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A truly unique celebration
How you spend your time with us is up to you.
You may simply enjoy the beauty, history, and adventure of Villa Ferraia and its grounds. Take a guided tour by foot, bicycle, horseback, or motor vehicle one day. Try a cooking class the next. You’re also welcome to fish, hike, and garden – whenever you wish.
Or, choose a custom-designed, all-inclusive package for groups of 4 - 28. Select a week based on a specific passion – such as horseback riding or cooking. Another option is to create your own journey and choose from a variety of activities. Then, relax as we customize a week just for you.
Each itinerary includes plenty of delicious seasonal food and Italian wines, as well as tales and sights of local cultural and historic interest.
Whatever you decide, we promise you a true taste of “La Dolce Vita”, Tuscany’s sweet life.
Diverse Italian Journey
As our guest at Villa Ferraia, engage your mind, soul and sense of adventure with a Diverse Italian Journey. Based on your specific interests, we’ll schedule a unique week just for you and your travel companions.
With this selection, you have endless possibilities. Do as much or as little as you choose. We’ll take care of the details along the way – transportation, coordination, reservations, etc. We’ll provide you with Tuscany’s best and most authentic – from family-owned restaurants adored by locals to knowledgeable and hospitable guides that lead the way.
While you have limitless options, here are a few ideas to get you started:
In the Kitchen
• Make and taste pecorino and ricotta cheeses at a Sardinian shepherd’s farm and share a meal with your host.
• Cook ancient Italian family recipes beside a master Italian chef or Tuscan Mama.
On the Land
• Ride horseback on ancient Roman roads through unspoiled forestland.
• Soak in the medicinal waters of Bagno Vignoni, an ancient Roman spa.
• Explore Estruscan ruins dating to 400 B.C.
• Hunt in the forest for wild game or white truffles.
• Golf at nearby championship courses.
On the Town
• Shop and sightsee in the artistic hilltop village of San Gimignano, sample the local Vernaccia wines.
• Tour the charming medieval town of Buonconvento and view the amazing frescos at the historic masterpiece that is Monte Oliveto Abbey.
• Taste wine at the famous Enoteca Italiana in Siena.
• Enjoy the views from the Fortezza di Montalcino.
A minimum of four people is required for this program.
In the culinary program, you’ll explore the history, culture, art, and soul behind authentic Tuscan cooking.
In the Kitchen
Learn, laugh, and cook with degreed chefs and local Italian mamas in our kitchen. Listen closely, as they share age-old Tuscan recipes passed down through generations. Share meals and discover the deep connection between Italian food and the land. We use only fresh, seasonal ingredients, grown in our organic garden or on local farms.
On the Land, On the Town
Sip local wines during private tasting and cellar tours. Take guided city excursions through Siena, Florence, and nearby villages. Shop in open produce markets. Get your hands dirty in our organic herb and vegetable gardens. Hunt for white truffles and mushrooms. Taste honey at a beekeeper’s farm. Help make ricotta and pecorino cheese at a Sardinian shepherd’s cottage. And those adventures are just the beginning.
• Everyone is welcome in our kitchen - from novice cooks to seasoned chefs.
• Our menu changes weekly, based on fresh ingredients available at the time.
• Vegetarian courses are available. In fact, original Tuscan dishes were primarily vegetarian, as meat was considered a festival food.
• A minimum of four people is required for this program.
CULINARY PROGRAM: Sample Itinerary
Day 1: Meet your host at the Siena train station at 5:30 pm, followed by a 30-minute scenic drive to Villa Ferraia. Settle into your rooms, then enjoy a welcome drink, orientation, and dinner.
Day 2: Participate in a cooking demonstration with the chef in the morning, then indulge in the fruits of your labor for lunch. After lunch, travel to San Gimignano, a medieval village famous for its many towers. Take a walking tour and have dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 3: Take a morning cooking class, followed by lunch at Villa Ferraia. Spend the afternoon in Siena. With its ancient fortified walls still standing, many consider Siena the most beautiful city in Italy. Have dinner at a local restaurant and then enjoy a walking tour and wine tasting at the Enoteca Italiana.
Day 4: Visit Montalcino, famous for Brunello wine. Enjoy lunch and a wine tasting at the Fortezza di Montalcino. Wander the meandering hilly streets and shop. Tour an olive press, complete with olive and oil tasting. Tour the museum in Murlo, housing many Etruscan artifacts, then dine at a local restaurant.
Day 5: Partake in a pecorino cheese-making demonstration at the home of a Sardinina shepherd in Radicondoli. Taste various cheeses and have lunch at his home. Dinner is served at Villa Ferraia.
