A Day in Florence
One of the most beautiful cities in the world…filled with art…everywhere you look inside and out Florence is about beauty, culture and romance. From museums housing works of Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Botticelli, to open air street markets, Florence is filled with sights and sounds you will remember for a lifetime. Stroll down alleyways to find sweet little shops filled with pottery and stationery and those very famous Italian leather gloves. Then suddenly find yourself in Mercato Centrale, Florence’s renown Farmers' Market filled with fresh vegies, hand-rolled pastas, meats and cheeses, not to mention a wide array of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to take home as souvenirs for those who didn’t get to make the trip. Sip cappuccino in a street side café while you rest after taking in the sights and sounds of this ancient city. From the architecture to the warm and welcoming Florentines, our day in Florence will be a day you will never forget.
Land of Olives and Truffles
Rarely seen by tourists, the olive harvest and truffle hunting will be in full swing during our trip. The world's best olive oil is made in the villages where the olives are grown. You will never be able to use commercial olive oil again after tasting fresh oil from fresh pressed olives. Spicy, sweet, like silk on your tongue…Olive di olio fresca…it’s famous for a reason. From ancient pressing techniques to a modern day processing facility, we will enjoy the rich olive heritage of Tuscany on our private tour that includes an oil tasting and lunch Italian-style in the olive grove.
Truffle hunting, done as in the days of old, is on our itinerary, too. Meet the farmer and his dog, along with his wife who will prepare our lunch, eaten at their kitchen table. This will be a real Italian experience! Bring your walking shoes, we are going truffle hunting in the forest. Italian nature at its best, a little outdoor R&R, Italian peasant food and local wine…it doesn’t get any better than this.
The first word that comes to mind in describing the beauty of this ancient walled city is pristine. A medieval city that as recently as 100 years ago was still an independent kingdom. Its residents still hold onto their “kingdom” with pride. Immaculately clean and preserved, Lucca boasts three walls and a canal one must pass through to gain entry. Once inside, you step into another world. A world of botanicals, exquisite shopping, food and wine and, of course, music. Lucca is the city of music - and the birthplace of Puccini. Something musical is always on the schedule. We have conjured up an enchanting day in the historic center of Lucca. After a general orientation, you will be free to explore at your leisure. By the end of day you will be ready for respite and jockeying for bragging rights for your purchases. We have reserved a seat for you at a special out of the way restaurant, followed by a wonderful concert before retiring at our villa.
By the Sea
What trip to Italy is complete without a jaunt to the seaside? We are going to the ultimate seaside destination of Forte Dei Marmi, a mere 30-minute ride from our Villa. This little spot of heaven has everything you want in an excursion to the sea, minus the crowds. On Wednesdays in the autumn, weather permitting, there is an open air market with some of the loveliest items on earth including leather, cashmere, and hand-made linens. Several of the craftspeople that show here actually provide merchandise for many top design houses that get tagged with exclusive labels. Even without the market, the town is a showcase for lovely unique shops. Stroll along the alleys, breathe in the sea air, shop till you drop….
Yes, it does seem as though we have a jam-packed week in store for you. While that is true, you can be sure we are scheduling our days to include plenty of free time. There will be no rushing, no tight schedules, no eating on the run. We're in bella Italia! We live at a different pace here. It won't take long for you to sink into the rhythm of peace that is Tuscany. You will go home relaxed, refreshed, rejuvenated. And most of all, grateful.