Treasures of Tuscany

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					Treasures of Tuscany
Dates: Location: Cost: Rating: Activities: Meeting Place: Arrive: Depart: May 9 – 19, 2010 Tuscany, Italy $ *3400 3 hiking, cultural exploration our hotel in Rome, Italy by 5pm on May 9 anytime on May 19, from Florence

Trip Highlights
• • • • Walking off the beaten path to Tuscan hillside towns, giving you an intimate experience of authentic Tuscany Seeing the sights of Siena and Florence Savoring delicious Tuscan cuisine, including truffles, pecorino cheese and Italian wine Experiencing Tuscan farm life during a stay in an agriturismo Learning the art of Tuscan cooking during a cooking class



Tuscany, home to famous artwork, superb cuisine, and impressive medieval towns, is widely regarded as one of the loveliest regions in Italy and a wonderful place to explore on foot. Hiking through a timeless landscape along paths that wind through vineyards and past ancient farmhouses, shopping for locally produced specialties, relaxing in romantic outdoor cafes, or exploring the art and architecture of the well known towns of Florence and Siena, Tuscany is truly a feast for all the senses.

* Deduct 5 % for being one of the first 5 to register (by 01/19/10) and 3% of the entire trip fee when the balance is paid by check.

• • • an Italian and an Adventures in Good Company guide ten nights double occupancy lodging all meals from dinner on May 9 to breakfast May 19 except for four lunches (see the detailed itinerary below) all ground transportation within Italy a cooking class and two winetastings

Our Itinerary
As is true on all trips, the itinerary may change due to weather, desires of the group, or other circumstances. May 9- Meet in Rome at 5 pm. If your flight arrives in the morning, Rome is an easy place to find your way around and there are many sites to visit after dropping your luggage off. We will be spending that night at the Papavista Relais, a charming B&B within a 5 minute walk of the Vatican Museums. Regardless of when you get here, we meet at our lodging in Rome in late afternoon to start getting acquainted before going out for our first dinner together. While we plan an early evening so that those of us with jet lag can get to bed early, undoubtedly some of will go in search of our first creamy taste of gelato. Overnight in Rome (D).

• •

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED • transportation to /from Italy • transportation to/from airport • • •
in Rome or Florence. Alcoholic beverages other than wine tasting Guide gratuities Lunches and snacks

Last Revised: 9/29/09


In the unfortunate event that you must cancel your trip, your refund will be determined by the following formula:
Days Prior to Trip 90 + days 90 – 61 days 60 – 30 days 29 days or less Refund All but $50 50% of deposit 50% of trip fee No refund

Our Itinerary Continued
May 10- Rome/Montepulciano/Pienza Today we will leave Rome on a morning train and head to Chiusi through the beautiful Tuscan countryside. We will meet our Italian guide in Chiusi for a shuttle to the ancient walled city of Montepulciano, a medieval and renaissance hill town of exceptional beauty. From there it is about a 5 hour hike to Pienza. A dirt road takes us from the San Biagio church on the outskirts of town to Montichiello, a charming village immersed in the Crete (Crete meaning Clay). The vistas along the way are the archetypal Tuscan landscape, with rolling hills crowned by cypress trees. We will work up our appetite as we turn steeply uphill to reach the town and a wonderful cafe for lunch with a magnificent view. After lunch we continue our hike to the town of Pienza. Pienza, rebuilt in 1462 from a village called Corsignan, was intended to be an ideal Renaissance town. It represented the first application of urban planning concepts, creating an impetus for planning that was adopted in other Italian towns and cities and then eventually spread to other European centers. We will have an opportunity to visit the town, which is also well known for pecorino cheese and truffle production. Our hotel that night is Hotel Pienza Residence San Gregorio in the center of Pienza. (B, L, D) May 11 - Pienza/San Quirico d'Orcia/Bagno Vignoni (about 5 hours walking time) As we leave Pienza we walk down from the town with a view of the rolling Tuscan landscape always before us. The hiking today is across a beautiful region of rolling hills, oak woods, and quiet, pleasant villages. It ends in Bagno Vignoni, where we find both ancient and modern natural Roman thermal bathing pools. Once arriving in the village you are free to explore, sit in outside cafes and sample their wines, or indulge yourself with a dip in a private thermal bathing pool. Our hotel tonight is a wonderful family owned hotel, Albergo Le Terme in Bagno Vignoni. (B, D) May 12 - Bagno Vignoni/Sant'Antimo/Montalcino (about 6 hours walking time) This is our longest day, starting with a tough uphill (now you know why the towns are called Tuscan Hilltowns). After achieving the high point of our day we are rewarded with the descent. The descent towards the Orcia river is shaded and a rather untouched environment. It leads us to St. Antimo, a lovely abbey isolated in the middle of a pastoral landscape surrounded by grazing herds that add to the serenity of the scene. This picturesque spot can be seen long before arriving and gives us a feeling of peacefulness before even setting foot on the grounds. On our way there will be an opportunity to sample local gelato or cold beverages to refresh us from our hike. There will be ample time to explore the Abbey grounds and enjoy the beauty of the interior of the Abbey before being driven to Montalcino. We will have a wine tasting tonight in an "Enoteca" with a superb view. Our hotel, Hotel il Giglio, is situated in the center of Montalcino and serves a wonderful dinner. (B, D)
Fax: 410-435-3084 Email:

