A-LIST Hits Tuscany - 2002

October 11
Depart your home city for Florence Italy. Meals, drinks and headsets included on over night flight.
October 12
Arrive Florence: Meet motor coach drive to Lucca have a brief tour and lunch will be served in a local restaurant. Travel to our Villa for in Tuscany with stop at Pisa.
October 13
TUSCAN COUNTRY SIDE: After light do it yourself breakfast at the villa. This day begins with a visit to the Monte Olive to Maggiore Abbey (1313), with the frescoes by Luca Signorelli. Then we go to Pienza, the city of Pope Pius II, with its perfect Reinassance main square designed by Rossellino. We will walk to the Cathedral and its Gothic and early Renaissance altarpieces. Our next stop will be at a castle where local wines, pecorino cheese and bruschetta will be offered. We will then be drive to Montepulciano for a walk around this Reinassance village that is also famous for its Nobile wine. Return to Villa and dinner will be cooked at Villa for us.
October 14
DISCOVER THE ETRUSCANS: After light do it yourself breakfast at villa we will discover who were those egalitarian Etruscans. A pre-Roman society where women were equal (gulp), sex the play of the Gods (baby!) and fine art, food and necropoli were all part of everyday living. Volterra was a center of Etruscan life before the Roman Empire and today is Italy's most important center of alabaster craftsmanship, a direct link to its Eturscan past. From Volterra we will drive to visit the Cistercian Abbey of San Galgano (1218) with its roofless church. And then the church of Montesiepi dedicated to St. Galgano with the Saint's sword miraculously stuck in a rock and frescoes by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Return to Villa and dinner will be cooked at Villa for us.
October 15
SIENA: After light do it yourself breakfast at the villa. This day we will explore Sienna with a tour guide. We will see the Piazza del Campo, where the annual "Palio"” horse race tales, the Town Hall and the magnificent Cathedral. Lets not forget St. Catherine’s head. This afternoon free to shop and sight see further. Dinner in Siena after dinner return to villa.
October 16
SAN GIMIGNANO: After light do it yourself at villa. Spend the morning enjoying the villas surroundings. Afternoon excursion to San Gimignano. This charming town is known for its towers and textiles. Dinner at San Gimignano. Return to villa after dinner.
October 17
DAY OF OLIVE OIL AND WINE: This day of splendid wine tasting begins at the Benedectine Abbey of St. Antimo, founded in 781 A.D. Villa Banfi, an important producer of Brunello, is the next stop on this itinerary. Lunch and a wine tasting will be served in the castle. After lunch we will go to expert olive growers, where you will learn more about Virgins and Oil than you ever thought possible. Oil tasting in the world's best oil producing region. Ever had fresh olive oil? It is heavenly, especially with some good bread and procutto.
October 18
UMBRIA: Light do it yourself breakfast at Villa. Then we will head into the state of Umbria, Visit Orvieto and travel to "Under the Tuscan sun" Cortona for sunset and dinner. Back to Villa to pack.
October 19
FLORENCE: After light do it yourself breakfast. Check out of villa and travel to Florence and discover the romantic city. Enjoy a walking tour in the center of Florence. Day free to shop, visit Academia and see Michelangelo’s David, the Dumo, or Medici Chapel. Dinner in Florence and evening to explore Florence.
October 20
Travel back to USA with some good memories, food and photos.

Description of Villa:

San Donnino "Saint Little Woman" is a lone farmhouse whose origins were a countryside church in the heart of the beautiful Senese Crete. This is the set up: take the lone road gravel that departs from Ville Corsano. What a view you the Senese before you unfolds. Matter of fact, this farmhouse is the subject of many postcards of the area and the place from where many photographers have chosen to capture the magic of the Crete. The Senese Crete is the area southeast of Siena that most people think of when they envision Tuscany... tree-barren hills of soft rolling green, a lone stand of Italian Cypress that defines a ridge, a small farmhouse or church that stands above a small cluster of trees over fields of amber grains. Sound like the dream? This is it.

The views are unbelievable and the renovation and interior matches the excellence of location. Although our pictures Large, spacious and perfectly renovated it has been furnished with some wonderful antiques, a few faux-antiques and some contemporary and rather tasteful furnishings for 21st Century comfort. They also have used wood and wrought iron design from the middle ages. The hinges, wood and latches are so authentic that I am sure an antique dealer would be stumped. But the results are an alchemy that matches the enthusiasm and kind demeanor of the owner. A farmer to be sure (they produce a whole lot of wine from some 200 hectares) as his family has worked these very hills for 400 years. Like an Italian farmer, his smile is big and heart genuine, as he wants you to experience the magic of this place.

There are actually three apartments in the farmhouse and two more (each Sleeping 2) in the adjacent building. But the layout is rather ingenious as the labyrinth of rooms for a big party (21 plus people). There is also a large kitchen and dining room for just such an occasion. Pool and washing machine.

Apartment Camino sleeps 6+2 - Ground floor: spacious living room with fireplace, kitchen /dining room and single sofa bed, bathroom with shower (suitable for wheelchairs). 1st floor: double room with bathroom (shower), twin bedded room, double room (with extra bed), bathroom with shower with particularly nice views.

Apartment Pozzo sleeps 5+1 - Ground floor: living/dining room with kitchen corner and single sofa bed. 1st floor: double room with bathroom (shower), room with 3 beds, and bathroom with shower.

Apartment Loggia sleeps 5+1 - First floor: Loggia, spacious living/dining room with kitchen corner, fireplace and single sofa bed, double room (with extra bed), twin bedded room, bathroom with shower.

Apartments Radi and Crete each sleeps 2 in a separate building across the courtyard. Ground floor: Dining room with kitchen in a cupboard, double room, bathroom with shower. For large parties: An additional kitchen and dining room for everyone to eat together.

Tour Includes:

Itinerary provided by:Travel Time Services, Inc.

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