Tastes & Textiles: Woad & Wool

Tastes & Textiles: Woad & Wool

Until the introduction of indigo into Italy textiles were dyed with woad 12–22 May 2018

Woad was the indigo of Renaissance Italy (and long before). It’s fun to imagine Duke Federico relaxing in his woad-dyed jeans, but a more likely portrait is the Montefeltro’s, ruling family of Urbino in Le Marche, posing stiffly in blue silks and linens. At the opposite end of the social spectrum, shepherds of the Casentino were wearing woollen cloaks, fulled and napped to make them warmer. It’s gone upmarket since then. Remember that scrumptious orange coat Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s? During this tour on the borders of Tuscany, Umbria and Le Marche, you’ll dye with woad, visit the makers of Casentino wool, cook a coloured feast and stay in a monastery and a castle. Really small group (maximum 10 people).

You may also be interested in Tastes & Textiles: Hanging by a Thread and Tastes & Textiles: Wine to Dye For

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Itinerary at a glance

Arezzo to Lamoli di Borgo Pace

Day 1 — Meet at Arezzo train station, lunch, transfer to ex-monastery Oasi San Benedetto, Lamoli di Borgo Pace (Le Marche), welcome dinner

Day 2 — Dyeing workshop with woad, tour of dye museum; cook coloured meal for dinner

Day 3 — Lace-making and guided tour of Mercatello sul Metauro; lunch cooked by the Accademia del Padlot; visit Roman remains at Sant’Angelo in Vado

Lamoli to Sansepolcro

Day 4 — Renaissance almond salad at archaeological arboretum; private tour of linen mill Tela Umbra a Mano at Città di Castello (Umbria); transfer to Agriturismo Terra di Michelangelo at Caprese Michelangelo (Tuscany)

Day 5 — Visit Anghiari, private tour of famed weaving mill Busatti; paintings of Piero della Francesca and visit herbal museum Aboca at Sansepolcro; learn to bake cantuccini (biscotti) at agriturismo

Sansepolcro to Stia

Day 6 — Transfer to Castello di Porciano, Stia (Casentino); private tour of castle; lunch at Poppi; visit museum at Poppi castle; meet woman who wove a cape for the Pope

Day 7 — Creative weaving workshop (suitable for total beginners and advanced weavers) and tour of Museo della Lana (wool museum), Stia; visit Tessilnova Casentino woollen mill and shop; guided cheese, salumi and wine tasting

Day 8 — Learn to make cheese and the tortello di patate (potato-filled ravioli); lunch in cheesemaker’s home; free time at Castello di Porciano

Day 9 — Tortello alla lastra (fried ravioli) lesson and lunch at cook’s restaurant; sightseeing at Camaldoli mediaeval hermitage, monastery and herbal pharmacy

Day 10 — Visit fulling and napping mill; farewell dinner

Stia to Arezzo

Day 11 — Transfer to Arezzo; visit art restoration studio; departure

Highlights of Tour

Fibre & Textile Experiences

  • Dyeing workshop with woad and weld (Oasi San Benedetto, Lamoli di Borgo Pace)
  • Lace-making demonstration (Mercatello sul Metauro)
  • Private tour of Tela Umbra a Mano producing handwoven linens (Città di Castello)
  • Private tour of Busatti weaving mill (Anghiari)
  • Private tour of Museo della Lana (Casentino wool museum, Stia)
  • Creative weaving workshop (Museo della Lana, Stia)
  • Behind the scenes at Tessilnova, weavers of panno Casentino (Stia)
  • Visit fulling and napping mill (Soci)
  • Visit collection of weaver who wove a blanket for the Pope and curtains for Jacquie Kennedy (we hope the weaver won’t be too frail to appear herself)

