Tastes & Textiles: Wine to Dye For

Tastes & Textiles: Wine to Dye For

18–28 September 2018

This small-group tour is a variation on our popular textile tour in May. Like the May tour, in the region around Lucca in northwestern Tuscany, you visit the last of what was once a thriving tradition of textiles ranging from rich silks for the church and aristocracy to the hand-spun hemp of farming families. We’ve added a day in Florence, felting, basket weaving with marsh reeds, the vanishing art of making watermarked paper and a workshop with a young man who has discovered the magic of using his wine as a mordant for dyeing leather and fabric. You meet and learn with the artisans who are carrying on the methods of spinning, dyeing and weaving handed down the generations. They invite you into their homes to share meals with them and teach you to cook their traditional dishes, a cuisine with its roots in the farms of the textile artisans. Very small group (only 8–10 guests).

Coming soon: a 3-day extension to visit weavers and food producers in Sardinia. Let me know if you’re interested.

You may also be interested in the original Tastes & Textile tour which will take place from 10–19 June 2017. Learn more at http://www.sapori-e-saperi.com/small_group_tours/tastes-textiles/.

To see more details click on these tabs:

Itinerary at a glance

Day 1 — Meet at Florence airport, transfer to Agriturismo Marzalla, Pescia, and welcome dinner

Day 2 — Dyeing workshop with wine, lunch at vineyard, watermarked paper workshop

Day 3 — Day in Florence with visits to: Fondazione Lisio which is dedicated to weaving velvets and brocades by hand, Scuola di Cuoio which carries forward the leather tradition of Florence in modern designs

Day 4 — Tour of vineyard and wine tasting, basket making workshop with marsh reeds

Day 5 — Visit Niemack textile collection, silk tour of Lucca, free time & shopping in Lucca

Day 6 — Visit handloom weaver, sightseeing in Barga, pizza party

Day 7 — Bake bread with village baker, spinning lesson, visit another handloom weaver

Day 8 — Visit breeder of white Garfagnana sheep, felt workshop, lunch at farm, cooking lesson

Day 9 — Visit water mill, silkworm breeder, tour Renaissance villa, lunch with cashmere goat breeder

Day 10 — Visit ethnographic museum, tour of spinning & weaving mill, farewell dinner

Day 11 — Departure

Highlights of Tour

Fibre & Textile Experiences

  • Share Stefania Maffei’s enthusiasm for silk, feed the silkworms and learn about the history of silk in Lucca
  • Hands-on dyeing workshop with Tommaso Cecchi de’ Rossi using wine as a mordant
  • Visit Fondazione Arte della Seta Lisio to find out how complex velvet and brocades are woven by hand
  • Technical tour of the Scuola del Cuoio (leather school)
  • Visit Monica Ferrucci’s cashmere goats
  • Hands-on workshop making watermarked paper
  • Tour 17th-century villa with original silk bed dressings
  • Visit Marina Donati’s studio where she demonstrates traditional floor-loom weaving
  • Visit Ermanna Rocchiccioli to see her weavings dating back 50 years
  • Hands-on lesson with village women spinning antique hemp with distaff and drop spindle
  • Visit carding, spinning & weaving mill run by one man and his cat
  • Hands-on lesson with Renato Panati making baskets using marsh reeds
  • Private tour of Laboratorio Maria Niemack with its collection of traditional local textiles and dress
  • Hands-on felting lesson with Ombretta Cavani using the wool of her flock of native Garfagnina sheep which she hopes to save from extinction
  • Shopping opportunities: yarn, woven & knitted products

Gastronomic Experiences

  • Welcome dinner in a private home
  • Vineyard tour & wine tasting
  • Eat at Andrea’s parallel gastronomic universe
  • Cooking lesson making traditional dishes of the Garfagnana and Lucca
  • Dine in a tiny restaurant with only two tables
  • Learn to make Garfagnana potato bread (Slow Food Presidium) and bake it in a wood-fired oven
  • Farro beer tasting
  • Tasting lunch of Monica’s French-style goat cheese
  • Help Francesca make pizza for a party with her friends
  • Visit 18th-century water mill that grinds farro and corn
  • Every day you eat in homes and family restaurants

