Discover, on foot, all the delights of the fabled Tuscan lifestyle, its flawless landscape, the Val d'Orcia, extraordinary artwork and three beautiful gardens. Dates 2019: 2nd - 8th June
In Tuscany the walking starts in the Val d’Orcia - a stunning and flawless landscape of winding roads, Renaissance hill towns, Lombardy poplars, fields of swaying grasses, neat vines and shady olive groves.
Here you will discover on foot the beautiful Tuscan lifestyle that has been nurtured for millennia, encounter the quiet beauty of Renaissance archiecture in Pienza, taste the world famous Brunello wines in Montalcino and Montepulciano and wander the ancient streets of Siena, Volterra and San Gimignano.
There is so much to cram in we do not walk every day. Spending a whole day and night in Siena there is a cookery demonstration during which we will help prepare a traditional lunch with pasta and artichokes and biscotti. Then in the afternoon we will tour the sights of Siena and gain a knowledgeable insight from James, your guide, into some of the great Gothic works of the city.
Up the hills of Volterra is your last day's walk for the extraordinary panoramic views of Tuscany stretching on the one side to the distant quarry of Michelangelo at Carrara and on the other to the strange hills shaped as if they came from the depths of a Piero della Francesca painting.
Visits to three stunning gardens enhance this Tuscan experience, each intrinsically different: classically Italianate Ruspoli, poetic and fantastical Bomarzo and lastly exquisite, historical La Foce created by Iris Origo who also wrote the critically acclaimed 'Val d'Orcia', a war diary written from her own experiences at La Foce whose story can not leave you untouched.
James hosts this trip. Hotels, restaurants and visits have been carefully selected to reveal the character and colour of Tuscany. All meals are included and lunch will be a mix of picnics and restaurants.
These are 2 converted farmhouses on the Palazzo Massaini estate outside the ancient town of Pienza built by Pope Pius II as the ideal Renaissance town. From here there are outstanding views over the Val d’Orcia, a world heritage site. There are 6 en suite bedrooms and a swimming pool also with an amazing view. Wifi. 3 nights.
Formerly an 1870s neoclassical villa this hotel is situated in the historic centre of Siena within easy walking of the Piazza del Campo and the Duomo. It has 48 rooms with all the amenities: bathroom with shower or bathtub, hairdryer, safe deposit box, air-conditioning, telephone, Wi-Fi, TV with Sky Vision. Wifi. 2 nights.
A 15th century former palace in the heart of historic San Gimigniano. 3 star, air-conditioning, satellite TV. All bedrooms en suite. Wifi. 2 nights.
Grade Of WalkingThere is quite a lot of 'off piste' walking in Tuscany but the ground is solid. You could be walking through long grass or ploughed field depending on the whims of the farmers but most of the week though is on the famous strade bianche which are limestone white paths that make very good walking. We will cover a maximum of 70 kilometres. We always suggest walking the morning walk. For those feeling tired in the afternoon there is always a vehicle to take you back to the hotel. Our hotels have been carefully chosen (see ACCOMMODATION) so they are all excellent places for relaxing, reading and just taking it easy. The fact that we do not officially offer time in the villages that we stay in, as we always have walks on offer, means that often people will take an afternoon off to enjoy village life.
FOOD & WINE
In the Val d’Orcia, in a proud moment of Italy’s distinctive, regional cuisine, the pasta is tossed before your eyes within a huge, circular cheese before serving. In Siena and San Gimignano the restaurants boast their own specialities and otherwise you will be seated with picnics of fresh produce before collapsing for a snooze on the cushions and rugs.
There are 2 distinctive wine regions in Tuscany: for Montalcino we will taste Brunello wines while lunching in a small village and for Montepulciano the knowledgeable and incorrigible Adamo will introduce us to Vino Nobile at his Contucci winery. We will get to grips with some Sangiovese Super Tuscans and San Gimignano Vernaccia amongst the whites.
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SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT
2 Jun - 8 Jun