Typical isn't really the word to describe this beautiful guesthouse of Fattoria Lavacchio, an ancient Tuscan farm only a short distance from Florence. The movie "Under the Tuscan Sun," with Diane Lane, graciously portrays the Tuscan countryside with its charm and romance.
You will enjoy the personalized service you will receive when choosing to stay at this wonderful estate. Spend six nights at one of the two medieval farmhouses on the estate, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. Located between the towns of Rufina and Pontassieve, the countryside produces wines and oil from organically grown grapes and olives. The estate has been completely restored and furnished.
Accommodations are available in either rooms or suites with private baths. Apartments are available with a small kitchen, living room and some private entrances. Although breakfast is offered with the rooms and suites, you are on your own when reserving an apartment.
Tuscan specialties are prepared with fresh ingredients daily for lunch and dinner at their charming restaurant. When choosing an escorted tour, lunch and dinner may be included in the price, served with a vino bianco or vino rose, harvested directly on the estate.
Tasting tours of the olive oil mill and the wine cellar located on the estate may be arranged. You may also want to participate in a Tuscan cooking class or Italian language class. Horseback riding and biking are available for the adventurous, or you may just want to relax by the pool and enjoy your serene surroundings.
During your stay, you will have plenty of free time and may want to rent a car to explore on your own. You are close to Florence, Pisa, Lucca, San Gimignan and Siena. It is highly recommended to obtain an international driver's license at your local AAA.
If more time permits, you may want to customize a package to include items of self-interest, such as food and wine, shopping, art, architecture, golf and more. Escorted tours available are usually for groups of less than 20 travelers. It is possible to customize a private tour with friends or family. No crowded buses or rushed meals. There is a wonderful tour, which includes Tuscany, Rome, Bay of Naples and the Amalfi Coast. What an adventure. Great sites, many meals and admissions to many tours are included in the package. You may add a three-night tour of Venice to further enhance your vacation.
Italy is one of the top-visited destinations in the world. Booking early is a must. There are no real last-minute deals to Italy. Booking early will ensure you a seat on the plane and a decent airfare. If you are planning to use frequent flyer miles, a year in advance is not too early to book.
Whether you choose to visit Italy on your own or with a group, you will find the people pleasant, the food magnificent and the sites unbelievable. Arrivederci, until we meet again.
Pat Kelley is owner of Port Orange Travel. She can be reached at (386) 788-3990 or by e-mail at Pat@portorangetravel.com.