Montisi ~ You Won't Be Bored!

Are you tired of being hassled by crowds? Fed up with being surrounded by people who all seem to be looking for the toilets? Scale things down and relax with a program that you can make up as you choose, depending upon your own interests and tastes. Stay for one night, or three nights, or two weeks. Montisi is a wonderful home base for exploring—Florence, Siena, Cortona, Arezzo, Perugia, Assisi and even Rome, just 2 hours south.

Explore small, simple villages on foot, find gourmet meals, and settle gently into the culture Tuscany.

Feeling more active? Take a quad bike out for a half day tour through the fields and back trails, get up early and go hot air ballooning, go horseback-riding, or watch the fall harvest of olives and wine grapes. Savor a taste of pungent new oil in November. Or learn to paint or draw with a professional artist. Book a wine tour, or a tasting either at home in Montisi, or in the nearby wineries producing Brunello and Vino Nobile. Or take day excursions to see the great art and architecture of Tuscany's historic cities and towns, shop Italian designer wares, hear Gregorian chants, wander through the monthly Arezzo Antique Market, learn at the Etruscan museums or enjoy a cappuccino or vino at a café on Il Campo in Siena. And when you get back after a busy day relax with a deep massage from Lalla, here in Montisi.

Alternatively, sit under a tree with a glass of wine and a book, and spend the day looking out over a classic Tuscan landscape. You will be welcomed by the Montisani, and you will leave enriched by contact with a slower way of life and real country values.

If you don't have a rental car, you may find it useful to engage the services of 3rd Services by Gianmarco, our local driving service. Cell: 338.1868798. Web. Send him a message in simple English and he'll be there to meet you! He can pick you up at the Rome or Florence airports or drive you for a full day of wine-tasting. Single car to 20+ passenger van.

Antonella Piredda—Licensed Tour Guide

Discover the hidden gems of the Val d'Orcia, the backstreets of Siena, medieval villages nestled in the hills, Renaissance gardens, famous vineyards, winetastings of undiscovered small producers, all with a licensed tour guide who will bring the area's history alive. Tours are completely customized to your taste and will take you far off the beaten track, to the real heart of Tuscany. For information, (licensed tour guide for Siena, Arezzo, Cortona and Siena province, and cheese and wine expert), or telephone her at +39 347 4565150.

Ballooning in Tuscany

Ballooning in Tuscany was established in 1990 and is now owned by Virgin Balloon Flights, the UK’s largest and most successful balloon operator.

The day-to-day running of the flights in Montisi is handled by pilot Chris Monk who, along with his wife Claire, maintains a personal, friendly and professional flying experience, whilst enjoying the support and backing of the Virgin Group's larger company.

The balloon launches from the beautiful valley below Montisi. Every flight is different as they fly with the winds of the day and each flight lasts about an hour, looking down at forests, vineyards and historic towns. On landing, guests enjoy the finest Prosecco and a picnic of locally sourced food.

Ballooning in Tuscany is licensed by both the British and Italian Civil Aviation Authorities and maintains an impeccable safety record.

Find them on Facebook (ballooningintuscany) and read our reviews on TripAdvisor.

Web: www.ballooningintuscany.com

Painting Courses

In Montisi we have painters and noted sculptors. Three fine professional painters are ready to take you out painting!

Elizabeth Cochrane came to Tuscany in 1995 and immediately began to organize watercolour painting courses in Cortona. Elizabeth is a talented landscape painter working in oil and watercolour, and she found the light and the rhythms of the Tuscan landscape a perfect environment for her work. She is a recognized as an expert in the capture of the dramatic Tuscan skies in watercolour. Liz teaches drawing and painting to beginners as well as accomplished artists. Whether painting in her courtyard, the lanes of the village or in a private garden, lessons from Liz are both fun and satisfying. She lives in the center of the village and her studio can be visited by .

Liz Graham-Yooll has painted and lived in Tuscany for many years and now divides her time between Montisi and a small village in central France. Whatever painting subject she might pursue, her pleasure is still in setting up an easel in the middle of a field and working en plein air, working in acrylics, watercolor, or sketching to capture what catches her eye Not only has she taught watercolour painting, but she has also worked as a guide for walks in Tuscany and so she knows the local countryside like the back of her hand. Walking with a sketchbook is a way of combining her two great pleasures and a chance to share this with like-minded people. She is offering two very different painting experiences.