City Sightseeing

Florence, Lucca, Barga, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana

Other Activities

  • Visit ethnographic museum with weird and wonderful objects to keep you guessing
  • Optional walks

 

Day 1: Tuesday

Meet at Florence airport and transfer to Agriturismo Marzalla, Pescia, where we will be the guests of Tommaso Cecchi de’ Rossi and his wife Chiara. They are eager for you to experience the culture and lifestyle of their part of Tuscany. Welcome dinner at the home of their friend Letizia, expert and knowledgeable cook of traditional Tuscan cuisine.

Day 2: Wednesday

This morning Tommaso leads a hands-on dyeing workshop using wine as a mordant. Tommaso studied agronomy at university in preparation for taking over the family vineyard at Marzalla. During the harvest he accidentally spilled vinaccia (grape skins and seeds left after pressing grapes) on a piece of leather and was enchanted by the resulting colour. He started experimenting, finally patenting the method and designing his own collection of bags and sandals. After lunch we head to the Paper Museum which is busy rescuing the disappearing art of hand-stitched watermarked paper for a paper-making workshop. Dinner at Letizia’s.

Accommodation: Marzalla, Pescia | Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3: Thursday

We catch the train to Florence for private tours of Fondazione arte della seta Lisio and Scuola di Cuoio. Both institutions were originally set up as private charities to provide skills and employment for young people, and they continue their mission. The Lisio specialises in hand-woven velvet and brocade, while the Scuola di Cuoio carries forward traditional Florentine leather craft. We return to Marzalla to find out what new delicacy Letizia has prepared for our dinner.

Accommodation: Marzalla, Pescia | Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

 

Day 4: Friday

After a tour of Tommaso’s vineyard, a wine tasting and lunch, we visit Renato Panati on the edge of the Padule di Fucecchio (Fucecchio Marsh). Renato excels at manual skills from woodworking to upholstery to bricklaying to basket weaving, always learning from old masters. He is keen to pass on his knowledge to others and was delighted when I asked him to lead you in a hands-on basket workshop. Back at Marzalla, we enjoy another superb dinner prepared by Letizia.

Accommodation: Marzalla, Pescia | Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5: Saturday

Pack and depart from Marzalla. In the morning we have a private tour of the Laboratorio Maria Niemack in Lucca. Niemack made a definitive collection of traditional local textiles and dress, handsome and simple fabrics made of wool, cotton and locally grown hemp; the collection includes a variety of traditional floor looms. Lucca’s wealth in the Renaissance was founded on silk and banking. The last of the silk trade disappeared before the Second World War (the banks are still here). Stefania Maffei, whose silk laboratory you’ll visit on Tuesday, leads a walking tour illustrating the history of silk in Lucca.Free time for some sightseeing and shopping. There’s an especially good yarn shop and three handwoven scarf and clothing shops. Transfer to Ai Frati, Pieve Fosciana, where we stay for the rest of the tour. Everyone adores the owner, gentle Luigi Aloisi. You’d never know he’s a lawyer by profession. Dinner at Ai Frati.

Accommodation: Ai Frati, Pieve Fosciana | Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 6: Sunday

A lazy morning with free time to enjoy Ai Frati, a former Franciscan monastery. On the way to lunch, we stop to see Ermanna Rocchiccioli. Now in her 80s, she’s the only person left who remembers what it was like when all young women wove their own trousseaux and has a fine collection of pieces from her long life as a weaver. Sightseeing and lunch in Castelnuovo at Andrea Bertucci’s parallel gastronomic universe the Vecchio Mulino. We visit Marina Donati whose weaving prowess has helped preserve the traditional patterns of the Garfagnana. After some sightseeing in Barga with its sublime romanesque cathedral, we’re invited to a pizza party thrown by beekeeper Francesca Buonagurelli.

