Ten Days in Tuscany
A Yoga, Wine and Food Experience
May 17 - 27, 2020
Join Melissa Lucciola AND Jason Capps for an unforgettable, small town, small group tour of Tuscany.
Calling all yogis who aren’t afraid to eat, drink and do yoga in TUSCANY!! This is going to be an adventure of a lifetime! I am honored to be partnering with my lifelong friend, Chef and Guide Jason Capps for 10 Days in Tuscany! Jason will be educating us on all facets of Italian food and wine, while weaving in expeditions focusing on art, history, architecture and more…not to mention daily yoga and meditation scattered throughout iconic Tuscan locations!
This ALL INCLUSIVE retreat includes everything except airfare. That means EVERYTHING! From lodging and transportation to meals, cocktails and tips and everything in between. The only time you’ll have to take out your wallet is for shopping for souvenirs! Have special dietary needs, no problem! Just let us know in advance and we will ensure your needs are accommodated.
Day 1 : ARRIVE IN TUSCANY & Villa CAMPOROMANO
Arrival Evening Flow at Villa Camporomano
Arrive at Pisa International Galileo Airport where I will greet you. A private coach will take us to the host villa, a short 20-minute ride to quaint accommodations for the first few nights. Camporomano is a secluded, medievel property located toward the top of a lush green mountain, near the northern Tuscan coast. It has all the modern amenities, yet is a true testament to the era from which it was born.
Upon our arrival, enjoy a typical Tuscan afternoon aperitivo, antipasti and a warm welcome orientation from our friendly host Niccolò. Take your time to unpack, unwind and enjoy the breathtaking atmosphere. You've come a long way, but RELAX, you're in Tuscany!
Dinner tonight is at La Piazzetta, a very traditional and casual trattoria in the heart of an ancient borgo. Get some sleep, tomorrow the journey really begins
Day 2 : CINQUE TERRE, SARZANA WINE TASTING, BBQ
Morning Vinyasa at Villa Camporomano
Evening Flow in Cinque Terre or at the marina in La Spezia at sunset
We will need to rise early for a full day of adventures on land and sea. After breakfast we board our luxury touring vans and depart for the harbor of La Spezia where we’ve arranged for our private charter - an old world wooden ferry boat to carry us along. A history lesson full of magical tales will put things into perspective as we go.
We will be cruising the jagged and colorful Cinque Terre coastline with some onboard surprises, tastefully prepared for us along the way. Accessible only by train, foot and a few by car, there simply isn't a better vantage point from which to first witness these ancient towns than from the sea.
Docking at a few select villages, we will roam the narrow streets and absorb the aromas and of course the sounds of the sea crashing into the coves in front of you. Mingle with the locals, shop and taste bites of regional fare, but save room for dinner!
Eventually motoring back to our port of origin at sunset we will be ending the day with a unique party in a quaint vineyard above the harbor. Here we can decompress and enjoy our first wine tasting, private Ligurian barbecue and our own live jazz trio.
Day 3: CARRARA, COLONNATA & PIETRASANTA
Morning Meditation at the Villa, inside the marble caves at Carrara or top of the marble mountain
Evening Flow near the statue facing the mountain in Colonnata or in the famous piazza of Pietrasanta
After yesterday's experience among a palate of colors, the color of the day today will be WHITE.
We will first find ourselves in a quarry, then deep inside a cave, surrounded by the world renowned marble of Carrara. Hard hats required! Welcome to Fantiscritti, one of the most prestigious quarries in the entire Carrara area. Our personal tour guides will provide some of the fascinating history and process of extracting this precious stone.
Coming out from the center of the earth, when most might begin their descent, we will promptly start to climb...UP UP UP....toward the sun and to the very peak of the mountains in our chartered rugged 4 x 4 jeeps. Here will enjoy the spectacular vistas that reach far into the sea...and the sounds of silence, not to mention an aperitif and chiccetti.
When we've had our fill of photos and prosecco, it's now time for lunch! DOWN DOWN DOWN we go, into the postcard village of Colonnata - so well known for the delicious Lardo and the unique anarchist atmosphere. Our host is a vibrant soul, but be sure to give him three kisses!
After a lunch, fully recharged with local red wine, we are going to visit one of the most important sculpture "laboratores" in Italy, possibly the world. Meet artists who's craft is seemingly as old as the material they shape.
Time now for a visit to the charming and artsy village of Pietrasanta, where the piazza booms with modern and vintage works. Time for some gelato! To round out the day, we will soon find ourselves next sitting comfortably upon the breezy terrance of an osteria serving us up more local fare for dinner.
Day 5: LUCCA LUCCA LUCCA
Morning Meditation on the walls of Lucca or at our new Villa Principessa
Evening Flow at Principessa by the pool at sunset before dinner
Today after breakfast we bid farewells to our gracious hosts and head East to the medieval walled city of Lucca. Spend the next couple of hours on a guided tour, walking off the meals of days prior...past spectacular churches, through narrow streets and grand piazzas. You'll quickly realize why I chose inside the walls of Lucca for my second home!
