Palio di Siena Exclusive Three Day Tour August 14 – 16, 2014

Experience the Thrill of a Lifetime – The Palio di Siena Viewed from a Private Balcony on the Piazza del Campo!

Il Campo Cucina presents an exclusive Palio immersion package this August 14-16 for a maximum of twenty participants–including three days of group lunches, exclusive catered dinners, guided tours, and an air-conditioned apartment with a spacious balcony overlooking the entire Piazza del Campo and positioned right above the most exciting turn on the racecourse, the San Martino curve. Only three stories above the racetrack, we have one of the best viewing spots on the piazza!

What exactly is the Palio?

It’s a horse race originating in medieval times when the citizens of the Republic of Siena were required to come every year to the Siena Cathedral Siena Cathedral in a candle light procession as an act of fidelity to the Virgin Assumed into Heaven. They came in zones (contrade) of the republic, and at one time there were 59. Around this pilgrimage a festival atmosphere developed, with food, crafts, games and races. The horse race around the Piazza del Campo emerged from those early beginnings to became the event that now takes place twice every year, on July 2 and August 16.  The number of city contrade is now 17, but only 10 are allowed to race in each Palio.

During the race, ten jockeys wearing their contradas’ (neighborhoods’) medieval costumes ride bareback three times around the perimeter of the clam shell shaped Piazza del Campo as sixty thousand people look on in exhilaration, angst, camaraderie and rivalry.  For visitors, it is five days of glorious excitement; for the Senese citizens, it’s the most important event of the year, for which city is constantly preparing. Most of the sixty thousand people who watch the race stand in the center of the crowded piazza vying for a place along the track and a glimpse of the horses as they speed by.

Our group of 20 will have the pleasure of watching the race and all the accompanying pageantry from the rare and coveted vantage point of a private apartment with its own balcony.

The package includes:

  • Three group lunches in city trattorias (and perhaps a picnic lunch depending on weather); an elegant privately catered aperitivo dinner in a stunning private location overlooking the piazza, participation in a festive open air Contrada Dinner the night before the race; a delicious four-course dinner catered by a celebrated chef in our apartment after the race is finished.
  • Wines with all meals, and during the trials and the race, as well as appetizers and an assortment of refreshments served buffet style in our private air conditioned apartment during the trial runs, pageantry and race.
  • A private air conditioned apartment of approximately 150 square meters equipped with a full kitchen, three bathrooms, two bedrooms and a large open living and dining space which has three arched windows opening out onto a spacious balcony with room for twenty people to comfortably view the race. There are also a television and comfortable sofas and chairs for those who want to catch up on breaking Palio news during the events.
  • Our own official Siena tour guides who will take us through the experience of the Palio from beginning to end, including a guided tour of a Contrada Museum.
  • Palio related games and a fun group Contrada lottery on day 1 of the tour culminating in a prize for the winner after the race.
  • A welcoming packet with Siena map, final itinerary and other information about the tour will be presented to each guest on the first day.
  • Each guest will receive a special gift to commemorate their trip.
  • The rare pleasure of experiencing the Palio in an intimate small group atmosphere—we are taking only twenty participants–and the opportunity to make new friends with people from around the world.

To reserve or to request more information, click here. Italian agencies and hotels please contact Laura Nicolelli Fulgienzi at info@tuscandmc.com.

Tentative itinerary

Thursday August 14

12:30 PM Lunch in a Siena trattoria. Meet your tour guides and  learn what the Palio is all about. Lottery drawing for your contrada.

2:30 PM Guided tour of the Montone Contrada Museum

4:00 – 4:30 PM Viewing of Corteo dei Ceri (Children’s Candle light procession to The Duomo).

4:30-6:30 Optional tour of the oldest quarter of the city: Learn about the Etruscan and Roman origins of Siena.

7:00 PM Arrive at the Tower overlooking Piazza del Campo; enjoy an aperitivo and enjoy the expansive view from the only private tower on the Campo.