Accommodation: Ai Frati, Pieve Fosciana | Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7: Monday

Today we go to the mountain village of Petrognola to learn to make traditional Garfagnana potato bread with the village baker, Paolo Magazzini. While our bread rises, we’ll see the colossal farro-polishing machine. Farro (emmer) is an even more primitive wheat than spelt and is still grown today on terraces around the village. While our loaves bake in the wood-fired oven, Teresa Bertei demonstrates spinning hemp with a distaff and drop spindle and will be delighted if you’d like to have a go. Lunch, cooked by Paolo’s wife Daniela, will be the bread we baked with typical dishes made with farro all washed down with farro beer (or wine if you prefer). Dinner at Ai Frati.

Accommodation: Ai Frati, Pieve Fosciana | Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8: Tuesday

Cerasa farm is trying to save the traditional Garfagnina breed of sheep by making pecorino cheese from their milk, selling their meat and using their wool. Since the sheep will be dry by September, owner Ombretta Cavani will conduct a hands-on felting class, which is her particular passion. Meanwhile Mamma Gemma prepares our lunch which includes Papa Mario’s salumi (home-cured pork). A free afternoon at Ai Frati before a cooking lesson and dinner eating what you cooked.

Accommodation: Ai Frati, Pieve Fosciana | Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9: Wednesday

Travelling down the Serchio River Valley, we stop at one of the few remaining water mills to understand how Paolo’s farro is ground into flour. Our next stop is Villa Torrigiani where our private tour takes us behind its extravagant baroque façade to an interior where original silk bedclothes mingle with granddad’s needlepoint. Lunch at Monica Ferrucci’s villa, where she rears cashmere goats and makes cheese. Stefania Maffei’s ravenous silkworms await us to give them their lunch, and Stefania illuminates the complicated process of turning the cocoons into fabric. Dinner in Lucca.

Accommodation: Ai Frati, Pieve Fosciana | Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10: Thursday

This morning we head to San Pellegrino in Alpe, high in the Apennines, to its ethnographic museum, full of weird and wonderful objects that will provoke many a game of Twenty Questions. Lunch in the village, after which we follow the crest of the Apennines to Cutigliano and Silio Giannini’s filandra, a carding, spinning and weaving mill where you’ll find yourself knee-deep in boxes and sacks of wool and machines of an uncertain age that surely should have broken down 60 years ago. We end up in his office shop where there are bargains to be had. In the late afternoon we return to Ai Frati. Farewell dinner at a restaurant with only two tables.

Accommodation: Ai Frati, Pieve Fosciana | Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11: Friday

After breakfast, transfer to Pisa airport or Pisa or Lucca railway station. One transfer will be provided no earlier than 9.00 am (allow an 1 hour 30 minutes to get to the airport or either train station plus check in and boarding time). If you need to travel earlier, a taxi can be arranged at your own expense.

 

Agriturismo Marzalla, Pescia

Marzalla estate produces wine and olive oil, and it’s where Tommaso Cecchi de’ Rossi creates his collection of wine-dyed leather and fabric fashions. Accommodation is in tastefully restored farm cottages, hay barns and the vinsantaia, the building where they hang grapes to dry before making vin santo, the typical Tuscan sweet wine. Swimming pool, wifi.

Marzalla_Camera_Rosa

Agriturismo ‘Ai Frati’, Pieve Fosciana

A 14th-century monastery in an idyllic mountainside setting. Each ample apartment is composed of three monk’s cells. Despite its tranquil hidden location, Napoleon’s troops found it and destroyed its chapel, but left the cloisters and their frescoes for us to admire. Swimming pool and magnificent views.

cheese-tour

Erica Jarman

Following Heather’s careers as archaeologist, orchestra and artist manager and chef, she Italianised her name to Erica and came to Lucca to pursue her passion for traditional artisan food. Her tours, inspired by her infectious curiosity, open captivating new worlds to her guests.

Erica Jarman portrait square

Price

Per Person: 3290 EUR

Single Supplement: NONE

Includes

Friendly knowledgeable English-speaking guide throughout your stay

10 nights welcoming, relaxing accommodation, en suite bathrooms

Local ground transportation for 11 days (includes one group transfer between meeting point and accommodation and one return after the tour). Please check with us before you book your travel to make sure it fits the tour schedule. Transfers at times other than those provided for the group will be at your own expense.

