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Join this Italian adventure to Tuscany, in the Heart of Renaissance Italy, guided by Silvia Mordini, who is passionate about Tuscany, has lived in Italy, and is experienced in the culture! You will be guests at your own 10th-century restored villa with private baths. You will travel to many famous art cities; lingering with iconic art, architecture, and design punctuated with wine, food, fashion, and fun, you will experience the real sensuousness of Tuscany and understand why it is on everyone’s bucket list! This week is all about recharging!
Borgo Casanuova Villa can accommodate 16 guests. The house has a private garden with wrought iron tables and chairs, umbrella, deck chairs, and barbecue. The villa is on two floors and has two entrances. On the ground floor, there are two communicating living rooms with fireplace, a fully equipped kitchen on the right side of the house, dining room and second kitchen corner on the left side of the house, and two standard double bedrooms with ensuite bathroom with shower.
The upper floor is not connected. On the right side of the house, there are one double bedroom with ensuite bathroom with shower and one triple bedroom with bathroom with shower. On the left side of the house on the upper floor, there are two double rooms with own bathroom with shower and one triple bedroom with large bathroom with shower and tub.
The villa is provided with a gourmet kitchen, washing machine, dishwasher, dryer machine, iron and iron board, drying rack, flat screen cable TV, free Wi-Fi connection, telephone and safe deposit in each bedroom, air conditioning in each bedroom and sitting room, hair dryer, bathrooms amenities (eco shampoo, conditioner, bath gel, lotion), lux pool towels, and private parking.
Accommodation is in one-bedroom apartments with private baths. All the apartments are independent, personalized and fully furnished, with ample garden and terrace areas for leisure. A spacious swimming pool and welcoming patio with sun deck and lounge chairs.
This week is all about recharging. You will move at a relaxed pace; participation in any event is not mandatory and there will be plenty of time offered to explore on your own. You will certainly have time to re-learn the art of relaxation or as the Italians say “Il Bel Fai Niente,” set mindful goals, and renew your entire sense of well-being.
Tickets will be purchased for you to experience the most beautiful palace in the world, Pitti Palace.
Giardino delle Rose (Rose Garden) houses a collection of roses, lemons, and other plants, as well as a Japanese garden. It contains about 400 varieties of roses for a total of about 1,200 plants. The garden was created in 1865 by Giuseppe Poggi, who also designed the piazzale on behalf of the City of Florence in anticipation of moving the capital of Italy from Turin. It covers about one hectare of land which offers a panoramic view of the city, sandwiched between viale Poggi, via di San Salvatore, and via dei Bastioni.
Piazzale Michelangelo offers panoramic views of Florence and the Arno Valley. The Piazzale Michelangelo is dedicated to the city’s most famous Renaissance artist, Michelangelo Buonarroti. At the center of the square stands a replica of his most famous statue, the David. The bronze statue is set on a large pedestal, decorated with replicas of allegorical statues depicting day, night, dusk and dawn.
San Miniato standing atop one of the highest points in the city of Florence is one of the finest Romanesque structures in Tuscany and one of the most scenic churches in Italy. There is an adjoining Olivetti monastery to the basilica where the monks sell herbal teas and special honey elixirs. The mosaics and frescoes inside the church are incredible.
You will also visit a church complex and the Cemetery from the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte by Hans von Bartels. Adjacent to the church is the cloister, planned as early as 1426 and built from 1443 to mid-1450s. It was designed by Bernardo and Antonio Rosselino.
The whole complex is surrounded by defensive walls, originally built hastily by Michelangelo during the siege and, in 1553, expanded into a true fortress (fortezza) by Cosimo I de’ Medici. The walls now enclose a beautiful large cemetery, the Porte Sante, laid out in 1854.
Wine tasting and guided tour of cellars at Agriturismo Fattoria Lavacchio.
Monteriggioni is, without doubt, one of the most classical and best known Italian walled towns. Since the Middle Ages, its fame was so big that also the great poet Dante Alighieri makes sign to his ’round enclosure’ in the Divine Comedy (Hell, chant XXXI vv. 40-41).
Recently, a part of the wall walk of the town walls has been restored and made accessible. From the top of the walled circuit, it is possible to admire the surrounding countryside towards Chianti and the Valdelsa and to enjoy a unique view of the town and its fortifications.
Siena preserves its medieval character to a remarkable degree and has been largely unspoiled by new buildings. In fact, Siena retains a ward-centric culture from medieval times. Each ward (contrada) is represented by an animal or mascot and has its own boundary and distinct identity. Ward rivalries are most rampant during the annual horse race (Palio) in the Piazza del Campo.
No trip to Tuscany is complete without a visit to Montepulciano, a hilltop haven away from the crowds. Tuscany is at its best in its small historic hilltowns. Montepulciano is not exactly undiscovered but it’s below the radar. Standing imperious on its high tufa ridge, it seems to have been positioned by a landscape painter and laid out by a designer of Renaissance opera sets.
It has one of the most intact and architecturally unified historic centers of any Italian town: within its walls, apart from a few nips and tucks, no major building work has taken place since 1580. From the panoramic terrace outside the church of San Francesco, the view stretches west across neat vineyards and patchwork fields of corn and sunflowers to distant wooded hills.
