VAL D'ORCIA, TUSCANY
TBD April 2023
Some say there's no such thing as a true holiday once you have children but we beg to differ. With childcare included for the duration of the week, you'll be able to have your cake, (um, holiday) and eat it too while soaking up 'la dolce vita' in the heart of Tuscany at a gorgeous country farmhouse tailor-made for family fun.
Spend four days and five nights in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage part of Tuscany in the stunning rolling hills of Val d'Orcia. Designed to boost your wellbeing while providing you with the rare chance to truly relax in the company of other families and friends, on this retreat you and your children will be nurtured by the people who are experts at getting the most out of family life: the Italians.
Each day childcare will be provided, giving you a chance to begin your day with an invigorating pilates session led by Clare Jarvis. Afterwards, how you spend your day is completely up to you. From hiking to horse riding, the farmhouse offers a variety of activities on-site as well as a wellness centre where massages and treatments can be booked. There are options to organize half day or day trips to the nearby towns of Siena, Pienza, Montalcino, Montepulciano or any of the wineries well-known for their world-famous wines. The idea is to provide each family with options that work for them as we understand that small children and tend to have their own individual schedule and needs.
Located just outside the town of Buonconvento, named one of the most charming villages in Italy, the farmhouse is nestled in the stunning countryside amid rolling hills and endless panorama. The 'borgo' is a family-owned operation, spread across 700 hectares of farmland and is divided into two villages with 37 rooms and 9 apartments, a restaurant, outdoor and heated indoor pool, tennis court, a wellness centre, horse riding, and mountain bike rentals.
Choose from single, double (standard, superior or deluxe) triple, family rooms or one or two bedroom apartments, some with kitchenettes. Both the apartments and rooms are cozy and comfortable, furnished in typical Tuscan style with wrought iron beds, terracotta floors and beamed ceilings. All rooms are equipped with bathrooms with showers, air conditioning, LCD TV, small fridge, telephone, hair dryer, courtesy toiletries and linens. There are possibilities for connecting rooms for families. Many of the rooms have an independent external entrance with external gardens where you can carve out your own private space.
Tuscan cuisine is known for its humble simplicity and great flavor achieved with just a few quality ingredients. The farm has its own restaurant with a traditional menu of delicious local specialties: pici al ragu, ribollita, wild boar and more. They produce their own pasta, made with grains grown and processed onsite, along with seasonal vegetables harvested from their gardens which makes for a unique farm-to-table dining experience. Paired with the outstanding local wines of the area, each meal will be a memorable part of your holiday experience and one that you didn't have to cook! Meals are easily adapted for vegetarians or those with food allergies, and of course, children.
EXPERIENCES AT THE FARM
HORSE RIDING & FARM ANIMALS
Expert guides lead daily outings from the farm. All horses are gentle with a friendly disposition, suitable for both beginners and more experienced riders. Children who meet the age requirement are also welcome to ride as well as meet the farm's other animals: sheep, pigs and donkeys.
Hire bikes (road, hybrid, electric and mountain) are available either with or without a guide. Enjoy mixed sections of of asphalt and dirt roads between olive groves, vineyards amid the rolling hills of the Crete Senesi which are amongst some of the most breathtaking in the world.
TASTINGS & COOKING CLASSES
Oil and wine tastings are available at the farm as are daily cooking classes or pasta making classes both for adults or older children.
A variety of treatments are available at the wellness center: face, body, anti-stress and anti-cellulite packages, Tuina massages, relaxing, almond oil and Argan oil, along with a sauna and a Turkish bath. The property also has a heated indoor pool kept between 24 and 29 degrees (salt treatment size 6 m X 15 m), as well as a Jacuzzi (4 m X 5 m) which boasts stunning views of the Crete Senesi.
The farm has plenty to enjoy: the large outdoor pool with its breathtaking views, the tennis court or football field and bicycles. Kids have a bike park and a small playground as well.
COST & INCLUSIONS
Prices are per person and include:
ROUNDTRIP TRANSFER FROM FLORENCE TO FARMHOUSE
FIVE NIGHTS' ACCOMMODATION IN YOUR CHOICE OF ROOM
DAILY FARM-TO-TABLE BREAKFASTS AND DINNERS
DAILY MORNING DEVOTIONALS WITH PHYLICIA MASONHEIMER
2 GUIDED HIKES ALONG THE FRANCIGENA TRAIL
GUIDED TOUR OF SIENA
TOUR OF ANCIENT MONASTERY
TOUR OF ROMANESQUE ABBEY
ON-SITE ENGLISH & ITALIAN SPEAKING GUIDE FOR THE DURATION OF THE TRIP
(1 full-sized bed for 1 adult)
$2950 per person
(1 double bed or two single beds for 2 adults)
$2800 per person
(1 double bed and two single beds or three single beds for max 3 guests)
$2700 per person
AVAILABLE FOR A SUPPLEMENT
(PRICES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST)
Family photoshoot with a professional
For anyone interested in portraits with a professional photographer, we have talented local English-speaking professionals available.
Additional Activities on the Farm
There's plenty to enjoy at the farm and with all-day babysitting included in the cost, we encourage parents to enjoy themselves. Tennis courts, cycling tours, hiking (guided or self-guided), cooking classes, and oil/cheese/wine tastings can all be done directly at the farm.