Day 6: Hike through the forests surrounding Villa Ferraia and visit the organic vegetable and herb garden with the chef. Harvest your lunch, then cook and enjoy your meal in the garden. A honey tasting follows the meal. Take a late-afternoon cooking class at Villa Ferraia and enjoy a delicious farewell dinner.
Day 7: Transfer to the Siena train station following breakfast.
In the equestrian program, you’ll get a grand view of Tuscany as you gallop across beautiful countryside on a sleek, fit, and surefooted horse. Each day, you’ll ride for three to six hours, stopping along the way to explore our culture, food, wine, history, and land.
In the Saddle
Ride through ancient forests dotted with fortified villages, castles, ruins, terraced vineyards, and olive groves. Travel down historic paths, often used by medieval Tuscans, Romans, and the mysterious Etruscans before them. View pheasant, wild boar, and deer along the trail.
On the Land, On the Town
Ride to a medieval village to shop, visit a museum, or taste local wine. Stop along the way for an elaborate Tuscan-style picnic lunch – complete with table linens and local wines – served at secluded spots beside the trail.
• Although our pace is considered moderate, there are many opportunities for brisk trotting, cantering, and galloping.
• Our horses range in age from five years to mid-teens and stand 15hh to 16.3hh. Breeds include Lipizzaner, Anglo-Arab, Sicilian, Maremmano, and Murgese.
• We carefully match each rider to their mount to ensure maximum safety, comfort, and enjoyment.
• Tack is English, although Western and Australian saddles may be available with advance notice.
• Helmets and heeled boots are required.
• Rider ability should be intermediate level or above, with a body weight limit of 240 pounds. The minimum age is 14 years.
• A minimum of four riders is required for this program.
Day 1: Meet your host at the Siena train station at 5:30 pm, followed by a 30-minute, scenic drive to Villa Ferraia. Settle into your rooms then enjoy a welcome drink, orientation, and dinner.
Day 2: After breakfast, transfer to the farm La Ripa to meet your horse. Ride through the countryside to the village of Orgia and enjoy an elaborate lunch of local specialties. The afternoon ride continues through forests, cultivated fields, and vineyards, with many beautiful views of medieval Tuscan villages and hillside castles.
Day 3: Ride toward the village of Murlo. Visit the local museum, full of fascinating Etruscan pieces. Do some light shopping after lunch. Trot, canter, and gallop along an ancient road to Buonconvento. Horses spend the night at Bibbiano. Riders return to Villa Ferraia after dinner.
Day 4: This ride covers approximately 20 miles, with long canters across the fields of the “Crete Senese”, or clay hills. Continue to the hillside medieval town of Montalcino, home of the famous Brunello wine. Lunch at the Fortezza di Montalcino includes a wine tasting. The horses stay overnight at Bibbiano again. Riders return to Villa Ferraia before dinner.
Day 5: Ride through verdant Mediterranean forests, peaceful villages, and past ruins on the way back to Tocchi. Enjoy a delectable picnic lunch in the forest then return to La Ripa. Dine at a local restaurant in the evening.
Day 6: Ride Maremanno horses with the Butteri, the legendary Italian cowboys. Check cattle in the national park of Maremma, 5,000 acres of forestland and oceanfront beach. Lunch in Grossetto. Then, continue on to Roselle to view the partially restored Roman and Etruscan ruins. After the ride, feast on a sumptuous farewell dinner served at Villa Ferraia.
Day 7: After breakfast, transfer to the train station in Siena.
Combined Culinary and Horseback Riding Program
As you explore Tuscan cooking and its origin, you’ll also get a taste of Italian culture. Then, travel by horseback and get an amazing view of the gorgeous countryside. Combined, the equestrian and culinary program gives a well-rounded journey through Tuscany.
In the Saddle, In the Kitchen, and On the Town
Spend your morning in a cooking class with authentic Tuscan mamas. Then, feast on the lunch you prepared. In the afternoon, gallop across the Tuscan countryside to a national forest. Travel to a medieval town for dinner at a local restaurant.
The itinerary is unique to your specific group and you choose your excursions. For inspiration, take a look at the culinary or horseback riding programs. You may also read our sample itinerary below. Or, visit with Tamara Sorley, your Program Director, for plenty of ideas.
Whatever you decide, we assure you a true taste of authentic Tuscan life.
• COOKING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS: cooks of all abilities welcome; need only love the creation and consumption of regional Tuscan specialties.
• HORSEBACK RIDING REQUIREMENTS: Intermediate level riding ability required. Please bring your own helmet and riding boots with heels. Tack is English (Australian or Western tack available with advance notice).
• A minimum of four people is required for this program.
• Large groups may split to explore separate interests each day. With a group of eight, for example, four can ride in the morning while the remaining guests cook. The whole group would gather together for dinner, excursion, etc.