Next up, it's time for lunch already...at our dear friend Nilo’s property, Trattoria Buralli. He's been serving up some of the most delicious and typical Lucchesi cuisine in town for decades, and his charming personality adds extra warmth to every meal.
After lunch we will enjoy a meandering bicycle ride atop the sycamore-lined city walls, an almost obligatory point-of-view way to experience this unique and beautiful town.
The next couple of hours this afternoon are yours....free for shopping and gelato along Via Fillungo. Discover wonderful jewelry and leather shops, locally crafted chocolates and pastries, ceramics, wines and...shoes, lots of shoes...
We are moving into our new digs for the next three nights, a magnificent villa/hotel tucked perfectly in the middle of the nearby countryside only a few kilometers from centro storico. Time now for a shower, perhaps a short siesta, then back into the city for a casual night of pizza and beer at arguably the best pizzeria in town. You get to choose your own thin-crust pizza; my favorite has thin-sliced potatoes, fresh rosemary and sharp provolone.
Day 7: VILLA TOURS & PONTE DEL DIAVOLO
Morning on the walls of Lucca or at Villa Reale
Evening at Principessa or sunset at Devil's Bridge
This morning we step back in time to experience a full immersion into the Renaissance period of the Medici era and lifestyle. After an early breakfast we depart for nearby Villa Reale di Marlia, the neoclassical style home of Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, Napoleon’s sister. The property boasts a grand estate and several annexes situated on 16 hectares of land. Getting lost in its amenities is a unique experience.
Nevertheless, Villa Grabau sits very close and is also worthy of a short visit. The magnificent Limonaia in the park has been fabulously restored and you will have trouble keeping focus as your imagination wanders backwards many hundreds of years.
It's lunchtime yet again, and we are moving to a very special venue for an engaging experience. A quaint biodynamic vineyard will provide the backdrop for a never-before-seen cooking demonstration and wine tasting. I'd tell you more, but I decided to leave the rest as a surprise!
After relaxing a bit in the countryside by the pool, we are heading next to admire one of the architectural masterpieces of the area - the Maddalena’s bridge. Fairytales around this mystical place make it even more thrilling.
We are ending the day in a fabulous ristorante, owned by a family of devoted and talented restaurateurs. The venerable Antica Locanda di Sesto (est 1368) has replaced Michelin One-Star La Mora as the coveted dining destination north of Lucca and consistently delivers impeccable cuisine and service.
Day 9: CASTELLO DI MONSANTO & SIENA
Morning Vinyasa at the villa near the pool or garden
Evening Session at the villa or in Piazza del Campo in Siena
Today we awake in new surroundings...a remote valley filled with vivid spring colors and a pleasant view of the Tuscan countryside. We also have a special local guide to lead us through the day. Our new companion is Gino Rossi, part philosopher part, wine expert - he's an exciting addition to our crew.
After breakfast we will wind our way through the hills of Chianti to Castello di Monsanto. Gino will lead us into the world of wine, teaching us about the earth, the grapes and the process - introducing the life of the vineyard. No lesson is complete without a tasting, and no tasting is complete without a rich selection of locally aged cheeses and meats.
Next we head to the world renowned town of San Gimignano, a World Cultural and Natural Heritage of UNESCO city, famous for its beautiful medioeval towers. A walk through the timeless streets, some shopping (and gelato) will prepare us for the last drive of the day.
Last but not least, we are arrive in Siena at the perfect time of day to enjoy the last rays of sun hitting the deep orange-brown walls. Ever wonder where the Crayola crayon color "Burnt Siena" comes from? In Piazza del Campo we will people watch and sip Aperol Spritz and revel in the day's experiences. There is something special about this time of day, here in the famous place where the horses run Paleo every July and August.
Day 4: PASTA LESSON, OLIVE OIL, SHOPPING & BEACH
Morning Session at the Villa before the pasta lesson
Evening at the beach at sunset in Viareggio
Now it's time to properly appreciate our special hosts and property. Today we are spending the morning "home" at Camporomano to kick back and learn about pasta making and olive oil. After a relaxing breakfast we will enjoy a tour of the Frantoio to understand the process of olive oil production, passionately explained by Niccolo.
Next we will be getting our hands a little dusty with a pasta lesson led by an expert, Niccolo's mom - a sweet & talented culinarian, right in the beautiful photo-worthy kitchen of the property.
Pay attention, our work will be carefully supervised and become our first course for today lunch! All of our efforts will be turned into steaming pots of pasta with tender ragù and tasty tordelli, accompanied by bruschette, local salume, olives and fresh tomatoes just picked from the garden.
After a short siesta and change of clothes we are heading to the beach! Viareggio to be exact..for strolling and shopping along the stylish belle epoque promenade. You may wish to enjoy another epic Tuscan sunset falling down into the sea with your toes in the sand.
