Once you arrive at Cretaiole, you will find a treasure inside—the "Discover Hidden Tuscany" Travel Guide Book—which has been written and compiled by Isabella for your day-tripping pleasure. This book of nearly 190 pages includes the following:
Seven original driving itineraries within the greater Val d'Orcia area—each one beginning and ending at Cretaiole. She has developed these itineraries that weave together places of beauty, mystery, and interest using little known backroads that you will never find in a commercial guide book. With precise directions and photographs, you will feel that you have a personal guide in the car with you, showing you things that only a local person would know about—and yet you are doing this on your own with your friends or family, making your own discoveries along the way. The guide book includes great detail and meaning to the wonderful things you will see on these itineraries. Please consider setting aside at least a couple of half-days to take advantage of these wonderful adventures in Hidden Tuscany.
Highlights of additional places of interest you may wish to see that are located just beyond the Val d'Orcia.
Driving directions—precise descriptions with GPS coordinates—to all of the places and activities you will want to go to during the week, such as wineries, spas, cooking classes, monasteries, cities, art classes, special meals, fortresses, castles, gardens, natural areas, sports activities, and shopping.
Walks and hikes in the area that you can go on by yourself with confidence
Travel hints which will help you as you drive in Italy, knowing the laws regarding parking rules, traffic signs, petrol stations, speed limits, and "zona traffico limitato” (areas that are restricted and to be avoided). Be sure to ask about this last item when you arrive!
In addition to this valuable travel guide (which we encourage you to take with you in your car each and every day in order to have all of the information handy), you will find a handbook (we call it the "Big Book") in your apartment full of important information for staying at the farmhouse and living in the Val d’Orcia for the week—including a large section of restaurant reviews written by Isabella, complete with her tips for ordering her favorite dishes at the local restaurants.