SimpleItaly Adventure in Tuscany Tour

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A Celebration of the Senses

April 5–12, 2014

Tuscany awaits you.

Tuscany awaits you. The estate of Montestigliano encompasses nearly 2,500 acres, 1,700 of which are wooded with oak, cypress, fig, and more than 3,000 olive trees.

You’re invited . . .

Tuscany is filled with magical places. Places that inspire awe, surprise you with their beauty, link you to the seasons, nature, and the rich heritage of Italian life, laughter, art, food, and wine.

But few Tuscan locales offer the splendid seclusion, the golden patina, and the warmth of family-owned stewardship as Villa Pipistrelli. We’ve reserved both intimate villas at Pipistrelli and invite you to indulge your “Inner Italian” with an uncommon celebration of the senses.

Your home in the Tuscan countryside.

Your home in the Tuscan hills south of Siena.

Like the richness of a Sassicaia Super-Tuscan vino rosso, we’ve blended a unique combination of off-site adventures, on-site experiences, and the luxury of free time to inspire you to look at life in a fresh way. You will see, taste, touch, smell, and hear Tuscany instead of watching it flash by from the windows of a massive motorcoach.

Unpacking only once, our party (limited to 14) will have Pipistrelli as a private home.

You’ll hear birdsong but few man-made noises.

Rosmarino is a signature flavor of Tuscan cucina.

Rosmarino is a signature flavor of la cucina Toscana.

You’ll breathe in the evocative scent of rosemary.

You’ll arise and venture to la terrazza serena to witness the dawn paint thousands of acres of pristine wooded valley in morning splendor. Or be there at sunset with a glass of wine to whisper buona notte to the fading light.

You’ll go as hard or easy as you like over walking trails along cypress-lined lanes or through forest stands of old oaks.

You’ll indulge your inner artist with a watercolor painting lesson in a shady piazza.

Whatever you choose to do, you will dance to a refreshing new rhythm. It will be a welcome and well-deserved escape from the familiar frenzy of day-to-day life.

Walter and Sharon love to share their passion for Italian culture.

Walter and Sharon love to share their passion for Italian culture.

We met, loved, lived, and married in Tuscany, and continue nurturing and sharing our Inner Italian through our cookbooks, award-winning simpleitaly.com blog, and other media outlets.

Over the years, we’ve created an informal network of like-minded experts who will share their insiders’ perspectives with access to venues such as the Arezzo Antiques Fair, held only 12 times each year, a private tour of a Palio contrada in Siena, and Tenuta di Spannocchia, a model of historical preservation and agricultural sustainability.

On the Artisinal Food and Wine Day and Art and Culture Day, we’re bringing the experts to you so you can spend your time learning from and interacting with these talented people instead of sitting on a bus.

Imagine spending an afternoon with James Martin of wanderingitaly.com and abouteurope.com, Martha Bakerjian of goitaly.about.com, and Jennifer Criswell, author of At Least You’re in Tuscany, sharing their knowledge of travel, regional culture, writing, photography, and living in Tuscany.

We are not “destination collectors.” We don’t travel to accumulate passport stamps. We travel to experience, to learn, to use our senses to better understand what is around us and to share those discoveries with others.

Please join our intimate group. Savor la cucina, la cultura, l’arte, i giardini, i vini, and la vita bella that Tuscans are so blessed to call their own.

We hope that you’ll be transformed by our SimpleItaly Adventure in Tuscany.

Sharon and Walter 

 

Welcome to your Tuscan villa.

The Villa Pipistrelli renovation preserves the traditional exposed beam ceilings, lime washed walls in soft colors, and terracotta tiled floors, with touches of modern Italian design in the fireplaces, bathrooms, and outdoor features.

SimpleItaly Adventure in Tuscany Tour Itinerary

Day 1–Saturday, April 5

Arrival

Transfer from the Florence Airport to Villa Pipistrelli, just southwest of Siena. The villa is sited on a secluded hilltop and is part of the Montestigliano estate. Carefully curated by the Donati siblings—Luisa, Massimo, Damiano, Virginia, and Marta—the Donatis and their concierge, Francesco, will treat you like part of the family.