NEW Montine Blank's Paint Your Guts Out!® art-making, intuitive painting, and creative expression classes help you discover how to easily access your creative flow, removing blocks and allowing you to work spontaneously from the "zone". Her annual retreats in Tuscany include accommodations upstairs in the large 4 bedroom/ 3 full bath country villa where students gather for the workshops daily. Each bedroom accommodates 2-3 guests. Additional private accommodations within walking distance are also available. All art materials, all meals, transportation from the train station, and as well as one cooking class are provided. Light fare and snacks will be available at all times. Full details here.

Chef Lessons and Catering

If you have rented a house or villa in the area, several very talented Italian chefs are available to cook in, teach you, hands-on, the techniques for making local specialties or prepare celebratory meals for you and your friends. Prices are reasonable and the chefs will work with you to tailor the exact menu you prefer and will provide wine or advise you on suitable wines to accompany your menu. All speak excellent English. These services MUST be arranged, at least in general well in advance as they are very popular. For weddings and similar celebrations you can get assistance with music and flowers.

Tuscan Cookery Course

The cooking class has been run successfully for several years, in the kitchen of the restaurant La Romita. The kitchen was recently remodeled, creating a slightly larger space with all new equipment. The chef is Giovanna Bindi, the cook for the restaurant and wife of the owner Alberto. They have for twenty or so years created their own specialized Tuscan menus based on interesting "new" combinations of tastes and textures, using Renaissance recipes as a starting point.

The arrival of spices from the east and the gastronomic experiences of the returning crusaders gave birth to the Renaissance in the Tuscan kitchen. Catherine de Medici took her Renaissance Florentine cooking methods and ingredients to France and revolutionized French palates! If you have a passion for the food of a particular period, they will help you learn to create it.

The classes are tailor-made for the students; if there is a specific request, such as "How do you make pici?", they will teach you. Otherwise the class will provide an overview of a full 4 or 5 course Tuscan meal.

This is not a "cooking school" with a formal class schedule. This is essentially a private lesson conducted for 2 to a maximum of 4 or 5 (due to the size of the kitchen), offered by Giovanna and Alberto, in Italian. But as it is a detailed demonstration, the language is not a problem; in fact, it is a delightful and memorable part of the experience Alberto will set up a classtime by arrangement. The classes are in the afternoon starting at about 3.30 p.m. and ending at about 6.30 p.m. If you would like, return at 8:00 to re-join your hosts for a full Tasting Dinner (degustazione) with a choice of dishes proposed by Alberto. In the meantime, you can sit down and relax for an aperitivo at MaMa' across the road.

Quad Bike Tours

Explore the rolling countryside of the Terre di Siena along medieval tracks and byways that La Romita has discovered for you! They organize quiet guided excursions using new Polaris 330 Quad Bikes (All Terrain Vehicles) along itineraries of extraordinary beauty. Climb hills and follow ancient country tracks in close touch with nature. There are three itineraries to choose from and your host Alberto Bindi says, "This is the most fun I've had since I was a kid!" Learn more here.

Ayurveda Massage

Ayurveda is the ancient Indian health science of "long life" perfected over centuries of research, not only to cure ailments but also as a system of imparting knowledge in leading a way of life that helps attain both physical and mental wellness holistically. Lalla has studied in Kerala in southwestern India. She offers massage in her studio, in the shade of a tree, by the side of a swimming pool, or wherever you feel is right for you. She has a portable massage table so if you are staying at a farmhouse or villa she can arrange to travel to you, performing a maximum of 4 massages a day. Tel: +39-334-1829270 or .

Giostra Del Simone

Held on the Sunday nearest the 5th of August (the feast day of the Madonna delle Nevi, patron saint of Montisi), the Giostra del Simone memorializes an important incident in Montisi's history with a jousting competition between the village's four Contrade. For a week preceding the event, exhibitions and demonstrations of local handicrafts and artisan work are held in the town. Local produce is on sale, plus street entertainments, competitions for five-a-side football teams, Contrada games, and food stalls. This is held every year on. Saturday night preceding the feast day is the occasion for closing the streets of the village as the four Contrade spill outdoors, hosting 200 diners each, for a 5 course Tuscan meal. The ladies of each contrada prepare classic dishes and dining is at very long tables, family style. Sunday's festivities begin at 5 pm with a medieval parade of the four contrade through the village, culminating at the jousting field at the end of the village. Four professional jousting jockeys on specially-trained horses compete for the honors of the victory. Contrada dinners, open to all, are held on Saturdays throughout August. For more information , click here.

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