Gastronomic Experiences

  • Learn to cook beautifully colour-themed dishes
  • Lunch prepared by the Accademia del Padlot (the Academy of the Frying Pan)
  • Tour of Arborea Archeologia, orchards of ancient varieties of fruit, and tasting of Renaissance green almond salad
  • Dinner based on free-range Cinta Senese (black belted pig of Siena) and grey Casentino pigs: naturally cured salumi (Italian charcuterie) and fresh pork dishes at Terra di Michelangelo
  • Learn to make cantuccini (what you probably call biscotti)
  • Learn the art of pairing wines from Tuscany and Le Marche with cheese and salumi, led by Giancarlo Russo, Master Cheese Taster
  • Watch shepherd making pecorino with the milk of his own flock of sheep
  • Demonstration by the shepherd’s mother of how to make tortello di patate (potato ravioli) of the Casentino and lunch at their home
  • Hands-on cooking lesson making tortello alla lastra of Corezzo
  • Every day you eat in homes and interesting family restaurants

Art & Architecture

  • Church of Monastery of San Benedetto, Lamoli di Borgo Pace (where you’ll stay for three nights)
  • Roman villa and mosaics at excavations of Roman city of Tifernum Mataurense, Sant’Angelo in Vado
  • Piero della Francesca at Civic Museum of Sansepolcro
  • Castello di Porciano (where you’ll stay for five nights)
  • Monastery, hermitage and pharmacy, Camaldoli
  • Poppi Castle
  • Art restoration studio, Arezzo

City Sightseeing

Città di Castello, Anghiari, Sansepolcro, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana

Coming soon. While waiting contact us for more details and to book: info@sapori-e-saperi.com

Oasi San Benedetto, Lamoli di Borgo Pace

The 9th-century Benedictine Abbey of Saint Michael the Archangel is a centre of artistic, culinary and agricultural endeavour. Simple, comfortable rooms with en suite baths. Patrizia Carlo in the restaurant turns out gourmet meals fit for the plumpest abbot. Wi-fi, hairdryers, haven of peace. http://www.oasisanbenedetto.it/hospitalia/

accommodation for woad and wool tour

Agriturismo Terra di Michelangelo, Caprese Michelangelo

A traditional stone farmhouse with panoramic views over the upper Tiber Valley and large comfortable rooms furnished with family antiques. The restaurant serves pork from the farm and produce sourced locally. En suite bathrooms, wi-fi, hair dryers, swimming pool. http://www.terradimichelangelo.com/en/

Accommodation for woad and wool tour

Castello di Porciano, Pratovecchio Stia

Martha Specht’s parents restored the mediaeval castle tower to its present glory, and Martha is carrying on their work. Rooms are in the tower itself and in adjacent cottages. In the tower, two rooms share a bathroom. The ground floor houses an archaeological museum. Communal sitting room has many interesting weavings. Wi-fi, lift, hairdryers, laundry, roof terrace, arrow slits, iris garden. http://www.terradimichelangelo.com/en/

accommodation for woad and wool 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

Cheryl Alexander

Cheryl Alexander has been travelling to Europe, particularly Italy, for more than 20 years. Her interest in Italy, its history, art and rich culture led her to purchase property near Orvieto, allowing her to spend more time there. She has made many friends among the locals who live in the area and are generous in revealing the region’s hidden treasures to her. She shares these on the tours she offers from her company Italian Excursion. Her career as a social worker brings an understanding of people’s needs to the tour business, as does her more than 40 years experience in the field of wellness.

Cheryl’s main home is near the beach in San Diego, where she spends as much time as possible with her two small grandchildren. She’s a counsellor and consultant in North San Diego County, an avid reader, health advocate and community volunteer.

Cheryl Alexander tour guide for woad and wool

Price

Per person: 4485 EUR

Single supplement: NONE (no sharing required)

Includes

Friendly knowledgeable English-speaking guide throughout your stay

10 nights in welcoming, relaxing accommodation, en suite bathrooms

Local ground transportation for 11 days

Daily continental breakfast, 9 lunches with wine, 10 dinners with wine

All activities included on itinerary

Does not include

Airfares

Travel and cancellation insurance (mandatory)

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

Personal expenses and purchases

Meeting point

Arezzo railway station (nearest international airports are Rome and Florence). Pick up from Italian airports can be arranged at your expense.