Combination Equestrian and Culinary Program: Sample Itinerary
Day 1: Meet your host at the Siena train station at 5:30 pm, followed by a scenic 30-minute drive to Villa Ferraia. Settle into your rooms, then enjoy a welcome drink, orientation, and dinner.
Day 2: After breakfast, transfer to La Ripa to meet your horses. Explore by horseback the beautiful valley surrounding Castello di Belagio. Visit a horse-breeding farm, specializing in the Maremmano, the stock horse used by the famous Butteri or Italian cowboy. Enjoy an elaborate picnic lunch and return to the stable via a different route through the forest. Help the chef prepare dinner from age-old Tuscan recipes.
Day 3: The morning is spent in a cooking class with the chef, followed by the lunch you have prepared. In the afternoon, tour the towns of Buonconvento and Montalcino. Taste the famous Brunello wines at the Fortezza. Dine at a local restaurant.
Day 4: Ride through the countryside to the village of Orgia and dine on seasonal specialties. The afternoon 2-hour ride continues along the crest of hills, with amazing views and exhilarating canters and gallops. Return to Villa Ferraia for a cooking class with the chef, dinner, and relaxation.
Day 5: Start your day with a cooking class led by a chef “mama” followed by the lunch you prepared. In the afternoon, visit San Gimignano, the most favored of Tuscan medieval villages, famous for its many towers and delectable white wine. We’ll taste their Vernaccia di San Gimignano white at a local wine shop. Dine that evening at a restaurant frequented by the local residents.
Day 6: Ride through ancient forests and along a river to reach San Galgano Abbey. The spectacular remains of this important Italian monastery still stand, partially restored. Enjoy a sumptuous picnic lunch with the Abbey as a backdrop. Ride back to La Ripa and prepare for a wonderful and memorable farewell dinner.
Day 7: Transfer to the train station in Siena following breakfast.
Palio delle Contrade Program
Get a rush of adventure, history, and heritage at the Palio, Tuscany’s most celebrated festival. First recorded in 1283, the Palio is a break-neck, bareback horse race. Held in Siena, the lovely Piazza del Campo is the venue for this thrilling event. Complete with medieval costume, festivities and feasts, the Palio delves deeply into Sienese culture.
On the Town
More than a Race
The Palio is not merely a race, but a healthy dose of competition and celebration among neighbors. Each jockey represents one of the 17 fiercely competitive contrade, or districts, of Siena. With neighbors rallying and cheering, the Palio is an event full of vibrant energy.
Sample the excitement ahead when you witness each contrada receive their horse assignment and racing position by a lottery selection. Attend a “provo generale”, or practice race. Feast with a contrada in their neighborhood the evening before the race.
The day of the race, you can’t help but feel like an Italian native as you cheer along with thousands of spectators. View the actual race and parade from exceptional balcony seats. Although the race itself lasts only 90 seconds, it is preceded by four hours of colorful pageantry in medieval costume, drummers, flag-throwers, display of horses, jockeys, and the prized “Palio”, a hand-painted silk cloth celebrating the Virgin Mary.
• The event falls twice annually, on July 2nd and August 16th. However, the festivities go on for weeks.
• You may include activities from the Diverse Italian Journey, Culinary, Equestrian, or Combination itineraries. The schedule depends on the race dates, and when these dates fall within a given week. Time spent in the saddle, on the land, in the kitchen, or on the town may be somewhat minimized due to attendance at the multiple Palio festivities. However, it is a spectacle you’ll always remember.
Vittorio provides a magical winter experience at his lovely Tuscan villa, with gourmet meals at the hearth of a glowing fire, day trips to local villages and points of interest, and star-gazing in his luxurious observatory. He also offers horseback riding in the hills and yoga classes and cooking lessons. What more could you want? I can’t imagine spending a winter vacation anywhere else in the world, now that I know Villa Farraia! Susan, Texas
Villa Farraia is a place for people of diverse cultures to come together to enrich one another through the sharing of their life experiences. The many activities such as a visit to an olive oil Frantoio, touring the San Galgano abbey, walking the beautiful grounds of the Villa, and coming to the table to share authentic Tuscan cuisine added new experiences to my life. If you are looking for an active yet peaceful, enriching experience, Villa Farraia is highly recommended. Angie, Impruneta
The pictures do not to do Villa Ferraia justice. We drove through the gate and our jaws just dropped. We couldn't believe this was where we were going to be spending the next seven days. After being shown around the property, we settled into our room which was more like a little house off the main house. The "room" was amazing. We had dinner that evening at the Villa. Patrizia is an amazing chef. Everything was great and I was completely spoiled after that meal because no other pasta tasted the same as her homemade pasta and Stefano's homemade sauce. Christine Elizabeth Mathers Lititz, Pennsylvania