Category Archives: Useful Info

Spa Break and Wine Tasting in Tuscany

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What better way to relax than to combine a Spa break in the Tuscan countryside with a wine tour of local Tuscan wineries.

Where can I find a Hotel with Spa in Tuscany?

Castello del Nero

Just 35 minutes from Florence airport is Castello del Nero in the town of Tavernelle Val di Pesa, in the heart of the Chianti Wine region this 5 star luxury hotel is a 12th century castle converted into a Leading Hotel of the World Hotel with ESPA Spa and outdoor Vitality Pool.

Grotta Giusti 

Grotta Giusti Natural Spa Resort  is situated in Monsummano Terme, north west of Florence. The early nineteenth century villa, now a prestigious 4 star Hotel.

Grotta Giusti has its very own thermal Grotto and new open-air thermal swimming pool.

Villa La Borghetta

Set on a beautiful Tuscan hillside between Florence and Arezzo is four star Villa La Borghetta Resort. The villa dates back to the 14th century. It has a beautiful spa with views over the olive groves and outdoor pool and jacuzzi.

Palazzo Leopoldo

In the heart of Chianti is the picturesque town of Radda in Chianti is four Star Palazzo Leopoldo, which is a historic hotel within the Medieval City Walls.  It was the Manor House of the Minucci family in the 1800s. It has a wellness centre, sun terrace and indoor heated swimming pool.

CDH Hotel Radda

CDH Hotel Radda is a 4 star hotel which has modern Tuscan-style features with stone facades and terracotta floors.  Pure relaxation is the underlying theme of the hotel with a indoor Health Centre and outdoor pool with beautiful views over the Chianti hills.

Villa Campomaggio

4 star Villa Campomaggio is an 18th-century nobile villa stands amid the Chianti hills surrounded by vineyards and woods.  The spa was converted from the old cellars and the outdoor pool has a breathtaking outlook on Chianti vineyards.

Castello di Casole

5 star luxury Castello di Casole lies west of Siena, recently restored Castle that dates back to the year 998, in the heart of a vast and vibrant country estate has a mesmerizing spa and state of the art fitness centre, with outdoor heated infinity pool.

Adler Thermae

5 star Spa Hotel Adler Thermae, near Montalcino is one of Italy’s leading wellness hotels.

Discover thermal baths in Tuscany and reap the benefits that thermal spring water has to offer. With indoor and outdoor heated pools plus exclusive spa treatments with thermal water from the thermal springs of Bagno Vignoni.

Tuscan Wine Tour with Silvia

Enjoy a day of wine tasting on a Tuscan Wine Tour with Silvia, your English-speaking driver and wine expert.

Silvia is a Tuscan native who holds a degree in Italian History, a Diploma from the Italian Sommelier Guild and a license for private chauffeuring.

Silvia has a strong passion for Tuscany and Tuscan wine, which she will share with you on your Tuscan Wine Tour.  Start your day visiting a charming village in Chianti with time to shop for local specialties and handicrafts. You will then visit a fine winery, in a historic villa or castle where you  will taste the winery’s current releases and visit the ancient cellars where you will be introduced to the world of wine and wine-making.

By this time you’ll be ready for a tasty lunch at the winery overlooking the countryside, or in a very good local restaurant.

In the afternoon, you will visit another excellent family-run winery. Now you will begin to

understand the range of aromas and flavors that Tuscan wines have to offer and recognize the incredible subtleties and differences.

Return to your Spa Hotel with new knowledge of Tuscan wine, ready to relax at the hotel with a spa treatment or a glass of wine by the pool reflecting on your Tuscan wine tour experience.

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Carnival in Venice – 23 Jan – 9 February

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Recently ranked at number 7 on Conde Nast’s most beautiful places in the world Venice is indeed a unique city.  Venice is a collection of 118 islands connected by bridges and separated by canals, running through the heart of it is the Grand Canal, on which the Venetian noble families spent fortunes building impressive Palaces to show off their wealth.

Carnival in Venice is a two week long annual festival which ends 40 days before Easter at the start of Lent. Venice’s piazzas and canals become awash with cloaked figures wearing colourful and exotic masks.  The city is filled with street performances, parades and banquets, not to mention the famous Masked Carnival Balls which are held in the most historic palaces.