7:30 PM Viewing of the Prova (trial run of the Palio race)

8:00 PM, or immediately following Prova: Buffet dinner in the Tower, catered by a famous Siena chef.

Thursday August 15

1:00 – 3:00 Lunch in a Siena restaurant.

3:00 – 5:30 Free time to explore Siena or relax in our air conditioned apartment.

5:30 Arrive at our private apartment above the San Martino Curve on the Piazza del Campo in Siena for the Prova Generale.

7:00 Prova Generale (it’s like a dress rehearsal for the actual race, preceded by some beautiful pageantry).

9:00 – 1:00 Dinner alfresco with one of the competing contradas (to be chosen after the lottery in which competing contradas are chosen). This is an epic event in which you get to experience the heart and soul of Siena culture and find out what the Palio is really all about.

Friday August 16

12:30 – 3:00 Lunch in a Siena restaurant.

3:30 Arrive at our private apartment and relax in the air conditioned comfort with refreshments, photo ops from our third story balcony and fun Palio games as well as a presentation from our tour guide on the processione in the Piazza starting at 5:00.

5:00 Viewing of the colorful, Renaissance Processione in Piazza del Campo.

7:30 The Palio is run…who will win?

Immediately following the race, follow the winning Contrada to the Duomo

9:30 – 11:30 PM Dinner in our private apartment on Piazza del Campo, catered by PorriOne Ristorante.

 

 

Piedmont Barolo and White Truffle Extravaganza – October 16 – 23, 2014

Marchesi.Alfieri.Orangerie.1

Join Il Campo Cucina for an exciting week of food and wine discoveries in the world renowned wine and white truffle region of Piemonte surrounding Barolo, Alba and Asti. We will tour and taste our way through outstanding, world class Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera wineries, learn to cook regional dishes, tour some lovely villages, enjoy a day at the International White Truffle Festival in Alba and hunt for truffles with a trifulau. Throughout the week we will dine in superb destination restaurants and stay in the luxuriously appointed, exclusive apartments of the Marchesi Alfieri Estate, which features an award winning Barbera winery and 17th century Baroque castle–an elegant, enchanting setting!

The week includes transfers from the Torino train station on day one and day eight, seven night’s lodging at the Marchesi Alfieri Estate, all ground transportation for the week, all meals, cooking classes, and wine tastings. Optional bicycle and Vespa rentals as well as massages can be arranged at an additional charge.

Price: $4,400 per person based on double occupancy with a $500 single room supplement (based on availability). A $1,000 deposit and completed booking form are required to hold your space.

Book before January 31, 2014 and receive a $200 discount off your week; pay by check and receive an additional $100 off.

Please note that the 2014 Salone del Gusto in Turin begins on October 23, the day this tour ends. We will be posting a supplemental Slow Food Festival package for those who would like to stay on and experience the birthplace of the Slow Food movement and taste their way through the flavors of all Italy.

Tentative Itinerary

Thursday October 16

12:00 Noon pickup at Torino Train Station, followed by a visit to the original Eataly, described as “the grand and glorious emporium dedicated to the finest foods and gastronomic traditions of Italy”, where we will enjoy a lunch of your choosing. Drive to Locanda Marchesi Alfieri in the Barbaresco village of San Martino, a 17th century castle and wine estate and our elegant and exclusive lodgings for the week. Check into your room, explore the extensive castle gardens and freshen up for the evening. Join the group in the Orangerie for an aperitivo at 6:00, then enjoy a wine tasting lesson with a licensed sommelier followed by a sumptuous dinner with paired wines from the region.

Friday October 17

Begin with a bountiful buffet breakfast in the Orangerie of the Marchesi Alfieri estate. Afterwards drive down to Barolo country in the heart of the Langhe where we will explore the hilltop villages of Barolo, La Morra and Monforte d’Alba.  A guided hike through the vineyards will be followed by a wine tasting at La Morra’s noted enoteca with time to explore the charming streets and shops.   From La Morra we will drive to the nearby village of Monforte d’Alba for a delicious Piemontese lunch by chef Gianfranco Massolino, at Restaurante della Posta, known for reproducing the great classical recipes of the Langhe.  After lunch, we will drive to a famous Barolo winery for a tour of the vineyards and cellar, and a tasting of their wines. Continue to the fabled village of Barolo to explore the numerous enotecas and wine museums at your own pace. Meet for dinner at La Cantinetta, a wonderful and noted restaurant in the center of Barolo, serving traditional cuisine of the Langhe paired with Barolo’s legendary wines.