Adventures in Good Company reserves the right to cancel or alter a trip due to unforeseen weather, unsafe conditions, low registrations or other circumstances. On the rare occasion when Adventures in Good Company must cancel a trip, all payments received to date will be refunded, including the non-refundable portion of your deposit. Adventures in Good Company is not responsible for expenses incurred in preparation for any canceled trips, including airplane tickets.

Tipping at the end of the trip is optional. If you feel your guide(s) did an outstanding job and would like to reward them for their efforts, a suggested rule of thumb is US $5 to $10 per person, per day. Oftentimes, trip members organize a group envelope (this makes it anonymous) and present it at the last shared meal.

Phone: 877-439-4042

Outside the US: 410-435-1965


Our Itinerary Continued
May 13: - Montalcino/Pieve a Salti (about 5 hours walking time) Today's hike takes us through the Crete Senesi, "Siennese clays," which gives the soil a distinctive grey colour and the landscape an appearance often described as lunar. This characteristic clay, known as mattaione, represents the sediments of the Pliocene sea which covered the area between 2.5 and 4.5 million years ago. From Montalcino the path takes us through some famous local wine estates and scenic meadows for sheep farming, and plots of land for crops like corn, tobacco, wheat and barley. Overnight at Pieve a Salti, a beautiful farmhouse. This agriturismo, known for its pastas and its olive oils, is the perfect place to relax. (B, L, D) May 14 -Pieve a Salti/Monte Oliveto Maggiore/Pieve a Salti (about 3 hours walking time) - The Monte Oliveto Maggiore, an imposing brick building in a rugged landscape, is the mother house of the Olivetians, or White Benedictines, a congregation of monks founded in 1313 by Blessed Bernardo Tolomei of Siena. The abbey's hours are usually morning and evening with a midday closure, so we will shuttle from our hotel in Pieve a Salti to the Abbey in the morning. We visit the beautiful cloister with Signorellis frescoes before we start our hike back to Pieve a Salti. (B, L, D) May 15 - We give our legs a bit of a rest today as we visit famous Siena, the best-preserved medieval city in Europe. We have a tour of town, visiting the Duomo and Piazza del campo, and then enjoy a gelato while looking at the tourist crowd. After some free time for shopping, we visit the Fattoria Dievole for a wine-tasting before ending the day at Poggio Alloro, an organic farm with a farmhouse that faces the San Gimignano towers. (B, D) May 16- Colle di Valde Elsa/San Gimignano. We start our hike today after being transferred to Colle di Valde Elsa, a fascinating old town that occupies the crest of a ridge high above the valley of the Elsa. This is a pleasant rolling hike among vineyards with stunning views of the San Gimignano towers. Our hike ends in San Gimignano, a lovely little town with lots of interesting shops, friendly people, and fabulous gelato. You will have ample time to explore all the wonderful things that the town has to offer before transferring to Fattoria Valle, a lovely and welcoming manor house just outside the charming town of Panzano. (B, L, D) May 17- We explore the Chianti countryside today as we hike from Panzano to Volpaia castle, a tiny hamlet with a famous winery. After visiting the winery and enjoying another wine tasting (fortunately our hiking is over for the day), we transfer back to Fattoria Valle. Tonight we will have a cooking class with Alessia. (B, L, D) May 18- Today we transfer to the well known city of Firenze (Florence), birthplace of the Renaissance. There is more to see here than can be seen in one day! Your guide will make sure you know where the most famous sights are. That night we'll gather for a final farewell dinner as we say goodbye to this beautiful area and each other. Overnight at Hotel Fortezza, a nineteenth century villa equipped with the comforts of a 3 star hotel (B, D) May 19- The trip officially ends this morning. You may choose to continue your Italian vacation or, if you must, fly home from the Florence airport. (B) If you want to extend your vacation and see the other side of the Adriatic, join us for our Sea Kayaking Croatia trip.

