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*this month*

April – Weeks of the 6th, the 13th, the 20th and the 27th

Chef Alice’s “Herbs & Vegetable Garden Week” for Aprilurl-4

Saturday – Welcome Dinner and Wine Tasting at the Villa
Sunday – Sunday Lunch involving traditional dishes – antipasti, meat or fish, roasted vegetables, sweets and local wine
Monday – Merendino del Pellegrino (Brunch of the Pilgrim) in the villa’s garden – pic nic style in case of sunny weather
Tuesday – A day for Cooking Lesson and Dinner with Alice: discovering the secrets of Tuscan cucina povera and herbs
Wednesday – Wine Tasting in Awarded Winery of Lucca (Best White 2012) including private Guide. Lunch in local Locanda and restaurant will follow (menù à la càrte)
Thursday – Lunch & Wine Tasting in Guamo, with visit to the vegetable garden of this rural company specilized in 0-kilometer organic food policy, including private Guide. A walk in Lucca will follow, shopping and guide with chef and Tour Guide Alice
Friday – Themed farewell dinner with Slow Food cheeses and cold cuts, red wine and grappa
Offer: € 1.500,00 per night, maximum 15 guests, 7 nights minimum – contact your local agents to book your Herbs & Vegetable Garden Week

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Leonardo da Vinci was our neighbour

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In the land of Leonardo da Vinci, the famous wine and oil producing territory of Montalbano, world cycling champions come to improve their performances on these sweet hills, while contemplating some really unique landscapes: that’s where we are. It’s a watery land, such as Lucca (less than half an hour away) and flourishes with natural springs and the most famous natural SPA and Grotto of Europe: Grotta Giusti and the medical complex of Montecatini Terme. A territory that offers an unlimited number of small towns and hamlets, all with their restaurants, cafes and breadshops, starting from five minutes away from the property. This is a very elegant country house in this area, which is equidistant from Florence and Lucca. Covering almost seven thousand square feet and offering seven bedrooms, one reception room, separate dining room, two living rooms, conservatory, study, new fully fitted kitchen, three service bathrooms and guest cloakroom, this one is perfect for families travelling together or group of friends who are into food and wine itineraries in Tuscany.

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There is a private pool (heatable) and expansive gardens for hot summer afternoons or after a day of exploring this area of Tuscany. Each area features it own heating control. On the oak shaded terrace or in the pleasant dining room that opens to the garden guests can enjoy traditional Tuscan cuisine or engage in Cooking Classes featuring some famous tuscan mammas and chefs. The residents of this lovely property have the exclusive use of the fabulous private gardens adjacent to the Golf of Montecatini Terme – visible from the outdoor swimming pool or solarium – and enjoy total privacy and silence.  This villa is particularly indicated for families with kids, as the Park of Pinocchio is twenty minutes away, beach clubs of northern tuscan riviera are less than fifty minutes away and there are all around pedestrian villages (Montecatini Alto being the best one) where parents can eat, relax and watch their little ones run with the tuscan ones and no fear of cars.

Eating out around us

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Infinite are the itineraries and tours that allow visitors to explore Tuscany, a unique and singular country known around the world for the variety of its landscapes and terrains – a country in perfect equilibrium between the sea, mountains, hills and plains. Whether in car, train, camper, bus, boat, scooter or bike, travelers can leave the typical touristic routes and visit the less-frequented towns and villages to find the true heart of the Italian lifestyle. The origins of Tuscan food are rather rustic, as we can see from its basic ingredients: bread, even stale bread, spelt, legumes and vegetables.

Some typical appetizers are crostini (toasted bread) topped by spreads like cream of chicken liver and spleen, panzanella, and salame, including finocchiona, a fennel-flavored salame. 

The typical first course is soup, like the famous ribollita or bean soup, spelt soup, pici (a type of spaghetti from the area of Siena), or pappardelle with hare.

famous fish dish is cacciucco soup, followed by mullets and the stockfish stew of Livorno.
Among meat dishes, the bistecca fiorentina (grilled T-bone steak) is the most popular; guinea-fowl meat, pork and game are quite common as well. 

The typical desserts are castagnaccio (chestnut cake), buccellato (anise cake) and cantucci.
Wine production here is excellent for both variety and quality: Tuscany produces the finest wines in Italy, from Chianti to Vino Nobile MontepulcianoBrunello di MontalcinoVernaccia di San Gimignano and many more. Vin Santo, a sweet and liqueur-like wine, is paired with cantucci (almond cookies, or what Americans refer to as biscotti).

These are the restaurants we recommend around us.

La Torre Montecatini Alto Piazza Giusti 0572   70650
La Bottegaia Pistoia Via del Lastrone, 17 0573   365602
Mason Sant’Allucio Via Parri, 56 0572   451363
Da Marino Serravalle pistoiese Via provinciale lucchese 102 – 51030 0573    51042
Cecco Pescia Vle. Francesco Forti 84 0572 47 79 55

Wineries of Tuscany around us

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Tuscan wines are among the best in Italy. Their reputation is due mainly to the reds which include Chianti, an excellent wine produced in the Chianti area. It is ruby red and its alcohol content ranges from 12° to 14°. There are two D.O.C. classifications: Putto and Chianti Classico Gallo Nero, according to the zone of production. The wine district spreads from Montalbano to Florentine hills, from the Valdarno to the Sienese hills. However, only the wines produced between Florence and Siena, from S.Casciano to Castelnuovo Berardenga have the prestigious Chianti Classico – Gallo Nero label. The many small, rustic Tuscan taverns offer a wide range of local Chianti wines in a simple setting. In many villages you can still find the local mescite, now unfortunately disappearing. Vineyards with olive groves characterize all the Tuscan landscape. The wine and the extra-virgin olive oil produced in the area from S.Casciano to Castelnuovo Berardenga are known throughout the world.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is named after the town and the historic notion that the wine was available only for the tables of nobility. This was the very first DOCG in Italy. Unfortunately, its first vintage in 1983 was met with disappointing reviews. That and the fact that over 250,000 cases of this wine are now produced each year has somewhat diminished its noble aspect. Quality since that 1983 vintage has improved, however, and wines from the top producers are viewed as some of Italy’s best. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines are made from 60 to 80 per cent Prugnolo (sangiovese), 10 to 20 percent canaiolo, and up to 20 percent of other varieties (although no more than 10 percent white). One of the other red varieties most often used is Mammolo, which adds the scent of violets to the bouquet. The wines of this DOCG must be aged for 2 years in oak or chestnut casks, 3 years for those labelled riserva. In 1989 a new doc -rosso di Montepulciano – was formed.

No other Italian DOC has risen to such prominence as Brunello di Montalcino. This small Tuscan district around the hill town of Montalcino has become the darling of wine connoisseurs around the world. Here the Sangiovese Grosso yields wines with sensual aromas. The fragrances of licorice, smoke, violet, truffles, incense, and raspberries have all been found in these wines. By law Brunello must be aged a minimum of 3 ½ years in oak barrels.