Saturday October 18

After a leisurely buffet breakfast in the Orangerie of the Marchesi Alfieri estate, we will drive to the beautiful rural village, Neive, and take a morning hike through the vineyards just outside the town walls. Afterwards, you will have the opportunity to taste local wines in the village enoteca and explore the streets and shops on your own. We will meet for lunch at La Contea, a refined local restaurant that serves light, elegant dishes in a lovely dining room with frescoed ceilings.  Every meticulous detail in both setting and cuisine of La Contea has made owner, ToninoVero, famous all over Italy and the world.   In the afternoon, we will visit a famous Barbaresco winery, then explore the streets and shops of Barbaresco. Return to Locanda Marchesi Alfieri for free time in the late afternoon. Dinner in a San Martino village trattoria enjoying tasty local cuisine.

Sunday October 19

Enjoy a buffet breakfast in the Orangerie of the Marchesi Alfieri estate. Drive to Alba for the annual White Truffle Festival, a must for foodies visiting Italy.  Alba’s truffle fair and market is considered by connoisseurs to be the best in Italy, where the scent of fresh truffles fills the air.  Explore the exposition hall on your own, and maybe buy a truffle! Enjoy a delicious lunch with truffles, of course, in a wonderful Alba restaurant, then drive on to the nearby town of Bra.  Bra is the birth city of Carlo Petrini, Founder of Slow Food, and where the Slow Food Cheese Festival is held every other year.  Explore the streets and shops, and taste amazing and mouth watering cheeses.  Return to the Locanda Marchesi Alfieri to relax and unwind.  We will end the day with a very special dinner prepared for us by a noted local chef and served in the winery tasting room.

Monday October 20

A wonderful buffet breakfast in the Orangerie of the Marchesi Alfieri estate is followed by a drive to Cortemilia, the hazelnut capital of Piedmont.  We will visit a hazelnut farm where the sweetest and most flavorful variety in the world, Tonda Gentile della Langa, are grown. Take a gentle hike in the countryside surrounding Cortemila, and visit the charming village streets and shops. We will stop in a local confectioner’s shop specializing in sweets made with the local hazelnuts.  Driving on to the village of Santo Stefano Belbo in the Asti province, we will lunch in a noted local restaurant which will include pairings with the special wines of the region, including Barbera D’Asti, Asti Spumante, and Moscato d’Asti.  Return to the Locanda Marchesi Alfieri for a Piemontese cooking lesson in the winery kitchen followed by an amazing dinner paired with local wines in the winery tasting room.

Tuesday October 21

The morning begins with a leisurely buffet breakfast in the Orangerie of the Marchesi Alfieri estate.  We then drive to the Langhe for the day, starting with a visit to the eco-sustainable Fontanafredda winery for a tour and a tasting, then hike or ride up to the enchanting castle village of Serralunga. Explore the castle with it’s ancient frescoed ceilings and the surrounding streets and shops, then enjoy a very special lunch in a restaurant with a breathtaking, panoramic view of the vineyards.  After, we will visit a famous Barolo winery for a tour and tasting, followed by a second visit to the fabled wine village of Barolo for relaxing in a village café or tasting wine in one of the enotecas, or—if you prefer, going for a ride on a rented Vespa or bicycle. On to Castle Grinzane Cavour that offers one of the most spectacular settings in the Langhe.  The Castle houses the “Cavour Regional Enoteca”, a most prestigious showcase for the best Piedmontese wines and grappas, and is home to the Order of the Knight of the Truffle and Wines of Alba.  Dinner in Michelin 1-star Ristorante Castello di Grinzane Cavour, in a beautiful dining room within the castle tower.

