Tasting the Lost Corners of Tuscany – 7 nights
Dimora Casa Eugenia Cooking Program
Be among the few Americans to distance yourself from Florence– but only by 40 km. While many tours focus on Chianti and other areas west of the Autostrada del Sole, Adagio heads instead to the East in the direction of Arezzo. Our program Tasting the Lost Corners of Tuscany takes you through gentle hills covered by vines and olives, a landscape immortalized in many of Da Vinci’s works. The medieval hamlet of Loro Ciuffenna lies dramatically at the foot of the Pratomagno Mountain. On the shore of the narrow Ciuffenna River that divides the town, we’ll settle in for the week at the Dimora Casa Eugenia. Lovingly and creatively managed by the Bianchi family, this 7-room perfectly restored auberge offers a peaceful respite for those who want to savor life in a town almost untouched by foreigners.
The hotel’s Enoteca Vino al Vino will serve as our creative cooking corner for learning to prepare the exotic (think octopus salad on a bed of pureed chickpeas garnished with newly-pressed oil) or the more traditional (such as giant potato stuffed ravioli with truffle sauce). Our Italian-born chef Giuseppe has two decades of experience working throughout the Italian peninsula, including at the Michelin two-star restaurant of the Lord Byron Hotel in Rome. Tasting the Lost Corners of Tuscany boasts a unique and very personal aspect: the hotel staff will accompany us on excursions during the week to local markets and wineries, cheese and olive farms and other artisans owned by their friends. Very few visitors to Tuscany receive such an intimate welcome!
Day 1 (Friday) – Welcome to a week of discovery
Transfer from Florence airport/Train Station or Pisa or Montevarchi train station to the medieval town of Loro Ciuffenna. Welcome drink and tasting dinner combining food and wine at the lovely Wine Bar Restaurant Vino al Vino. D
Lodging for the next 7 nights: Dimora Casa Eugenia
Day 2 (Saturday) – Meet the locals and start cooking
We are awakened each day by the softly lapping waters of the Ciuffenna River and Eugenia’s scrumptious continental breakfast. This morning we take in the striking Romanesque Parish church at Gropina, followed by a wine tasting and lunch at a local winery.
Optional: tickets to the Joust of the Saracens – see “Special Features” — extra charge.
Mid-afternoon finds us in our hotel’s kitchen with Chef Giuseppe for our first cooking class. The menu changes daily according to Giuseppe’s inspiration and local seasonal ingredients. The menu prepared in class will be tasted in the traditional Tuscan way this evening: dining and conversing around a beautiful table. B, L, D
Day 3 (Sunday) – Visit the Valdambra
Today we’ll travel to Valdambra, located in the very center of Tuscany and usually overlooked by tourists. Fortunate for us, as it has retained many traditional towns and customs. Bring your cameras; our lunch will be in one such typical village, surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. Return to the hotel for more of Giuseppe’s creations at dinner. B, L, D
Day 4 (Monday) – Of Tuscan Beans and other delicacies
Visit to the local “Fattoria di Terranuova”: learn about local breeds of farm animals, cheese and winemaking, and olive oil production. Discover why the “fagiolo zolfino” is the most sought after of Tuscany’s many wonderful beans. Tasting lunch with the friendly owners. Back to Dimora Casa Eugenia in late afternoon, and dinner on your own in one of several excellent trattorias in town. B, L
Day 5 (Tuesday) – Arezzo
Early morning transfer and guided visit of Arezzo, considered to be one of the original 12 Etruscan towns. Arezzo, which was featured in Benigni’s stunning film Life is Beautiful, was also birthplace to the scholar and poet Petrarch. Lunch on your own at one of the many local eateries. Our second cooking class takes place this afternoon with Chef Giuseppe. Dine on our creations. B, D
Day 6 (Wednesday) – Chianti Classico Senese
Today we travel west for a guided tour of the “Chianti Classico Senese”, that part of the famous wine region just west of the Province of Arezzo. Visit bustling Radda in Chianti, followed by the gardens and local wine cellars of the Castello di Brolio estate. Wine tasting, followed by lunch in Volpaia village in a typical tavern. Back to Dimora Casa Eugenia and the chance to explore another restaurant in town on your own for dinner. B, L
Day 7 (Thursday) – Local flavors
Shop in the local open air market and lunch on your own in the town of Terranuova Bracciolini. This charming town was named after one of Italy’s most famous humanists, Poggio Bracciolini (1380-1459). Final cooking class with Chef Giuseppe, followed by our private “piccola gala” dinner. B, D
Day 8 (Friday) – Arrividerci
Transfer to Florence Airport/ Train Station or Pisa or Montevarchi Train Station. B
*B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner provided
Anyone for a Grape Massage?
Bask in the glory of an in-room spa treatment, lulled by the flow of the Ciuffenna River just outside the room. The choice is yours … yummy massages using hot stones, aromatherapy, or essential oils infused with herbs from Pratomagno Mountain. Hotel packages also include baths followed by massage, facials, body peeling, even an antioxidant body treatment package using grapes! Adagio Travel extends a 50% discount to clients who wish to try a spa treatment in 2011.
Joust of the Saracens
Clients traveling on our June 2011 “Tasting the Lost Corners of Tuscany – 7 nights” will have a unique opportunity to experience the “Joust of the Saracens”, an exciting and colorful ancient game of chivalry dating back to the Middle Ages that takes place twice a year in the regional capital of Arezzo. Adagio Travel can arrange balcony seats in the Piazza Grande, where a local guide will enlighten you on the rules of the joust as it unfolds in front of your eyes! A catered lunch of local specialties will enhance your experience. (Extra charge)