Sunday, November 15, 2009

San Galgano Abbey

About forty kilometers (25 miles) south-east of Siena towards Grosseto in the isolated valley of the river Merse (Val di Merse) among the Siena hills, are the ruins of the mediaeval Cistercian Abbey of San Galgano.
The community of Saint Galgano became the point of reference for all the territory and of interest of the Siennese Republic. The Abbey (Abbazia) of San Galgano was built along the classic gothic forms of all Cistercian constructions, as a daughter house of Saint Bernard's Clairvaux. It was Tuscany's first pure Gothic church, and later the model for Siena Cathedral. It has the typical Cistercian plan based on a latin cross with three aisles, rich in carved capitals and rose windows, with a cloister, halls, and, atypically, a bell tower. The richness of S. Galgano and its good relationship with Siena attracted the incursions of the Florentine armies which, together with other political events, resulted in the rapid decline of the abbey beginning in the first half of 15th century. By 1550, only five monks were in the abbey and they sold off any remaining treasures plus the lead roof, sealing the fate of the building. At the beginning of the 17 C only one old and poor monk still lived between its already ruined walls. On 6 January 1786, the 36 m bell tower collapsed, sweeping away a great part of the roof of the church and in 1789 the great Abbey was definitively abandoned and become an enormous quarry of stones and columns for the builders of the area. Fortunately, from the beginning of the last century, much restoration and maintenance have been undertaken. Today it hosts nightly musical shows and concerts... visit this undiscovered jewel with us!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Tuscany

This is the most important thing on a Tuscan table along with wine.

Tuscan extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality olive oil in the world. Tuscany produces extra virgin olive oil to such a high degree that its olive oil has been given its own label of origin, in the same way as renowned wines are defined by their regional origin.

Extra virgin olive oil is the premium of all the olive oils. To register as extra virgin, it must prove to be free of any defects. Extra virgin olive oil is officially defined as an oil "obtained from the fruit of the olive tree that has not undergone any treatment other than washing, decontamination, centrifugation and filtration and has a maximum acidity of 0.8%". Only four olive varietals are allowed: Frantoio, Moraiolo, Leccino and Pendolino.

Frantoio Sanminiatese is a small family-owned olive oil factory in the heart of Tuscany. They produce four types of extra virgin olive oil. The Oleum (the tallest bottle in the middle) is my favorite, it's an unfiltered extra virgin olive oil obtained from highly selected olives.
Visit the Annessi family with us and get to taste their labor of love and passion. Viva l' Olio Toscano!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We are Slow Food!

Slow Food is a non-profit
member-supported organization that was founded in 1989 by Carlo Petrini to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions
and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.

We want to protect our traditions and share them with you.
All the food and beverages that you will be served during your stay are personally selected by family and me.
All the restaurants, wineries, food, artistic factories, shopping outlets, museums etc. are also personally selected - giving you the best quality Tuscany has to offer.
Join us for this unique travel experience!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tortelli alla mugellana

Here is to the food of Tuscany.
Tortelli alla mugellana from the Mugello area near Florence represent the culinary soul of this wonderful region.
Tortelli alla mugellana are home made potato tortelli made with the highest quality seasonal ingredients in a ragu' sauce and served following old local traditions.
This is what we support, this is what I want you to experience. Simply Heaven!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pisa beyond its leaning tower

Pisa is such a wonderful city rich of culture, art and traditions. The leaning tower is probably the most recognizable landmark in the world but unfortunately it's the only attraction that most of tour companies are offering to their guests. We want to show our guests the Pisa beyond its bell tower.

This picture shows the "Universita' Normale di Pisa": one of the most prestigious university in Europe founded by Napoleon in 1810.

Only a 5 minutes walk from the Campo square you will discover this beautiful building and its square designed by Vasari.

Let us show what you have been missing! Viva Pisa!!!

Montespertoli: an undiscovered jewel in the Chianti

This is Montespertoli, a small medieval town south west of Florence: a jewel in the Chianti.

