Featured holiday Food and wine holiday in Tuscany’s Chianti Italy

5 nights/6 days
This is a five-night food and wine holiday based at the Borgo San Felice, a 5-star hotel occupying an ancient hamlet surrounded by Chianti Classico vineyards, and with a Michelin-starred restaurant. Included is a dinner with wine, a tour of the cellar with wine-tasting and a half-day cookery lesson. There is time to explore the region on your own with a hire-car too.
Included in your Expressions holiday
  • Accommodation in a double or twin room on bed and breakfast
  • Scheduled flights with British Airways London to Pisa return, economy
  • Hire of a Group B car for the duration of your stay
  • Dinner with wine, wine-tasting and cellar tour and one three-hour cookery lesson
  • Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Luxury food and wine holiday in Tuscany's Chianti region

This five-night luxury food and wine holiday in Tuscany is based at the Hotel Borgo San Felice, a 5-star Relais & Chateaux hotel with Michelin-starred restaurant occupying an ancient hamlet in the heart of the Chianti Classico region. Immerse yourself in the tastes, fragrances, and lifestyle of Tuscany - sample the rustic local cuisine, taste the wide variety of wines produced in the surrounding area, wander around the historic streets of Siena or Florence, and learn to cook a selection of Tuscan dishes. This holiday is available from April to November and includes flights to Pisa and a hire-car, allowing you to explore Chianti villages at your leisure. The cuisine of Tuscany revolves around simplistic dishes that showcase the rich flavours of the ‘nostrale,’ or local produce. Certain flavours are popular, from the rare rich earthy truffles, to the Florentine meats. To gain a well-rounded experience of Tuscan cuisine, look out for particular dishes. The Crostini Toscani, sometimes called the Crostini de Fegato, is a thinly-sliced baguette-like bread spread with chopped chicken liver and is served as a starter. The Panzanella is a bread salad, with tomatoes, basil, and balsamic vinegar, usually served cold. To try the cannellini beans, look out for the Zuppa di Fagioli, a soup, or the Fagioli all’uccelletto side dish of beans, tomatoes, garlic, and sage. For truffles, look for the Tagliatelle all Tartufo, which combines them with another of Italy’s finest ingredients: pasta. For more of the hearty Tuscan soups, try the Pappa al Pomodoro, the Ribollita bean soup, or the Cacciucco chunky seafood soup. Leaving Tuscany without trying the Bistecca alla Fiorentina, or Florentine T-Bone steak, is unthinkable, so be sure to visit a traditional restaurant to try some, though it doesn’t have to be in Florence. Tuscany is also very well known for the bitter, fruity, vegetal flavour of its Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which is generously drizzled over almost every dish. For culinary excursions, consider driving to Pienza, the home of Pecorino sheep’s milk cheese, to Carmignano to taste the figs, or to Prato to try the Mortadella Italian sausage and the Cantucci biscotti.

Highlights

• Dinner at the San Felice restaurant. Includes a three-course menu of: traditional antipasti platter, comprised of ‘Cinta’ cured meats, cheeses and bruschetta; home-made ‘Pici’ pasta, pecorino cheese and pepper; and, wild boar with pine nuts, raisins, and creamed potato. One San Felice wine is served with each course • Tour of the San Felice wine cellar and tasting of three different estate wines • One three-hour cookery lesson, where you prepare three plates, followed by a light lunch


Holiday price guide Sample prices are per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room for 5 nights.

From about

£1,990

Holiday Code FHIT08

The prices displayed here are a guide only. Each holiday price will be tailor-made at the time of booking to reflect all actual costs including up-to-date special offers.

Luxury food and wine holiday in Tuscany's Chianti region

Arrive by air at Pisa airport and collect your hire-car. From Pisa, drive south in your hire car to the small hamlet-hotel of Borgo San Felice. This exclusive retreat is set in the heart of the Tuscan Chianti villages, surrounded by the vineyards of the hotel’s estate, and has magnificent views across the Tuscan countryside. As part of your holiday at the Borgo San Felice, you will indulge in a three-course meal in the restaurant, comprised of dishes, ingredients, and wines that really epitomise the Tuscan lifestyle. You will tour the San Felice wine cellar and taste three wines, such as Poggio Rosso Chianti Classico, Vigorello Toscana, and Brunello di Montalcino. To ensure you leave with the ultimate Tuscan souvenir of being able to bring the Tuscan cuisine to your own kitchen, you take part in a three-hour cookery lesson, where you learn to prepare three traditional dishes. This lesson is accompanied by a light lunch. These items will be spread over the duration of your holiday at the Borgo San Felice and booked in advance so that you can fit in rest, relaxation and our suggested excursions for each day.

