Day 1: Meet in Florence – Arrival at the Villa Gaia. Our meeting place will be in Florence. After having arrived at the Villa Gaia Estate (about 2 hours drive from Florence) you will settle in your rooms. Then you can relax, feel at ease in your villa and prepare for your first cooking lesson in Tuscan cuisine followed by dinner.
Day 2: Montalcino and Wine tasting. Today you will visit the renowned Senese (Siena area) town of Montalcino. You will be visiting La Rocca, the 14th century fortress and Montalcino’s main piazza where you can stop and have a cappuccino in the piazza’s authentic liberty style café as well as shop for pottery in a local store. Then we will take you to visit a winery where you can have a light lunch and a tasting of the best wines of the Val d’Orcia including Brunello. Evening cooking course at the villa followed by dinner.
Day 3: Bagni di San Filippo and Pienza. Tuscany abounds with natural hot springs. During this tour you will visit the hot springs of Bagni di San Filippo. You will then continue to Pienza, where you will have lunch in a local restaurant and then visit its main square, Piazza Pio II, which is a model of Renaissance planning. Once home at the villa, you can prepare a healthy Tuscan dinner (cooking lesson).
Day 4: Montepulciano and Wine Tasting. Visit the magnificent town of Montepulciano with architectural masterpieces by Rosselini, and then enjoy its wines including Nobile di Montepulciano at a wine estate nearby. Dinner at Villa Gaia with cooking lesson.
Day 5: The villages of Monte Amiata. Today you will go to Santa Fiora, a village on the slopes of Monte Amiata. 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). Then you will continue to the other side of the mountain and stop in Abbadia San Salvatore where you will visit its famous abbey and crypt. For lunch you will stop in Arcidosso and pay a visit to Carlo. Cooking course and dinner at Villa Gaia.
Day 6: Castiglione della Pescaia. 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’ll enjoy dinner at one of the best-known restaurants in the area of Monte Amiata, which specializes in mushrooms and truffles.
Day 7: Departure. Transfer to Florence.