I’m not sure about you, but I have this dream that one day I’ll be able to swap my life here in Manchester for somewhere on the continent – somewhere warm where I know the sun will shine most days in the summer; a place where the locals say hello to you as you trot down to the bakery for your morning baguette; where you buy your food from the local market instead of running the gauntlet of shopping trolleys in the supermarket; and where I can spend warm evenings sipping wine in a lavender scented garden – come on admit it, you quite fancy that idea too?!
Well that life is exactly what a dear friend of mine (Ann) has created in Italy. But what’s more, through her new venture, Montisi Magica, Ann is now giving you the opportunity to share in her perfect slice of Italian life too.
Ann is passionate about all things Italian and a few years ago she decided to indulge that passion and create a new life in Tuscany. After much searching for the right location, Ann stumbled across a small medieval hill top village in Southern Tuscany called Montisi and was immediately seduced by its charms. Never heard of it? No, you won’t have as it’s not in the guide books, thankfully. But what I can tell you – having experienced its delights – is that it’s beautiful and very magical; set around the remaining wall of a medieval 13th century castle there are cobbled streets with old ladies chatting on benches, the bar is a hive of local characters and from every angle there are sublime views. What’s more Montisi is smack bang in the middle of some of the best wine regions (Montepulciano and Montalcino to name just two) and is only 40 minutes’ drive from Siena.
Over the last few years Ann has spent her time exploring the area and the richness of what it has to offer. She has discovered that an un-touched side to Tuscany does exist and it’s the authentic side she wants to share with others through Montisi Magica, which organises breaks for individuals and small groups giving them the opportunity to indulge in real Italian village life and experience everything Montisi and the surrounding area has to offer.
On one of Ann’s breaks, you won’t be parcelled off to a faceless tourist hotel but will stay in local accommodation in the heart of Montisi; each morning you can sit with the locals enjoying an espresso and croissant in the bar. You will visit the local ‘foodie’ market in nearby Sinalunga with local chef Alessandro – he will help you source great produce and will then teach you how to cook it up into a delicious traditional Italian lunch.
You will discover the delights of the landscape and bring it to life in painting classes with the talented Liz Cochrane (www.elizabethcochrane.com) – believe me Liz has magic powers and can ensure that anyone (and I mean anyone) can go home with a masterpiece.
You will visit local farms to taste delicious fresh olive oil and cheeses and sample amazing wine at some of the best wineries in the area. You’ll also be guided round the delights of Siena by Antonella Piredda (www.antonellapiredda.com), who will make the city come alive for you.
Ann has a number of week-long breaks running this year but, if you don’t have a week to spare then no worries. Ann can put together weekend breaks or somewhere in between; and if you would prefer something more tailor made, she can arrange a multitude of different activities – from truffle hunting to horse riding, days out cycling, walking or riding on a Vespa – or simply a day relaxing at the local hot springs.
Whether it’s for a week or a few days, if you’d like to indulge your dream of living like a local in a wonderful Italian village then please contact Ann (details below); and don’t forget to mention la Concordia!
(Images: Ann’s own)