Sweet Memories Touring Tuscany

Personally escorted by Robyn Vulinovich. 12 – 21 May 2008 Great Wine Route – tasting and savouring Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Nobile Montepulciano, SuperTuscans of the Maremma Coast, and boutique wineries on the island of Elba.

Day 1 Monday – Depart Australia/New Zealand for Rome.

Day 2 Tuesday – Chianti Classico region. Arrive in Rome at 7.30 am. During our transfer to Chianti, we’ll enjoy lunch at a Slow Food restaurant in Pienza. Late in the afternoon, we’ll arrive at Villa Branca, located in the heartland of the Chianti Classico region at Mercatale Val di Pesa, 20 km south of Florence, a fine producer of Chianti Classico DOCG and extra virgin olive oil DOC. Accommodation: Villa Branca

Day 3 Wednesday – Today we visit the quaint hill towns of Monteriggioni and San Gimignano, returning to Villa Branca for a wine cellar tour and tasting, followed by a sumptuous dinner. Accommodation: Villa Branca

Day 4 Thursday A day spent in Florence. Explore this beautiful city of the Renaissance with all its treasures, exquisite food and wine, galleries, and leather markets for that special jacket, pair of shoes, or bag. (An organised walking tour is available as an optional extra.) After our busy day, a late lunch and a wine tasting in the hills overlooking Florence. Accommodation: Villa Branca

Day 5 Friday –Chianti Classico region A visit to Greve where we meet Paolo Saturnini the leader of Chianti Slow Food over coffee in Piazza Matteotti, followed by a visit to the Greve Wine Cellars. We then drive to the highest point in Chianti for a light lunch at Ristorante di Lamole overlooking a stunning view. Returning to Villa Branca we have the afternoon to ourselves to relax and unwind, before rousing to a
‘Slow Food Dinner’ barbeque, held by our host, overlooking the beautiful Tuscan hills. Accommodation: Villa Branca  

Day 6 Saturday Today we visit the Brunello di Montalcino and Nobile di Montepulciano wine regions. A morning departure for the Brunello wine region, in the province of Siena, where we meet Filippo Magnani a man who knows his wines! Filippo will accompany us through this part of our tour. This visit will enable you to discover how the famous Brunello wine is created and in doing so, you will visit one of their most prestigious wine cellars at either Biondi Santi, Palmucci, Soldera, or Castello di Volpaia. Lunch will be arranged in one of the historical Brunello wineries where Corte Pavone or Loacker, locally produced specialties, will be served.

During this excursion, we will also visit the exquisite medieval village of Montalcino and sample some Nobile di Montepulciano wines and the world-famous cheese, Pecorino di Pienza. After lunch, we travel to the Maremma Coast of Tuscany known as the land of the SuperTuscans stopping for a wine tasting at the Ampelaia Estate. We finally arrive in Suvereto a tiny medieval village in front of Island Elba to spend the night at ‘Il Chiostro’a restored medieval convent in the historical part of the village. Our day ends with dinner in a Slow Food restaurant. Accommodation: Il Chiostro

Day 7 Sunday – Today our guide, Filippo, will take us to the island of Elba for an incredible day of sightseeing. Known as the pearl of the Tuscan archipelago, Elba is an island without frontier: sea, beaches, green countryside, small fortress towns, archaeological treasures, chestnut woods, and much more. It was also the home of Napoleon, and not by choice!  Our first port of call is Portoferraio where we visit a local boutique winery of the island, Chiusa Winery. The wine production on Elba is famous for the sweet wine Aleatico, a black grape that grows only in this area. 

We then enjoy lunch at Costa dei Gabbiani Resort (www.costadeigabbiani.it) and in the afternoon we wander down to the small beautiful bay of Remaiolo Beach. Our boat returns us to Suvereto and tonight the local Slow Food convivium will organize dinner at a private home and a chance to meet the locals! Accommodation: Il Chiostro

Day 8 Monday – This morning we will see the production of olive oil and enjoy some Tuscan flavours and wines. We continue our morning with a visit to the top wine producer, Petra Estate. Ettore Maggi of the Petra Estate will lead us on our visit to the winery. We’ll see the area where grapes are received, to the fermentation zone, and to where they proceed to the refinement of the wines. A delightful drive along the avenue of the Carducci, a five-kilometer stretch of endless beauty, allows us various stops for picture-taking and an introduction to the production of the SuperTuscans.

The mystery surprise of the afternoon will be a visit to one of the following Bolgheri wineries: Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Grattamacco, Campo alla Sughera, or Michele Satta. After our visit, there will be time to do some shopping in the centre of Bolgheri before returning to Suvereto to relax. For our final evening together we will travel to Massa Marittima and enjoy a dinner of local Slow Food products and taste some delicious Monteregio di Massa Marittima wines at the restaurant and wine shop ‘Bacchino’. Accommodation: Il Chiostro

Day 9 Tuesday – Departure will be 6.00 am for a 12.00 pm flight from Rome to Australia/New Zealand.

Day 10 Wednesday – Arrive at destination in Australia/New Zealand.

About Robyn Vulinovich – Ex-restaurateur, Giulio’s Italian Ristorante, Broadbeach, Qld.Since my days in the restaurant industry, my first love has always been taking care of people, making sure to the best of my ability they had a great dining experience. My present work is simply an extension of my restaurant, making sure that those who place their trust in me have a wonderful and memorable time in a part of the world that is so close to my heart and has become my second home.”

Testimonials “Thank you for the undivided attention you showered on our group in Italy. I had a wonderful time and enjoyed all the arrangements you made for us, in fact, I don’t know which part I enjoyed the most. The villa was fantastic and having my morning coffee on the terrace overlooking the vineyards was near perfection. Candy Brown, Ashmore, QLD, Australia

La dolce vita! Thank you Robyn for helping to make our dream come true. We had a most wonderful week full of history, delightful countryside, and beautiful people. Thank you again. You’ve been a gem! With much appreciation. Glynis Hargreaves, Hurlstone Park, NSW, Australia


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