Archive for Italy
CHIANTI COOKING & TUSCANY SPA RETREAT 25 Sep 2008
October 5 – 12, 2008, Women-only Tour to Tuscany! Jan Acorn, owner of Gateway Destinations, had the pleasure of leading a small group of ladies into the heart of Tuscany, Italy for eight days in October. We began with a guided walking tour of Florence, a delicious welcome dinner at a local trattoria to get to know each other, and spent the next morning exploring on our own before venturing into the countryside for the rest of the week. Our countryside adventure began in the Chianti region during the bustling grape harvest season and included cooking classes, wine tasting, an introduction to olive oil, market visit, tour of Meleto Castle and much more! Our journey continued further south where we shopped and explored Siena and numerous charming villages, picked chestnuts and wild porcini mushrooms, enjoyed lunch in an authentic country kitchen, and picnicked in picturesque Pienza – all while residing at a luxurious thermal spa resort. Read more about some of the highlights of this women’s journey.
Two delicious evenings were spent in authentic country kitchens as our guests learned to cook treasured Italian family recipes with the Tuscan Mamas. Located in the heart of Tuscany, this cooking school resides in the beautiful forested hills of the Chianti region. From stuffed zucchini flowers, risotto with local fresh mushrooms, to gelato with fresh citrus and limoncello liqueur to name some of the dishes, our dinners were heavenly and fun to prepare. Join us in 2009 as we return for more cooking in this beautiful region of Italy!
Thermal Spa Indulgence in Italy
Our 8-day escorted women’s tour to Italy in October was rounded out by spending several relaxing days at Adler Thermae, a beautiful 5-star natural thermal spa resort in southern Tuscany. Overlooking an expansive valley filled with Cyprus trees, vineyards and olive orchards and located on a picturesque hillside in the tiny village of Bagno Vignoni, this resort has it all. It is blessed with non-odorous thermal water and unbelievable views. The rooms are spacious, well-appointed and all have views of the outdoor pools and valley below. The food and service are great, and the spa includes an array of fitness classes, exercise equipment and a wide variety of spa treatments. There are even bicycles available to tour the countryside.
Local Life in Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia
Aah…the simple pleasures of life lived as a local under the Tuscan sun! Our guide introduced our small group of ladies to authentic country life in this region. We started the morning by picking and sorting chestnuts as well as harvesting wild porcini mushrooms (a rare find), then visited the home of his mother in Castledelpiano. We enjoyed homemade polenta made with chestnut flour, our fresh mushrooms and other tasty regional food, while enjoying young wine made by his brother that morning. All in all, a perfect expression of la dolce vita!