Travelling around the Chianti villages, however, will reveal the diversity of the wines that the area produces; each village and each vineyard has its own unique taste. For other wines, still of excellent quality and recognised worldwide, drive to the village of Montalcino. The full-bodied Brunello di Montalcino is made from grapes of Sangiovese origins, giving the wine a fruity cherry overtone to compliment the undertones of spice, raisins, cedar, and leather. Its younger, lighter counterpart is the Rosso di Montalcino. For a less complex alternative with a smaller price tag, go for the Montepulciano in the neighbouring village. Montalcino, abundant as it is in fruitful vineyards, has many wineries at which you can try these wines. The Podere il Cocco is a rustic family-run winery set against a serene verdant backdrop that also offers olive oil tasting opportunities. Another beautiful stone-built farmhouse set amongst two private hills, the Máté Winery offers a range of wines aged in its cellar and made from grapes crushed by hand, including Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sangiovese. The larger 7 hectare estate of the Agricola Tenuta Poggio Rubino specialises in Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino. While in Montalcino, visit its many historic sites. The Fortezza di Montalcino has some of the most spectacular views in Montalcino, which can be enhanced by walking up the steps that take you onto the battlements. The fortress also houses a wine bar and shop selling the local wine. Sunday mornings bring with them a Gregorian Chant Mass at the Abbazia di Sant’Antonio monastery, which always proves to be a highly moving and atmospheric event. The abbey can be visited outside of prayer times if you wish to experience its beauty when cloaked by peaceful serenity. The Castello Romitorio, as well as offering Brunello wine-tasting and vineyard tours, is housed in a 12th century fortress and farmhouse, and has an art gallery. Or climb up to the looming white façade of the Chiesa della Madonna del Soccorso for astounding views across the village and neighbouring hills.

Another day excursion worth embarking on is a trip into nearby Siena. Inside the town walls, you will be immediately struck by the abundance of olive groves and gardens, which give the town a beautifully rustic, homely feel. One of Siena’s main attractions is the semi-circular Piazza del Campo. This square is lined with quaint cafes perfect for morning coffees and lunches, and is the site of the famous Siena Palio on the 2nd of July and 16th of August. This medieval horserace involves a single rider from each of Siena’s 17 districts competing against one another while the population of Siena watches from the square’s centre. The event is usually accompanied by a series of parades and other celebrations. Make sure you allow time to visit the Piazza del Duomo, a testament to Siena’s long-standing competition with Florence. This square was once intended to be the interior of a vast extension to the current Duomo, though all that remains is the colourful tiled floor, and the large free-standing archway that was meant to be the Duomo’s new main doorway. Inside the Duomo’s baptistery, the baptismal font is recognised to be one of Siena’s greatest spectacles. It is decorated with delicate relief panels by artists such as Donatello, Ghiberti, and Jacopo della Quercia.

Next, we highly recommend a visit to Florence, which lies slightly further away, to the north of San Felice. While here, make the most of the city’s artistic heritage, visiting the Uffizi and Bargello galleries, and Florence’s monastery, which houses a vast collection of Florentine paintings. Architecturally, one of the most interesting buildings is the cathedral, built in the Gothic style but with beautifully intricate and almost geometric carvings. The main attraction, however, has to be the original ‘David’, by Michelangelo, that is on display in the Accademia. While in Florence, take the opportunity to try some of the street food, such as Lampredotto. This dish’s main ingredient is the fourth stomach of a cow, cooked in a broth and served with either salsa verde or a hot, spicy sauce. If this unusual dish does not appeal, the Florentine steak is always available for a rich and tasty meal. The Enoteca Pinchiorri restaurant has 2 Michelin-stars, so is an excellent place to spend an evening, indulging in the very best cuisine and wine that you have spent the last few days becoming acquainted with.

