VILLA POGGIARELLO COOKING COURSE VACATION – ONE WEEK
THE ONE WEEK (6 NIGHT/7 DAY) TRIP INCLUDES:
- 6 nights at Villa Poggiarello, near Siena, in a picturesque 18th Century Villa. The villa is beautifully furnished with traditional Tuscan furniture.
- All meals as indicated in the itinerary.
- Small groups: 4 to 16 people.
- 4 hands-on cooking courses in “La Cucina Povera Toscana” – Tuscan country cooking.
- Visit to wineries with wine tasting in Montalcino and Montepulciano.
- 5 guided excursions to local food festivals (depending on season), Siena, the enchanting towns of Massa Marittima, Montalcino (famous for its grape vineyards that produce the celebrated Brunello wine), Pienza, Montepulciano (famous for its Red wine “Vino Nobile di Montepulciano”), the small medieval villages of Mount Amiata, Porto Santo Stefano (upscale sea port), Talamone (gorgeous seaside village with lookout tower), Porto Ercole, food market in Grosseto and Castiglione della Pescaia (fishing villages on the seacoast).
- All transportation (to and from Rome or Grosseto).
- ARRIVAL: DAY 1 (SAT) – Transfer from Rome or Grosseto and arrival at Villa Poggiarello
Fly to Italy. Upon arrival at the airport of Rome, you will be accompanied by car or van to Roccastrada and then welcomed at your vacation residence – Villa Poggiarello. After settling in, your tour hosts will show you around the estate! Then you can either relax in the garden or take a walk around the enchanting outdoor ambiance amidst warm vineyards and olive groves. For dinner you will enjoy a Tuscan meal at a local restaurant near the Villa.
- Massa Marittima and Castiglione della Pescaia
You’ll start off the day by going to Massa Marittima. This fascinating town is situated in the area of the “Colline Metallifere” of La Maremma or Metalliferous hills of Southern Tuscany. Some its main architectural attractions are the beautiful Cathedral (the Duomo) built in the 13th century in Romanesque-Gothic style, as well a unique fountain, “La Fonte dell’Abbondanza” an attractive covered spring decorated with colorful frescos. Massa Marittima is home of an ancient Tuscan festival: the “Balestro del Girifalco” a crossbow competition between the quarters of the city where the participants and audience dress in medieval costumes and the prize for the winning arbalester is a golden arrow made by a local artisan. You will also enjoy a trip to the seacoast to the pretty seaside village of Castiglione della Pescaia. This old fishing village stands up high on a hill with its castle looking over the turquoise bay. You will enjoy a tasty lunch at a local restaurant. Once home, you can prepare a healthy Tuscan dinner (cooking lesson).
- Siena and local food festivals
In the morning, after your breakfast, you’ll set off for Siena. You will visit the famous Piazza del Campo, the main square where the people from Siena (“i Senesi”) organize, twice a year, a medieval horse race known as Il Palio. Facing the square there is the beautiful tour Torre del Mangia where, if you wish, you can climb up to the top to admire a marvelous view of the city. You can also visit the Duomo which is a gothic style cathedral. You will have lunch in a quaint restaurant nearby Piazza del Campo. During different times of the year, there are many celebrated local food festivals which take place to honor different types of harvest (Porcini mushroom, Olive oil, wine etc). These will be experienced whenever they are taking place! Once home, you can prepare a healthy Tuscan dinner (cooking lesson).
- Super Tuscan Red Wine Tour: Montalcino, Pienza & Montepulciano
Today, you will enjoy a trip to the various wineries of Southern Tuscany. Montalcino is known as a “luminous place” and its ancient name was Monte Ilcinus after the leccio “holm oak” (Quercus ilex.) The Oaks of Montalcino have covered its hills and valleys from prehistory to present day, sharing their territory with the Olive tree, the Chestnut tree and Montalcino's most famous plant the Brunello grapevine, also known as Sangiovese Grosso. Here, you will taste this famous Brunello wine in a unique ‘best-kept-secret’ winery. You will enjoy a tasty lunch at a local restaurant and also visit Montepulciano (and taste the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano) as well as experience the extraordinarily charming town of Pienza. Pienza owes its beauty and fame to Enea Silvio Piccolomini born in Corsignano on 18 October 1405 and elevated to Pope in 1458 taking the name Pius II. During the course of his Papacy, he changed the ancient Castello di Corsignano (first mentioned in 828) into a Papal residence in the Renaissance style, planned and constructed under the supervision of Bernardo Gambarelli called il Rossellino, a student of Leon Battista Alberti, and renamed it Pienza ("Pius"). In the evening, you will go out to dinner to a local restaurant.
- The small hill towns of Monte Amiata
In the morning, after your breakfast, you will set off visiting the small towns of Monte Amiata: the village of Arcidosso with its striking medieval castle, Santa Fiora with its historic center and ancient Parish Church which contains fine terracotta bas-reliefs by Andrea della Robbia (15th century), and La Peschiera, the private gardens and swimming pool of the Sforza family (16th century). You will then go to Abbadia San Salvatore, where you will visit its famous abbey and the crypt built by the Longobards, and finally, on your way home, you’ll take a ride through the enchanting forest of Monte Amiata. You will have lunch in a local restaurant and in evening at the Villa, you will enjoy a cooking class followed by dinner.
- Food Market in Grosseto & Mediterranean Sea: Argentario (Porto S. Stefano, Porto Ercole & Talamone)
For your last day, you will enjoy a trip to the coast. You will stop by in Grosseto and visit its food markets. Then you will get to experience the finest seaside villages Tuscany has to offer. The seafood cuisine here is delicious to the point that no words can describe. Naturally, after yesterday’s red wine tastings, today’s accompanying seafood wines shall be white. Perhaps try a Vernaccia, Greco del Tufo or let the locals make their on-the-spot finest recommendation. Many wealthy Italians, especially the super wealthy, crave hideaways, and this is for them. Exactly 150 km north of Rome, Argentario is an Italian version of the American Martha's Vineyard, but with better food and older money. Just three small strips of land, one of them a 7-km-long nature preserve, connect the 6,000-hectare mountain to the mainland. Spain controlled Monte Argentario in the 16th century and built an imposing series of stone fortresses and lookout towers along the Mediterranean water. Some of them have been converted into classy homes and apartments: solid dwellings for a solid crowd. In the evening, you will enjoy your farewell cooking course and dinner.
- DEPARTURE: DAY 7 (FRI)
Enjoy your final breakfast at Villa Poggiarello before heading back to Rome or Grosseto.