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Tuscan bike tour combining moderate rides and cooking lessons; olive oil, wine and cheese tasting. Explore the beautiful Val d’Orcia, Pienza, Montalcino, San Quirico. Cortona, Crete Senesi, and sightseeing in Siena. . Tuscany cooks take advantage of the freshest seasonal products and tamper with their natural state as little as possible.
Most days include a hands-on cooking class or a visit to taste local food. Our dining-out experiences range from a simple osteria, to a family trattoria, and an elegant restaurant. You will come home inspired, not only with new recipes, but also with the enthusiasm to incorporate these recipes into your lifestyle.
Private van transfer to the country house, 14 km from Pienza, in time for the welcome pool side aperitivo and bike fitting session. Enjoy the welcome dinner at La Cantina della Porta.
First stage is Pienza, a pristine Renaissance jewel created in 1458. Pope Pius II chose the famous Florentine architect Rossellino to transform his home village of Corsignano into one of the few examples left of 15th century architecture. The main product is the pecorino, the delicious pungent cheese made using only sheep’s milk. The next visit is Montepulciano, known as the Pearl of the Sixteenth Century. Do not miss a visit at the underground wine cellar and short tasting of “nobile” wine. Back in the saddle and the last stop is the village of Monticchiello, the quintessential Tuscan hill town. Bold cypress trees line the route to the Orcia valley where you will bike through the fields that inspired Renaissance painters. We then head back by van for your first cooking session.
The first stop is the ancient Roman spa of Bagno Vignoni. Legend has it Saint Catherine and Pope Pius II both bathed in the thermal waters here. You can take off your shoes and dip your toes in the rivulets that come up warm from the earth. Then it’s time for a short visit to Romanesque abbey of Sant’Antimo that dates back to the time of Charlemagne. The hill town Montalcino, famous for Brunello wines made with the Sangiovese Grosso grape and aged a minimum of four years. The ride ends off at Ciacci Piccolomini for a Wine tasting, where you will savour Brunello wine and learn about the aging process.
After breakfast you cycle from the villa and reach Montepulciano is this the right town after a few uphills. Once here, the ride continues with a long downhill and will be flat for a while. “The Val di Chiana” once a swampy lowland, except for the final climb to reach the old town on the hill Cortona, which is one of Italy’s oldest towns. The first set of city walls were built by the Etruscans in the 4th century BC. It became famous by Frances Mayes in her bestselling book and movie “Under the Tuscan Sun”
Dinner at Dopolavoro della Foce.
Today another terrific bike ride: starting from the villa, reaching Radicofani, a medieval and enchanting village with it’s Rocca one of the most impressive and scenic medieval fortresses in Tuscany. (*”literally: rock, is a type of Italian fortified stronghold or fortress, typically located on a hilltop, beneath or on which a village or town historically clustered so that the inhabitants might take refuge at times of trouble”) Enjoy the downhill back to the valley: our destination is the Mulino Val d’Orcia. which rises along Francigena road near the old Spedaletto. Castle, The castle was readapted into a granary, a real fortified farm. You will visit the stone mill and have a hands-on cooking lesson on hand rolled pasta of this region: the Pici. Let’s learn how to make the classic aglione sauce: tomato and spring garlic. After lunch under the pergola, you will ride back to the villa, only 8 km away.
* credit: wikipedia
After breakfast, depart by bike from the villa. The first stop is San Quirico, an Etruscan village with a superb example of the classic Italian garden: the Horti Leonini. Pass through Asciano and Le crete area, with strange rock formations and a lone farmhouse flanked by twin cypress trees. Let’s pedal through vineyards and forests and arrive in Siena. Then visit the shell shape square where the Palio horserace is run and enjoy a leisurely lunch on your own. Back to the villa, time for a jump in the pool and rest. Our farewell dinner will take place at restaurant at La Bandita townhouse.
After a breakfast all together we will arrange a transfer to Chiusi train station.