Those vineyards produce Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, the austere but elegant red wine to which the town’s name is umbilically linked. Wine has been made here since at least the 8th century, possibly earlier, and by the mid‑16th century, Montepulciano’s lofty reputation was already sealed: Pope Paul III’s cellarmaster described it admiringly as “un vino da signori” (a wine for aristocrats).
You will make a stop near San Gimignano to look for girasole. The healing benefits of sunflowers, the happiest of flowers, include loyalty and longevity. Helianthus comes from the Greek 'Helios' which means sun and 'anthos' which means flower. These flowers always turn towards the sun. They were grown for their usefulness, not their beauty.
In 1532, Francisco Pizarro reported seeing the natives of the Inca Empire in Peru worshipping a giant sunflower. Incan priestesses wore large sunflower disks made of gold on their garments.
‘San Gimignano delle belle Torri’ served as an important relay point for pilgrims traveling to or from Rome on the Via Francigena. The patrician families who controlled the town built around 72 tower-houses (some as high as 50 meters) as symbols of their wealth and power. Although only 14 have survived, San Gimignano has retained its feudal atmosphere and appearance. The town also has several masterpieces of 14th- and 15th-century Italian art.
The People’s Palace is one of the most important monuments of San Gimignano, being both the home of the Civic Museum and rich in paintings by the Florentine and Sienese schools (dating from the 13th century) such as the “Crucifix”, painted by Coppo di Marcovaldo, the triptyches by Niccolò Tegliacci and Taddeo di Bartolo, dating from the 14th century, and other important works of art dating from the 15th century painted by Domenico Michelino, Pinturicchio and Filippino Lippi.
Some say you can fall in love with a place just as you can with a person. This is certainly true of Tuscany! The tastes, sights, and people of Tuscany will nourish your spirit and renew your sense of joy. Experiencing life under the Tuscan sun is something that stays with you forever.
In Italy, you slow down to enjoy each breath, each sip of Chianti, each taste of antipasto. You may, in fact, realize that you are actually home: the home of your heart. And life will never be the same after that. Tuscany teaches you to savor each moment and live inspired by the details that might have otherwise passed you by. Plan to be delighted!
Get ready to live in a paradise once owned by royalty! Since 1700, the beautiful Tuscan estate of Fattoria Lavacchio, in the area of Chianti Rufina, has been part of the history in the making. And even in modern times, they are leading the way as one of the first organic wineries, even producing sulfate-free wine.
You will stay at your own villa while at Fattoria Lavacchio called Borgo Casanuova, peacefully nestled into the hills with epic views of the Tuscan countryside.
Siena is a town in central Tuscany that counts 59,000 inhabitants and it is the capital of the Siena province. It is one of the most fascinating towns in Tuscany, not only for its sights but also for its surroundings.
The streets in Siena are steep as it was built on a ridge, so it is often necessary to cross a deep valley in order to get to the other side of the town. Consequently, you need several days to visit every treasure of the town, which has to be done necessarily on foot.
From the hilltop of the town, there is a wonderful, varied panorama which includes Monte Amiata and the metalliferous hills, as well as the clay downs of Asciano and the wooded district of Montagnola. To the north, the scenery changes once again, with the densely cultivated hills of the Chianti.
The town was built by the Senesis in the years 1213-1219 on a hilltop overlooking of the Cassia Road. Its ideal position allowed to control the Elsa and the Staggia Valleys in the direction in Florence, the historic enemy of Siena, that at that time was rapidly expanding its territory.
The hill where Monteriggioni rises is natural, even if it could seem a great ‘motte’ (from the name of the classical Norman castles ‘Motte-and-Bailey’ built on artificial hills and gifted of enclosure), and the circular, almost perfectly, layout of the walls was obtained simply following the sketch of the ground’s curves of level.
In the planning, it was tried to limit the weak points for excellence, the gates, entrusting the only connections with the outside only to an east to west crossing road. To Monteriggioni, the military building work appears physically distinguished by the inhabited area confined to its inside but well separated from the walls from a ‘territory of respect’, although in the ancient times the inhabited area has been more intense than today and consequently with a more narrow band of separation.
Culinary excellence is one of the key philosophies, using only genuine and local organic ingredients produced directly on the farm or by neighboring farmers. This is the real farm to table.
Gabriella is not only a great architect but also an amazing chef and she will delight you with typical vegetarian dishes and you will have a chance to discover the authentic Tuscan cuisine. Vegan or gluten-free diets can be catered to. You will be sent a questionnaire getting your dietary needs and restrictions.
El Molino is world class, with an amazing chef, and you will delight in discovering authentic Tuscan cuisine. The restaurant looks onto a large terrace where you can have breakfast or dine by candlelight. Lose yourself in natural beauty, brilliant sunsets usher in a night skies full of stars.
They have a holistic view of hospitality and, especially, food. That is why their cuisine is closely linked to the local territory and its products. Good health comes from using the fresh natural resources that surround you and using them with intelligence and love. They offer authentic local Mediterranean dishes: ancient delicacies bursting with flavors, from the simplest to the more elaborate Tuscan recipes.