Wednesday, October 22

Enjoy a leisurely buffet breakfast in the Orangerie of the Marchesi Alfieri estate. Drive to Acqui Terme, a small jewel of a city, steeped in history and one of the principle winemaking communities of Brachetto d’Acqui.  The hot thermal waters of this historical spa town were discovered over 2,000 years ago by the Romans.   Spend the morning at the spa where people come from all over Northwestern Italy to take the waters of Acqui Terme, walk the village with wonderful enotecas and boutiques.  We will then enjoy lunch in a wonderful local restaurant.  Return to Locanda Marchesi Alfieri to relax for the rest of the afternoon. Join the group for an aperitivo in the Orangerie followed by a spirited farewell dinner with paired wines, beginning with a blind wine tasting contest with prizes to the best tasters!

Thursday, October 23

Enjoy a leisurely buffet breakfast in the Orangerie of the Marchesi Alfieri estate, then depart for drop-off at Turin train station by 1:00 PM.

 

Please note that there will be free time every morning for bicycling, hiking, or massages.

Additional options available during the week:

Bicycle rentals, Scooter rentals, massages

*If you prefer not to hike, we will be happy to drive you to the next village where you can explore on your own until the group arrives.

Itinerary details subject to change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yoga Cucina Dream Week September 13 – 20, 2014

Anne Marie Welsh leading a yoga class in Tuscany

Deep restorative yoga, slow cooking, lodging in a gorgeous, eco sustainably restored Tuscan farmhouse, blissful views and a spa day make this week a dream come true!

Join  us for a week of yoga, cooking delicious Tuscan food, hiking, a spa day and excursions to Siena, San Gimignano and around the beautiful medieval village of Radicondoli. Follow Il Campo/Cucina founder Marlane Agriesti Miriello and certified yoga instructor  Anne Marie Welsh in a journey that nourishes body and soul.

Anne Marie Welsh, veteran arts journalist and writing coach who discovered yoga as a source of personal healing and creative inspiration, will offer morning gentle sun salutation yoga  and afternoon restorative yoga classes with her inspiring yoga nidra guided meditations. She will lead you through six days of yoga asanas, meditations, and nature walks. Marlane Agriesti Miriello, former editor turned writer who came to Tuscany to learn firsthand its traditions and recipes, will lead you through the kitchens, gardens and forest trails of her beloved, adopted village, Radicondoli.

The week includes pickup and drop off in Florence, all local ground transportation, deluxe lodging in an eco-sustainably restored Tuscan farmhouse, twice daily yoga sessions, three cooking lessons with engaging and inspiring instructors, a spa visit at a nearby thermal spring, a wine tasting, excursions to famous Tuscan villages, guided hikes,  all meals and English speaking tour leaders. You do not have to be an experienced yogi or chef to participate and to reap the benefits. After one week with Il Campo/Cucina, you will return home with a new yoga practice, new recipes and inspirations .

Price: $2,995 per person double occupancy; $3,195 for a private room and shared bath; $3,395 for a private room and private bath in a two bedroom apartment (available first come, first served). A $1,000 deposit is required to hold your space.

For a detailed tentative itinerary of the week, click here.

About Anne Marie Welsh’s Deep Yoga:

Deep Yoga connects your breath to your body so that gentle physical postures begin to free you from stress and anxiety and offer a pathway to healing and harmony. This subtle practice fosters flexibility, strength, focus, clarity and an open heart, on and off the mat. Classes end with the deep relaxation of Yoga Nidra, the most restorative of all ancient practices. With Anne Marie’s voice as a guide, your body, mind and spirit become one. You flow deeply into your unconscious, release all tension, and experience bliss. You then return to the world — and a fabulous Tuscan meal— rejuvenated and refreshed.

 

Palio Ultimate Tuscan Adventure August 10-17, 2014

Announcing our 2014 Palio Adventure!  We have only 20 spaces available and we expect to fill quickly so reserve soon!