After visiting Florence, you may wish to explore more of the famous Tuscan villages. We would highly recommend San Gimignano and Volterra. San Gimignano, like Siena, bears the scars of unfulfilled ambition. On approach, you will notice the many towers rising from the small village’s many squares. These squares signify the attempted expansion of the village, which was ultimately abandoned, but give the village lanes and alleyways a very grand character. Volterra contrasts San Gimignano beautifully. Its buildings are typically built from a dark volcanic stone, and the village retains most of its original fortified walls, surrounded by deep ravines. These two charming villages offer very different insights into the Tuscan way of life, but both are equally attractive. You may also wish to visit the small hamlet of Monteriggioni, outlined by well-maintained mediaeval walls, and somewhat surreal in its perfection, perched as it is on an isolated low-rising hill. After your exploration of the enchanting Tuscan landscape, return to the Borgo San Felice to soak up the sun beside the pool and dine in the restaurant.

Depending on the time of your flight back to London, spend more time exploring Tuscany or drive to the airport and return your hire-car ready for the flight back.

Holiday price guide Sample prices are per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room for 5 nights.

From about

£1,990

Holiday Code FHIT08

The prices displayed here are a guide only. Each holiday price will be tailor-made at the time of booking to reflect all actual costs including up-to-date special offers.

Our prices include ● Scheduled flights with British Airways from London Heathrow to Pisa return, economy
● Hire of a Group B car for the duration of your stay
● 5 nights' bed and breakfast in a Classic double room at Borgo San Felice, near Castelnuovo Berardenga
● Dinner at the La Terrazza di San Felice restaurant. Includes a three course menu of: traditional antipasti platter, comprised of ‘Cinta’ cured meats, cheeses and bruschetta; home-made ‘Pici’ pasta, pecorino cheese and pepper; and, wild boar with pine nuts, raisins, and creamed potato. One San Felice wine is served with each course.
● Tour of the San Felice wine cellar and tasting of three different estate wines
● One three hour cookery lesson, where you prepare three plates, followed by a light lunch
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Holiday price guide Sample prices are per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room for 5 nights.

From about

£1,990

Holiday Code FHIT08

The prices displayed here are a guide only. Each holiday price will be tailor-made at the time of booking to reflect all actual costs including up-to-date special offers.

Our prices include • Scheduled flights with British Airways from London Heathrow to Pisa return, economy
• Hire of a Group B car for the duration of your stay
• 5 nights' bed and breakfast in a Classic double room at Borgo San Felice, near Castelnuovo Berardenga
• Dinner at the La Terrazza di San Felice restaurant. Includes a three course menu of: traditional antipasti platter, comprised of ‘Cinta’ cured meats, cheeses and bruschetta; home-made ‘Pici’ pasta, pecorino cheese and pepper; and, wild boar with pine nuts, raisins, and creamed potato. One San Felice wine is served with each course.
• Tour of the San Felice wine cellar and tasting of three different estate wines
• One three hour cookery lesson, where you prepare three plates, followed by a light lunch
• Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

The journey and how you get there There are British Airways flights to Pisa from London Heathrow every day, with more than one flight a day. From Pisa, you collect a hire-car and the driving time to San Felice is about 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Luxury food and wine holiday in Tuscany's Chianti region

Expressions Holidays includes this hotel in this holiday.
Hotels included in this tour
San Felice
Borgo San Felice

The Borgo San Felice is a boutique 5-star hotel in Chianti country, ideal for exploring Italian vineyards and authentic Tuscan cuisine. Excellent spa facilities and fine dining restaurants afford guests a truly indulgent experience.

Classic double room

From about Sample prices are per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room for 5 nights.