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Packing List
Temperatures typically range from the upper 70s to upper 80s during the day and mid-60s in the evening, although they can be hotter or cooler. We strongly recommend bringing several lighter layers rather than one heavy layer so you can easily adjust to the range of possible temperatures. FOOTWEAR __ 1 pair of lightweight or midweight hiking boots: boots; they should be well broken in and comfortable* __ 1 pair of comfortable walking shoes, such as athletic shoes, Keens or Teva sandals, crocs* __ 2-3 pairs of socks (2 should be wool/synthetic) CLOTHING __ 1pair lightweight supplex/nylon long pants/capris for hiking. Zip offs work well. __ 1 pair comfortable long pants/Capri for wearing when not hiking __ 1 pairs of shorts (optional) __ 1-2 lightweight, light-colored, long-sleeved shirt to protect you from the sun __ 2 - 3 T-shirts or sleeveless shirts; synthetics are much easier to wash out __ 1 polar fleece jacket or wool sweater __ 1 rain jacket or poncho __ swimsuit __ Underwear/nightwear __ 1 wide-brimmed hat, visor or baseball cap for sun and high fashion (very important) __ 1or 2 casual skirts/sundresses(optional-some women prefer a skirt when going out to dinner) __ Vest for layering (fleece, wool or cotton, optional) TOILETRIES (small everything) __ Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, shampoo, contact lens paraphernalia (bring extras), sanitary supplies, soap, shampoo, washcloths (these are often not provided in Europe) __ Sunscreen and lip protection with sunblock of at least SPF 15 __ Small first aid kit with familiar medicine you might need for personal use: Band-Aids, moleskin, 2nd skin, ibuprofen, small hand sanitizer, immodium or another anti-diarrheal, etc. __ Personal medications, if any. If you’re taking a prescription drug, bring a copy of the prescription or the generic name of it. Individuals allergic to insect bites must bring an anaphylactic kit. Please consult your pharmacist. ESSENTIALS __ Passport and photocopy of passport __ Sunglasses (100% UV protection) w/ retention strap __ 2 quart capacity water bottles (folding bottles are recommended but standard bottles are fine) __ 1 daypack lined with a plastic bag, large enough to hold your supplies for the day (water, snacks, raingear). A padded hipbelt will make it more comfortable __ small plastic refrigerator container with lid, 7” square or round __ trekking poles __ Camera (extra battery or battery charger) and film/memory card OPTIONAL __ Book, notebook, journal, pencil/pen __ pocket knife __ 1 or 2 bandannas __ wrist watch with an alarm or travel clock __ folding umbrella __ 10 ft light cord and 4-6 clothespins, detergent __ Earplugs and eyemask (for plane and in case of street noise at some hotels) __ electric converter if bringing hairdryer or similar (Italy is 220V and plugs are two round prongs) and adaptor
Phone: 877-439-4042 Outside the US: 410-435-1965 Fax: 410-435-3084 Email:


Notes on the Packing List
We recommend bringing a suitcase or duffel with wheels, and possibly a backpack, as not all hotels have front door bus access. For extra purchases made in Tuscany, an additional small duffel bag for your return trip is useful. 1. Our packing list covers what we have found to be essential for your safety and comfort. Because of weight and size considerations, please use discretion when adding to the list. You may not use everything you bring; however, you need to come prepared for all possible weather conditions. Please consider your own travel style and personal needs as you may not want or need to bring everything listed (for example, do you get cold easily, do you like a little more time in the morning, are you sensitive to light or noise). 2. While the spring months are not usually wet, Tuscany can have mist and light rain so suitable raingear is strongly recommended. To supplement your jacket or raincape on the trail and in town, take a hint from locals: an umbrella is a great way to keep dry.
Items on your packing list can be purchased through a number of outdoor outfitters including: Recreational Equip. Inc (REI) 800-426-4840 Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) 603-924-7231 Sierra Trading Post 800-713-4534 Also check out the websites on

