Spannocchia Tours & Activities
This list offers guests a brief overview of the tours and classes we offer at Spannocchia. For more information, prices and availability, please contact our guest services coordinator, Lucia Sonetti firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that the activities are held only on weekdays.
A note about our Education Director: Sara Silvestri graduated from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo in 2013 with a Master’s degree in Food Culture and Communications. Before moving to Italy, she worked for many years as a cook at several respected restaurants in her hometown of New Orleans. Before joining Spannocchia in February 2016, she coordinated the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity’s “Ark of Taste” project, to raise awareness about endangered fruit, vegetable and grain varieties and rare livestock breeds. Sara enjoys sharing with interns and guests her passion for Italian (and especially Tuscan) food culture, agrobiodiversity and holistic, sustainable farming systems.
Your host will guide you through the Castello and its grounds. You will learn about the architecture of the Castello, the histories of the Cinelli and Spannocchi families, the mezzadria sharecropping system (by which Spannocchia operated for centuries) and past and present agricultural activities on the property. You’ll visit the chapel, the library, the cantina, the secret garden and lastly (weather permitting), you’ll climb Spannocchia’s medieval tower for a breath-taking view of the 1100 acres of rolling hills and farmland surrounding the Castello. All of the sites and information presented throughout the tour will help Spannocchia guests to better understand the history of the area and our passion for sustainable living. Duration: about 2 hours.
Time: Flexible Price: FREE for Friends of Spannocchia Members
TRADITIONAL TUSCAN COOKING CLASS
The cooking class begins at 9 am with a tour through the vegetable garden at Spannocchia. Then to the kitchen, where along with Loredana we will prepare a three course Tuscan meal utilizing food products from the estate. The fist course might be handmade pasta such as tagliatelle, ravioli, gnocchi or pici, or perhaps the typical “ribollita” Tuscan soup, or in summer a simple but delicious bread salad called “panzanella.”
For our second course we may choose between our own farm-raised pork, beef, and this will be accompanied by fresh vegetables direct from the garden. We finish with a traditional dessert such as cantucci cookies with Spannocchia vin santo, pine nut cake, tiramisu, or our renowned chocolate salame. A vegetarian menu is also available, and we will try to fill requests for specific recipes as long as they fall within the traditions of this local region. Each lesson concludes with lunch, tasting all the dishes created during the morning class, accompanied by Spannocchia wine and spring water.
Loredana Betti grew up on Spannocchia in the 1950’s when her family were tenant farmers here. As a young girl she learned how to prepare the traditional fare of the region and eventually developed a talent notable even in this area where every housewife seems capable of culinary magic. For nearly twenty years, Loredana cooked for the Cinelli family and Spannocchia’s students and guests, until her retirement few years ago. She still loves to produce wonderful meals for friends and family, and enjoys staying involved at Spannocchia with her weekly classes in the kitchen she knows so well.
Time: 9:00-2:30 pm weekdays (includes lunch)
90€ per person
60€ per person – Student Group rate (minimum of 8 Undergraduate students)
45€- kids under 12 years old.
Non participating guests can join for lunch for Euro 15
BAMBINI IN CUCINA
At Spannocchia we understand the importance of experiential learning, especially for the littlest of hands. We have designed a cooking class for 6 to 10 year olds that encourages them to form deeper relationships with their food, the place it comes from, and the person who has produced it. Sara will begin with a trip to the vegetable garden. Here, the children will pick an ingredient of their choice to be incorporated into their lunch. We’ll also meet our gardener Yago, and learn about worms and compost and all the cool stuff that happens within the walls of our Orto. Next to the kitchen to make fresh pasta and dessert, lots of hands-on work guaranteed! Together we will create a 2-course lunch (with snacks) in a fun and educational atmosphere. Lunch will be served in the dining room at 12.30. Not only is this a fun way for kids to spend a morning at Spannocchia, it allows parents time to relax or perhaps check out a local winery. Ottimo!
Time: 10 am to 1 pm, (includes lunch)
Price: 40€ per child, minimum of 3 participants, maximum of 8
BEES & HONEY
Agronomist Andrea Battino introduces participants to the wonderful world of bees! Andrea explains bee dances, bee keeping history and honey production. If it’s not too cold, or too hot, Andrea may just bring some bees along too. He concludes by leading the group through a honey tasting of several different varieties. The class lasts approximately 2 hours.
