Picturesque, centuries-old villages rising from the landscape. Iconic paintings and sculpture that take your breath away. Rustic, age-old stone farmhouses in earthy, sun-baked shades of brown, gold, and terracotta. Delicious local food lovingly prepared, including the freshest olive oil, pasta, honey and wine.
Tuscany is a very Feminine land, with its soft hills and small villages, its beauty both natural and human-made, and its slow pace of living that encourages nourishment from the bounty of land and sea as well as from camaraderie with others.
This trip is for women to leave behind the stressful drivenness of our culture (which belittles Feminine values of nourishment and self-care), and soak in the Feminine part of our Being.
Feed your body and soul in this sumptuous, gorgeous land that will gently slow you down, warm your spirit, and leave you deeply satisfied.
Our group will gather in the late afternoon at our hotel on the banks of the river Arno, in a quieter section of town inhabited by locals yet just across the river from the tourist center.
You will enjoy a delicious Florentine dinner at a local restaurant with our guide for the next three days, art historian and Florence resident Viola Duse. https://violaduse.com/en/
Viola will pick us up in the morning for a 3-hour walking tour with special insider tips and visits. The afternoon will be at your leisure: to rest, to visit sights or museums, or to simply walk around and soak in the Florentine ambience.
We will bid adieu to Florence in the late morning and travel to our home for the next 5 days, the wonderful farmstead Spannocchia. After lunch, we will settle in and enjoy a tour of the property in the afternoon.
Our cooking class with resident cook Loredana begins at 9 AM with a tour through the vegetable gardens. Loredana was born on the farm and grew up in one of its tenant farming families. We will be preparing a three-course Tuscan meal utilizing food products from the estate.
The afternoon is yours to spend as you wish. Take a nap, read a book, amble around the farm, or rent a bicycle and explore the byways.
We will be transported back to the Middle Ages as we explore this renowned small city which is home to the Piazza del Campo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. The magnificent Gothic cathedral in the piazza is decorated with art from many famous artists, including a young Michelangelo.
Our guide Maile, who was born, raised and educated in Tuscany, is an art historian and musician who is passionate about her home region. On our 3-hour tour, Maile will give us in-depth information about the art we are seeing and the history of Siena, including the story of Santa Caterina, a female mystic, activist, and author who had a great influence on Italian literature and the Catholic Church.
After the tour, you will have free time to wander about or sit in the piazza and people-watch while enjoying a caffe or gelato. We will return to Spannochia in the afternoon.
Today we will visit San Gimignano, a well-preserved medieval town and UNESCO World Heritage Site. San Gimignano is often called one of the most picturesque and beautiful small towns in Tuscany. We will have ample time to wander around, visit the cathedral, poke into shops or hang out at a cafe. Time of the visit will be either morning or late afternoon, outside of the large tour bus times. Depending on that plan, we will visit another magical site either beforehand or afterwards.
In the late morning we will head south to the town of Montalcino and a place called Casato Prime Donne, a winery owned and run by women. We will learn about their wine production on a guided tour and be treated to a special lunch afterward.
We will say goodbye to Spannocchia and head back to Florence, to be dropped at the airport, to spend another day in that fair city, or to continue by rail with some of the group on to Venice! (Venice extension details are still being finalized - let me know if you're interested.)
Arriving by rail into this amazing city, we will take a private boat to our hotel and drop our bags. We will then embark on a private tour to orient ourselves to Venice.
We will take a half-day guided walking tour and skip the line to go into the spectacular St Mark's Basilica on St. Mark's Square at the center of Venice. The rest of the day will be at your leisure: people-watch at a cafe table in St. Mark's Square, wander the streets, visit one of the sites we walked past on the tour, or...?
We will visit these special villages that maintain their age-old traditions of glass- and lace-making, enjoying demonstrations and free time to wander around the shops.
We will return to Venice for more free time in this fascinating city.
Your adventures and experiences in this unique and magnificent part of the world will warm your heart forever.
September 18-28, 2022
Venice extension: September 28-October 1, 2022
Florence Airport for main trip
Depart from Venice Airport if going to Venice
Single Supplement for main trip is $500 (4 rooms available)
Single Supplement for Venice extension is _____.
Additional Single rooms may be available for a "super single supplement."
All meals except two lunches and dinners in Florence, and a possible lunch or dinner while on a trip from Spannocchia
All transportation once trip begins
All guided tours, entry fees and tips
Airfare to and from Italy
Two lunches and dinners while in Florence or while taking a trip from Spannocchia
I am here to answer any questions you have. Tuscany is a unique and amazing place, and I hope you choose to join me on this small group adventure!
Ready to sign up? A $500 nonrefundable deposit will hold your place. Contact me for details.
And please let me know if you are interested in the Venice extension and I will let you know as soon as it is priced.