With a perfect combination of walking and exploring, art historian, landscape gardener, author and long term Tuscan resident, will unlock the secrets of Italy's most beautiful and celebrated region.
The concept of Tuscany automatically conjures up a vision of the Renaissance towns surrounded by gentle hills, crowned with little towns and villages, that grace the paintings of Simone Martini, Piero della Francesca and Leonardo da Vinci.
There is also another Tuscany, often concealed behind high walls and iron gates: the landscape of the Tuscan garden, a small paradise where the spontaneity of nature is persuaded to embrace the order and symmetry of reason - this two week tour is dedicated to this Tuscany.
The gardens: Guided visits to some of the finest historical gardens in Italy, biodynamic farm, two of central Italy’s finest national parks and one of Italy’s finest vineyards, the home of Sassicaia, the original ‘Supertuscan’ red.
The walks: have been selected to reveal the region’s incomparable natural beauty as well as its unique historic and artistic heritage. The walks range from 6 to 12 kms and follow well-marked trails mostly unsealed country roads over undulating hills. In some cases it is possible to shorten the walk or to opt out and join the walkers afterwards.
The accommodation: an elegant hotel on the ‘left bank’ of the Arno River (a short walk from the Ponte Vecchio); a magnificent 16th century estate set in parklands outside Lucca; a beautifully restored ‘borgo’ surrounded by olive groves with views of the sea; and finishing in self-contained apartments in the pedestrian centre of one of southern Tuscany’s most charming towns.
The food: must be a highlight of any visit to Italy - the history and character of each region is best captured in its unique cuisine, which has evolved over centuries and is based on fresh, local, seasonal ingredients. All the restaurants have been chosen to introduce you to the finest regional cuisine, from the sophisticated ‘ristoranti’ of the bigger towns to the simpler home-cooking of the country ‘trattorie’.
18th to 30th May 2016