Daily continental breakfast, 8 lunches, 10 dinners

Guided visits and workshops with artisans, cooking lesson, museum and villa entrance fees

Does Not Include

Airfares

Travel and cancellation insurance

Wine and drinks other than those served with meals, additional meals

Personal expenses

Meeting Point

Florence airport, Peretola. If you’re not flying into Peretola airport, you can take the train to Santa Maria Novella railway station in Florence and from there the airport shuttle bus.

If you are flying from outside Europe, we suggest you arrive a couple of days early to recover from jet lag so you can fully enjoy your time with us. We are happy to advise about where to stay and eat and what to do before and after your tour.

Departure Point

Pisa airport, Pisa Centrale railway station, Lucca railway station

One transfer will be provided no earlier than 9.00 am (allow an 1 hour 30 minutes to get to the airport or either train station plus check in and boarding time). If you need to travel earlier, a taxi can be arranged at your own expense.

Diet

Most dietary requirements can be accommodated as long as you tell us in advance. There is a space on the Booking Form for this information.

Physical Fitness

Tour takes place partly in the mountains. You must be fit enough to walk on steep cobbled streets and rough farm tracks. Not suitable for people with a fear of heights.

Dress

Informal. Jeans or smart trousers are acceptable everywhere. Raincoat/jacket advisable. Good walking shoes are required for farm visits, steep cobbled streets and optional walks.

Weather in September

14–26°C/57–79˚F, precipitation 89 mm/3.5 in

The Itinerary is subject to change if necessary due to weather or agricultural conditions or other events outside our control.

I had such a rewarding and wonderful trip with you. You really do your research and make the trip an experience. I will treasure the adventure forever!! We met so many nice people and saw their humble yet inspired lifestyles. They were so welcoming and really seemed to enjoy us being there. You have been a blessing in my life.

Janet Castro, artist & weaver, USA, Tastes & Textiles, September 2016

Our Tastes and Textiles tour was so unique! You took us to destinations I would have never found on my own or with another tour. We met enthusiastic and inspiring people who have created a rich and sustainable lifestyle which also preserves the traditions they hold so dear. Our textile and fiber workshops were fun and intriguing. And, we met plenty of characters along the way! With both gorgeous scenery and charming lodging, this trip was a hit with me! Thank you, Erica!

In December 2016, Carol wrote: Since returning home, the impact of our September trip has slowly yet continually percolated up to my consciousness and I’m blown away by how much it meant and has influenced my thinking.

Carol Bingaman, weaver, USA, Tastes & Textiles, September 2016

Itinerary at a glance

Day 1 — Meet at Florence airport, transfer to Agriturismo Marzalla, Pescia, and welcome dinner

Day 2 — Dyeing workshop with wine, lunch at vineyard, watermarked paper workshop

Day 3 — Day in Florence with visits to: Fondazione Lisio which is dedicated to weaving velvets and brocades by hand, Scuola di Cuoio which carries forward the leather tradition of Florence in modern designs

Day 4 — Tour of vineyard and wine tasting, basket making workshop with marsh reeds

Day 5 — Visit Niemack textile collection, silk tour of Lucca, free time & shopping in Lucca

Day 6 — Visit handloom weaver, sightseeing in Barga, pizza party

Day 7 — Bake bread with village baker, spinning lesson, visit another handloom weaver

Day 8 — Visit breeder of white Garfagnana sheep, felt workshop, lunch at farm, cooking lesson

Day 9 — Visit water mill, silkworm breeder, tour Renaissance villa, lunch with cashmere goat breeder

Day 10 — Visit ethnographic museum, tour of spinning & weaving mill, farewell dinner

