has many enticing boutiques!! and is one of the best places to by souvenirs and presents). On the way back to villa Cicolina we will stop at San Biagio temple, a superb basilica at the foothill of town.
Free time to relax at the villa with the wonderful panoramic pool
In the late afternoon we are going to visit Pienza where we'll have dinner in a spectacular panoramic restaurant, the most beautiful view of the Valdorcia
Day 6 - CHEESE MAKING WITH A VIEW, BRUNELLO WINE AND COOKING
Today we’ll head to a dairy farm overlooking the town of Pienza, where we’ll discover the secrets to making goat cheese & enjoy a lunch with cheese & wine. Then we’ll stop in yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pienza, a renaissance jewel with incredible artisan boutiques.
In the afternoon, we’ll go visit one of the best (yet most humble) producers of Brunello reds. We’ll taste unique, small-batch wines before visiting the unique Sant' Antimo abbey. Likely founded by the Emperor Charlemagne at the beginning for the IX century (although we don’t have any records until 814), this peaceful abbey nestled at the foot of the Tuscany hills is a beautiful place to admire the Carolingian architecture or smell the fragrances of the Benedictine herb garden.
Driving back to the villa we will stop in Bagno Vignoni ( the pearl of Valdorcia ), where we will have the cooking class in a private house and dinner in the main square, superb location!
Day 7 - ORVIETO AND UMBRIAN WINES
After a leisurely breakfast we will head for Orvieto an ancient Etruscan and Medieval town where we will stop for a tour of the town and a wine-tasting/lunch at a cellar carved in the Tufo rock. Free afternoon and supper at a nearby wine resort
Day 8 - ETRUSCAN MYSTERIES, THE HIDDEN TUSCANY
Spend the day discovering this Hidden part of Tuscany. Visit The beautiful romanic cathedral of Sovana, walk to the nearby archaeological park which feature monumental tombs which go back more than 2000 years. Then head for Pitigliano that feature the oldest Jewish getto of Italy.
In the afternoon, on our way to Rome, we will stop for a wine tasting in the Antinori Winery. Dinner and night in Rome are not included.
DAY 9 - ARRIVEDERCI! FROM ROME WITH LOVE
If you’re flying out, we’ll bring you to the airport. Otherwise, we can drop you off wherever you’d like in the city center, so you can continue the adventure!