Fall is just around the corner - book your Harvest Italia tour, today

by Vicky - Spirit of Italy Tours on June 16th, 2011

Hello Italy enthusiasts!

The warm summer weather is finally here in San Jose after a long, rainy and cold Winter and Spring. The Fall season is just around the corner and so is my Harvest Italia tour. I thought it would be a helpful to post an updated press release that gives a snap shot of what promises to be an incredible journey.

As always, please contact me at vicky@spiritofitalytours.com with questions or to register for the tour.



Spirit of Italy Tours Announces “Harvest Italia 2011”

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Journey to Experience the Splendors of Tuscany in Autumn

Centerpiece of 7-Night Boutique Tour is Hand Picking Olives That Are Pressed into Your Own Bottle of Olive Oil

San Jose, CA – June 2011 – Autumn in Italy is a feast for the eyes, and of course, the palette. Breath-taking fall colors can be seen from vineyards and olive groves, to the mountains and the weather is mild and sunny. “Harvest Italia”, offered by Sprit of Italy Tours, is a seven night tour to Tuscany, Italy, November 1 – 8, 2011, is designed to coincide with the annual olive harvest – la raccolta – which occurs each year during this time period. The family-friendly tour is centered in the Valdarno (Valley of the Arno River) region of Tuscany, an area rich with historical art and architecture and landscapes that appear to be straight out of a painted Renaissance masterpiece.

Let’s pick olives together
The cornerstone of Harvest Italia will be picking olives by hand at Casa Falcioni, a 10-acre property in the charming and central Tuscan town of Cavriglia that boasts an olive grove with nearly 600 olive trees belonging to the frantoio, leccino and moraiolo varieties. Situated atop a rolling hillside, Casa Falcioni is surrounded by cypress and chestnut trees and affords spectacular views of the Valdarno. Tour guests will learn how to pick olives and the traditional olive oil making process, as well as enjoy a guided tour by the Casa Falcioni proprietors to a local olive pressing facility to see self-picked olives turned into olive oil.

Harvest Italia is geared to individuals, couples, or families as a way to not only experience the olive harvest but also to explore the bellissima Italian countryside in a low-key, slower paced way. The tour affords guests the security and time-saving options of a planned schedule of events, but also allows people to explore at their own pace, as desired. Tour size will be small, limited to no more than 10 adults (plus children).

“Picking olives is a wonderful and relaxing way to enjoy quality time with family and friends in a natural setting. It is easy, safe and a fun activity even for young children,” says Vicky Gray-Clark, Spirit of Italy Tours founder and operator. “Olive oil is a staple in the Italian diet and is growing more popular in the U.S. The start-to-finish process of collecting olives followed by seeing them pressed into oil is fascinating. Each Harvest Italia guest will be able to take home a bottle of olive oil made from their hand-picked olives which makes the experience even more rewarding.”

Gray-Clark adds that there is no better way to experience the ambience of Tuscany and enjoy a relaxing holiday than to stay in an agriturismo, a converted Italian-style farmhouse. Harvest Italia has selected the lovely Agriturismo Valleverde as home base for the seven night duration of the trip. Agriturismo Valleverde lies deep in the hills of the Chianti, just outside the charming town of San Giovanni Valdarno and conveniently located to Florence, Siena and Arezzo; offering an ideal point of departure for many day trips to explore nearby hill towns and cultural centers, shop or to enjoy great country walks. The property features a characteristic farm house and adjoining apartments that overlook an expansive courtyard and meadow. Each apartment unit offers private, tastefully appointed two and three bedrooms all which have been restored and furnished in updated Tuscan country-style furnishings. Designed with practicality in mind, the apartments feature a combined dining room/living room, kitchen, private bathroom and terrace with garden views.

Leisurely paced
Leisurely paced, the Harvest Italia itinerary encourages guests to foster an intimate connection with the Tuscany landscape with time to savor the food and wine, and explore the sights, language, culture and indescribable beauty of the region during harvest season. In addition to olive picking, the carefully selected activities include visits to outdoor markets (mercati) that feature a variety of items from farm fresh local produce to cappuccino to Italian leather goods; a journey to the famous Fiera Antiquaria di Arezzo – considered one of Italy’s finest open-air antique markets; and a venture deep into the cellars of a local winery known for producing outstanding Chianti. The itinerary also includes visits to Firenze, Siena and Cortona, an authentic Italian cooking demonstration featuring seasonal fare, and basic cooking techniques. Shoppers too will be pleased to know that in the immediate vicinity there are several luxury brand factory outlets, as well as discount leather warehouses where exceptional Italian handmade goods are available at reduced prices.

Pricing and Itinerary
The Harvest Italia complete itinerary and background information is available at www.spiritofitalytours.com. Pricing information is available by emailing Vicky Gray-Clark, vicky@spiritofitalytours.com. A You Tube video montage showing many of the locales that are part of the Harvest Italia 2011 tour is available for viewing at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HjqJ7amPCU. Spirit of Italy Tours is also on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/#!/home.php?sk=group_128889530799&notif_t=group_activity.

About Spirit of Italy Tours
Sprit of Italy Tours is a boutique travel company located in San Jose, Calif., offering small groups of travelers intimate journeys to Tuscany. The company’s Harvest Italia 2011 tour is scheduled for November 1 – 8, 2011. For additional information on Spirit of Italy Tours, please visit, www.spiritofitalytours.com. Company founder, and tour operator, Vicky Gray-Clark, has traveled throughout Italy and is affectionately known as an Italophile – one who loves all things Italian.

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