Day 11 — Departure

Highlights of Tour

Fibre & Textile Experiences

  • Share Stefania Maffei’s enthusiasm for silk, feed the silkworms and learn about the history of silk in Lucca
  • Hands-on dyeing workshop with Tommaso Cecchi de’ Rossi using wine as a mordant
  • Visit Fondazione Arte della Seta Lisio to find out how complex velvet and brocades are woven by hand
  • Technical tour of the Scuola del Cuoio (leather school)
  • Visit Monica Ferrucci’s cashmere goats
  • Hands-on workshop making watermarked paper
  • Tour 17th-century villa with original silk bed dressings
  • Visit Marina Donati’s studio where she demonstrates traditional floor-loom weaving
  • Visit Ermanna Rocchiccioli to see her weavings dating back 50 years
  • Hands-on lesson with village women spinning antique hemp with distaff and drop spindle
  • Visit carding, spinning & weaving mill run by one man and his cat
  • Hands-on lesson with Renato Panati making baskets using marsh reeds
  • Private tour of Laboratorio Maria Niemack with its collection of traditional local textiles and dress
  • Hands-on felting lesson with Ombretta Cavani using the wool of her flock of native Garfagnina sheep which she hopes to save from extinction
  • Shopping opportunities: yarn, woven & knitted products

Gastronomic Experiences

  • Welcome dinner in a private home
  • Vineyard tour & wine tasting
  • Eat at Andrea’s parallel gastronomic universe
  • Cooking lesson making traditional dishes of the Garfagnana and Lucca
  • Dine in a tiny restaurant with only two tables
  • Learn to make Garfagnana potato bread (Slow Food Presidium) and bake it in a wood-fired oven
  • Farro beer tasting
  • Tasting lunch of Monica’s French-style goat cheese
  • Help Francesca make pizza for a party with her friends
  • Visit 18th-century water mill that grinds farro and corn
  • Every day you eat in homes and family restaurants

City Sightseeing

Florence, Lucca, Barga, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana

Other Activities

  • Visit ethnographic museum with weird and wonderful objects to keep you guessing
  • Optional walks

 

Day 1: Tuesday

Meet at Florence airport and transfer to Agriturismo Marzalla, Pescia, where we will be the guests of Tommaso Cecchi de’ Rossi and his wife Chiara. They are eager for you to experience the culture and lifestyle of their part of Tuscany. Welcome dinner at the home of their friend Letizia, expert and knowledgeable cook of traditional Tuscan cuisine.

Day 2: Wednesday

This morning Tommaso leads a hands-on dyeing workshop using wine as a mordant. Tommaso studied agronomy at university in preparation for taking over the family vineyard at Marzalla. During the harvest he accidentally spilled vinaccia (grape skins and seeds left after pressing grapes) on a piece of leather and was enchanted by the resulting colour. He started experimenting, finally patenting the method and designing his own collection of bags and sandals. After lunch we head to the Paper Museum which is busy rescuing the disappearing art of hand-stitched watermarked paper for a paper-making workshop. Dinner at Letizia’s.

Accommodation: Marzalla, Pescia | Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3: Thursday

We catch the train to Florence for private tours of Fondazione arte della seta Lisio and Scuola di Cuoio. Both institutions were originally set up as private charities to provide skills and employment for young people, and they continue their mission. The Lisio specialises in hand-woven velvet and brocade, while the Scuola di Cuoio carries forward traditional Florentine leather craft. We return to Marzalla to find out what new delicacy Letizia has prepared for our dinner.

Accommodation: Marzalla, Pescia | Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

 

Day 4: Friday

After a tour of Tommaso’s vineyard, a wine tasting and lunch, we visit Renato Panati on the edge of the Padule di Fucecchio (Fucecchio Marsh). Renato excels at manual skills from woodworking to upholstery to bricklaying to basket weaving, always learning from old masters. He is keen to pass on his knowledge to others and was delighted when I asked him to lead you in a hands-on basket workshop. Back at Marzalla, we enjoy another superb dinner prepared by Letizia.