Time: Weekdays, depending on availability
Price: 100€ per group
OLIVES AND OLIVE OIL
Have you ever wanted to know the whole story about olive oil and why it is such a prized product? Want to understand makes an oil “extra virgin” and how to know if you’re buying a high quality product? Did you know olive oil is like wine, with different blends, and that there is a correct way of tasting it (and it isn’t on bread!)? Sara Silvestri, Spannocchia’s Educatin Director, talks about the history of olives and olive oil, and
explains how it is produced – from harvest to botting. We’ll take a walk in the olive orchard and learn about some typical Tuscan olive varieties. The class concludes with a guided tasting of several olive oils — including our own award winning Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Duration: approximately 1.5 hours.
Time: Weekdays, flexible
Groups of 6 or less: €50
Groups of 7 or more: €7,50 per person
CINTA SENESE TOUR & TASTING
Do you know what a Cinta Senese is? Do you know how prosciutto is made? Spannocchia’s Educatin Director
Sara offers a close-up look at our Noah’s Ark rare breed animals, our organic artisan meat production and the
typical salumi (salt-cured meats) that we create. The tour includes a walk to see the pigs in their habitat, a glimpse into our seasoning/curing room, and finishes with a guided tasting of our salumi products such as salame, prosciutto, capocollo and lardo. This tour is highly informative, a lot of fun, and very, very tasty! Duration: about 1.5 hour.
Time: Weekdays, flexible
Groups of 5 or fewer: €55
Groups of 6 or more: €10 per person
VEGETABLE GARDEN TOUR
Spannocchia Education Director introduces participants to Spannocchia’s organic vegetable gardens.
She explains why we choose to be organic and the different aspects of organic and permaculture gardening including: crop rotating, synergetic beds, cover crops, the creating and use of compost and vermicompost, and our two greenhouses.
As she guides participants through the different areas of the garden, she explains the different herbs and seasonal crops growing, pointing out typical Tuscan crops grown only in this area. She also includes details about crop storage and transformation into secondary products like limoncello, tomato sauce and pesto.
Time: Weekdays, flexible
Duration: 45 min to 1 hour
Groups of 5 or fewer: €35
Groups of 6 or more: €6 per person
TASTES AND TECHNIQUES OF ITALIAN WINE PRODUCTION
Learn the basics of wine production and get an introduction to wine tasting in this interactive lesson. We’ll discuss Spannocchia’s viti and viniculture, visit the cantina and finish with a tasting of your choice:
• Spannocchia’s organic wines (and a taste of our grappa, made from the leftovers of our wine production!)
• A guided tasting exercise to learn how to detect the subtle aromas in red or white wines.
Sara is happy to answer any questions you have about wine. And her ultimate nugget of advice? Keep drinking!
Duration: approximately 1.5 – 2 hours
(Ask us about customizing this tour to your group’s specific interests!)
Time: Weekdays, flexible
Groups of 4 or less: €50
Groups of 5 or more: €12 per person
PASTA MAKING, A HANDS-ON CLASS
Have you always wanted to learn how to make your own fresh pasta? Sara will explain all the details: from different wheat varieties and special ingredients to different shapes and filings. You’ll learn all about the different tools and techniques to make your own pasta back home! At the end of the class, you will receive your portions of handmade pasta to cook in your guesthouse or prepare for lunch in the Fattoria kitchen.
Time: weekday mornings (subject to kitchen availability)
Cost: €35/person (minimum 2)
Duration: 2-3 hours
ITALIAN REGIONAL FOOD CULTURE
If you’ve ever asked for lambrusco in Lecce, arancini in Alto Adige or pecorino in Parma, you’ll know that Italians are deeply allied to their region in terms of food culture and identity. In this class, we’ll investigate how history, culture and climate combine to make Italian regional cuisines so unique! Sara will also discuss the variety of pasta in Italy: fresh, dried, and why Italians don’t mix-and-match their sauces
and shapes. Find out why, from knödel in Bolzano to sweet pastries in Sicily, Italy is a gastronome’s dream! Duration: approximately 1.5 hours
Time: Weekdays, flexible
Groups of 10 or fewer: €55
Groups of 11 or more: €5 per person
SPANNOCCHIA’S SUSTAINABLE HARVEST
Interested in multiple tours or tastings, but have limited time? This is the class for you! We’ll give you a short overview of Spannocchia’s sustainable farm practices, our connecting to the international Slow Food movement, and the quality products we get as a result. You’ll learn a little of everything about our farm, from the native livestock breeds we raise to our beehives and orchards and our “beyond organic” gardens and vineyard, and get a sampling of some of our great organic products, from wines and olive oil to cured meats, conserves, honey and more! (Tasting products will differ based on seasonality and availability.)