Our exclusive and spacious air conditioned apartment commands a stunning panoramic view of the racetrack, which circumnavigates the beautiful Piazza del Campo in the medieval center of Siena. View the most colorful and famous horse race in the world from a balcony overlooking the thrilling San Martino curve. where the outcome of the Palio di Siena is often decided.

Ten jockeys wearing their contradas’ (neighborhoods’) medieval costumes ride bareback three times around the perimeter of the piazza, as sixty thousand people look on in exhilaration, angst, camaraderie and rivalry.  Most of the sixty thousand people who attend the race stand in the center of the crowded piazza vying for a place along the track and a glimpse of the horses as they speed by. Our group of 20 will have the pleasure of watching the race and all the accompanying pageantry from one of the few private apartments with spacious balcony available on the piazza.

Join Il Campo/Cucina for the ultimate Tuscan summer vacation: a week of relaxation, delicious Italian meals with outstanding wines and cooking lessons with an exciting selection of chefs, combined with three days of  Palio thrills and pageantry viewed from a private Palazzo in Siena.

Would you like to know more about the Palio? Watch this terrific Palio video with Kenny Maynes on ESPN Wider World of Sports!

Il Campo Palio Adventure 2013 - Buffet dinner on a tower over the Piazza del Campo

 

The package includes:

  • Seven nights’ accommodations at Il Bel Canto B & B in the beautiful Tuscan village Radicondoli, approximately 45 minutes west of Siena.
  • All meals and wines, including the rare opportunity to participate in a Contrada Dinner in Siena the night before the race and an elegant buffet dinner in a tower above the Piazza del Campo, with a Prova (trial run) viewing on Wednesday night. The final night dinner will be catered in our private apartment after the race is finished.
  • Cooking lessons, photography field trips, hikes, and wine, olive oil and Tuscan products tastings during the first four days of our adventure in the beautiful Tuscan countryside.
  • Our own official Siena tour guide who will take us through the experience of the Palio from beginning to end, including a guided tour of a Contrada Museum.
  • Outdoor movie nights and dancing with live music on our farmhouse terrace.
  • Swimming, hiking and optional massages, self-guided cycling and horseback riding lessons during our free times.**
  • All ground transportation, starting with pick-up at 12:00 noon on August 10 at the Porta Romana in Florence and concluding with 1:30 PM drop-off at at the Porta Romana in Florence or at the Florence Peretola airport on August 17*.

Price:
$4,900 per person in a shared, double room with ensuite bath; there is a $500 supplemental charge for a private room provided we have availability. If you pay by check or bank transfer, we will discount your week $100. (Price does not include airfare.)
We require a deposit of $1,000 to confirm your place; half of the balance by March 10, 2014 and payment of the remainder of the balance by May 10, 2017.

Returning clients receive a courtesy discount. Please inquire.

*Pick-up in Florence at the Porta Romana 11:00 AM on Saturday August 10 and drop-off at the Porta Roman by  1:30 PM on August 17. Airport pick-ups and drop-offs can be arranged with advance notice; an extra fee may apply.

**Massages, horseback riding lessons, and bicycle rentals are are available at an extra charge.

To reserve or to request more information, click here, or call our sales associate Debbie Tucker at: 1-858-525-1712.To reserve or for more information, please fill out our reservations and information form.

Tentative itinerary for the week

Sunday August 10

12:00 AM Pick-up at Florence Porta Romana

12:15  PM Arrival at Il Bel Canto B & B, check into guest rooms.

1:00 – 3:00 PM Seafood lunch al fresco at Il Bel Canto prepared by Chef Luana followed by Palio Presentation by Siena tour guide and general introductions. 3:00 – 6:30 PM Free time for cycling, hiking, massages or relaxing by the pool.

6:30 PM Depart for Radicondoli village to visit your friends in the village. Explore the streets and shops of the sweetest village in Tuscany.

7:30 – 9:30 PM Wine tasting with a sampling of Tuscan products at Agriteco In Piazza, the new wine bar and tasting room in the heart of Radicondoli.