Settle into your room and explore the stunning private grounds overlooking pristine wooded hills and valleys.

Evening welcome antipasti and vini with Walter and Sharon and our Inner Italian family to get acquainted and discuss the adventures ahead.

Each bedroom is decorated in a signature fashion.

Each double bedroom, with private bath, is decorated in a signature fashion by antiques expert and interior designer Susan Pennington.

Day 2–Sunday, April 6

 Arezzo

La Colazione (breakfast) at Villa Pipistrelli is abundant: brioche, cheese, bread, prosciutto, yogurt, pancakes, fruit, jam, honey, coffee, and tea.

Afternoon at the Fiera Antiquaria in the center of Arezzo. This internationally famous antiques fair attracts more than 500 renowned dealers and occurs only 12 times a year. Our escort will be antiques expert Susan Pennington who knows many of the dealers personally.

We'll enjoy a rare opportunity to browse the Arezzo antiques fair.

You’ll find one-of-a-kind mementos at the Arezzo Antiques Fair.

Viewing of the incomparable Piero della Francesca fresco cycle “Legend of the True Cross” in the Basilica of San Francesco.

Gelato time.

La cena (dinner) with wine at Montestigliano. Most lunches and dinners will be shared family-style at the main house of Montestigliano. Hand-made pastas, seasonal vegetables, porchetta, grilled meats, salads, and local pecorino cheeses are among the offerings.

The pleasures of the table are an essential element of your Tuscan adventure.

Luisa and Massimo Donati, their siblings, and staff make each guest feel like part of the family.

Day 3–Monday, April 7

Artisanal Food and Wine Day

This casual learning session brings local artisans and guest experts to your Tuscan villa so you don’t waste time on a bus.

La colazione at Villa Pipistrelli.

Comparison olive oil tasting with Massimo Donati, manager of the farm at Montestigliano.

Pecorino Senese cheese-making demonstration with tasting.

Local producers with samples of Colli Senesi wines.

Opportunity to purchase foodstuffs.

Anna, the chef at Montestigliano, hand rolls fresh egg pasta.

Anna, the chef at Montestigliano, hand rolls fresh egg pasta.

Participation pasta-making class.

Il pranzo (lunch) with wine and our guest experts.

Free time gives you the opportunity to explore the walking trails, the farm at Montestigliano, capture photo images, write, sketch, or relax in the game room at the renovated Granary.

Our playground for an evening of team cooking.

The cucina at Villa Pipistrelli will be our playground for an evening of team cooking.

Sharon, a Certified Culinary Professional, and Walter will lead the group in preparing a seasonal supper with local ingredients. . . hope you can laugh and cook at the same time!

Day 4–Tuesday, April 8

Tenuta di Spannocchia

Conservation is the central theme and direction of all activities on the estate of Spannocchia. It is a wildlife refuge, part of the Tuscan Riserva Naturale Alto Merse, a certified organic farm raising endangered breeds of domestic farm animals and producing wine and olive oil, and a registered historic site.

Conservation is the central theme of all activities on the estate of Spannocchia, a registered historic site. It is a wildlife refuge, part of the Tuscan Riserva Naturale Alto Merse, a certified organic farm raising endangered breeds of domestic farm animals, and producer of wine and olive oil.

La Colazione at Villa Pipistrelli.

Morning at Tenuta di Spannocchiafeatured in Bon Appétit and Travel + Leisure—to learn about the history of this organic farm. Active since the thirteenth century,  it is now a center for education and enrichment focused on both ecological, agricultural, and cultural history. The restored castle and grounds are magnificent.

Il pranzo with wine at Tenuta di Spannocchia.

Free time or option to play golf at Royal Golf Club La Bagnaia or indulge at the Clarin’s Buddha Spa.

La cena with wine at Montestigliano.

Day 5–Wednesday, April 9

Siena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Torre di Mangia provides the exclamation point in Siena's Piazza di Campo.

