Harvest Italia 2014

Bring your Enthusiasm

If you are yearning to enjoy an authentic way to experience the splendors of the Italian countryside in autumn, I invite you to join us for Harvest Italia 2014! Harvest Italia is a seven night boutique tour in Tuscany, Italy, October 28 – November 4, 2014, designed to coincide with the time of the olive harvest.

Autumn in Italy is just gorgeous. Fall colors can be seen in vineyards and on mountains and the weather in in late October/early November is fairly mild and sunny, cooling down in the evenings. We’ll be spending the week in the Valdarno (Valley of the Arno River) and Casentino regions of Tuscany. Tuscany is one of Italy's most exquisite regions and is rich with historical art and architecture, and landscapes that appear to be straight out of a painted Renaissance masterpiece. The picturesque regions are made up of gentle slopes and peaked ridges and offer some of the most beautiful and lush panoramas in all of Italy. Dotted throughout are medieval village bell towers, castles, fortresses and churches and the infamous silver and green olive vines.

The Valdarno is located between the better known cities of Arezzo, Florence and Siena and it is bordered by the Chianti hills to the west and the Pratomagno Mountains to the east. Casentino, a bit more secluded from tourists, sits further east of the Pratomagno between between Florence and Arezzo, and is bordered on one side by the Apennines  mountains.

Tuscany is known for exceptional cuisine, scenery and is steeped in Etruscan and Roman history. In this area of Italy it is typical to see modern infrastructure coexist alongside historical roads and monuments built during the Renaissance or earlier by the Etruscans.

Let’s pick olives together

The centerpiece of the trip will be picking olives by hand at Casa Falcioni, a 10-acre property 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 be given information on 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. Picking olives is a wonderful way to enjoy quality time with family and friends in a natural setting. 

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 'Il Pozzo' (The Well)  as home base for the seven night duration of the trip. The agriturismo lies in the town of Capolona and is located very close to the town of Subbiano where the famous Arno River flows and 15 minutes from the charming town of Arezzo, the capital of the region. The property features a characteristic farm house and adjoining apartments that overlook meadows and mountain views in the distance. 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. The property is conveniently located in the heart of Tuscany within 50 minutes of Florence and will offer our guests the ideal point of departure for many day trips to explore nearby hill towns and cultural centers, shop or to enjoy great country walks.

Leisurely paced

Leisurely paced, Harvest Italia will provide guests ample time to savor the food and wine and explore the sights, language, culture and indescribable beauty of Tuscany. We will be visiting towns including: Firenze, Cavriglia, Montevarchi, Arezzo, Cortona, Radda in Chianti, Subbiano, LaVerna, Sansepolcro and many others. We’ll also make trips to the outdoor mercati (markets) that feature a potpourri of items from farm fresh local produce to cappuccino to Italian leather goods including the famous Fiera Antiquaria di Arezzo – considered one of Italy’s finest open air antique markets. The tour will also allow us to venture deep into the cellars of a local winery known for producing outstanding Chianti. Guests will also be treated to an authentic Italian cooking demonstration featuring seasonal fare, and basic cooking techniques. Italy is renowned for its leather goods and forward fashion apparel. Shoppers will be pleased to know that in the close proximity there are several luxury brand factory outlets including as well as discount leather warehouses where exceptional Italian handmade goods are available at reduced prices.

Tuscany is a food lover's paradise. Tuscan cuisine is based on simplicity and a combination of vegetables, grains, fruits, fish and meats, typically seasoned and cooked with extra virgin olive oil. Chianti wine, Pratomagno chestnuts, truffles, pecorino sheep’s milk cheese, pasta, Tuscan bread and bistecca all fiorentina (Tuscan steak) and specialty chocolates, are just a few of the gastronomical delights awaiting you. We’ve explored the region and have selected some wonderful restaurants, off-the-beaten-path, that will allow you to sample a range of delicious foods.

Please note that the itinerary is a general guideline. There may be flexibility due to weather and to take advantage of seasonal activities and new discoveries made closer to the time of travel. The itinerary offers a suggested program of activities that include a tour specialist escort and minivan transport with extensive knowledge of the region.