Delightful Tuscany

special(Departure Tuesday mornings, February – December
Delightful Tuscany is a private journey through Tuscany that takes you to small, easily missed villages in the Chianti and Tuscan countryside. You home base at a quaint bed & breakfast near Panzano and are driven on day trips learning about the area’s history, discovering colorful markets, eat the best gelato you’ll ever have in Castellina, see how olive oil is pressed and cheese is made. Visit the local butcher, Dario, and explore Chianti known for its tasty red wine made from Sangiovese grapes. Delightful Tuscany is your chance to meet locals and hear their secrets about food and life.

Day 1 – Florence/Greve/Fagiolari
You are met by your guide and driven one hour to Chianti for a day of wine tasting. Visit Greve en route to your charming guesthouse, Fagiolari.

You are met by your guide and driven one hour to Chianti for wine tasting and a visit to the lovely town of Greve. Drive to Giulietta’s Bed & Breakfast in Fagiolari, your home for the next 6 nights.B&B Fagiolari(6 nights)

Chianti is one of Italy’s prime wine regions and also the name of its famous red wine made from Sangiovese grapes. Olive groves are also the region’s pride. Olives are pressed in November and December and the olio nuovo or new oil, is very piquant for the first several months, and is especially tasty on bruschetta and ribollita.

Greve’s piazza is fronted by numerous medieval aged buildings, including the 11th century Chiesa Santa Croce which was rebuilt in 1325 after being burned to the ground, along with the rest of the town, by the Duke of Lucca. In the piazza there is also a monument of navigator Giovanni da Verrazzano, who is believed to have been born nearby.

Bed & Breakfast Fagiolari is located in an 800 year-old, beautifully restored country house, surrounded by its own olive trees, vineyard and forest. It’s in the heart of Tuscany near many other small villages and towns. Here you can enjoy the quietness of country life and dine on fresh foods and fine wine. Fagiolari has been recommended in Karen Brown’s travel guides for the past 12 years.

Day 2 – Fagiolari/Panzano/Montefioralle/Fagiolari
In the morning, drive 30 minutes to see a farm where both cheese and wine are made (with a tasting, of course!) Then a visit Accademia del Buon Gusto in Panzano, meet Dario the butcher and take a walking tour of the village. After lunch, have desert in Castellina, the best gelato in Tuscany. Learn to cook Tuscan style at Pasta al Pesto with Stefania. After your private cooking class enjoy dinner. Drive back to Fagiolari. (Montefioralle is 15 minutes from Panzano.)

Day 3 – Fagiolari/Lucca/Fagiolari
Drive two hours to Lucca where you are met by a personal guide who will give you a 4-hour tour of the city. After lunch, a walk or bike ride around the promenade atop the walls of the Lucca. If there’s time, a stop at the Leaning Tower of Pisa on the way back to Fagiolari.

Lucca is famous for its intact Renaissance-era city walls. The walls were originally built as a fortress but as they lost their military importance, they became a pedestrian promenade which encircled the old town. They were used for a number of years in the 20th century for racing cars. They are still fully intact today. Look closely as each of the four principal sides is lined with a different tree species.

Day 4 – Fagiolari/Volterra/San Gimignano/Fagiolari
Take an hour and a half drive to Volterra with a stop along the way at a frantoio to see where olives are pressed to make olive oil. Although the olive harvest doesn’t begin until late-October, it’s interesting to see the process and visit the gift shop at the frantoio. Explore Volterra and after lunch, drive 45-minutes to the charming town of San Gimignano before heading back to Fagiolari.

Volterra was an important Estrucan center with an original civilization. The city was a bishop’s residence in the 5th century, and its episcopal power was affirmed during the 12th century. With the decline of the episcopate, Volterra became a place of interest of the Florentines who eventually conquered Volterra.

San Gimignano is a small walled medieval town which sits high on a hill. It is mainly famous for its medieval architecture, especially its towers, which may be seen from many miles outside the town. The town also is known for the white wine produced from the Vernaccia grape which is grown in the area.

Day 5 – Fagiolari/Greve/Siena/Fagiolari
Visit the vibrant and colorful Saturday morning local market in Greve. Drive one hour to Siena for lunch. After lunch, you are met by your guide who will give you a private tour of the city. Then drive back to Fagiolari with a stop in Castellina for gelato en route.

Siena’s historic center has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the Italy’s most visited town. Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums and medieval cityscape. The famous Palio horse race is held here twice yearly.

Day 6 – Fagiolari/Panzano/Radda/ Fagiolari
Visit the Sunday morning local market in Panzano. After lunch, explore Radda and a nearby ceramic studio. Return to Fagiolari.

Radda is a quaint small town with a lovely town square along with coffee shops and pizzerias. You will enjoy strolling the cobbled streets.

Day 7 – Depart Fagiolari/Florence
You are driven to Florence for your departure flight or to continue exploring Italy.

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Optional Day Trips:
– Cinque Terre
– the Ligurian coast
– Umbria
– hiking in the Alpi Apuane north of Lucca
– and in the Dolomiti close to the Austrian border
– Piemonte, as well as the Lake District
– the Amalfi coast area south of Naples

Note: This a privately guided tour