Nearby, there’s horseback riding, golf, hot air ballooning, bike rentals, and more. Private classes can be arranged to be taken at the farm: painting classes, photography and more.
Drinks and Dinner out
Enjoy an evening stroll in a nearby town with an aperitivo followed by dinner at a delicious restaurant. (We're happy to provide trusted local recommendations). Pre-dinner drink, dinner for two with a set menu, driver and babysitter included.
Additional 1:2:1 Childcare
Local, vetted childcare professionals available for one to one childcare or evenings. Please note this is upon availability.
Private Guided Tours
Worth visiting are also the towns of Pienza, Montepulciano, Siena, Montalcino as well as the world-class wineries. Excursions with private driver and guide included.
"Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” – Terry Pratchett
ABOUT YOUR GUIDES
Regina Tingle, MFA
Regina's passion is to curate life-changing experiences for people. As a former resident of Italy for thirteen years, Regina has a deep connection with Italy's food, culture, language and people. Her career of taking people on journeys around the world has lent her a keen sense for what's enjoyable and fun when traveling as well as what isn't -- Regina will ensure your time in Italy is nourishing, fun and as stress-free as possible. Regina's retreats have been featured in The Write Life, Project Calm Magazine, Yoga Magazine and Writing Magazine.
"I'm passionate about making a difference to womens' well-being. Having my own daughter in 2020 only served to confirm how beneficial Pilates is both physically and mentally for new mums and mums-to-be. All in all, I love helping people to regain control over their health and fitness by reconnecting with their bodies and seeing how these improvements positively affect all areas of their lives. What better place to gather and reinvigorate our bodies and our selves than in the beautiful setting of a Tuscan landscape?"
- Clare Jarvis
WHY WE CREATED THIS RETREAT
Regina and Clare both became first-time mothers during the pandemic. "We know we haven't had the traditional initiation into motherhood thanks to the restrictions that were in place in England. Now that all travel restrictions have been lifted (hurray!) we feel there's a lot of people out there who would like to take a trip with their child but might feel daunted," Regina says. Regina's lucky enough to have traveled abroad twice with her twenty-month old son Luke. Her first trip solo with a one year old to Spain in July 2021 and again in September to the U.S. proved her suspicions were correct -- it's not easy to travel with a child. Especially alone. But it's also not impossible and it's even enjoyable if you have the right set-up. She wanted to create an easy, affordable and all-inclusive getaway for other parents who want to go abroad but without the headache of organizing every last detail or meal. This retreat is created to be a true week of relaxation and ease -- fun for you and your child (and partner, should you bring them along!)
“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”
- Jill Churchill
If this retreat resonates with you and you'd like to secure your place, a £500 nonrefundable deposit is required. Limited spaces available.
Final nonrefundable payment due July 15, 2022.
Sign up before April 1, 2022 and receive a £100 discount.
Please note that if for any reason this retreat does not run or is cancelled you will be refunded in full.
Is airfare included?
Airfare is not included but once you arrive everything else is. See inclusions here.
Where's the best airport to fly into?
Florence and Pisa are best. They are a little over a two hour drive to the farm. Gatwick offers daily direct flights to Florence.
Do we need to schedule our flight to arrive/depart at a certain time?
No, just communicate your arrival and departure information to us and we'll make sure a driver is there to meet you. Please let us know how old your child is so we can arrange for a suitable carseat.
How far a drive is it from the airport to the farm?
Both Pisa and Florence are a little over two hour drive.
Is it possible to arrive a day early?
If you would like additional days on either end of your trip, please just let us know and we will try to accommodate you. This is dependent upon the farm's availability. Some people like to explore Florence before heading to the farm -- this is also possible. We can recommend hotels/restaurants and have your driver pick you up directly at your hotel.
Does Italy have Covid travel restrictions in place?
Adult travellers will need to complete a passenger locator form (EU PLF) to enter or travel through Italy as a visitor. Accompanied minors can be registered on the form of the accompanying adult in the declaration section – see ‘Children and Young People’. The EU PLF will generate a QR code which should be shown to your travel provider prior to boarding.
From 1 March, all travellers, aged 6 and over, must show one of the following:
proof of vaccination OR
evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before entering Italy or a negative rapid lateral flow test taken within the 48 hours before entering Italy OR
a COVID-19 recovery certificate, certifying that you have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 6 months
If you cannot present evidence of vaccination OR a negative test OR a COVID-19 recovery certificate, you will need to:
travel to your final destination in Italy by private transport
remain in self-isolation for 5 days
take another PCR or rapid lateral flow test at the end of the 5 days’ self-isolation. If the test is negative, you can leave self-isolation
Find updated information as well as the passenger locator form on the UK Government's website here.
Are cots available at the farmhouse?
Cots and highchairs are available, yes. Bear in mind the highchairs are for children who can sit up on their own.
Should I bring a travel buggy?
Some parents find it easier to manage airports with a buggy. The Florence and Pisa airports are small and the farmhouse doesn't have many paved surfaces, so it's really about your preference. Many parents with smaller children prefer to use a sling or BabyBjorn.
Is there WiFi at the farmhouse?
Yes, but it is the countryside so it can be spotty.