Five San Franciscians discover the Secret Tuscany, Sept 2015

Day 1 Sept 21, Monday
Giovanni and Marcella meet the group at Firenze airport and whisk them to Agriturismo Il Colle where we have antipasto and prosecco outside of our farmhouse.
Dinner is frittata and of course, more wine.

Day 2 Sept 22, Tuesday

Figline Market for early risers: Carol, Marcie and Lois while Bill and M’liss go horseback riding at Vecchio Texas.

  • Paperwork, very common in Italy!
  • La bella Bella at Vecchio Texas
  • Ready to ride horses!
  • Getting ready for the trail
  • Love birds!

Lunch outside on the terrace at Osteria Le Panzanelle in Lucarelli, near Radda In Chianti
http://www.lepanzanelle.it
Visit with Nora at Chianti Cashmere Goat farm http://www.chianticashmere.com
Stroll through the medieval town of Radda
Light dinner and visit with good friend and our neighbor, Elettra

  • The secret alley ways of Radda
  • after school in Radda
  • Lois and M'liss in Radda
  • Cinghaile couture has arrived!
  • the shop at the cashmere goat farm
  • at the farm
  • Visiting Nora's cashmere goat farm
  • Nora who runs and owns the Chianti Cashmere Goat Farm

Day 3 Sept 23, Wednesday
Wine session with Stefano of Accademia Buon Gusto in Panzano
Stroll through Greve, dodging the rain before our cooking class with Alessandro and company at La Cantina.

  • a brief pause from eating, at our cooking class
  • Group shot with Stefano
  • in the kitchen at La Cantina
  • The dinner crowd
  • Billy and Giovanni
  • Stefano of Accademia del Buon Gusto

Day 4 Sept 24, Thursday
We pick up Cristina in Figline for our trip to Lipu Montepulciano for birdwatching, nature trails, and bike riding. We get lost and end up riding abut 15 km! Nicola prepares a special lunch, then we visit the walled town of Montepulciano and enjoy visiting an ancient winery.

  • In the town of Montepulciano
  • One of my favorite Tuscan colors
  • ancient winery in Montepulciano
  • ancient winery in Montelpulciano
  • Lake Montepulciano
  • Flick, the dog that lives at the reserve
  • Montepulciano
  • We are the champions! After getting lost on bikes
  • Terry at Lipu Montepulciano
  • here's that spiral again, it's everywhere, currently in Spain
  • Montepulciano

Day 5 Sept 25, Friday
Off to Fiesole in the morning to meet my friend Anna where we hike the area at Mount Cecheri where the stonecutters lived and worked and Leonardo tried out his flying machines. Spectacular views of Florence! Picnic at the top.
We take the scenic #7 ( and crowded!) bus down to Florence where Bill, M’liss, and Carol tour the Uffizi with Anna while Lois and Terry enjoy the frescoes at the Branacci Chapel.
We later meet for a drink to discuss our adventures.
Aperitivo night in Florence: “Italian for fun” with Cristina. Our first stop is the old prison, Le Murate, which has been restored as a cultural center and houses the School of Architecture at the University of Firenze.
Next we go to the rooftop patio of the Plaza Hotel Lucchesi where we have a 360-degree view of Florence.

  • Duomo from rooftop terrace at Plaza Hotel
  • Fish eyes view of firenze
  • On the Ponte Vecchio
  • on the Ponte Vecchio
  • See the rooftop pool at the Plazza Hotel?

Day 6 Sept 26 , Saturday
We are invited to harvest grapes with Giovanni’s family in San Polo and have lunch in the fields with his multigenerational group.
Cristina and Luca deliver dinner to us at Il Colle before we go to Vicchi to hear the male deers “sing” under the full moon. We are able to see, smell, and hear them. It is a night to remember!

  • The fruit of the vine
  • Grande Billy and Giovanni
  • Chelsea and Wayne from Australia
  • Lois and M'liss
  • Marcella with two sisters
  • Marcella!
  • Carol
  • Terry
  • M'liss and Bill
  • Grande Billy
  • The Scream! get your grapey hands away from me!
  • Grapey hands are happy hands!
  • !Picking grapes with Giovanni's family
  • The table was groaning!
  • Deer singing under the full moon!

Day 7 Sept 27, Sunday
Hike with Malo to the top of Poggio Alle Croce
Amazing snacks served at Malo’s House
Dinner at Zia Emilia’s in Poggio alla Croce

  • View of Il Colle from afar
  • Malo leading a hike to the top of Poggio alla Croce
  • Beautiful refreshments at Malo's house
  • At Malo's house
  • At Malo's house
  • Carol relaxing at Malo's. with Rasca
  • New friends, Tracey and Wayne from Australia
  • at Zia Emelie's
  • A great dinner with local chef, Emilia, in Poggio alla Croce
  • The best melon I have ever tasted

Day 8 Sept 28, Monday
In Florence, we walk up to the top of the Duomo.Carol has her portrait done by Kelly while we all watch, fascinated by the process. Terry was able to find Trattoria Nella on Via de Terme, a place he visited a number of years ago.
We find Lois’s favorite paper store, Il Torchio Legatoria Artigian, on the Oltre Arno, and have new gelato experience at Cantina del Gelato.
Ever try Mint, Pineapple, and Ginger gelato? Or Turmeric and fig?
Bus up to Piazzale Michelangelo and walk up to the church of San Miniato.
M’liss and Marcella buy “Melissa Extract” from the monks to help with insomnia. ( It seemed to work of both of us, by the way!)
Art night with Lois and Marcie, Gelli printing (mono printing) on the dining room table

  • Outside the Duomo
  • Satisfied customer!
  • Vestments going to the cleaner's?
  • Carol gets her portrait done
  • First Look

Day 9 Sept 29, Tuesday
Early start to visit Volterra, a walled Etruscan hill town famous for Alabaster workshops
Lois and Terry visit two museums while the rest of the group discover an old theater where we are given an impromptu tour.

We host a dinner party tonight! There are about 18 of us enjoying Bistecca Fiorentino grilled by our very own Giovanni and also papa Pomodoro, minestrone, rosemary potatoes, and three different home made cakes! And of course, plenty of wine and prosecco.

  • Giovanni and Francesca
  • At the table
  • Our chef
  • dinner party in our dining room
  • The famous Giovanni
  • Passing the meat

Day 10 Sept 30, Wednesday
Departure day
Bill, M’liss, Terry and Lois arrive at the Florence train station to depart for Venice, and Carol wings her way home to San Francisco.
In January 2016 we will have a reunion in San Francisco and Giovanni and Francesca have promised to come!

Now it's on to Venice!

Now it’s on to Venice!

6 thoughts on “Five San Franciscians discover the Secret Tuscany, Sept 2015

  1. Ciao Bella Marcella..
    how fabulous to see your amazing home of the heart and spirit.
    I have always wanted to visit Italia..it’s on my list..
    but dietary restrictions would be so challenging…don’t ask! LOL
    enjoy enjoy every moment …
    thank u for sharing the wonder and beauty of it all

  2. marcie, I just saw your photos and you have me getting more excited about the prospect of
    going with you the next time, even though I dread the long flight!
    thanks for sharing these wonderful peeks into Italy!

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