Family Gathering -Tuscany
Join us this October in the Val d’Orcia!
WEEK ONE 11 to 16 of October
WEEK TWO 18 to 23 of October
Two years ago Emiko Davies and her adorable daughters joined us for a Family Gathering on the island of Andros in the Greek Cyclades. As everyone who spends time with her does, we fell completely in love with this talented and gracious woman, and have been dreaming of doing something together ever since. And now that dream is coming true!
This October we will co-host a very special Family Gathering, together with Emiko and her sommelier husband Marco, in the mythic Val d’Orcia in Tuscany. Emiko will guide us through this favourite corner of her adopted backyard as we explore the charming villages and meet the artisans and organic producers who help make this one of the greatest places to eat and drink the world. We’ll stay five nights in a beautifully restored farmhouse with a heated saltwater pool, hammocks, a yoga studio, cosy communal living rooms and a billiard room. We will venture out to hunt truffles, pet farm animals, hunt down the best gelato, bathe in the natural hot springs and taste the best wine, cheese and pasta that Tuscany has to offer. Activities will be planned for each day, with plenty of flexibility and down time to help families make the most of our time together. Most evenings we’ll relax at the villa, making and enjoying dinner together, glass of wine in hand.
Like all of our Family Gatherings, this trip is perfect for anyone (with or without children) who is curious, wants to make a connection, enjoys slow travel, good food, good wine and good company.
DAY ONE Afternoon Arrival and weldome drinks. Long table dinner at the villa.
DAY TWO After breakfast, we set out for a truffle hunt in the woods on the property of a wonderful organic farm and one of the best Pecorino di Pienza cheese producers in the area. This unique landscape known as the Crete Senesi is known for both white truffles and black truffles. With our truffle hunter and his dog hopefully we will find some of the prized white ones at this time of the year, then we’ll sit down for lunch where we can also taste the cheeses and a truffle meal. After lunch, time to relax at the villa and anyone who would like to help make dinner is welcome to join in making fresh pici pasta with Emiko, the most well-known pasta dish of the Valdorcia, which can be served all’aglione (a garlic and tomato sauce) or cacio e pepe (with pecorino cheese and pepper). Marco will be opening some wines and can take the grown ups through an informal tasting of wines from the area. Dinner at the villa of antipasti, pasta, dessert and wine.
DAY THREE After a late breakfast and morning spent at the villa (maybe time for some yoga in the studio or a swim in the heated pool!), we will visit an organic producer of ancient grains and their mill, where they make pasta everyday. We will also stop here for a light lunch too, for a taste of local specialties. After lunch we will visit Bagno Vignoni, a charming medieval hamlet famous for its curative hot springs since the times of Catherine of Siena. These hot springs are the hottest in Tuscany and have volcanic origins from about 1000 meters below the surface and anyone can visit them in the pools of the village’s two hotels or by walking down the hillside to the ancient Parco del Mulino (park of the mills), where there is a slightly cooler natural pool. We will have free time here to explore this beautiful village, which has as the main piazza an impressive pool of thermal hot springs (it’s forbidden to go in here though!) surrounded by lovely cafes for a glass of wine. You can relax in one of the cafes and stroll around, or go for a swim at the picturesque Posta Marcucci pool (an entry fee of around 22 euro for half day) or come for a mini trek down the hillside to the natural one (it’s a short but steep 5 minute walk). We will have dinner in a wonderful trattoria here.
DAY FOUR Today after breakfast we can go exploring some of the Val d’Orcia and its towns and other beautiful gems like the Vitaleta Chapel and the town of San Quirico d’Orcia, which has a beautiful garden called Horti Leone which was constructed in the Renaissance (they say it was designed by Michelangelo) as a public resting stop for those on the pilgrim route. Lunch and siesta back at the villa, then in the afternoon we will stop in at Montepulciano, a historic hilltop town enclosed in a 14th century wall, there’s a wonderful historic cafe here for some refreshments, then we will visit a flower farm where we can pick flowers, make a small posy or wreath and have aperitivo in the beautiful panoramic garden before heading back to the villa for pizza night where if anyone who wants to get involved in making their own pizza, they can! Marco will get out his wines.
DAY FIVE A slow breakfast before a visit to a winery and organic farm that produces their own beer, wine and honey (they also have a collection of cute farm animals and a picturesque view of Pienza). We will have lunch here at their food truck with a natural wine tasting too, before heading finally to Pienza, the “ideal” Renaissance city: great views, great gelato, cheese shops, beautiful piazza and a good spot for aperitivo with a view. After an initial walk to the best gelateria in town get your bearings, we will have free time here to explore the wonderful shops and little streets. For the kids, there will be a one hour workshop at a little studio and shop of all things made with recycled materials. We can meet on the wall for aperitivo before heading back to the villa for our last dinner together.
DAY SIX Breakfast and goodbyes.
COST €3500 per adult, single room supplement of €800. €2000 per child (four and under are free!). To confirm your place we ask a 40% deposit. Note that we have limited space of only 6 rooms, with a possible wait list for a second week
WHAT’S INCLUDED? Everything! Five nights accommodation in a beautiful Tuscan villa. Day trips and transport included in the above itinerary. All activities, including tastings, workshops and truffle hunt! All meals during the Gathering, including cooking classes from Emiko, aperitivo and wine pairings from Marco, sommelier.
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED? Transport to and from the Val d’Orcia. Travel insurance. Gratuities.
COVID-19 We will do everything to operate in a covid-safe environment, so guests (children 12 and under are exempt) will need to show either a covid-19 negative test or proof of recovery from covid-19, or vaccination, which you will likely have to do anyway on your travels here. Your own travel insurance (not included) is a must.
To register please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know who would be coming and anything we should know about your family. Registration for both weeks will close Sunday night, Pacific Standard Time.
See you in Tuscany!
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