Dear Kathy -
I’m not sure there are adjectives that can describe how wonderful our experience was. Friends and family have asked about our trip and that is what I have told them - no adjectives to describe the experiences themselves as well as the planning process. I have told everyone how fantastic it was to have you plan our days (and recently sent your info to my friend who will be in Tuscany this summer)!
Our Florence guide, Joanna, was just delightful! We enjoyed our time with her very much. We learned a lot that we had not previously known and hope to have her again on a return trip to see even more of Florence!
On Saturday, we enjoyed the tour at the pecorino farm, the cheese, wine, atmosphere and view immensely. Lunch was delightful and Montefioralle quite picturesque. At our request, the driver Francesco stopped in Panzano so we could pick up salt from Cecchini’s shop. We were so pleased.
The accommodations in Chianti were just perfect. We were given a delightful room at Castello del Nero with a breathtaking view of the valley.
Even though Sunday was a rainy day (and we got soaked in the woods), we had a fun experience truffle hunting with the truffle hunter (I have forgotten his name but it will come to me). We enjoyed meeting the other couple who joined the hunt with us. They were staying at our hotel also. We ate an amazing lunch together by the fire in the covered veranda. Again just a delightful experience.
Afterwards, we enjoyed the drive to San Gimignano and were glad to finally visit this village. We bought a lovely urn that was successfully shipped to us and now sits on the shelf above our stove - a lovely reminder of our trip.
Monday was my Spa day at the hotel. What can I say… the spa was over the top and the massage fantastic. I really enjoyed my day. I also hiked a bit on my own. The grounds at the hotel are beautiful.
Tuesday… Ok, there truly are no words to describe our cooking experience at the olive estate.
Eleonora and Olivia were a joy to spend time with. The estate is spectacular. We learned so much and have made homemade pasta at our home twice since our return! The lunch was tremendous.
We will NEVER forget this day and only hope we can return someday.
The wine tour that followed at the castle winery was, as well, a breathtakingly beautiful place. Of course we enjoyed drinking (and buying) more wine…
Wednesday was a wonderful day spent with Francesco as he introduced us to all things Brunello. We enjoyed tasting and purchasing wine at the wineries. The lunch at the fort in Montalcino was comfortable and delicious. We really enjoyed meeting the proprietor and consuming the wine flight he shared with us. Francesco also took us to a Roman church and Bagno Vignoni. A most memorable Brunello day! Bruce was so pleased.
At the end of the day we checked into the B&B in Siena - quite delightful.
Thursday we had a great day touring Siena with Antonella! We had been to Siena in 2016 but it was hot and I was cranky and my daughter and I got lost. So my impression of Siena was not particularly positive. Antonella turned that all around! It is always helpful to have a knowledgeable guide to teach you. We really came to appreciate and enjoy Siena. Lunch was wonderful. Would definitely return.
Friday was a wonderful day with Francesco and Antonella - touring Pienza (still enjoying the Pecorino Fresco we brought back with us!), Montepulciano and Monticchiello and taking the scenic drive back to Siena.
Saturday Francesco picked us up and took us to the winery which was simply beautiful. We took some terrific pictures. And of course the wine was enjoyable and we purchased even more for our cellar. At our request, Francesco took us back to Florence directly where we checked into our hotel, since our flight was very early the next morning.
Francesco picked us up at 4am on Sunday to drive us to the airport! We were so grateful to him for picking us up early and so as to worry about a taxi showing up at that hour.
So there you have it - a quick trip review! The accommodations were spot on - the excursions as well. And your team (Joanna, Francesco, Eleonora, Olivia and Antonella) were just a delight. I hope we will have a chance to see them all again someday! Thank you so very much for putting this wonderful itinerary together for us. We will never forget this trip.
Susan A. - Milwaukee, WI.
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