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

Arezzo at about 1.00 pm.

If you need to travel earlier, we will arrive in Arezzo at about 10.30 am from where you can catch a train, but you will miss the fascinating visit to the art restoration studio.

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

You must be fit enough to climb steps, walk on steep cobbled streets and rough farm tracks.

Dress

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

Weather in May

8–22°C/47–71˚F, precipitation 66 mm/2.6 in

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

Testimonials will be added after the first tour in May 2018.

New tour

Itinerary at a glance

Arezzo to Lamoli di Borgo Pace

Day 1 — Meet at Arezzo train station, lunch, transfer to ex-monastery Oasi San Benedetto, Lamoli di Borgo Pace (Le Marche), welcome dinner

Day 2 — Dyeing workshop with woad, tour of dye museum; cook coloured meal for dinner

Day 3 — Lace-making and guided tour of Mercatello sul Metauro; lunch cooked by the Accademia del Padlot; visit Roman remains at Sant’Angelo in Vado

Lamoli to Sansepolcro

Day 4 — Renaissance almond salad at archaeological arboretum; private tour of linen mill Tela Umbra a Mano at Città di Castello (Umbria); transfer to Agriturismo Terra di Michelangelo at Caprese Michelangelo (Tuscany)

Day 5 — Visit Anghiari, private tour of famed weaving mill Busatti; paintings of Piero della Francesca and visit herbal museum Aboca at Sansepolcro; learn to bake cantuccini (biscotti) at agriturismo

Sansepolcro to Stia

Day 6 — Transfer to Castello di Porciano, Stia (Casentino); private tour of castle; lunch at Poppi; visit museum at Poppi castle; meet woman who wove a cape for the Pope

Day 7 — Creative weaving workshop (suitable for total beginners and advanced weavers) and tour of Museo della Lana (wool museum), Stia; visit Tessilnova Casentino woollen mill and shop; guided cheese, salumi and wine tasting

Day 8 — Learn to make cheese and the tortello di patate (potato-filled ravioli); lunch in cheesemaker’s home; free time at Castello di Porciano

Day 9 — Tortello alla lastra (fried ravioli) lesson and lunch at cook’s restaurant; sightseeing at Camaldoli mediaeval hermitage, monastery and herbal pharmacy

Day 10 — Visit fulling and napping mill; farewell dinner

Stia to Arezzo

Day 11 — Transfer to Arezzo; visit art restoration studio; departure

Highlights of Tour

Fibre & Textile Experiences

  • Dyeing workshop with woad and weld (Oasi San Benedetto, Lamoli di Borgo Pace)
  • Lace-making demonstration (Mercatello sul Metauro)
  • Private tour of Tela Umbra a Mano producing handwoven linens (Città di Castello)
  • Private tour of Busatti weaving mill (Anghiari)
  • Private tour of Museo della Lana (Casentino wool museum, Stia)
  • Creative weaving workshop (Museo della Lana, Stia)
  • Behind the scenes at Tessilnova, weavers of panno Casentino (Stia)
  • Visit fulling and napping mill (Soci)
  • Visit collection of weaver who wove a blanket for the Pope and curtains for Jacquie Kennedy (we hope the weaver won’t be too frail to appear herself)

Gastronomic Experiences

  • Learn to cook beautifully colour-themed dishes
  • Lunch prepared by the Accademia del Padlot (the Academy of the Frying Pan)
  • Tour of Arborea Archeologia, orchards of ancient varieties of fruit, and tasting of Renaissance green almond salad
  • Dinner based on free-range Cinta Senese (black belted pig of Siena) and grey Casentino pigs: naturally cured salumi (Italian charcuterie) and fresh pork dishes at Terra di Michelangelo
  • Learn to make cantuccini (what you probably call biscotti)
  • Learn the art of pairing wines from Tuscany and Le Marche with cheese and salumi, led by Giancarlo Russo, Master Cheese Taster
  • Watch shepherd making pecorino with the milk of his own flock of sheep
  • Demonstration by the shepherd’s mother of how to make tortello di patate (potato ravioli) of the Casentino and lunch at their home
  • Hands-on cooking lesson making tortello alla lastra of Corezzo
  • Every day you eat in homes and interesting family restaurants