This years theme is Creatum: Introducing Art and Tradition, with the aim of a rebirth of Venices ancient origins, where arts and trades are the protagonists.  With a focus of attention on mask makers, weavers, tailors and glass-makers. Another highlight is the open air theatre in St. Mark’s square which will host live musical and theatrical performances.

Embrace the spirit of Carnival with a tour of the Grand Canal Boat Tour. Seeing Venice from the water is the best way to experience it’s charms and feel its magic.  Your tour will be aboard a luxurious Ventetian motorboat with professional captain. You will cruise down the Grand Canal sipping prosecco as your expert guide explains the history of the city and the majestic palaces.

Or why not spend a day in the Prosecco region on a Prosecco Wine Tour, learning about how Prosecco is made and tasting the sparkling white wine that is outselling Champagne in the Britain.  Start you day driving through the lush hills of the Valdobbiadene area to your first winery where your Prosecco Wine Tour starts with a visit to a small family-run estate where you will taste the results of their lovingly tended 100 year old vineyards.

From there you will visit the small medieval hamlet of Follina, with it’s beautiful Cistercian Abbey dating back to the 12th century.  Enjoy a delicious lunch of local specialities at a local restaurant before visitng a second larger state-of-the-art winery for your second Prosecco tasting, where you will begin to understand the many variations and styles of Prosecco production.

Carnival and Prosecco – pure decadence.

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Interview with Sicilian wine maker: Francesca Planeta

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At Le Baccanti Tours, we tour top rated wineries all over Italy. Sicily has a special place on our wine map.  Every year, we take our clients on a wine tour of the wineries around Mount Etna. Etna is one of the world’s most active volcanoes, being in more or less constant eruption. At currently about 3,330 meters, or about 10,940 feet (the height varies with eruptions), it is about twice the height of Vesuvius and the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps. The terrain all around it is immensely fertile and supports a thriving agriculture of orchards and vineyards as far as the eye can see.

One of our favorite wineries in Sicily is Planeta. They have many wine producing facilities all over the country and we are very familiar with their site in Etna. Planeta is not just one winery, but many.  The exhilarating journey begins at Sambuca di Sicilia, on an estate the Planeta family has  owned since the 1600s. In the  mid-1980s, three enthusiastic  young Sicilians – Alessio, Francesca and Santi Planeta – began their winemaking venture. The trio spent subsequent years matching the extraordinarily diverse Sicilian soils with both indigenous and international grape varieties. The result? A family of critically-acclaimed wines that demonstrate how brilliance can be attained through the thoughtful marriage between grape variety and terroir.

Curious about Planeta Winery in Sicily and the story behind the wine makers? Check out the interview made by Star Chefs to understand why this Sicilian wine company is one of our favorite wine cellar destinations when we go on wine tours of Etna in Sicily:

Interview with Francesca Planeta, Winemaker at Planeta Wines, Sicily, Italy

Interested in a wine tour of Etna in Sicily? Read up on our luxury, private wine tours in Sicily and beyond on Le Baccanti’s website!

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In Milan for the Expo 2015? Here’s how to take a break!

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Milan, best known for fashion and industry, will be home to the largest event on nutrition ever organized in Italy. As the expo will be running from early May through the end of October, you will find yourself in Milan during the best part of the year for participating in external activities, like a wine tour during the harvest season, or a cooking course to utilize seasonal ingredients featured in the Expo’s presentation of sustainable agriculture.

Some things to consider doing during your free time in the city could be a walking tour of the city, with a personalized guide that can show you the best (and lesser-known) sights in Milan, and should the whim strike, Bergamo, a nearby hidden gem of a city filled with art and architecture. Another idea, if you prefer to stay within the Milan city center, could be a Milan Wine Talk, to be led by your personal expert enologist.

If you’re more of a foodie, an exploration within Milan’s cafe’ and local gourmet speciality scene could be in order. Another fantastic idea would be a visit to a winery featuring Gavi wines, and to learn hands-on how to prepare the delicious Amaretti cookies, beloved throughout Italy. If you have a little more time on your hands, consider a cooking course either in a private Milan home, or in a professional kitchen setting within the Milan city walls.

Whatever your interests, Milan and the surrounding areas are bound to contain fascinating side-trips for your brain and your stomach during a break from the Expo. For more extensive travel and food ideas during the Milan Expo of 2015, be sure to contact the expert travel staff at Le Baccanti, and make the most of your time in Lombardy!

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