Not Your Grandma’s Bus Tour of Italy, Day IV

600 years of history and the Marquis of Mazzei

600 years of history and the Marquis of Mazzei

This is the fourth installment in a seven-part series following JohnnyJet.com writer Cynthia Cunniff through her experience of touring Italy with Insight Vacations. Head back to the series home page for the full Italy experience—or jump straight over to Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 5Day 6 or Day 7 of the tour.


DAY 4

Cortona, Chianti
From Perugia we headed into the hill country and arrived in Cortona, a town surrounded by 2,800-year-old Etruscan walls. It’s one of the oldest hill towns in Tuscany. This area was made famous in Francis May’s book, Under the Tuscan Sun, so I was worried that it would be commercialized and overblown. How wrong I was. We strolled down the pebble road to the author’s house that sits hillside overlooking the valley and breathed in the freshly rain-cleansed earth as the mist retreated from the fog-caped, patchwork valley below. As I walked through the steep cobblestone streets of the town to the main park area, people greeted me with a smile and, “Bonjourno.” It was like no other place I’d been before,  and somehow even better than May’s description of her bucolic existence in this nostalgically beautiful little Italian town. If you crave a peace you think no longer exists—go here.

Shopkeeper’s helper in Cortona

Fonterutoli
How could the day get any better than walking into a novel and finding out the real thing is even better than the book or movie? Let’s just say meeting the Marquis of Mazzei on his wine estate and hanging out in his family’s personal library with a treasure trove of 600-year history in its confines may have done the trick. Just another Insight Vacations flourish, and one this writer will not soon forget.

Mazzei estate

Mazzei estate

The winery tour was highlighted by the natural cave walls and a running spring in the fermentation warehouse (essentially the massive basement of the winery). We were warmly greeted by the Marquis and fed at the estate’s restaurant, which is an elegant bistro with floor to ceiling windows and a family atmosphere. The food was beautifully presented and the Mazzei wines were the perfect accompaniment.

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Chianti Classico wine, Mazzei winery

Borgo San Luigi (the Villa)
Our day ended at the Borgo San Luigi, Tuscany, where we were warmly greeted at the front door by two lovable St. Bernards. The villa isn’t massive, which is appealing, and if it’s serenity you’re craving, the hotel offers not only that, but rolling hills dotted with trees and vineyards in every direction. Several of the runners in the group saw the opportunity to hit the pavement for a jog, and I don’t think out of five of us anyone took the same route.

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Borgo San Luigi greeter

Tip: When the itinerary says, “light supper,” don’t be fooled. The meals are plentiful and with lots of choices. You’ll be thankful for the long walks on the tours as a way to burn off some calories.

The grounds include a separate building from the room accommodations, which is classic and cozy and houses the dining area as well as a large recreational room with a staffed bar. Elegant, fun, and social.

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Social time at the villa, Borgo San Luigi

This is the fourth installment in a seven-part series following JohnnyJet.com writer Cynthia Cunniff through her experience of touring Italy with Insight Vacations. Head back to the series home page for the full Italy experience—or jump straight over to Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 5Day 6 or Day 7 of the tour.

About Cynthia Cunniff

Cynthia Cunniff’s writing background spans magazine editorial, travel blogging, marketing and PR. She’s a graduate of the creative writing program at CSU Long Beach and went on to UCLA to further her writing skills. Growing up as a military dependent, she lived in several foreign countries and areas of the US. Post college she returned to international living and resided in London for close to a decade, where she took advantage of proximity to the rest of Europe and traveled extensively. She currently lives in the beautiful South Bay of Los Angeles, and can be found on Twitter and Instagram @localpathworld.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful tour with your words! I want to go there!

  2. These places are so awesome.by seeing the pic it feel like that i m still there and watching and feeling such a marvelous beauty.

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  1. […] series home page for the full Italy experience—or jump straight over to Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 6 or Day 7 of the […]

  2. […] to the series home page for the full Italy experience—or jump straight over to Day 1, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6 or Day 7 of the […]

  3. […] series home page for the full Italy experience—or jump straight over to Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5 or Day 7 of the […]

  4. […] to the series home page for the full Italy experience—or jump straight over to Day 1, Day 2, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6 or Day 7 of the […]

  5. […] 1 — Rome Day 2 — The Vatican and Orvieto Day 3 — Perugia, Assisi and Spello Day 4 — Cortona and Fonterutoli Day 5 — San Gimignano Day 6 — Modena and Venice Day 7 — […]

  6. […] Tour of Italy Day 1 — Rome Day 2 — The Vatican and Orvieto Day 3 — Perugia, Assisi and Spello Day 4 — Cortona and Fonterutoli Day 5 — San Gimignano Day 6 — Modena and Venice Day 7 — […]

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