Torre di Mangia provides the exclamation point in Siena’s Piazza di Campo.

Wednesday is Market Day in Siena and we’ll spend the morning in the colorful, bustling Piazza Mercato.

Il Pranzo is on your own to explore: choose a trattoria on the shell-shaped brick Campo or make a picnic from the local foodstuffs you’ve purchased at the Market.

Dario Castagno, author of Too Much Tuscan Sun: Confessions of a Chianti Tour Guide and a fanatical member of the Bruco (Caterpillar) Contrada, will share a behind-the-scenes tour of its museum. This contrada is one of 17 rival neighborhoods that compete in the historic Palio horse races.

We’ll tour the church and the museum of Siena’s cathedral which dates from 1215 and is one of the finest examples of Italian Gothic architecture. It dazzles with its signature greenish black-and-white horizontally striped campanile and interior marble pillars.

Free time to stroll the winding streets that have remained unchanged for centuries. Many alta moda boutiques and artisan shops beckon.

La cena with wine at Montestigliano.

The piazza at Montestigliano will be the setting for your watercolor painting class.

The piazza at Montestigliano will be the setting for your watercolor painting class.

Day 6–Thursday, April 10

Art and Culture Day

This casual learning session brings local artisans and guest experts to your Tuscan villa so you don’t waste time sitting on a bus.

La colazione at Villa Pipistrelli.

Art Therapy Class: a local artist leads us in creating our own watercolor painting.

James Martin, host of about.com/europetravel and wanderingitaly.com, will explore how his unique perspectives on travel shape both his writing and his photography.

Jennifer Criswell harvests olives near Montepulciano, Tuscany.

Jennifer Criswell harvests olives near Montepulciano, Tuscany.

Martha Bakerjian, host of about.com/italytravel will share her in-depth knowledge about travel, regional culture, writing, and living in Northern Tuscany.

Jennifer Criswell, author of At Least You’re in Tuscany, discusses her move to Montepulciano and relates the cultural adjustments she’s made in her new life in Tuscany.

Il pranzo with wine. Mingle with special guests at Montestigliano.

Free time gives you the opportunity to explore the walking trails, the farm at Montestigliano, capture photo images, write, sketch, or play in the game room at the Granary.

La cena with wine at Montestigliano.

On the farm in Montestigliano.

On the farm in Montestigliano.

Day 7–Friday, April 11

Forest Foraging and Pizza Preparation

La colazione at Villa Pipistrelli.

Foraging in the woods with an erbandando (edible greens forager) and tasting what we’ve gathered as part of il pranzo.

Participation pizza class. We’ll prepare our own pizzas and bake them in a wood-burning oven.

La cena–Farewell pizza party at Villa Pipistrelli.

Day 8–Saturday, April 12

Morning departure 

La colazione at Villa Pipistrelli

Transfer to the Florence Airport

Tour Price: US $2,495 (per person double occupancy)

Deposit: US $500

To reserve, read the  “Terms, Conditions, and Costs” (link below). Complete and return the Reservation Form (downloadable) with personal check or money order payable to PergolaWest, Inc., 5140 Rosewood Drive, Center Valley, PA 18034. Or pay online with credit card or debit card using this secure link to PergolaWest, Inc.’s PayPal account.

Final Payment: US $1,995 (due by December 12, 2013)

To make final payment of US $1,995 with personal check or money order payable to PergolaWest, Inc., mail to PergolaWest, Inc. 5140 Rosewood Drive, Center Valley, PA 18034. Or pay online with credit card or debit card using this secure link to PergolaWest, Inc.’s PayPal account.

Summary Itinerary

Terms, Costs, and Conditions (downloadable)

Villa Pipistrelli is comprised of two residences with a total of seven double-occupancy bedrooms (some options for two single beds per room) and attached bathrooms. So, bring your mother, brother, sister, friend, spouse, life partner, cousin, or neighbor to share in this  celebration of the senses.

To request more information about SimpleItaly Adventure in Tuscany Tour, contact us here.

Villa Pipistrelli is waiting for you!

Villa Pipistrelli is waiting for you!