Accommodation: Marzalla, Pescia | Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5: Saturday

Pack and depart from Marzalla. In the morning we have a private tour of the Laboratorio Maria Niemack in Lucca. Niemack made a definitive collection of traditional local textiles and dress, handsome and simple fabrics made of wool, cotton and locally grown hemp; the collection includes a variety of traditional floor looms. Lucca’s wealth in the Renaissance was founded on silk and banking. The last of the silk trade disappeared before the Second World War (the banks are still here). Stefania Maffei, whose silk laboratory you’ll visit on Tuesday, leads a walking tour illustrating the history of silk in Lucca.Free time for some sightseeing and shopping. There’s an especially good yarn shop and three handwoven scarf and clothing shops. Transfer to Ai Frati, Pieve Fosciana, where we stay for the rest of the tour. Everyone adores the owner, gentle Luigi Aloisi. You’d never know he’s a lawyer by profession. Dinner at Ai Frati.

Accommodation: Ai Frati, Pieve Fosciana | Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 6: Sunday

A lazy morning with free time to enjoy Ai Frati, a former Franciscan monastery. On the way to lunch, we stop to see Ermanna Rocchiccioli. Now in her 80s, she’s the only person left who remembers what it was like when all young women wove their own trousseaux and has a fine collection of pieces from her long life as a weaver. Sightseeing and lunch in Castelnuovo at Andrea Bertucci’s parallel gastronomic universe the Vecchio Mulino. We visit Marina Donati whose weaving prowess has helped preserve the traditional patterns of the Garfagnana. After some sightseeing in Barga with its sublime romanesque cathedral, we’re invited to a pizza party thrown by beekeeper Francesca Buonagurelli.

Accommodation: Ai Frati, Pieve Fosciana | Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7: Monday

Today we go to the mountain village of Petrognola to learn to make traditional Garfagnana potato bread with the village baker, Paolo Magazzini. While our bread rises, we’ll see the colossal farro-polishing machine. Farro (emmer) is an even more primitive wheat than spelt and is still grown today on terraces around the village. While our loaves bake in the wood-fired oven, Teresa Bertei demonstrates spinning hemp with a distaff and drop spindle and will be delighted if you’d like to have a go. Lunch, cooked by Paolo’s wife Daniela, will be the bread we baked with typical dishes made with farro all washed down with farro beer (or wine if you prefer). Dinner at Ai Frati.

Accommodation: Ai Frati, Pieve Fosciana | Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8: Tuesday

Cerasa farm is trying to save the traditional Garfagnina breed of sheep by making pecorino cheese from their milk, selling their meat and using their wool. Since the sheep will be dry by September, owner Ombretta Cavani will conduct a hands-on felting class, which is her particular passion. Meanwhile Mamma Gemma prepares our lunch which includes Papa Mario’s salumi (home-cured pork). A free afternoon at Ai Frati before a cooking lesson and dinner eating what you cooked.

Accommodation: Ai Frati, Pieve Fosciana | Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9: Wednesday

Travelling down the Serchio River Valley, we stop at one of the few remaining water mills to understand how Paolo’s farro is ground into flour. Our next stop is Villa Torrigiani where our private tour takes us behind its extravagant baroque façade to an interior where original silk bedclothes mingle with granddad’s needlepoint. Lunch at Monica Ferrucci’s villa, where she rears cashmere goats and makes cheese. Stefania Maffei’s ravenous silkworms await us to give them their lunch, and Stefania illuminates the complicated process of turning the cocoons into fabric. Dinner in Lucca.

Accommodation: Ai Frati, Pieve Fosciana | Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10: Thursday

This morning we head to San Pellegrino in Alpe, high in the Apennines, to its ethnographic museum, full of weird and wonderful objects that will provoke many a game of Twenty Questions. Lunch in the village, after which we follow the crest of the Apennines to Cutigliano and Silio Giannini’s filandra, a carding, spinning and weaving mill where you’ll find yourself knee-deep in boxes and sacks of wool and machines of an uncertain age that surely should have broken down 60 years ago. We end up in his office shop where there are bargains to be had. In the late afternoon we return to Ai Frati. Farewell dinner at a restaurant with only two tables.

Accommodation: Ai Frati, Pieve Fosciana | Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11: Friday

After breakfast, transfer to Pisa airport or Pisa or Lucca railway station. One transfer will be provided no earlier than 9.00 am (allow an 1 hour 30 minutes to get to the airport or either train station plus check in and boarding time). If you need to travel earlier, a taxi can be arranged at your own expense.