Art & Architecture

  • Church of Monastery of San Benedetto, Lamoli di Borgo Pace (where you’ll stay for three nights)
  • Roman villa and mosaics at excavations of Roman city of Tifernum Mataurense, Sant’Angelo in Vado
  • Piero della Francesca at Civic Museum of Sansepolcro
  • Castello di Porciano (where you’ll stay for five nights)
  • Monastery, hermitage and pharmacy, Camaldoli
  • Poppi Castle
  • Art restoration studio, Arezzo

City Sightseeing

Città di Castello, Anghiari, Sansepolcro, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana

Coming soon. While waiting contact us for more details and to book: info@sapori-e-saperi.com

Oasi San Benedetto, Lamoli di Borgo Pace

The 9th-century Benedictine Abbey of Saint Michael the Archangel is a centre of artistic, culinary and agricultural endeavour. Simple, comfortable rooms with en suite baths. Patrizia Carlo in the restaurant turns out gourmet meals fit for the plumpest abbot. Wi-fi, hairdryers, haven of peace. http://www.oasisanbenedetto.it/hospitalia/

accommodation for woad and wool tour

Agriturismo Terra di Michelangelo, Caprese Michelangelo

A traditional stone farmhouse with panoramic views over the upper Tiber Valley and large comfortable rooms furnished with family antiques. The restaurant serves pork from the farm and produce sourced locally. En suite bathrooms, wi-fi, hair dryers, swimming pool. http://www.terradimichelangelo.com/en/

Accommodation for woad and wool tour

Castello di Porciano, Pratovecchio Stia

Martha Specht’s parents restored the mediaeval castle tower to its present glory, and Martha is carrying on their work. Rooms are in the tower itself and in adjacent cottages. In the tower, two rooms share a bathroom. The ground floor houses an archaeological museum. Communal sitting room has many interesting weavings. Wi-fi, lift, hairdryers, laundry, roof terrace, arrow slits, iris garden. http://www.terradimichelangelo.com/en/

accommodation for woad and wool 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

Cheryl Alexander

Cheryl Alexander has been travelling to Europe, particularly Italy, for more than 20 years. Her interest in Italy, its history, art and rich culture led her to purchase property near Orvieto, allowing her to spend more time there. She has made many friends among the locals who live in the area and are generous in revealing the region’s hidden treasures to her. She shares these on the tours she offers from her company Italian Excursion. Her career as a social worker brings an understanding of people’s needs to the tour business, as does her more than 40 years experience in the field of wellness.

Cheryl’s main home is near the beach in San Diego, where she spends as much time as possible with her two small grandchildren. She’s a counsellor and consultant in North San Diego County, an avid reader, health advocate and community volunteer.

Cheryl Alexander tour guide for woad and wool

Price

Per person: 4485 EUR

Single supplement: NONE (no sharing required)

Includes

Friendly knowledgeable English-speaking guide throughout your stay

10 nights in welcoming, relaxing accommodation, en suite bathrooms

Local ground transportation for 11 days

Daily continental breakfast, 9 lunches with wine, 10 dinners with wine

All activities included on itinerary

Does not include

Airfares

Travel and cancellation insurance (mandatory)

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

Personal expenses and purchases

Meeting point

Arezzo railway station (nearest international airports are Rome and Florence). Pick up from Italian airports can be arranged at your expense.

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

Arezzo at about 1.00 pm.

If you need to travel earlier, we will arrive in Arezzo at about 10.30 am from where you can catch a train, but you will miss the fascinating visit to the art restoration studio.

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

You must be fit enough to climb steps, walk on steep cobbled streets and rough farm tracks.

Dress

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

Weather in May

8–22°C/47–71˚F, precipitation 66 mm/2.6 in

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

Testimonials will be added after the first tour in May 2018.

New tour