3. What to wear for after walking: Bring whatever makes you feel the Affiliate page of our website comfortable; your active wear can double as non-active wear. No (under Resources) formal or especially dressy clothes are necessary during the trip, though a casual skirt or sundress can be a nice change from shorts or pants. Don’t forget non-active shoes. 4. You need to bring a “day pack” to hold your rain gear, water bottles, snacks, sunscreen, camera, and an additional layer for warmth. You will carry this as you hike, so before you leave home make sure that it is comfortable to wear and fits everything. Having a pack with a hip belt will be more comfortable. 5. The hiking on this trip is not rugged so a good hiking shoe will be sufficient. If you have weak ankles, you should consider a light over-the-ankle hiking boot. If in doubt, bring two pairs of trail shoes and ask about daily conditions, or carry with you in your pack. Foot problems cause more misery on walking trips than anything else! 6. For packing lunch, we highly recommend a small plastic refrigerator container so you can make fruit or vegetable salad for lunch for a change from sandwiches. You can save space by packing other things e.g. detergent, clothespins, pocket knife inside 7. Personal First Aid Kit: Small first aid kit with familiar medicine you might need for personal use, ESPECIALLY blister or foot remedies like toe tubes, moleskin, gelskin, blister bandages or similar. The amount and kind you bring will depend on your tendency to blister but many people get blisters on hiking tours. Other suggestions: remedies for respiratory ailments? Stomach ailments? Sore muscles or joints? We will have a first aid kit too, but if you already know what works for you it’s better to have it with you than experiment on a trip.

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Additional Trip Preparations
Tourism Bureau for Tuscany

No previous hiking experience is required, but all women should be in good physical condition, able to enjoy walking four to six hours each day on consecutive days, and should be free from significant knee or foot problems. The route includes a mixture of dirt roads, paved roads and some trail. If you do not currently exercise regularly, we recommend that you start a conditioning program at least two months before the trip. This should consist of some sort of aerobic exercise 3 to 4 times a week, at a level sufficient to make you breathe deeply but not so vigorous as to make you pant. Walking and hiking, particularly up hills, is excellent exercise. Start with 30 minutes and gradually include some walks up to 2 to 3 hours long. The key is to be consistent and to increase your exercise level gradually. We will be glad to provide you with specific conditioning suggestions.

All about Tuscany food, wine, flora, fauna, history, and events. Information and maps about the castles of Tuscany

In general the climate in Tuscany is very mild with small variations between the regions, due to the geography of the area. The average temperature in May is 72F and the average low is 55F degrees. While most days are sunny, there is also a significant chance of rain during May (9 days on average). In Tuscany, Under the Tuscan Sun, Bella Tuscany, by Frances Mayes Frances Mayes trilogy of her years in Tuscany. Beautifully descriptive, and fun reading for anyone traveling to the region. Lonely Planet Tuscany and Umbria, by Alex Leviton, Josephine Quintero, Racehl Suddart. The Lonely Plant is one of the most beloved travel guides. In this edition, attractions of Tuscany and Umbria are covered - Discover Leonardo da Vinci's hometown of Vinci and the breathtaking views of the Apuan Alps. Visit the gothic cathedral of Siena and see the Romanesque splendour of the gravity-defying leaning tower of Pisa. This guide to Tuscany also covers food, architecture and activities.. Lonely Planet Rome is also available. The Tuscan Year - Life and Food in an Italian Valley. In this book for Italian food lovers, Elizabeth Romer describes month by month a year in a Tuscan kitchen and the traditions of the villagers centered around food. Vanilla Beans and Brodo - Real Life in the Hills of Tuscany. Isabella Dusi, an Australian, comes to live in the medieval village of Montalcino for a year. Her book details the daily events of village life and the traditions and history of Montalcino and Tuscany. This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in the Tuscan way of life. War in Val D’orcia, published by David Godine Pub, This is the true story of Iris Origo and her husband, and their efforts to protect and rescue refugees and hide prisoners of war in the Italian countryside during WWII. A stirring document about basic humanitarianism and true courage, it is a classic of war literature.
Fax: 410-435-3084 Email:

The best number to leave at home is the Adventures in Good Company office phone: 877/4394042. We will also send a list of hotels and phone numbers with the pre-trip letter, although it may be difficult for others to reach you in the hotel with our active itinerary.

Phone: 877-439-4042

Outside the US: 410-435-1965


Special Considerations for International Trips
A valid passport is required for travel in [Name of Country]. You will need to present it at the airports before and after your flights. Be sure to carry a photocopy of your passport in a separate location, for security’s sake. It is also a good idea to leave one with somebody at home. If you already have a passport, check to make sure it is still current (they expire every 10 years). Passports can be renewed through the mail. If you are getting a passport for the first time, you must submit your application in person. For information on how to obtain a passport, download an application from, ask your travel agent, or call the Passport Office at 202647-0518. Allow at least 6 weeks. You will need money for snacks, a few lunches, beverages, gratuities, personal excursions, gifts, and other items of a personal nature. In restaurants the law requires menu prices to include service charge, and tipping is a matter of personal choice – most people leave small change if satisfied.

