The Flavours of Tuscany by Air – Autumn 2020
Prices from £1,495 per person
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Follow a trail of fine wines and cheeses whilst taking in some of the best experiences in a hidden corner of Tuscany. Renowned for its vineyards, enchanting hilltop hamlets, olive groves and cypress trees, this stretch of Tuscan coast is home to some of Italy’s most desirable ‘slow’ destinations where you can delve into the laid-back way of life that has existed here for centuries.
6 night / 7 day holiday by air from £1,195 per person.
Day 1 – By air to Pisa and onward to the heart of Tuscany
Your holiday begins this morning as you fly from London Heathrow with British Airways to Pisa.
On arrival at Pisa airport you will be met by Luca, the charming owner of the Relais dei Molini – beautifully set in the pretty village of Castagneto Carducci, and your accommodation for the next six nights. You are transferred from the station through the delightful countryside of Tuscany to the village, surrounded by ancient olive trees. After time to settle in, enjoy dinner in a traditional local restaurant this evening.
Day 2 – Bolgheri and its wines
After collecting your hire car, enjoy a day discovering the flavours and wines of the Bolgheri Doc area, one of the world’s most famous wine-producing regions. During the day you visit the pretty village of Bolgheri, a beautiful hamlet known for its ‘Viale dei Cipressi’ – a sweeping avenue with wonderful cypresses along its length. The village itself, protected by an arched gate, has remained virtually untouched by time; the historical buildings, old roads, charming corners and little shops have seen remarkably little change in centuries. Whilst here, be sure to take in the views of the sea and the islands of the Tuscan archipelago in the distance.
In Bolgheri you stop at a local winery for a guided visit, followed by a tasting of some of their best wines. Then make your way back to Castagneto Carducci for a delicious lunch with the locals – all made with a selection of historic recipes handed down through the generations, including homemade pasta and wild boar sauce amongst others. The rest of your day is then at leisure to perhaps explore this medieval village and learn about the secrets of a local liquor producer, a family-run business dating back over 200 years.
Day 3 – Calidaro Thermal Springs
Rich in natural springs, Tuscany is one of the most important thermal basins in Europe – and the incredible properties of the waters here have been harnessed since ancient times, by both the Romans and the Etruscans.
Some of the most celebrated baths are within easy reach of the Relais dei Molini, such as the Calidario where you have included admission today. The Calidario is a source of hot water at 36 degrees that flows directly into the natural swimming pool which is accessed via heated changing rooms with direct internal passage. A dive into the past to the times when the Etruscan people allowed themselves baths and massages in a unique and fascinating environment, a place where harmony and well-being can still be found today.
Day 4 – Lucca and its culinary traditions
Today you drive to Lucca, a charming walled city with a beautifully preserved medieval core. Here you enjoy an authentic Tuscan cooking lesson in Mrs Teresa’s rustic rural farmhouse. After being greeted with a welcome drink, you begin by sourcing fresh ingredients directly from the orchard. Mrs Teresa then imparts her secrets, so you can cook some of the best Tuscan dishes – before settling down to enjoy them for lunch.
Your afternoon is then free to discover more of the city of Lucca. Wander through the cobbled streets and elegant piazzas, admire one of the numerous churches, or marvel at the walls which encircle this beautiful city flanked by towers and smart boutiques. For those feeling energetic, views of Lucca’s terracotta rooftops and the nearby Tuscan hills are best enjoyed from the top of the distinctive Guinigi Tower, complete with a tree growing from its top (payable locally).
Day 5 – A day at leisure
Make the most of a free day to discover more of the surrounding area. You may wish to head towards the coast, perhaps taking in the towns of Campiglia Marittima or Suvereto. Alternatively, you may prefer to explore the parks of the Cornia Valley (where cycle hire is available) and take a route through the vineyards and the amazing scenery. For wine lovers, you could visit one of the local wineries, or even take in the nearby wine museum.
Day 6 – Fattoria Lischeto and Volterra
This morning you drive to the walled town of Volterra. Here you visit the Lischeto Farm, which keeps and develops the local traditions of sheep breeding and cheese production in Tuscany. On some occasions it is possible to walk with the sheep in a ‘shepherding’ experience. This cheese is still made using time-honoured traditions that are rarely used nowadays yet is still renowned for its unmistakeable flavour. Today you visit the farm and the cheese laboratory, to learn about the techniques of cheese production and to make your own cheese! Lunch is served at the farm, using produce made on site.
In the afternoon you have the chance to discover more of Volterra. The town is known for its rich history dating back centuries, with Etruscan, Roman Medieval and Renaissance chapters in its long past. Volterra is also celebrated for its unique landscape of cliffs, gullies and terrestrial graves and for its traditional hand-made alabaster objects made by local artisans.
Back in Castagneto Carducci this evening you enjoy a farewell meal to mark your last night in Tuscany.
Day 7 – Homeward bound
Today after returning your car, Luca transfers you to Pisa airport where you fly to Bristol with EasyJet for the final leg of your homeward journey.
Situated in Castagneto Carducci, the glorious Relais dei Molini (4 star) is a traditional yet modern Tuscan Relais furnished with style and elegance among the olive trees with a unique view of the Bolgheri Doc vineyards and the islands of the Tuscan archipelago. Here you can enjoy a carefree holiday in an elegant Tuscan rural house where you can discover the flavours and traditions of a small corner of Tuscany, feeling a world away – and at the same time not at all far – from the region’s main cities.
Each morning a buffet breakfast is served; in warmer weather you can sit out on the patio that opens on the horizon over the delightful Tuscan countryside. There is also a garden with a hot tub. The beautifully appointed en suite rooms are equipped with LCD TV, free Wi-Fi, minibar, safe, air conditioning and kettle with selection of coffee, tea and herbal teas. Each room also has its own outdoor space equipped with armchairs and small tables.
Holiday duration is 7 days
For information and booking
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