Monday August 11

8:00 – 10:00 AM Buffet breakfast

10:00 AM – 1:00 PM Free morning for cycling, hiking, massages and poolside relaxation.

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM Lunch at Nazionale Ristorante

4:00 – 7:00 PM Cooking lesson with Chef Luana at Il Bel Canto.

7:30 – 9:30 PM Dinner enjoying the foods prepared in the cooking lesson.

Tuesday August 12

8:00 – 10:00 AM Buffet breakfast

10:00 AM  -  1:00 PM Cooking lesson with Chef Francesco Costagli, Michelin rated chef of Albergaccio Ristorante in Castellina in Chianti.

1:00 – 3:00 PM Lunch enjoying the meal we have prepared in the cooking lesson.

3:00 -7:00 PM Free time.

7:30 – 9:30 Pizza dinner at La Pergola, winner of “Third most beautiful terrace restaurant in Italy” in Dove online travel magazine — in the village, right next door to Marlane’s house!

Wednesday August 13

8:00 – 10:00 AM Buffet breakfast

10:00 – 12:00 Free morning for cycling, hiking, massages or relaxing by the pool.

12:30 – 2:30 PM Lunch Trattoria Nazionale

4:00 – 7:00 PM Cooking lesson with Luana

8:30 – 10:00 PM Dinner enjoying the dishes we have prepared in the lesson

Thursday August 14

8:00 – 10:00 AM Buffet breakfast

10:00 AM Depart for Siena

11:30-12:30: Free time in Siena

12:30 PM Lunch at Trattoria Papei in Siena

       Piazza del Mercato 6, tel: (+39) 0577-280-894

2:30 – 3:30 PM Guided tour of the Montone Contrada Museum

4:00 – 4:30 PM Viewing of Corteo dei Ceri (Candle light procession to The Duomo). Sun protection needed.

4:30 – 6:30 PM Optional tour of the oldest quarter of the city: Learn about the Etruscan and Roman origins of Siena.

7:00 PM Arrive at the Tower overlooking Piazza del Campo; light refreshments served

7:30 PM Viewing of the Prova (trial run of the Palio race)

8:00 PM or immediately following Prova: Aperitivo followed by buffet dinner in Tower, catered by acclaimed PorriOne restaurant.

Friday August 15

8:00 – 10:00 AM Buffet breakfast

Free morning for pool, biking, hiking, massages.

12:30 PM Depart for lunch

1:00 – 3:00 PM Lunch at Locanda de Mulino on the way to Siena

3:00 PM Depart for Siena.

4:00 – 5:30 PM Free time to shop and explore Siena on your own.

5:30 PM Arrive at our private air conditioned apartment above the thrilling San Martino Curve on the Piazza del Campo in Siena for the Prova Generale.

7:00 PM Prova Generale (it’s like a dress rehearsal for the actual race, preceded by some beautiful pageantry).

9:00 – 1:00 PM Contrada Dinner Eat, Drink, Sing, Shout and Cry!

Saturday August 16

8:00 – 10:00 AM Buffet breakfast

Free morning for whatever you want to do: bike, hike, visit the village shops, have a massage or energy treatment, take a dip in the pool, or simply sleep in all morning.

12:00 – 1:30 PM Lunch al fresco at Il Bel Canto prepared by Alessandra

2:00 PM Depart for Siena

3:30 PM Arrive at our private apartment and relax in the air conditioned comfort with refreshments, photo ops from our third story balcony and an Italian lesson taught by tour leaders Marco Mattioli and Cristina Martini.

5:00 PM Viewing of the colorful, Renaissance Processione in Piazza del Campo

7:30 PM  The Palio is run…who will win?

Immediately following the race, follow the winning Contrada to the Duomo

9:30 – 11:30 PM Dinner in our private apartment on Piazza del Campo, catered by PorriOne Ristorante.

Sunday August 17

8:00 – 10:00 AM Buffet breakfast

11:00 AM Departures with drop-off at Porta Romana in Florence by 1:30 PM or the Florence Peretola airport by 2:30 PM.


 

 

 

 

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