Morning rendezvous in Florence and travel to the beautiful Chianti wine country. Enjoy a delicious Tuscan lunch before setting off on our 8 km (5 mile) walk along cypress-lined drives past magnificent villas and rustic farmhouses to the pretty village of Radda in Chianti. We stay in a beautifully renovated manor house on a wine-producing estate, just steps from the cafe life of the village. Tonight we dine in a favorite country restaurant where classic dishes are served with Tuscan flair.
Today’s panoramic 14 km (8.5 mile) walk wanders through peaceful farmland past a 12th-century church surrounded by Sangiovese vineyards and on to a tiny hilltop village devoted to wine and olive oil production. A private tasting of Chianti Classico and Super Tuscan vintages is followed by an explanation of the merits of extra virgin olive oil and a visit to an olive oil mill. We depart with new knowledge of the world’s best olive oil and no chapped lips! Free evening for dinner.
We head south to the magnificent city of Siena where a local guide gives us a walking tour through the historic center of town. Free time to lunch and explore on your own. Leaving Siena, we return to Radda and visit a friend's nearby farm, where a herd of Cashmere goats provide milk for unique cosmetic products and fiber for hand-woven scarves, shawls and blankets. Tonight Italian amici invite us to their house for a welcoming and delicious home-style meal.
We travel to the imposing hilltown of Montalcino, perched on a lofty ridge surrounded by the impeccably groomed Brunello vineyards. Our peaceful walk follows an old Roman cart track for 13 km (8 miles) through woodlands and past rustic villages to the exquisite 9th century church of Sant’Antimo, set in perfect harmony with the surrounding landscape. After visiting the church, we transfer to our hotel, a beautifully renovated country inn with sumptuously appointed rooms. This evening we dine in an inviting ristorante acclaimed for its innovative pasta and delectable dolci, so settle down to a leisurely meal in one of Tuscany’s top restaurants.
We begin in the perfect village of Pienza, perched on a clifftop and built of golden stone, which was originally designed as the Utopian dream of Pope Pius II. Today it is renowned for its pecorino, a pungent cheese made from sheep’s milk, which we’ll be sure to sample at lunch. Our 17 km (10.5 mile) walk follows quiet farm roads with sweeping views across the soft undulating hills of the lovely Orcia valley. We visit the charming village of Monticchiello before reaching our destination, the dignified city of Montepulciano, proud home to the Vino Nobile produced on the surrounding slopes. Farewell dinner in a lively family-run trattoria where special Tuscan dishes are prepared just for us.
Visit the charming village of San Quirico and walk 6 km (3.5 miles) to Bagno Vignoni, known for its hot springs since Roman times. After a light lunch of bruschetta anointed with the best extra virgin olive oil and a variety of local cheeses, we transfer to the Chiusi train station on the Rome-Florence line. Arrivederci!