Location: Citta’ di Montalcino, Provincia di Siena, Regione di Toscana, Italia
Dates: Saturday July 23- Saturday, July 30, 2011.
This itinerary is subject to change and is designed to give you a sense of what we will be doing during our time together. It is possible that certain restaurants may not be able to accommodate us on the day we want, in which case some locations or days will change. We are currently finalizing the details, and will send you a ‘final’ itinerary long before departure to give you plenty of time to plan your own activities around group excursions and during free periods.
Saturday, July 23rd, 2011
12 Noon. All participants should arrange their travel so that they can be at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport Terminal B/C international arrivals hall prepared to depart at noon by private coach to Montalcino, approximately a two and a half hour ride. If you cannot get a flight that arrives at Fiumicino by say 10:30 a.m., it is probably better to plan to arrive the night before and spend a night in Rome.
4:00 p.m. We will gather immediately on arrival in Montalcino at Enoteca La Fortezza (fortress wine bar) for a welcome glass of Brunello and a light meal with a brief orientation by Sadie and Don. Guests will be given final lodging assignments and directed to their homes in the village.
Evening – Free to explore Montalcino.
Sunday, July 24th
8- 10:00 a.m. Continental breakfast. For those of you staying at Il Rifugio and at Porta Castellana, your breakfast is served at your lodging, either in the garden or dining room, depending on the weather. Everyone else can make his or her way up to the Piazza del Popolo for breakfast at Bar Le Logge.
10:00 a.m. Depart by private coach to Podernovone, approximately 10 minutes outside Montalcino to the vineyards of Laura and Gianni Brunelli. Weather permitting; we will have our first empowering yoga class with Sadie Nardini on the grounds of the vineyard looking out across the pristine landscape of the Val d’Orcia. After the yoga, we can relax with her pet labs, or enjoy a glass of mineral water while Laura and her staff prepare a wine tasting and light lunch for us in the cortile of the estate.
3:00 p.m. Afternoon free. Return by coach to Montalcino. Perhaps take a hike around the perimeter of the ancient wall, which in the 16th century enabled the residents of Montalcino to withstand the 5-year siege of the Florentine army and their allies, the French. A plaque on the fortress wall commemorates their bravery. We will also provide details for those interested in mountain biking or hiking trails leading out of town. There are also local shopping, gelato shops, a medieval art museum, churches to explore and back streets that beckon.
7 p.m. Cocktails and dinner. For those interested, we encourage you to meet at Bar Le Logge for pre-dinner cocktails, an enduring custom in Italy where friends gather and share details of their workday over a glass of prosecco or cocktail of choice augmented by complimentary snacks.
8 p.m. Once everyone has had time to unwind from their stressful day of work (is yoga work?), we can proceed to dinner at one of the local eateries to begin a serious culinary tour of the Province of Siena. After dinner head back to the piazza for more serious ‘wining’ of back to your room to sleep and recharge for tomorrow.
Monday, July 25th
8 – 10 a.m. Two-hour empowering yoga class with Sadie.
10:00 a.m. Continental breakfast.
10:30 a.m. Public bus from Piazza Cavour in Montalcino to Siena, the world’s largest intact medieval city. We will have a free day to wander the streets of Siena, one of the most ancient financial centers of Europe, home to the world’s oldest bank, the world famous Palio horse race in the town’s center, and a fine renaissance cathedral that was never completed because of the economic crisis brought on by the Black Death in the 1340s and several museums. This city oozes the history of the region and of all Europe in the days of the contending “global super powers” of the day – France versus Spain and their respective allies, Florence and Siena, drawing even Montalcino reluctantly into their wars.
We will provide you with an ample list of suggested activities for your day including sights to see, the best restaurants, and areas for shopping or exploring.
5:00 p.m. Depart by private coach from Siena for Montalcino
7:00 p.m. Cocktails at the Fiascheteria in the Piazza
8:00 p.m. Dinner in town.
Tuesday, July 26th
8 – 10:00 a.m. Two-hour empowering yoga class with Sadie. 10:00 a.m. Continental breakfast.
