We walk at an unhurried pace in tune with nature along paths lined with cypresses in a beautiful patchwork-quilt landscape. We visit medieval hill-towns, frescoed churches and monasteries and stroll through local markets with bread, fresh fruit, vegetables and cheeses displayed in an appetizing array. There is no better place to end a walk than in the kitchen, holding a glass of wine with delicious smells and flavors all around. So to compliment our walking we organize hands-on culinary afternoons in our professional demonstration kitchen where you can learn the secrets of traditional local recipes with our chef, using seasonal ingredients to create authentic dishes. Enjoy wine selected appropriately to go with all the delicious food.
A visit to a Tuscan Winery
We meet at 11.00 at Cortona station and head to the vineyards of one of the finest producers of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano in Tuscany. The guided tour of the winery gives a fascinating insight into the making and ageing of wine and is followed by a delicious luncheon served with wines chosen to enhance the tasting experience. Return to Cortona to relax and settle in before joining us for a welcome drink.
We start our walk at the spiritual and tranquil setting of Le Celle, 12th Century Franciscan hermitage, continue through oak forests & olive groves and pass luxurious villas to arrive at the Etruscan tombs. After a guided tour we enter Cortona through one of the ancient city gates and explore its medieval streets and monuments. You may wish to indulge in a gelato, but don't spoil your appetite for a tasty picnic in the shady tree-lined park. Free time in the afternoon before returning to Cortona to visit the Etruscan museum and sit with a cappuccino in an outdoor cafe.
Hannibal’s trail & Culinary afternoon
A half day walk directly from our farmhouse leads to Hannibal's Point and the exquisite Romanesque church of Sepoltagli. We are rewarded with a picnic lunch under the shade of umbrella pines with stunning views of Lake Trasimeno at the scene of the 2nd Century BC battle between the Carthaginians and Romans. In the afternoon a chef guides you through the preparation of a Tuscan dinner. (4hrs/8miles)
Pienza - Monticchiello - Montepulciano
We explore the fine renaissance architecture of Pienza, perched like a balcony over the Val D’Orcia, enjoy the delicious smell and taste of the famous Pecorino sheep’s milk cheese. Then walk along country lanes overlooking the Val d’Orcia to the walled hamlet of Montichiello for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon we explore the narrow streets of Montepulciano ending the day at the Renaissance Tempio di San Biagio church with its stunning avenue of Tuscan cypresses. (4hrs/8miles)
Bagno Vignoni - Sant'Antimo - Montalcino
We visit the ancient village of Bagno Vignoni to see the Roman bath which occupies the main square and then start our walk at the battlements of the Castello di Ripa D’Orcia with magnificent views of the River Orcia below. By way of trails through farmland and vineyards we reach the Romanesque monastery of Sant' Antimo, founded by Charlemagne in 781. Our approach to the picnic is lined with cypress trees and then we take a walking tour of the hill-town of Montalcino ending with a Brunello wine tasting at the medieval Fortress.(4hrs/8miles)
Monte Oliveto & Culinary afternoon
We travel to the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore set in a spectacularly eroded landscape known as Crete Senese. Here fine Renaissance frescoes by Sodoma and Signorelli adorn the cloister telling the story of St Benedict. A wonderful circular ridge walk follows the visit, with lunch in a remote hamlet as our reward. In the afternoon we prepare for another informal yet intensive exploration of regional cooking. (2hrs/4miles)
Today we are accompanied by an art historian who leads us on a walking tour in the heart of gothic medieval Siena. We visit one of the most richly decorated cathedrals in the world with masterpieces by Duccio, Pisano, Lorenzetti, Donatello, Pinturicchio and Michelangelo. In the Campo Square we learn about the world famous Palio horse race. The rest of the morning is free for independent exploration. In the afternoon we relax in the hot springs of a local Spa and enjoy our last dinner together.
Departure from Terontola-Cortona station
Scheduled departure at 9.00 for Cortona train station (20mins). If you wish, we can help to extend your stay or make other independent departure arrangements.
Dates for 2013 :- 25 May - 1 June
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Europe Italy Outdoor: Land Rambler Walking Tours Food & Wine