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  • New Tuscan Experience a unique way to visit Tuscany

    Joanne Heaviland Photography and New Tuscan Experience are proud to present the ultimate trip to Italy:

    Experience Tuscany: A Cultural and Culinary Journey September 19-26, 2015

    Join us on this fabulous journey where you will discover the best things Tuscany has to offer: incredible scenery, fabulous food and wine, history, art, architecture and warm friendly people. See first hand why so many choose

    this destination for a relaxing and inspiring vacation.

    This is so much more than a tour. You will travel at an easy pace, with a small group, so that you can truly experience the most authentic aspects of sophisticated Tuscan Living.

    Youll enjoy luxury accommodations and transportation, fine dining, private tours with highly-rated certified guides and sommeliers, exclusive cellar visits and tastings at award-winning wineries, a fun cooking class,

    and also free time to shop and explore independently...

    Please, view our itinerary to see what we have planned!

  • Day 1: Saturday, Sept. 19 Arrive in Florence

    Arrive in Florence from overseas and transfer (on your own) to the elegant boutique B&B located in the heart of the historic center, only steps away from the citys most famous monuments.

    As all participants will be arriving at different times, this will be a free day to allow everyone to rest and settle in. Please inform us of your estimated arrival time.

    There will be a welcome cocktail at the B&B at 6:30 pm.

    Feel free to consult us for restaurant recommendations. The hotel can assist you with dinner reservations.

    No meals included

    Day 2: Sunday, Sept. 20 - Morning Tour of Florence and then its off to Southern Tuscany with a stop in San Gimignano

    Check out of the B&B by 9:30 am to meet your private guide for a walking tour to discover the historic center of Florence.

    The tour will end with a visit at the bustling San Lorenzo Food Market where youll have a chance to get a quick bite to eat at the chic new gourmet gallery on the upper level of the pavilion. The group will remain together in order to walk back to the B&B by 1:30 pm for departure to the countryside.

    On the way out of the city youll stop at the panoramic Piazzale Michelangelo to see the amazing view of Florence.

    During the drive down south you will stop to take a stroll through the world famous medieval town of San Gimignano where there will be some free time to explore and shop (dont forget to try the delicious, award-winning gelato at Gelateria Dondoli in Piazza Cisterna!)

    Arrival at about 6:30pm to check into Castello delle Serre a stunning medieval castle which has recently been restored to create a truly luxurious B&B in the magical setting of the Crete Senesi. Youll have a little time to stroll the beautiful grounds, freshen up and unpack before the welcome dinner at the castle.

    Breakfast & Dinner included

  • Day 4: Tuesday, Sept. 22 Siena

    Depart the Castello at 9:30 am for a full day in the wonderful city of Siena.

    Meet your guide upon arrival and spend some time getting acquainted with this extraordinary town. Discover its history and also learn the fascinating story behind the famous Palio Horse Race and what it still means today to the citys residents.

    You will then go to the Cathedral for a private tour of this incredible church. A special treat will be the chance to see the beautiful marble pavement which is uncovered only during this time of the year. (Entrance fee included)

    After the tour you will be free for lunch and can explore and shop independently before meeting the driver at about 5:00 pm to return to the Castello.

    Dinner will be at the castle.

    Breakfast & Dinner included

    Day 3: Monday, Sept. 21 - Visit Montepulciano and Pienza

    Start the day with a delicious breakfast before you depart the Castello at 9:30am.

    Today you will be accompanied by a private guide and wine expert who will enlighten you about the beautiful Val dOrcia and its fine wines.

    The first stop is Montepulciano, where you will discover the history of this lovely Renaissance town. Youll meet a famous local artisan and visit his workshop, and also enjoy a unique wine tasting in the heart of the historic center at an ancient underground cellar that dates back to the Etruscans.

    For lunch you will head to the charming Monticchiello, one of those unique tiny hamlets where time seems to have stood still. Youll be treated to an exclusive gourmet meal with a paired wine tasting at one of the areas best restaurants, Osteria La Porta.

    Then its off to Pienza where youll spend some time with the expert guide exploring this lovely UNESCO World Heritage Site, described as the ideal Renaissance city. Youll also enjoy tasting some of the areas famous pecorino cheese.

    Dinner will be a pizza night.

    Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

  • Day 5: Wednesday, Sept. 23 - Visit to the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore & Cooking Class at Castello delle Serre

    Today you can choose to remain at the hotel for a free morning of relaxation, or you can depart at 9:30 for a short and panoramic drive to visit the stunning Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, a Benedictine monastery perched on top of a cliff overlooking the Crete Senesi, the area of southern Tuscany known for its unusual lunar-like landscapes and unique clay formations.

    The monastery, still active today, was built in the 15th century and houses a famous fresco series by Il Sodoma depicting the life of St. Benedict. Spend a couple of hours visiting the lovely Great Cloister, the church, the library, the pharmacy, the museum and even the wine cellars! Stop at the gift shop to see the interesting herbal products made by the resident monks.