Walk with them through the paths of tradition, the seasonal variations, creating dishes with wild herbs and spices, rosemary, sage, basil, “catmint”… the so-called erbucce. You will also smell and taste local flowers in various dishes, such as petals of acacia, rose petal tart, risotto with zucchini flowers.
For cheese lovers, you will be spoiled at the vast selection from the nearby dairy artisan who supplies the restaurant with their best local products: fresh pecorino cheese made with raw milk and vegetable rennet, fresh ricotta, raveggiolo, and more.
Even the traditional meats of the land, they offer many tasty varieties from Chianina, the Cinta Senese (an ancient breed of pig), a species of boar that inhabits the surrounding woods. All dressed with the best regional olive oil and accompanied by carefully chosen local and regional wines.
Radda in Chianti is situated on a hill covered with woods and extensive vineyards forming the watershed between the Pesa and Arbia valleys. The structure of the medieval village is still intact; it grew up elliptically around the church of San Nicolò, of 14th-century origin, and the Palazzo Pretorio. Built about 1415, its facade is adorned with the coats of arms of the podestà (chief magistrates), the latter is now the seat of the municipality.
Just outside the village, in the Vignale farm, are the headquarters of the Chianti Classico consortium (its symbol is the black-cockerel, the former emblem of the League of Chianti), and the Centro di Studi Chiantigiani (Centre for Chianti Studies), founded in 1984, with a small library and an archive devoted to the history of Chianti and its agriculture. The Montevertine farm, near the village, houses the small Museo del Chianti, with displays relating to the farming community.
The city’s origins go back to Etruscan times and came under Florentine control starting in the 12th century when it became an important outpost due to its strategic position between Florence and Siena. It was destroyed and rebuilt many times during the battles between the two cities and every time the town was reconstructed with bigger defensive walls. Legend has it that even Brunelleschi was asked to work on the project of new walls for the town.
Along the ancient walls, an impressive underground tunnel used by the guards back then remains, now called Via della Volte, which today is a fascinating tunnel with shops and restaurants. The tunnel itself goes around the city and encloses the delightful city center, itself divided by its main street, Via Ferruccio.
Here you’ll find many shops, workshops, restaurants, and important palaces such as Palazzo Banciardi and Palazzo Squarcialupi, both belonging to local noble families. Inside Palazzo Squarcialupi, the Enoteca Antiquaria is now housed, a wine shop for over a 100 years old which represents an important historical archive of wine and which has helped preserve the original characteristics of Chianti Classico wine itself.
The Church of San Salvatore deserves a visit. It was rebuilt in 1945 after the devastation of WWII but which still displays a valuable fresco by Lorenzo Bicci depicting the Virgin Mary with Child and a wooden statue from the Renaissance. A few steps away from the city center, the Fortress with its tall tower offers a stunning panorama of the town and countryside. Inside the fortress is the headquarters of the municipality and the Archeological Museum of Chianti, displaying important archeological findings from the surroundings that testify to the ancient origins of the Chianti region.
Volterra is one of the most important towns in Tuscany: its unique position and its ancient history leave everyone enchanted. It is located in the east side of the province of Pisa on the borderline of the province of Siena and located on a hill 550 meters above the sea level. And dominates the whole valley of the River Cecina. An open serene landscape surrounds the town: it’s the ideal place for excursions on foot, on horseback, or by bicycle.
Volterra’s history dates back from the Etruscan period to the 19th century with artistic and monumental traces of great importance.
Apart from its monuments, its art, and its history, Volterra also offers a magnificent panorama of the gentle, undulating hills of the surrounding landscape abruptly interrupted in the West by the Balze (crags). Today Volterra has three museums of considerable artistic and historical value. The Museo Guarnacci is one of the most important museums in Italy for its rich Etruscan-Roman patrimony.
The Pinacoteca and the Museo Civico, preserve valuable paintings of the Sienese and Florentine schools, among which “The descent from the Cross” by Rosso Fiorentino. Finally, the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo is noteworthy for the variety and quantity of ecclesiastical vestments, the collection of golden reliquary, the illuminated manuscripts, and the 14th-century sculptures of the Sienese school. Volterra is famous even for an artistic handicraft unique in the world: the manufacture of Alabaster.
Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport
Transfer not provided
Pisa International Airport
Transfer not provided
Transfer not provided
Please book your flight to arrive at Florence Airport (FLR). If you prefer to fly into Pisa or Rome and then take the train, that is up to you. Your exact pick-up location is in Florence: Hotel Palazzo Vecchio (via Cennini 4, 50123, Florence, Italy, near Piazza Adua). It is a short couple block walk from the train station and a great place to make a reservation if you are coming early or staying later. Transfer from and to Florence is included. Alchemy of Yoga will pick you up at the meeting point.
You are recommended to leave two days early for the start of this trip. This means you will arrive the next day into Florence, giving you time to take a nap. Then go out that evening for an early dinner, enjoy the Ponte Vecchio, which literally translated means “old bridge”. It is a medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge over the Arno River, noted for having wonderful jewelry shops built along it.
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