The Tuscan Hills

6 days - 5 nights in a Country Relais

* FEW LANDSCAPES ARE MORE FAMILIAR THAN THE STUNNING SCENERY OF THE CHIANTI REGION, THE VAL D’ORCIA AND THE CRETE SENESI  

* A UNIQUE JOURNEY THROUGH TUSCANY’S RENOWNED GEMS AMONG CASTLES AND VINEYARDS BELONGING TO NOBLE FAMILIES, ANCIENT ABBEYS SURROUNDED BY ROLLING HILLS LINED WITH GREEN CYPRESS TREES THAT SEEM TO GUARD SUCH EXTRAORDINARY BEAUTY

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  • Day 1 – Sienese Clays

  • Travelling through Tuscany’s green landscape it would be impossible to miss the Crete Senesi area (literally Sienese Clays), clay-colored hills dotted with isolated farmhouses and cypress-lined lanes. Standing in this lunar-like landscape is the Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore, a stunning red-brick monastery, one of the most striking monumental features of this area. Today Olivetan monks still live in strict observance of Saint Benedict’s rule “ora et labora” (“pray and work”) and spend their time cultivating the land around the abbey. The beautiful cloister is the highlight of the abbey - featuring 35 big frescoes depicting scenes from the life of St. Benedict - along with the church, the library and the refectory.

  • Day 2 - Chianti

  • A stunning landscape of rolling hills planted with a sea of vineyards and olive groves, tiny villages, charming parish churches, stone farmhouses and noble castles: welcome to the Tuscan region of Chianti. The local wines are always called after the hamlets dotting these hills: Radda in Chianti, Castellina in Chianti, Gaiole In Chianti, to name just a few. But there is much more to this area than just olive oil and wine: bruschette, ribollita (a hearty vegetable soup), panzanella (bread and tomato salad), salame di cinta senese (a local type of salami) and the well-known “fiorentina” (a rare char-grilled T-bone steak) served with a glass of good Chianti.  A sampling in a wine cellar does not make you a Chianti connoisseur. The story behind Chianti must be told by those who were born with a passion for wine, who have been making wine for 700 years, for whom every vintage is a new beginning, having their roots in the past but looking towards the future. Dramatically situated on a hill among vineyards is an artistic gem of this region: the Badia a Passignano, dating back to the year 395. The monks of the Vallombrosian Order, who still live in the premises, have been promoting scientific research (Galileo Galilei was a teacher here in 1587) and the conservation of the local countryside, especially through vine growing on the land surrounding the Abbey.

  • Day 3 – S. Antimo – Val d’Orcia - Montepulciano

  • Ad te levavi animam meam”, these are the Gregorian chant performed by monks at the Abbey of Sant’ Antimo. Built in Romanesque style in a picture-perfect setting, legend has it that its first stone was laid on the order of Charles Magne. With its scenic landscape, the Val d’Orcia has been used as the setting for a number of well-known movies, including “The English Patient”, shot at Sant’Anna in Camparena, “The Gladiator”, shot at Vita Leta near San Quirico d’Orcia, and “The Twilight Saga: New Moon”, shot at Montepulciano. Travelling past most spectacular views make your way to Montepulciano. The maze of underground cantine (wine cellars) carved into the rock, guarding the precious oak barrels where the Vino Nobile “rests”, bear witness to the strong ties that have existed for centuries between the town of Montepulciano and its wine: the Rosso di Montepulciano DOC and the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG. Let us not forget about the sweet Vinsanto di Montepulciano DOC, which must be aged for at least 3 years in the caratelli (small wooden barrels), while the Riserva version requires the wine to age for 5 years and the more expensive “Occhio di Pernice” - made from Sangiovese dried grapes and best enjoyed sipped - must age for 8 years.

  • Day 4 - Siena

  • The beautiful city of Siena with its imposing buildings, the fine decorations and the wealth of materials will leave you speechless, gazing in wonder at its beauty, of which its inhabitants are deservedly proud: Piazza del Campo with the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia, Piazza Duomo and its Cathedral, the old Spedale and the remains of the new Duomo. Breath in its wonderful atmosphere and step back in time walking down its medieval alleyways.

  • Day 5 – Tuscan Hills

  • This region is an ideal starting point for many activities: why not try hot air ballooning? Or going horseback riding? Or a morning treatment at the Spa? What about taking a relaxing break at the hotel? However you decide to spend your day, you will not be disappointed by your evening: an ancient castle, a noble family and a wine and food culture that has its roots in the local history. These are the ingredients for a memorable evening.

  • Day 6 - Departure

  • You may wish to end your trip or to stay over a few more days. However you decide to end your holiday, you will not be disappointed and we you will feel an irresistible wish to come back.