The sights and sounds – and flavors – of Italy have drawn travelers for centuries, of that there is no doubt. But can any of these visitors ever truly say they have sampled “the Best of Italy?” You will, once you’ve put your paddle to work and brought home this superlative auction lot, one that synthesizes an array of sensory delights, including the wine of Le Macchiole, the jewelry of Fratelli Piccini – as well as the cuisine of the countryside and the culinary magic of chef Peter Brunel.
Villa Le Luci in Castagneto Carducci is a splendidly scenic village perched high on the Etruscan Coast – and the town that hosted Giosuè Carducci, the famous Italian poet who was awarded with Nobel Prize in Literature in 1906, “….as a tribute to the creative energy, freshness of style, and lyrical force which characterize his poetic masterpieces.” Here, you’ll spend two nights enjoying daily breakfasts, as well as a private tour and tasting of select Le Macchiole vintages at the winery, led by proprietor and pioneering winemaker Cinzia Merli who will share the magic of the region with you and discuss the daily activities.
Next, take a stroll around the Bolgheri region with an experienced local as your guide, and work up an appetite for the private cooking class to follow. Or, save your cravings for the upcoming lunch you’re set to savor at a private Tuscan villa, complemented by Le Macchiole wines. You’ll also enjoy a delicious dinner at Michelin-starred restaurant, La Pineta, one of Italy’s best seafood restaurants. Located on the beach at Marina di Bibbona, your imagination won’t be necessary as the breeze and the waves transport you to paradise. And don’t be surprised when chef/owner Luciano Zazzeri personally prepares your seafood tableside.
Florence is also on your itinerary – and what a trip to Florence it is. In fabulous Florence, you’ll settle in to your accommodations at the prestigious, five-star Portrait Firenze, owned by the Ferragamo Family, with its breathtaking views of the city’s legendary landmarks. That evening, you’ll be the guest of Elisa Piccini for an exclusive dinner in her home.
This is a momentary respite before the flurry of the countryside, where you’ll head out on a journey of cultural discovery, along with Elisa and Michelin-starred chef, Peter Brunel. Your next destination is Parma – home to Parmigiano Reggiano – where you’ll create a Parmesan cheese form, a product made from partially skimmed cow’s milk and considered the “king of cheeses.” Lunch awaits you before you head on to Piemonte, arriving late afternoon in Turin for dinner and a two-nights’ stay.
In Turin, you’ll visit Vercilli – home of Acquerello Risotto – and witness why this rice, aged for a year in a silo, has won the favor of chefs the world over. While in Turin, you’ll enjoy marvelous dinners at two Michelin-starred restaurants—Casa Vicina and Del Cambio. Next, it’s on to gorgeous Trentino, sometimes called the “mother of Italian bubbles,” thanks to a sparkling libation called Trentodoc that’s the local answer to Champagne. Here, you’ll spend one night at the peaceful Grand Hotel Trento, and also visit Cantine Ferrari, maker of those aforementioned bubbles. Your time here also includes a visit to the Navarini home, where you’ll witness the creation of a real copper pot – essential in making risotto – and a visit to Lake Garda to find the highest quality olive oil produced in the world, made from the Leccino olive that’s found at the 46th parallel.
Before you leave this beautiful region, hop aboard a helicopter for a flight over the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and land in the small mountain paradise of Vigo de Fassa and check in to the Agritur Weiss for a one-night stay. Dinner this evening will be created using ingredients collected during the trip.
Florence calls you back, but not before a stop in Mantova for a light lunch of Nadia Santini’s famous tortellini at her Three-star Michelin restaurant, Dal Pescatore di Canneto. Reuniting with your new friends at the Fratelli Piccini Atelier on the Ponte Vecchio, overlooking the waters of the Arno, you’ll savor a remarkable dinner with chef Peter Brunel. Peter, who hails from Val di Fassa in the Dolomites, will prepare a meal that brings together all the elements of your journey, creating an “All Italian” meal that’s as delicious as it is unforgettable. Buon appetito!
Finally, before you depart, you’ll be presented with a customized piece of Fratelli Piccini jewelry – the true definition of luxury.
This lot is simply the best – and remember, it’s simply all for the kids.
Roundtrip, Business Class Airfare from the United States needs to originate from and return to a major city, such as New York, New York; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas or Miami, Florida. Ground transportation in Bolgheri is not included, but all ground transportation for the “Best of Italy” experience with Elisa Piccini and chef Peter Brunel is included. Both visits are to be scheduled for mutually agreeable dates and can be taken at separate times of the year. “Best of Italy” experience to be scheduled for March or April of 2019 or 2020, with the exception of Thursday, March 21–Tuesday, March 26, 2019 and Easter on Sunday, April 21, 2019.
Cinzia Merli of Le Macchiole, Elisa Tozzi Piccini and Laura Piccini of Fratelli Piccini and Peter Brunel
Airfare donated by Karen & Bob Scott