Italy is a very safe place to enjoy on vacation. There are few serious health concerns, and no immunizations are required. Adventures in Good Company and the Department of Health, however, recommend that you are current with your Tetanus vaccination.

There are a variety of internet cafes in Rome, that charge a fee per hour to use. Once we leave Rome internet access will be a bit more sporadic, though some of our hotels may have internet and some of the villages may have an internet café. From Italy it’s easy to telephone anywhere in the world from public phone booths. The most common way to make calls is to use a pre-paid phonecard, which can be bought at post offices and newsstands. To call to Italy from the US, start with 011, 39, the city code (don’t drop the )) and then the number. When it is 12:00 noon in Rome, it’s 6:00 a.m. in New York and 3:00 a.m. in San Francisco. You can also try and get a European cell phone or sim card for your cell phone (your phone has to be GSM (900/1800 Mhz compatible) to use in Italy.

Italy is one of the members of the EU and has converted to the single european currency, the Euro. The current exchange rate is approximately 1 Euro to 1.48 US dollar, although this can fluctuate. Travelers cheques and foreign money can be changed at banks, railway stations and airports, and very often at major hotels (generally at a less attractive rate). Travelers cheques are less generally accepted than they used to be. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take travelers cheques in Euros. Credit & debit cards: MasterCard, Diners Club and Visa are widely accepted, but many small establishments - shops and restaurants only accept cash. It is advisable to ask merchants if they accept credit cards before trying to purchase items if they do not display the insignia in the window. Many towns have ATM machines that accept these credit cards as well as Mastercard and debit cards. Cirrus and BankMate are the two most popular and widespread banking systems in the world so they are the best to have. If you are unsure about the compatability or the banking systems, contact your credit card company or local bank before you leave.
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The electrical current in Italy is 220V, 50 Hz so travelers from the US need a three-tier standard travel converter. Make sure you bring a plug adapter for any electrical items you travel with plugs have two round pins. Some specialty travel stores carry adapters and can help you chose the right one.

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Getting There
If you need assistance with making your travel plans, call Sara Schuitemaker at Scan East West Travel. Her toll-free number is 800727-2157 and her email is

You will be flying into Rome. The International airport in Rome Leonardo da Vinci (FCO) - is accessible by many of the major airlines including: Delta, American, Continental, US Airways, Northwest, as well as British Airways, Air Canada, and Lufthansa. Note: The trip ends in Florence (FLR), and you can fly out anytime on the 19th. Most of the major airlines above access the Florence airport as well. Our meeting spot the first day is at our hotel – Papavista Relais. There are several ways you can get to the hotel from the airport. Taxis from Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino (FCO) Airport cost a fixed rate of 40 Euro and 30 Euro respectively until 11pm, including your luggage, so don’t be fooled by unscrupulous drivers who tell you otherwise. Alternatively, take the Leonardo Express train from Fiumicino Airport to Termini Central Station. From Termini take the Metro to Cipro – seven stops on the red line. From there they are just a short walk along Via Candia and then a right. The address is Via Tunisi 3, 00192 Roma. There is a map on their website, which we suggest you print out.

We highly recommend travel insurance. We know that women never want to cancel their trips, and the reasons for doing so are always excellent. Occasionally it’s a sudden illness; even more frequently it’s the illness of someone they care about. Trip insurance at least minimizes the disappointment and expense during what is often a difficult time. In addition insurance covers the cost of lost baggage; medical expenses during your trip, including emergencies, repatriation, and evacuation; and trip delay. If you decide to purchase insurance, you can secure a policy through your own insurance company or enroll with the company we use, Travelex Insurance. Call 1-800-228-9792 or visit The location code is 20-0016.

Rome is a fascinating city to explore and if you decide to come in early there are numerous places to stay. If you wish to stay at the same place we are for the first night, here is the detailed information. Prices were current at the time, but may change: Papa Vista Realis Tel/Fax 0039 06 64520553 E-mail - This new boutique hotel is located just minutes from the Vatican. It offers, single, double and triple rooms. Complimentary WiFi , en-suite rooms, a small fridge in your room, and Italian buffet breakfast. Rates: single – 130 euro Twin – 130 euro Triple – 180 euro

Phone: 877-439-4042

Outside the US: 410-435-1965

Fax: 410-435-3084



Getting There Continued

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