11:00 a.m. Depart by public bus for Bagno Vignoni. Bagno Vignoni is a small and ancient village still owned by a local family. It is the site of ancient Roman-era thermal baths that might have been the modern-day equivalent of Aspen, Colorado, as a mountain retreat for the rich and famous Roman patricians traveling up and down the peninsula engaging in mammoth infrastructure projects to feed and supply water to hungry Rome and her armies. While the site is still being excavated, the natural baths are open to the public and there are two hotels with full spas offering both thermal and fresh-water pools to visitors. The public springs are free. If you would like to arrange spa treatments in advance of your visit, the better spa is located at Hotel Le Terme in the center of town. Please visit their website and book on-line with www.albergoleterme.it. We are still waiting to hear what special deals they can offer participants. The second hotel is better for those who prefer to just soak or lay by the pool. Visit the website of Hotel Posta Marcucci (www.hotelpostamarcucci.it) for information and photos. There is also a pay- per-service public spa, which charges slightly less than the private ones.
We will arrange lunch at our favorite eatery in town on arrival and then turn you loose to head for the spas, pool, or just a hike in the surrounding countryside.
5 p.m. Depart by private coach from Siena for Montalcino Cocktails at the Fiascheteria in the Piazza
7 p.m. Cocktails at Bar Le Logge
8 p.m. Dinner in town.
Wednesday, July 27th
8-10:00 a.m. Two-hour empowering yoga class with Sadie. 10:00 a.m. Continental breakfast.
10:00 a.m. Continental breakfast
12 Noon – Depart to Poggio alla Mura, part of an ancient landed estate for a buffet lunch of Tuscan dishes designed to give you a sense of the creative use of simple ingredients to create delicious yet healthy and nutritious meals to sustain working peasants’ hardscrabble lifestyles during both hard times and times of plenty.
2:30 p.m. Depart for Cantina Banfi, the largest producer of wines and the company that put Montalcino on the world wine map, for a tour of their production facility followed by a tasting at Castello Banfi, a fairytale palace with a glass museum, balsamic vinegar factory and an extensive collection of beautiful wines and accessories and local artisanal products from goat milk soaps to unique local pastas, books and ceramics.
4:30 p.m. Return to Montalcino for a well-earned siesta.
7:00 p.m. Oh! It’s cocktail hour again.
8:00 p.m. Yes, more unique food.
Thursday, July 28th
8 – 10:00 a.m. Two-hour empowering yoga class with Sadie.
10:00 a.m. Continental breakfast.
?? p.m. Flex Lunch at Bar Le Logge – arrive when you are hungry and grab a table.
Free afternoon. Take the bus to Pienza? Mountain bike, hike, museum, cathedral, shop, drop…..
7 p.m. Force yourself to have another Campari or glass of prosecco!
7:45 p.m. Depart for the one-pig village of La Befa at the end of a 7 km dirt road for a raucous downtown dinner of fresh salad, pasta ragu, grilled meats, French fries, local table wine, espresso and grappa or limoncello….
Friday, July 29th
8 – 10:00 a.m. Two-hour empowering yoga class with Sadie.
10:00 a.m. Breakfast.
?? p.m. Flex lunch at Bar Le Logge – arrive when you are hungry and grab a table.
Free afternoon. Take the bus to Bagno Vignoni for another massage? Mountain bike, hike, museum, cathedral, shop, drop…..
7:00 p.m. Guest what?
7:45 p.m. Depart for dinner in Montenero, a tiny hilltop town on the other ridge of the Val d’Orcia gazing back to the west from a beautiful tiled terrace toward Montalcino with a view that has been known to cause unabated tears at the sheer unreality of the dappled
light and contours of the hills dotted with farms, vineyards and homes among cypress lined dirt roads in the setting sun. Kleenex will be provided. And the food is just as amazing.
Saturday, July 30th
7 a.m. Continental Breakfast
Immediate departures for Rome. Assuming a 12-noon flight, one will have to leave Montalcino by 7 a.m. to allow extra time to be at Fiumicino by 10 a.m. For those with flights prior to noon, please consider leaving the night before and staying the night in Rome to make your own way to the airport in the morning. We can arrange additional transportation on Friday for small groups to Chiusi for the train to Fiumicino or a van all the way to Rome. The cost for this additional service will depend on the number of people who need it, but will be approximately $50 per person for a full van with 8 people. To get the most from your trip, try to get a Saturday afternoon flight home, or consider spending an extra day in Rome and going home on Sunday morning instead.