Dinner will be only a few steps away, FRESH fish and seafood (of course). This beachside setting is befitting of it's reviews serving only the highest quality menu options. Then it's back to Camporomano to pack and prepare for Round Two.
Day 6: TRUFFLES & TOWERS TODAY
Morning Session at Villa Principessa or in San Miniato estate after Truffle Hunting
Evening Vinyasa on the walls of Lucca or at Principessa before dinner
Can you smell it..?? Truffles will absolutely capture and keep our attention for the first half of the day.
We are heading a little south to the Tenuta di Camugliano where we will be welcomed by some friendly and excited dogs. They are the expert hunters of the highly coveted and elusive black and white truffles. Keep in mind though, we aren't just anywhere, we are in the best area in Tuscany for tartufi.
After a long walk in the stunning property filled with game birds and porcupines, we will move down the road to San Miniato to visit one of the most important truffle companies in the region. Marco and family at Savitar furnishes their fresh finds to some of the best restaurants in the world.
After a brief tour of the pristine facility, we will be invited and delighted at the table with aromatic and tasteful bowls filled with pasta and truffles. Eggs, cheeses, and locally aged prosciutto, topped with glasses of local wine will soothe the soul.
On our way back to Lucca it's important we stop for a few pictures in Piazza dei Miracoli, home of the grand duomo and the gravity defying Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Dinner will be in Lucca tonight, at my favorite ristorante, La Cecca. It's very close to our villa/hotel, so that we will be able to shower and relax a little bit before enjoying this last part of the day. The atmosphere, selected wines and Cuban cigars make for a meal you'll never forget.
Day 8: CAPRINO, DARIO CECCHINI, CHIANTI EXPERIENCE
Morning Meditation at Villa Calcinaia estate (vineyard in Chianti in the garden or overlooking the vines)
Evening Flow at the Monestary at our new villa, Maringnolle
We are saying goodbye to Lucca today and heading even farther East into the heart of Tuscany....into Chianti dreamland, but the ride is pleasant and filled with photo opps of rolling fields of vines.
After a short rest stop visit to a cheesemaker, his stables, laboratore, and of course a tasting, we will move on to our awaiting friend Conte Sebastiano Capponi (yes, a real live Count). There we will visit his old world vineyard and cantina at Calcinaia. Here we will learn about things like black roosters, what makes some Chianti a Classico and how estate wines are made in the classic aging style.
Lunch today is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I assure you. You'll be entertained and fed by the most famous butcher in the world, Dario Cecchini of Panzano. It starts before you even get in the door! Dining with Dario is not just eating, it's a true journey into the passion and vision of one man and his enthusiasm is contagious!
Afterwards we will find our way to a more pious experience, meeting the monks in the amazing Badia of Passignano. There we will enjoy an aperitivo facing vineyards and the beautiful countryside. We are near Florence, and our home for the next three nights is very close. Tonight we will enjoy a relaxing dinner at the property, allowing us to unwind and prepare for yet more adventures tomorrow.
Day 10: TIMELESS FIRENZE, FIESOLE & CLOSING LUNCH
Morning Flow at the villa, in Florence by the Ponte Vecchio, or at our lunch destination above Florence at Villa San Michele
Today is our last day together, but it will be one-of-a-kind...After a good breakfast we are leaving our resort around 9:00 am with luggage packed. Saying goodbye to our friends at Marignolle and with our best attire on, we are heading deep into the gastronomical soul of Florence.
We will first stop at Mercato Centrale di San Lorenzo in the heart of the city, where we will get lost in the sounds and scents of one of Italy's most vibrant markets. Hundreds of vendors peddling leather, jewelry, the freshest food of every kind...all right in our faces. Other surprises await us here, but why tell all, now that we are so close to the end of our journey together?
Next we will climb up and out of the city to nearly the top of the mountain, to the most famous hill of Florence, Fiesole, to our host venue for the morning. Welcome to Villa San Michele, once a monastery, dating back to the 14th century, and now a deluxe 5-Star hotel. It is rumored that Dante summered here.
Here we will dine on the terrace with the breathtaking skyline of one of world's most historical cities FAR below us. We will eat lunch, taste wines and relish in the delights of fine dining at it's best. We will frolic in the memories of our times together, with Tuscany, and one another. You'll likely want to wander the gardens and take pictures of everything around you. Don't worry, will have a photographer ready to capture you in your pristine surroundings.
To book your reservation click on the RESERVE button below and submit your $500 deposit. Balance can be paid in payments at your leisure via Check, Venmo, Cash App, PayPal, Google Pay, and Apple Pay with final payment due by April 17, 2020. Please read our Terms & Conditions page prior to booking.
$5,500 USD per person based on double occupancy for the full Ten Days in Tuscany tour, including all hotels, meals and experiences outlined in the itinerary.
$500 USD Single Supplement