Day 1: Depart from U.S. to Rome or Florence and arrival to Arcidosso. Fly to Italy. Upon arrival at the airport of Rome or Florence, you will be accompanied by car or bus to the village of Arcidosso and then welcomed to your vacation home next to the castle. After settling in, your host and chef, Carlo will show you his beautiful home, yours too for a whole week! Then you can either relax in the garden or take a walk through the enchanting streets of Arcidosso. For dinner you will enjoy a Tuscan meal prepared by Carlo (with optional cooking course).
Day 2: The little towns of Monte Amiata. In the morning, after having had breakfast at home or at a local cafe for a cappuccino, you’ll take off for Santa Fiora, a village just 7 km away from Arcidosso. There you’ll visit the historic center and an ancient Parish Church which contains fine terracotta bas-reliefs by Andrea della Robbia (15th century), and La Peschiera, the private gardens and swimming pool of the Sforza family (16th century). You will then go Radicofani, a striking hill town and have lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch, on the way home, you will stop in Abbadia San Salvatore where you will visit its famous abbey and the crypt built by the Longobards. Cooking course followed by dinner.
Day 3: The Etruscan villages: Pitigliano, Sorano, Sovana. You’ll start off the day by going to Pitigliano. This medieval town built on tufa stones features a fascinating ghetto with its own Synagogue and Jewish cemetery. Then, we’ll continue to Sorano, where you can visit the massive fortress (built by the Orsini family), the rest of village and have lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch, we will go to Sovana, Pope Gregory VII’s birthplace, visit its country church and the old town square which is surrounded by cafes and little souvenir shops. Once home, you can prepare a healthy Tuscan dinner with Carlo (cooking lesson).
Day 4: Siena. In the morning, after your breakfast, you’ll set off for Siena. You will visit the famous Piazza del Campo, the main square where the people from Siena (“i senesi”) organize, twice a year, a medieval horse race known as Il Palio. Facing the square there is the beautiful tour Torre del Mangia, where if you wish, you can climb up to the top to admire a marvelous view of the city. You can also visit the Duomo which is a baroque style cathedral. At the end of morning, will have a lunch in a quaint restaurant in Piazza del Campo. Once home, and after having rested, you can prepare with Carlo a healthy Tuscany dinner (cooking lesson).
Day 5: Montalcino (wine country), Pienza. In the morning, you’ll set off for Montalcino, a town famous for its Sangiovese grape vineyards that produce the celebrated Brunello wine. You will visit the magnificent 14th century Rocca (a fortress), have lunch in a local restaurant and then enjoy yourself wandering around the village and exploring picturesque little shops. You will then continue to Pienza, visit its main square, Piazza Pio II, which is a model of Renaissance planning. This main piazza is so attractive that it was recently used to shoot scenes for the film The English Patient. Evening dinner with cooking course at home.
Day 6: Castiglione della Pescaia and farewell dinner. For the last day in Southern Tuscany, you will enjoy a trip to the seacoast to the pretty seaside village of Castiglione della Pescaia. This old fishing village stands up high on a hill with its castle looking over the turquoise bay. You will enjoy a tasty lunch at a local restaurant. In the evening, you will have your last cooking class for the farewell dinner.
Day 7: Departure. You can choose to have a final breakfast at the house or at your favorite cafe in Arcidosso before heading back to the airport.