You’re Invited! Escape to Tuscany: October 2016
I’m going to Tuscany in October and YOU are invited to join me!
Wait, what?! Over the past month I’ve been collaborating with Arianna and Alessia from KMZero Tours to create what I would define as the perfect Escape to Tuscany – chock-full of activities, wine and incredible cuisine, based out of a gorgeous villa 30 minutes from Florence. For me, the best way to experience a destination is to soak it up, dig deep, and truly experience the culture and cuisine. Tuscany, perhaps one of the most famous and influential regions in Europe, is the birthplace of the Renaissance, Western Music, and the Italian Language. You’ve seen the paintings of the beautiful rolling countryside, you’ve savored the wines, and boy do you ever love the cuisine – breads, olive oils, fresh pastas and cheeses, soups. I’m dying to explore it all and want YOU to join me.
Arianna (of KMZero Tours) and I concocted the perfect plan for experiencing all that makes Tuscany so special- being active (biking, hiking, ballooning, and lots of exploring!), yet offering downtime for vineyard strolls or relaxing by the gorgeous pool. The process of putting together the perfect plan has been an incredible one and I’m SO grateful to have connected with sweet Arianna – a Tuscan native with a vivacious spirit!
Day 1 | Arrival to Florence with transfer to the villa in Montogoli. For our welcome dinner we’ll feast on homemade pizza from a wood-burning pizza oven and toast to the good life over chianti!
Day 2 | In the morning we’ll set off on a guided hike from the gorgeous village of Meratale Val di Pesa to Greti, en route we’ll have a refreshing “merenda” – a local panini in the fields paired with a good glass of wine. The hike will conclude at an organic goat cheese farm for cheese tasting and a tour. In the evening we’ll stroll to the village of Montefioralle (considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy!) and the famous village of Greve in Chianti to dine at an incredible slow food restaurant featuring local, sustainable cuisine.
Day 3 | Embracing our love for all things Tuscany – especially cuisine, we’ll take part in a 4 course cooking class with a passionate local chef at her charming culinary studio. Guided from the prep through the entire meal (antipasto to dolce) in a magical atmosphere where EVERY detailed to carefully planned and thought – it will be magnifico! In the afternoon we’ll tour a famous terra-cotta studio, engaging and learning about the craft from the artisans. As the sun sets we’ll toast to the good life with a meal back at the villa.
Day 4 | A day unlike any other: we’ll discover the secrets to the true of Italian cuisine: PASTA. We’ll spend time with a local pasta producer at a pasta workshop to learn about artisanal pasta – what makes it SO tasty and why it’s better than anything mass-produced (looking at you, Barilla!). Afterwards we’ll scoot on to FLORENCE to discover the San Frediano district, considered the most authentic part of Florence, for a walking and food-tasting tour with Arianna as our guide. We’ll conclude at Ponte Vecchio bridge capture our own iconic pictures. Wiggling to find more room in our bellies, in the evening we’ll have dinner at a small local restaurant featuring organic and seasonal products.
Day 5 | Bright and early, this day might be one of my favorites of the trip, get ready:
While the Tuscan sky still twinkles with stars, we’ll shuffle out the door to experience a dream unlike any other – a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Tuscan countryside! Apart from the magic of sailing across the sky in a basket (the science of this still baffles me!), the views of the rolling vineyards and villages below will be ones to savor for a lifetime. Upon landing we’ll have a delicious picnic of local cheeses, processco and local dishes. As if the day couldn’t get any better, after the balloon ride we’ll proceed on to a historic winery for a guided tour, tasting and lunch. In the afternoon we’ll head off on a bike ride to a nearby village to practice our Italian at the local grocery store, then return to the villa to prepare a polenta feast with our purchased provisions.
Day 6 | At our leisure we’ll spend the morning at Vernaccia di San Gimignano (the most famous Tuscan white wine with DOCG certification) for a tour, tasting and light lunch. (It should be noted that I live for Tuscan whites so I’m beside myself at the thought of experiencing this winery firsthand!) In the afternoon, you’ll join ME on a photo tour of San Gimignano – I’ll share all my secrets for getting beautiful village shots (like I did here) and we’ll try what’s considered the best ice cream in the world. Before departing we’ll stop in a local silver workshop to learn how a young and talented silversmith turns shapeless silver into works of art. Upon return to the villa, I’ll share techniques for editing your San Gimignano images in Lightroom to make them extra frame and Instagram-worthy!
Day 7 | Our final full day in Tuscany, we’ll hold back our tears (sorry, I can be dramatic!) and set out for a morning tour of a extra virgin olive oil producer. Lunch will be light but educational as we sop up the EVOO with crusty fresh baked bread. In the afternoon we’ll enjoy the Dolve Vita lifestyle with time to enjoy the pool and take a relaxing walk. In the afternoon we’ll sip apertivos with a local architect that knows a thing or two about Tuscan furniture and design, explaining how the style has become so influential in Western culture. Our final evening will conclude with a famous Florentine Steak and (of course) chianti toasts to a week well spent in Tuscany!
Day 8 | Morning departure back to the Florence airport.
I chianti believe how amazing this week is going to be!
What does the tour include?
We’ve bundled up everything into one dreamy Tuscan package to make the trip total bliss:
- lodging (7 nights in a gorgeous Chianti villa)
- all meals, beverages and wine – breakfast, lunch & dinner (with the exception for 2 dinners at local tavernas)
- all transportation – totally private (including pickup/dropoff from the Florence airport)
- experienced tour leader and guides
- all tours (including: historical Chantio Classico wine producer, artisanal olive oil mill, goat cheese farm, walking tours of Montefioralle and Greve in Chiani, artisanal pasta workshop, organic Vernacccia di San Gimignano wine producer, silver workshop, walking & food tour in Florence)
- hot air balloon ride over Tuscan countryside
- Tuscan design talk with local architect
- photography and walking tour in San Gimignano with yours truly! 😉
- 4 Course Cooking class with local chef
- guided hike through the vineyards
- fun Italian language workshop with Arianna
- bike tour in Mercantale Val di Pesa
That said, the only item you need to account for is your transportation to Florence!
Sounds amazing, how much will it cost?
Top to bottom, the trip will be 2,400 EUR for 8 days/7 nights if you sign up by June 1, 2016.
When and where is this magical Escape to Tuscany taking place?
After a lot of conversation, Arianna and I settled on October 15-22, 2016. Why? With the weather mild in Tuscany, the pool will still be open and it’ll be ideal for being out and about. Most importantly though: this is one of the peak weeks for witnessing the fall colors vibrantly settle on the Tuscan countryside. As a photography-lover I can’t wait to capture the change in foliage.
Lastly, let’s talk about this villa. For the blissful week we’ll be staying at the Montrogoli villa – designed and decorated in true Tuscan style, the place is gorgeous and perfect for conversation, creativity and comfort. Only pictures can do it true justice:
WHO, exactly, is invited?
You! I collaborated with Arianna extensively over the past month about the itinerary and activities with YOU in mind. That said, this is trip is NOT a large tour-bus gathering of The Overseas Escape readers and friends, instead it’s limited to small, intimate group of adults that love seeing, doing, and experiencing. I will (of course) be there as a host and fellow traveler!
I’m really interested, how can I find out more?
Wonderful! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
>> UPDATE 5/15:
WOW. Only 2 spots left! Contact me asap if you’d like to join!
>> UPDATE 6/1:
SOLD OUT! Email me if you’d like to join us next time! email@example.com