Duration: approximately 1.5 hours
Groups up to 5: €100
Groups of 6 or more: €18 per person
Come and discover the beautiful surroundings of the area! Step by step you will explore the nature and the traditions of the countryside with Daniele, an experienced guide at your side. For more information and prices, please see brochure.
ITALIAN LANGUAGE LESSONS
Learn the basics of the Italian language during your stay at Spannocchia! Instructor Valeria is available for private or group lessons. Lessons usually focus on basic grammar and vocabulary, and Valeria always
encourages conversation in class! Learn how to order at restaurants, ask about bus schedules, and find out where the nearest bathroom might be. Valeria’s teaching style is flexible and she can accommodate all levels of proficiency and can tailor the class to your particular interest (art, cooking, history, farming, etc). Each class lasts one hour and Valeria
will provide lesson materials.
Time: Monday through Friday, Flexible
Price: 35€ per hour for private or small group lessons (less than 5 people)
40€ per hour for more then 5 people
We can arrange for a local T’ai chi teacher to come to Spannocchia in the mornings before or after breakfast
to lead participants through a series of stimulating and invigorating poses to get creative juices flowing. To
arrange classes for your group, please send us the dates, ties and number of participants.
Price: 30€ per lesson for a group of 3-6 people
We can arrange for a local Yoga teacher to come to Spannocchia and do a full hour of practice either outside
in the gardens or indoors. Elena Coccodrilli is a certified teacher and teaches Hatha Yoga in several schools
around the area.
Time: Flexible according to availability
Price Groups up to 8: €50
Groups of 9 or more: € 6 per person
Offer your participants a break from work or study — we can arrange a Shiatsu full-body massage to ease away your travel pains and provide a moment of pure relaxation. The message is done by a certified masseur and typically lasts one hour. Please let us know the date, time and number of people in your group who are requesting this service.
Price: 45€ per hour
Organize an exciting excursion for your group participants or your party with the expert instructors from Nordic Walking Siena. Nordic walking is pleasurable and highly efficient exercise; it is proven that it burns more calories, increases oxygen consumption and can be up to 46% more efficient than normal walking.
Nordic Walking sticks are provided by the school if needed.
BASIC COURSE NORDIC WALKER (at Spannocchia)
Learn about the basics of Nordic walking in two lessons of about 2.5 hours, with a final short excursion. At the end you will receive a certification of participation valid internationally – “Nordic Walker ANWI”.
Time and days to be arranged. No availability on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.
Price: 60€ per person for groups of minimum 4 people 200 euro per group under 4 people.
DISCOVER NORDIC WALKING (at Spannocchia)
Learn about Nordic Walking with a didactic excursion. A 2.5 hour lesson, beginning with a short introduction to the use of the sticks and techniques (about 30 minutes), and continuing with explanation and exercises during the excursion.
– “Private”: from 1 to 4 people 75€ per group (Family 15% discount)
– Small group: from 5 to 8 people 15€ per person
– Group: from 8 to max.16 people 13€ per person
WEEKEND FULL IMMERSION
Friday afternoon: Introduction to Nordic Walking, learn the basics (1.5 hours)
Saturday Morning: technical lesson 1 and short excursion around Spannocchia (2.5 hours)
Sunday Morning: technical lesson 2 and day excursion (4.5 hours) with picnic lunch in the Montagnola area or at Spannocchia (weather permitting)
Price: 120€ per day per group of maximum 20 people.
Different itineraries can be chosen within over 50 walks in the most beautiful areas of the Siena area.
Instructors Antonella Moretti, Caterina Frey e Pierluca Fanetti from Nordic Walking Siena SI VA MensSana are qualified ANWI and INWA (ass. nordic walking italia e international nordic walking association).