The SimpleItaly Experience
We love hosting small groups in October when Tuscany dances to a harvest rhythm, celebrated in hues of gold, orange and the deep violet of Sangiovese grapes.
There are few experiences as memorable as sharing time and a spectacular destination with a small (12 is maximum) group of friends, colleagues, or grown-up family. Don’t have a self-formed group? Please contact us for ideas.
We create an atmosphere of ease and warmth, inspired by a personal chef and spiced with experts coming to the villa for the kind of face-to-face access and cordiality unimaginable with typical travel tours.
You unpack just once. You’ll partake in a cheese making experience, express yourself with a half-day art class, learn the history of the villa, yet still have ample free time for solitude, hiking, exploring the 2,500 acre estate, or partaking in nearby spa or golf opportunities.
The few off-property adventures are nearby and unique. You’ll meet with authors who make Tuscany their home and who will share their insights on the secrets of Siena’s Palio and the magic of the Sangiovese grape at a winery near Montepulciano.
You will open all your senses to experience a stimulating environment, instead of being isolated from it behind the windows of a speeding motor coach.
The destination and your hosts
You will be guests at Villa Pipistrelli on the hilltop estate of Montestigliano. Curated by siblings Luisa, Massimo, Damiano, Virginia, and Marta Donati, and their concierge, Francesco, you’ll be treated like family. Your on-site hosts will be either Walter or Sharon Sanders, who met, lived, fell in love, and were married in nearby Florence. Sharon is a Certified Culinary Professional, author, food and travel journalist, cooking teacher, and blogger. Walter is a food, wine, travel journalist, and blogger. He first visited Tuscany as an art history grad student who launched his professional life as an associate at the famed Scuola del Cuoio (The Leather School) in Florence. He has also worked as a group travel planner, teleconference pioneer, and corporate communicator. Sharon and Walter encourage others to celebrate their Inner Italian.
There is no typical guest. We have hosted frequent travelers to Italy who have seen the country’s highlights but want to stop to smell the roses and invigorate themselves. We have hosted first time visitors to Italy who wanted to experience something as memorable as the wedding anniversary they were celebrating. And we have hosted just about every type of traveler in between. Perhaps the only unifying characteristic of our guests is a deep interest in living their Inner Italian in an inspiring environment.
We stay at Villa Pipistrelli near Siena, Italy. Included are off-site adventures, on-site learning with food, wine, and travel experts, and free time to celebrate your senses in a splendid Tuscan setting. All tours are hosted by either Walter Sanders or Sharon Sanders who met and married in Tuscany–the region that’s home in their hearts.
- 7 Nights Accommodation at Villa Pipistrelli (based on double occupancy)
- Ground transportation to all scheduled activities during the adventure
- 7 Breakfasts
- 6 Lunches with Wine (Sunday–Friday)
- 7 Dinners with Wine (Saturday–Friday) prepared by a private chef in the Villa Pipistrelli kitchen
- Poliziano Winery tour, wine tasting, and light lunch with author and sommelier Jennifer Criswell
- Walking tour of Montepulciano
- Casual face-to-face learning sessions with local artisans and Italian culture and travel experts
- Extra-virgin olive oil tasting, including sampling of Montestigliano’s award-winning production
- Colli Senesi wine tasting
- Pecorino Senese cheese-making demonstration and tasting
- Discussion and sampling of seasonal foodstuffs
UNESCO World Heritage city of Siena program includes tour of the Brucco contrada museum (one of 17 contrade that race in the Palio) hosted by Dario Castagno, author of Too Much Tuscan Sun; plus a tour of the Cathedral
- Participation watercolor painting class
- Participation pasta-making class and meal
- All city taxes, hotel taxes, tour guide, and audio guide fees
- Free Time gives you the opportunity to explore the miles of walking trails, the farm at Montestigliano, do photography, write, sketch, or relax in the game room at the Granary. Or you can arrange to play golf or visit the spa at nearby La Bagnaia resort.
Airfare; transfer to and from Villa Pipistrelli from arrival/departure airport, optional golf or spa service (payable by credit card or Euro at point of service), travel insurance, any personal purchases or services not outlined in the complete Tour Itinerary.
Payable to PergolaWest, Inc. by Visa, Mastercard, personal check, money order, or PayPal.
For more information and pricing, contact us here
We’re happy to meet with you by phone or Skype to answer your questions about the tour. We love speaking with other Inner Italians!