Holiday Code FHIT08

Luxury food and wine holiday in Tuscany's Chianti region

About Tuscany

An Expressions tailor-made holiday in Tuscany allows you to appreciate its classical landscape of rolling hills and vineyards dotted with olive and cypress trees, its misty green-grey mountains that are never too far distant, and hill-top towns of rich brown and gold stone houses. This combines with the beauty of the works of art contained in the towns and villages throughout Tuscany to create an inspirational union of the spirit and the senses. There is an intrinsic comfort in the supposed contrast between the delicacy of a Botticelli and the heartiness of Ribollita soup, yet both are typical of this fascinating region. As birthplace of the Renaissance, the impact of Tuscan and particularly Florentine traditions and culture on European heritage is fundamental to our way of life. In addition to the obvious attractions of the scenery of Chianti and the art cities of Florence and Siena, there are the less well-known regions south of Siena with its moon-like landscape of hills, the patchwork vineyards of Montalcino, the coastal marshlands of the Maremma, the spas of Montecatini and Saturnia, the islands of Elba and Giglio, and the Casentino with the source of the Arno and abundant mushroom crops. Wherever you travel on holiday in Tuscany, you will be inspired by the beauty of your surroundings and the way of life, which is quintessentially that of Italy too.

Highlights of Tuscany

Famous vineyards producing wines of Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Alabaster is produced in Volterra. Gold and silver are worked in Florence and the Ponte Vecchio is lined with jewellery shops. Marbled paper and stationery is a speciality of Florence. Ceramics and hand-painted majolica from raw terracotta from Impruneta to the glazed pottery of Siena are to be found throughout Tuscany. Lucca has traditionally produced silk and hand-woven fabrics. Leather goods including shoes, handbags and belts are to be found from market stalls to designer shops such as Gucci and Ferragamo. Interesting markets include the Mercato dell' Antiquariato which sells furniture from antiques to bric-a-brac in Arezzo on the first weekend of every month, in Pisa on the second weekend and in Lucca on the third weekend. The 'wild' Maremma is known for its long-horned white cattle and cowboys (butteri) and natural springs including Saturnia.

Cultural highlights of Tuscany

As birthplace of the Renaissance, Tuscany contains a wealth of treasures: Giotto`s Campanile and Brunelleschi`s Dome in Florence, the Tombs of Galileo and Michelangelo in Florence`s Santa Croce, Botticelli`s `Birth of Venus` and `Primavera` and the portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino by Piero della Francesca in the Uffizi, Michelangelo`s `David` in the Accademia, the architecture of the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, `The Tuscan Maremma` painting by Giovanni Fattori in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, the Piazza del Campo in Siena, `The Legend of the Cross` frescoes by Piero della Francesco in Arezzo, `The Creation` fresco by Bartolo di Fredi in the Collegiata in San Gimignano, Romanesque church of the Collegiata in San Quirico d`Orcia, 14th Century Fortezza of Montalcino, Renaissance masterpiece of the church of Madonna di San Biagio at Montepulciano, the abbey-church of Sant`Antimo, mediaeval Lucignano and the towers of San Gimignano, the Etruscan Museum in Cortona.  

Festivals in Tuscany

Many of Tuscany`s festivals resound with the flamboyance of the Renaissance and keep Tuscans and visitors alike in touch with the region`s rich history. Others are linked to Tuscany`s hearty traditions of eating and drinking. The most famous is Siena`s Palio which takes place on 2 July and 16 August each year. Others include the Sagra del Tordo (Festival of the Thrush) in Montalcino on the last Sunday in October when there is an archery contest and charcoal-grilled thrush are a delicacy. In Florence, Calcio in Costume (a football match played in mediaeval costume) takes place in June. Pisa has the Giocco del Ponte (Game of the Bridge), a mock battle in Renaissance dress also held in June. Viareggio celebrates Carnival on Shrove Tuesday with a huge display of flamboyant floats. In May and August Massa Marittima holds the Falcon Contest.  

Gastronomy in Tuscany

Simple country food is at the heart of Tuscan cooking. Regional dishes include Bruschetta (bread or ciabatta toasted and rubbed with garlic, olive oil and salt), Ribollita (bean, cabbage and bread soup), Pasta with hare or wild boar sauce, Porcini mushroom and truffle dishes, Bistecca all Fiorentina (thick cut of sirloin and fillet beef), Cantucci (almond and honey biscuits) served dipped in Vin Santo, Panforte (chocolate, nut and spice cake). Pecorino cheese made from sheep's milk. Local wines include the white Vernaccia di San Gimignano and the Bianco di Pitigliano. Famous reds include Chanti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino and the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Vin Santo made from semi-crushed grapes left for several months is an excellent dessert wine.

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