    There will be some free time for you to get a bite to eat near the Abbey before returning to the Castello to relax for a few hours in the afternoon. Please let us know if you plan to participate in the excursion.

    At 5:00pm a Cooking Class with Chef Salvatore awaits you! It will be lots of fun learning the secrets of Tuscan cooking, and afterwards youll sit down to enjoy the delicious dinner you prepared together.

    Breakfast & Dinner included

    Day 6: Thursday, Sept. 24 - Brunello Wine Tour and Montalcino

    Departure at 10:00 am for the stunning Brunello wine country, and a visit to a famous award-winning Brunello winery for a cellar tour and tasting.

    Afterwards, you will go to a top boutique Brunello winery for a private cellar tour and vineyard lunch.

    Then its off to meet your guide for a tour of the lovely town of Montalcino with its medieval fortress overlooking the incredible Val dOrcia landscape which youll quickly recognize as the one pictured in many Tuscany postcards. Discover the history of this impressive hill town and then enjoy some free time to explore and shop.

    Dinner at the Castle.

    Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

  • Day 7: Friday, Sept. 25 - Return to Florence & Afternoon Private Guided Tour of the Accademia

    10:00 am check out from Castello delle Serre and depart for Florence.

    Arrival at around 12:00 pm to check back into the B&B. There will be a little free time to get some lunch locally. For those interested, at 2:30 pm the guide will meet you at the hotel to take you on a private tour of the Galleria dellAccademia, the home of Michelangelos David. (Entrance & reservation fees included). The tour ends at 5:30pm. Otherwise, you can choose to have a free afternoon to shop and explore.

    You will depart from the hotel at 7:30 pm to go at an excellent restaurant for a farewell dinner.

    Breakfast & Dinner included

    Day 8: Saturday, Sept. 26 -Tour Ends: Depart Florence (or extend your stay)

    Alas the week has flown, and you will need to check out of the B&B after breakfast.

    Depending on your departure schedule, you can visit some of the other historic sites and museums in Florence, or just stroll through town to shop and explore on your own.

    Enjoy a day of total freedom in one of the world's most beautiful cities or easily take a day trip, even by train, as Florence is centrally located. For example, Pisa is only one hour away.

    Hopefully you can stay longer in beautiful Italy wed be happy to help you make arrangements!

    Breakfast included

    About this trip

    Joanne Heaviland is a successful American fine-art photographer with a passion for travel. Her Italian heritage and frequent visits to Italy have led her to develop a special relationship with this incredible country.

    Last year Joanne began working with travel planner Kathy Perunic, owner of New Tuscan Experience, who specializes in designing custom vacations. Together they have created a unique trip to Tuscany, specifically tailored to Joannes request not to offer just another tour, but rather an authentic, upscale Tuscan Experience .

    Joannes collaboration with some of Californias most illustrious publications led her to propose this exclusive itinerary to their publishers who were immediately enthusiastic to participate in the trip. As a result, 2015 marks the launch of an exciting new tour which will unite the forces of this group of passionate, professional women to show you the BEST of Tuscan Living!


  • Enjoy our Photo Gallery of Last Years Trip!

  • Trip information:

    Price: $3,699 per person (single occupancy supplement is $750)

    This trip is for 7 nights and 8 days. The group size will not exceed 16 people. Accommodations are double occupancy in Deluxe/Superior category rooms.

    Included in the price of the itinerary package are:

    2 nights in a luxury B&B in the historical center of Florence

    5 nights in a luxury historic castle B&B in the Tuscan countryside.

    Tours indicated in the itinerary (accompanied by licensed guides or sommeliers).

    Private Transfers throughout the stay (as indicated in the itinerary not including airport transfers) - transportation will be with licensed English-speaking drivers in luxury airconditioned vans seating a max. of 8 people per vehicle.

    All excursions as listed and described in the itinerary, including museum/church entrance fees, meals (as specified for each day in the itinerary), city tours, cooking class, wine tours and tastings.

    Meals will include local wine and bottled water.

    Local VAT and city occupancy taxes, gas, highway tolls, city access licenses and permits, parking fees, gratuities (although guests are free to tip at their discretion for excellent service).

    Not Included in the price of the Itinerary Package:


    Airport transfers

    Travel insurance (we strongly advise guests to purchase travel and cancellation coverage at the time of booking)

    Personal or travel-related expenses not specified in the itinerary

    Activities suggested in the itinerary (which are not specified as included)

    Meals not listed as included in the itinerary

    Food and wine/drinks ordered during included meals that are not part of the fixed menu.


    Please download the Trip Registration Form at:

    To be officially registered for this trip, The Form must be completed and returned no later than June 15, 2015, with a 50% deposit payable by personal check. (Credit cards are accepted with a surcharge fee of 3.5%).

    Registration deadline is JUNE 15, 2015.

    Final Payment is due no later than: JULY 10, 2015

    For more information, please contact Joanne at: [email protected] or 760-519-1556

    Please note: Published USD Price listed is subject to change with or without notice if there should be a significant shift in the exchange rate. Once full payment is made, the price is guaranteed