 

Agriturismo Marzalla, Pescia

Marzalla estate produces wine and olive oil, and it’s where Tommaso Cecchi de’ Rossi creates his collection of wine-dyed leather and fabric fashions. Accommodation is in tastefully restored farm cottages, hay barns and the vinsantaia, the building where they hang grapes to dry before making vin santo, the typical Tuscan sweet wine. Swimming pool, wifi.

Marzalla_Camera_Rosa

Agriturismo ‘Ai Frati’, Pieve Fosciana

A 14th-century monastery in an idyllic mountainside setting. Each ample apartment is composed of three monk’s cells. Despite its tranquil hidden location, Napoleon’s troops found it and destroyed its chapel, but left the cloisters and their frescoes for us to admire. Swimming pool and magnificent views.

cheese-tour

Erica Jarman

Following Heather’s careers as archaeologist, orchestra and artist manager and chef, she Italianised her name to Erica and came to Lucca to pursue her passion for traditional artisan food. Her tours, inspired by her infectious curiosity, open captivating new worlds to her guests.

Erica Jarman portrait square

Price

Per Person: 3290 EUR

Single Supplement: NONE

Includes

Friendly knowledgeable English-speaking guide throughout your stay

10 nights welcoming, relaxing accommodation, en suite bathrooms

Local ground transportation for 11 days (includes one group transfer between meeting point and accommodation and one return after the tour). Please check with us before you book your travel to make sure it fits the tour schedule. Transfers at times other than those provided for the group will be at your own expense.

Daily continental breakfast, 8 lunches, 10 dinners

Guided visits and workshops with artisans, cooking lesson, museum and villa entrance fees

Does Not Include

Airfares

Travel and cancellation insurance

Wine and drinks other than those served with meals, additional meals

Personal expenses

Meeting Point

Florence airport, Peretola. If you’re not flying into Peretola airport, you can take the train to Santa Maria Novella railway station in Florence and from there the airport shuttle bus.

If you are flying from outside Europe, we suggest you arrive a couple of days early to recover from jet lag so you can fully enjoy your time with us. We are happy to advise about where to stay and eat and what to do before and after your tour.

Departure Point

Pisa airport, Pisa Centrale railway station, Lucca railway station

One transfer will be provided no earlier than 9.00 am (allow an 1 hour 30 minutes to get to the airport or either train station plus check in and boarding time). If you need to travel earlier, a taxi can be arranged at your own expense.

Diet

Most dietary requirements can be accommodated as long as you tell us in advance. There is a space on the Booking Form for this information.

Physical Fitness

Tour takes place partly in the mountains. You must be fit enough to walk on steep cobbled streets and rough farm tracks. Not suitable for people with a fear of heights.

Dress

Informal. Jeans or smart trousers are acceptable everywhere. Raincoat/jacket advisable. Good walking shoes are required for farm visits, steep cobbled streets and optional walks.

Weather in September

14–26°C/57–79˚F, precipitation 89 mm/3.5 in

The Itinerary is subject to change if necessary due to weather or agricultural conditions or other events outside our control.

I had such a rewarding and wonderful trip with you. You really do your research and make the trip an experience. I will treasure the adventure forever!! We met so many nice people and saw their humble yet inspired lifestyles. They were so welcoming and really seemed to enjoy us being there. You have been a blessing in my life.

Janet Castro, artist & weaver, USA, Tastes & Textiles, September 2016

Our Tastes and Textiles tour was so unique! You took us to destinations I would have never found on my own or with another tour. We met enthusiastic and inspiring people who have created a rich and sustainable lifestyle which also preserves the traditions they hold so dear. Our textile and fiber workshops were fun and intriguing. And, we met plenty of characters along the way! With both gorgeous scenery and charming lodging, this trip was a hit with me! Thank you, Erica!

In December 2016, Carol wrote: Since returning home, the impact of our September trip has slowly yet continually percolated up to my consciousness and I’m blown away by how much it meant and has influenced my thinking.

Carol Bingaman, weaver, USA, Tastes & Textiles, September 2016