A perfect mix of walking, wine tasting and sight-seeing
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Tuscan Wine School - great experience and learnt a lot Florence - stunning city with so much to see. I love the Galileo Museum which I'd missed on previous trips to Florence. Siena - another stunning city with a great art exhibition. Enjoyed visiting Santa Maria della Scala, the hospital museum as I hadn't done that before San Gimignano - wonderful frescoes in the cathedral and lots of towers to climb plus great gelato Walking in the local area with a local guide Sarah, so passionate about her locality and informative about its history. Organising our own walk (after a visit to the tourist office) to Radda in Chianti a 25 km round trip via Castellina in Chianti or just do 13 km and get the bus back. Visiting the Etruscan Tomb at Monte Calvario, Castellina In Chianti
What did you think of your group leader?
Simon was a great leader, very friendly and well organised. He recommended some great restaurants and activities and he was very sociable during and after evening meals. Great to have him collecting us and taking us to the airport and generally driving us around in the mini-bus. It meant that we didn't waste time travelling.
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
I would highly recommend this holiday but would think twice before going the last week of October as it seems Roberta is ready to close for the season. We returned to an empty, dark house at the end of a day out which felt very unwelcoming. My husband also had to put the cat out at night as it mewed loudly outside our room. If you go in October be prepared for cool to cold evenings and dress appropriately. The bedrooms are on the cool side and there is only one extra blanket. Also take a torch as the walk into town along a gravel road takes about 20 minutes and is not lit up. Roberta does provide vegetarian food but it is mostly carbs so good to take your own fruit. We didn't see a salad for the whole week. Finally on the days we ate in restaurants in which Exodus were meant to provide the meal our guide gave us 25 euros which was did not buy a three course meal with wine so be prepared that your meals out are only subsidised.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
My review reflects our experience on the last week of the season before Villa Casalta closes and this may explain the discrepancies between my review and the glowing accounts of others. Our experience was clearly quite a different experience to those travelling in the main season. Apparently the hotels in Italy are not allowed to put their heating on before November even when it gets cold at night. I have a few tips for improving the food: serve it hot put a big salad bowl out with every evening meal put some quality extra virgin oil and basalmic vinegar out put a few nibbles out prior to dinner for guest to have with their drinks have a fruit bowl and/or cheese board as an alternative to dessert