The Inaugural Mad About Tuscany Olive Oil Tour
Experience the olive harvest and make your own oil
in this 5 Day Foodie Tour
Each October we come together with friends and family to hand pick olives. There’s a wonderful camaraderie and we share incredible meals and laughs together after busy days in the olive grove. We have “olio nuovo" dinners to celebrate and taste the new olive oil. The colour is green rather than yellow, and the fresh oil has a peppery nearly bitter flavour.
We’d love to share this incredible experience with you, so we’ve teamed up with Josiane and Pietro who make the most delicious olive oil in Cortona. You’ll stay in the stone cottages on their incredible property and pick olives and press them at the local mill, learning the tricks to exceptional olive oil. Each day you’ll feast like a local, eating authentic Tuscan food and drinking luscious Italian wine.
Autumn is a magic time of year in Tuscany - beautiful sunny days, crisp evenings and the hills shine with the colours of autumn; red, orange, purple, yellow and green.
This tour will be limited to 6 guests. The tour includes 2 days of picking olives and pressing the oil, plus a day touring three ancient Tuscan villages. Breakfast is included daily, as well as 3 lunches and 4 dinners and wines to match.
We hope you’ll join us for this exquisite 4 night bite of Bella Tuscany!
We are teaming with Josiane and Pietro on this four-night experience where you’ll make olive oil, feast like a Tuscan local and spend a day exploring four Etruscan villages with Carlo.
Josiane and Pietro are excellent hosts; it’s their warm hospitality, stunning location in the Cortona hills and award winning olive oil that inspired us to create this tour. Like us, they are an Australian-Italian couple. Josiane is from Australia, and she’s lived in Cortona with her Italian husband Pietro and children for 15 years.
Togther they run the agriturismo Antica Quercia Verde, three simple stone cottages with the most blissful view of rolling hills, olive groves and sunsets.
This tour includes four nights accommodation at Antica Quercia Verde, which is nestled amidst organic olive groves and natural bush in the rolling hills of Cortona. Situated next to a monastery, some say it has a spiritual feel, and we agree.
The three stone cottages have been renovated in a simple Tuscan style. It’s comfortable, homely accommodation in a truly outstanding setting. The cottages are self-catering, yet meals will be provided. Cortona is a 25-minute walk.
The Olive Grove
Antica Quercia Verde is situated on a precious patch of terraced land facing south, giving the olive trees and saffron great exposure to the Tuscan Sun. The olive grove is right under the hermitage of Le Celle, a convent founded in 1211 by St Francis of Assisi. Since the old road to the convent passed through the farm, St Francis certainly would have walked among these olive trees.
The property was bought by Pietro's family in 1982 as a ruin. Josiane and Pietro swapped their Sydney lifestyle to restore the abandoned stone villas and gardens, and to create an agriturismo, so to share their rustic oasis with travellers from around the world.
Fortunately, the land has been kept organically for generations and they have never used any chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. Their extra virgin organic olive oil, saffron and wild herbs are full of flavour and nutrients and have organic certification.
Over the years they have rediscovered, cleared and pruned dozens of olive trees they didn't know they had. They've rebuilt old dry stone walls with help from visiting friends. They've created a wonderful, feel-good place - you feel like you've come home and can truly relax and enjoy yourself.
There's a joyful ambiance during olive picking season, pressing the olives at the local frantoio (mill) and tasting the new oil with many bruschettas.
Exciting news: they just won 2 Gold Awards at the New York International Olive Oil Awards for organic olive oil. Read more about the olive grove and win here.
Day One - Sunday
Check in from 3.30pm Sunday.
Carlo will pick you up from Camucia/Cortona train station and take you to your accommodation where Josiane and Pietro will greet you.
At 5.45pm we go to Cortona explore its many galleries, boutique shopping, Etruscan museum before meeting for dinner at one of Carlo's favourite restaurants. There’s a lively atmosphere in many of the local bars if you fancy an aperitif.
Day Two - Monday
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast between 8.30 and 9.30am.
Josiane and Pietro will take us into the olive grove where we’ll begin olive picking and learn first-hand the secrets to producing such an exceptional quality olive oil.
We’ll stop for a 2-course Tuscan lunch with wine and coffee served at the villa between 1 and 2pm. We’ll return to olive picking for a couple more hours, then at 4pm it’s time to relax by the pool, in your accommodation, or enjoy a walk.
At 6pm Carlo will take you to Cortona for another stroll through the streets and dinner at an authentic Tuscan restaurant.
Day Three - Tuesday
Breakfast will be served at 8.30am.
We’ll spend the morning picking olives in the grove, then celebrate the harvest with a 2-course lunch, wine and coffee.
In the late afternoon we visit the olive mill to see how they crush the olives and make the oil. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the olive oil process. Enjoy an aperitivo and grilled bruschetta with the freshly pressed oil on top.
Sioban will prepare a three course dinner for you at the residence with local wines to match.
Day Four - Wednesday - Touring Day in Tuscany
Drive through the rolling hills to Montepulciano, home to the exceptional red wine Nobile di Montepulciano. Stroll through the streets and browse shops selling artwork, wine and delicious food. Explore an underground cellar and taste some local wines.
Move on to Monticchiello, a tiny medieval town with fewer than 200 residents. Enjoy a sumptuous lunch and breath-taking views at La Porta, a Michelin star restaurant. Local wine included.
After lunch we visit Pienza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the heart of Siena. Pienza is famous for pecorino cheeses and you can taste till your heart’s content, and indulge in boutique shopping in many of the lovely shops.
Return to the villa for a few hours of relaxation, before heading to Cortona at 7.30pm for dinner.
Day Five - Thursday
We’ll have breakfast served at 8.30am before saying farewells. Carlo will drive you to the local train station.
Maximum 6 guests on each tour. We will run just one tour a year, to coincide with the short (4-week) olive harvest.
- Sunday 7th October – Thursday 11th October 2018 - 4 PLACES LEFT
- Sunday 6th October - Thursday 10th October 2019 - 4 PLACES LEFT
Price and Inclusions
1000 Euro per person twin share (approximately A$1550 or US$1230)
- 4 nights’ accommodation
- Twin share room and private bathroom*
- Continental breakfast each day
- Three lunches and four dinners
- Regional Italian wines with all your meals
- Two days picking olives in the grove and learning about the practices and techniques first hand from Josiane and Pietro
- An afternoon spent at the olive oil crushing facilities
- A bottle of award winning olive oil to take home
- 1 full day tour in Tuscany, visiting 3 special villages with lunch at a Michelin rated restaurant
- Free transport to and from the local train stations if required
*One of the cottages has 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom; a queen bed in the master bedroom plus two single beds in the second bedroom. It would be suitable for two friends willing to share a bathroom.
We plan to accept 6 guests on this tour, but could accommodate an extra guest (or two) willing to stay in the twin bedroom and share a bathroom.