Pienza - Val d'Orcia - Siena - Tuscany

For those who are looking for an enhanced, cultural immersion experience with a Tuscan family (ours!)—please join us by choosing the special Dolce Vita Stay! These very special activities that we personally offer are favorites of our past guests, and are provided for a per person fee and include:

  • A bountiful welcome basket upon your arrival that is full of our family’s farm products (wine, cheese, meats, extra virgin olive oil, fresh farm eggs)
  • A tour of our family’s working farm in Pienza with farm product tastings
  • A tour of the ancient hermitage located on our family’s property in Pienza
  • An olive oil tasting lesson with Carlo, who is a professional olive oil taster for the Siena province
  • A handmade pasta class with Isabella and Carlotta, followed by a communal Tuscan feast with our family and guests
  • Art and artisan tour in Pienza with Carlotta

  • For those staying with us for shorter periods of time, when possible, we can put together a Dolce Sosta (Sweet Stay) package. The activities that we can include will depend on the specific days of the week you are here, and the time of year.

    Description of the Dolce Vita Activities

    Tuscan Farm Life Tour and Product Tastings in Our Wine Cellar

    Children (of ALL ages!) who live in towns or cities rarely have contact with friendly farm animals. Some have never even seen a chicken or a pig up close and personal. Many animals are raised at our family’s San Gregorio farmhouse in Pienza, where we live and where we have the center of our agricultural activities. Come visit and have a "Dr. Dolittle" experience! You will say, "Awwwww…." so many times when you see the baby geese, ducks, guinea hens, chickens, turkeys, pigs, and rabbits.

    Young guests can enjoy the thrill of riding on a farm tractor with Carlo, depending on the time of your visit and the agricultural schedule. Let us know if your child would like such an experience and he’ll do his best to make this wish come true!

    The visit includes more than the animals! Luciano will show you where he makes and stores his cheese, wine, and meats, and while you are visiting the cellar, he will pour you a big glass of his best red or white (your choice!) wine, and give you generous tastings of his cured meats, aged pecorino cheese, and extra virgin olive oil.

    Going to our family’s farm will give you a much better feel for the real life of a Tuscan family. If you have chosen to stay in the countryside because it brings you closer to the land and the culture, then you will value highly this experience!

    Private Tour of the Hermitage (closed to the public)

    Our family purchased a prized piece of land in 1993 just below Pienza that contains a fascinating, pre-Christian archaeological site. Luciano and Carlo have restored it to prevent deterioration and to allow better access to it. It is an extraordinarily beautiful and spiritual place. We will personally escort you through it, and explain the meaning of its features, its artwork, and location. It is called the Hermitage (or “Romitorio” in Italian) because for centuries it was used by religious hermits leading lives of penitence and prayer. However, archaeologists suspect that, even much earlier than that, it was the site of an ancient Etruscan tomb. This is a unique archaeological site few people are privileged to visit.

    100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil Tasting Class

    Carlo is a professional olive oil taster and judge on the grand panel of experts for the Province of Siena. He will guide you in tasting olive oil from different parts of Italy and teach you to recognize different flavors and levels of quality. This is a pleasurable experience suitable for everyone, also for children 10 years old or more! However, if you are a "foodie" as so many Tuscan visitors are, you will find this to be an invaluable skill-building lesson!

    Pasta-Making Class and Tuscan Dinner

    Our guests are invited to learn the art of making "pici", a traditional, handmade pasta of southern Tuscany. You will learn the secrets of measuring the ingredients, mixing and kneading the dough, and then rolling strips of dough to make thin, irregularly shaped spaghetti.

    After the class is over we will enjoy a bountiful Tuscan dinner outdoors in the veranda. The menu includes our freshly made pici with our homemade ragù, grilled meats, cheese, and sausage. Our guests provide something small to share with others—fruit, salad, vegetable dish, or dessert. Our family will provide plenty of Cretaiole’s white and red wines, grappa and vinsanto.

    You will experience the way Tuscans really enjoy our food and wine—in fact, having dinner with us will make you feel you have become a Tuscan yourself! We want you to feel a part of our family—after all, nothing is dearer to the hearts of Italians than making, tasting, judging, debating, and enjoying the food they have made by hand. Absolutely bring your children for the cooking lesson and the dinner!! They will love it.

    Art and Artisan Tour in Pienza with Carlotta

    Come discover Pienza's artisans in their shops, laboratories, art galleries, and even some in almost hidden locations! We want to introduce you to them in their workplaces and let you see their amazing passion, imagination, and talent!


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