- VILLA LAURA -This trip is offered exclusively to club members. To become a member, click here.
|Take a moment and picture yourself soaking up the Tuscan sun with a glass of Montepulciano in hand, a table spread with savory local dishes, and delightful company. Then make all that and more come true on this year’s sojourn to Villa Laura.
You’ll experience one of the oldest wineries in Tuscany, taste the famous Brunello from Montalcino, visit a family cheese farm and an ancient olive oil mill, wander through medieval streets and pause for gelato in Renaissance piazzas. Your week will be a sensual feast of sights, sounds, tastes, and the romantic charms of Tuscany.
3.30/4pm – Arrival time at Villa Laura.
6pm – “Aperitivo” is served! We will all gather to sip prosecco and get to know each other a little better. Louise, a local expert will give a short talk on the area and the history of the villa.
7.30pm – Evening meal is served. Prepared by the villa chef Francesco highlighting the regions seasonal, local cuisine using our organic vegetable garden and local produce.
|SUNDAY - Cortona
After a night of heavenly sleep, open your eyes to the Tuscan morning.
8.30am - Enjoy breakfast in the villa dining room before tying on your walking shoes and heading to Cortona.
9.30am – Louise and the bus will collect you to start your first day exploring the local area. Your city tour begins at Le Celle, the monastery that was once the home of St Francis of Assisi, and continues to the town of Cortona to see ancient Etruscan artifacts dug from the local hillsides, and learn about Tuscan life in the 2nd century BCE. Appetite primed, head to restaurant La Loggetta for a delicious lunch. Afterwards wander and shop through the cobblestone streets, duck into the ancient alleyways, and take in the sweeping views. Cortona really is the iconic Tuscan town of your imagination. When you’re ready to return to the villa either take your map with you and walk down or call a taxi. They can either collect you in the main square “Piazza Repubblica” (with the town hall and steps) or at the end of the shopping street (Via Nazionale) in the square with the big view “Piazza Garibaldi”.6.30pm – Aperitivo followed by pizzas at 7.30pm using our old stone oven in the farmhouse. Francesco will also invite you to get involved if you wish!
|MONDAY - Assisi
8.30am - Enjoy breakfast at the Villa.
9.30am – The bus will arrive to take you to Assisi, the birthplace of St Francis of Assisi and the spiritual capital of Umbria. Together with Louise you will tour the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Basilica di San Francesco, and the Basilica di Santa Chiara and get up close and personal with Italian art history. The basilica includes frescoes by Giotto, Lorenzetti, and Cimabue; stained glass windows from 13th-century British, German, and Flemish craftsmen; and relics from St Francis’ life. Following the basilica tour, explore Assisi in your own time, wander the cobble streets and visit the little artisan shops before meeting back up with the group.
1pm – Head to the Bibenda wine bar in the center of Assisi to meet with Sommelier and owner Nila Halun. Here you will have the opportunity to taste wines from the region of Umbria together with a light lunch consisting of local hams, cheeses, homemade jams and other local specialties.6.30pm - Aperitivo followed by dinner at 7.30pm.
TUESDAY– La Foce & Montalcino
9.30am - The bus leaves for the Val d’Orcia region to visit the beautiful and famous La Foce gardens, home of the Origo family. You will have a private tour of the gardens and learn about the incredible history of this 15th century villa and the Origo family who have inhabited it.
12.30pm - Head to the tiny medieval village of Monticchiello for lunch at Osteria la Porta. After lunch the bus will take you into the town on Montalcino, there you will have time to look around this beautiful town on your own before meeting back with the bus at 4pm.
On the way back to the villa we will stop at a beautiful local winery for a tour of their cellars and a chance to taste the famous Brunello di Montalcino wines.
7pm - Aperitivo followed by dinner at 8pm.
|WEDNESDAY – Cheese Making
8.30am – Enjoy breakfast at the villa
Today you will visit a local cheese farm for a cheese making lesson followed by lunch. It is a family run farm in the Cortona area: the father looks after the animals, the daughter runs the business and the mother does the cooking - a real family affair! Their sheep were also featured in the film “Under the Tuscan Sun”.
9.45am - Bus leaves for cheese farm where you will have a cheese making lesson with Lapo and his daughter Ilaria. Once your creations are complete they will serve a traditional homemade lunch consisting of products from their farm and home.This afternoon and evening are free for you to enjoy as you wish. If you would like to take a taxi into Cortona or would like to make a reservation at one of the many fantastic restaurants, please let us know and we will assist.
THURSDAY – Montepulciano & Pienza
9am – Leave the villa and head to the beautiful hill top town of Montepulciano. Louise will take you to all the sites and guide you through the ancient streets. You will then drive through the beautiful countryside to the farm Podere il Casale. There you will visit the farm, animals and enjoy a delicious lunch of their own organic produce.
After lunch head into the small, Renaissance gem that is Pienza. Explore the town with Louise and have some free time to shop, have an ice-cream in the town square or continue exploring the streets on your own before heading back to the villa.
6.30pm - Aperitivo followed by dinner at 7.30pm.
|FRIDAY – Relais Il Falconiere
11:15am - the bus will arrive to take you to the beautiful local Frantoio olive mill. The olive groves dominate the landscape in this area and are a very important part of every day life here. This morning you will visit a very old local mill, see the different processes and Louise will teach you how to really taste olive oil.
After the trip to the mill the bus will drop you off at Relais Il Falconeire for a delicious lunch in their Michelin starred restaurant.
The afternoon is free for you to enjoy as you wish. Explore Cortona one last time, do some shopping or just sit in one of the many cafes and soak up the atmosphere.
|SATURDAY – Arrivederci!
A simple buffet breakfast will be available before the bus comes to collect you at 7:30am.
|BOOK YOUR TRIP TODAY
Contact Teresa Hernando at 707.931.7544
or email firstname.lastname@example.org