Several events occurring throughout the year are rooted in typical farming traditions and celebrate the products of the land, the fruit of the people's passionate labor, unique in its simplicity. Food fairs are organized during the month of November and the local population gets ready for the winter by sampling vino novello (new wine) and chestnuts, they taste the local bread and enjoy the flavor of the new oil, or simply get together and celebrate drinking vinsanto.

The long series of local events does not finish with the coming of winter but it continues in spring and becomes even more hectic during the summer. Without a doubt, the main event is the Chianti Fair that takes place in the months of May and June and makes for great partying, wine tasting, and fun.

This photo was shot at the Villa Sonnino estate, one of the finest in the area producing fine wines and extra-virgin olive oil.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mar Tirreno

This is the Tirrenic sea, part of the Mediterranean. This picture was taken on our way to the beautiful city of Livorno (untouched from the mass tourism) on the "Etruscan coast".

Our Villa is located less then 10 miles from this view.

One of our goals is to show you places that you will not be able to see with other tour companies, away from the traffic, the "mega buses" and the illusion of experience the Tuscan life.

When you think of Tuscany....have you ever had this picture on your mind???

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Harvest 2008

This is me and Count Sebastiano Capponi checking a row of sangiovese almost ready to harvest.
Our company has a lot of connections with estates in the region and we offer educational tours with owners and winemakers to fully provide a unique wine and cultural experience. You will get to know the vine, the soil and this great "terroir" full of history.
Viva il Vino Toscano!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Opening Toto' Molettieri

This is one of our unforgettable dinners at Villa Irpinia.That night I opened a Salvatore (Toto') Molettieri Taurasi Vigna Cinque Querce Riserva 2001. Taurasi is a wine from Campania made with 100% Aglianico grapes which is an indigenous varietal from Southern Italy. Everyone at the table were speechless, one of my favorite wines of all the times. A wine made entirely from one of the oldest grape varietal in the world that only grows around the small village of Montemarano (Population 3,000). My tours offer our guests the highest quality products available just because I will treat you like part of my family. Great wine, great food, dining with friends along a pool under the Tuscan stars ....what a wonderful thing!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Trebbiano and Malvasia

Trebbiano and Malvasia (with a little bit of Canaiolo) are the two main grapes of our traditional dessert wine called Vinsanto DOC (Holy wine). The grapes are dried in the dried house until the month of January. They will lose water and retain the sugar. The must deriving from the crushing of the dried grapes will ferment in small oak-barrels, with a capacity of 50 and 120 hectoliters. We celebrate with Vinsanto during holidays especially over Christmas when at the end of a very long meal we dunk cantucci (small biscotti) in it, just to make them softer and taste a lot better! I could not stop admiring it! Vinsanto is the wine of the tradition, true Tuscan tradition.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

"The Legend"

Here is a Tuscan legend, Dario Cecchini owner of Antica Macelleria Cecchini (Butchery). Macelleria Cecchini is one of the oldest in Europe and he has done a lot to promote the Tuscan lifestyle worldwide. He was featured in Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservation" show on the Travel Channel . Simply a legend for all of us away from our land. Viva la Ciccia!

Benvenuti a Villa Irpinia

This is our house. This beautiful villa is located less than two miles from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It has every comfort our guests would need and more....swimming pool with white Carrara marble floors, sauna, Turkish bath and professional massages . We will not be checking our guests in and out of an anonymous hotel. You will spend your vacation in total relax and live like the locals. Benvenuti!!!


Sangiovese is the main grape in Tuscany. It represents the tradition and it is very hard to grow with very low yield. It makes great wine with a true expression of this land. The picture shows a 1956 Sangiovese vine at Villa Calcinaia which is only used for family consumption. Chianti wines (made almost entirely from Sangiovese) make me want to reconnect with the earth, with my traditions and culture.

Greve in Chianti, Firenze

This is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I want everyone to get here and experience our wine, food and culture. Viva la Toscana!

My company is specialize in small, customized tours providing our guests a true Tuscan experience.
This picture was taken at Villa Calcinaia estate in Greve in Chianti, Florence. We had our private tour with owner Count Sebastiano Capponi.


Hello and welcome to Tuscany.
Join us for the trip of your lifetime. A Presto!