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From Aurora:

What to do during raining days : Visit the Perugina chocolate factory in Perugia (Nestlé group)
There is a Museum and a factory tour as well as a gift store
Address : Perugia San Sisto, Exit Madonna Alta on the speedway to Perugia
Monday to Friday : 8h30/13h-14h/17h30
Call to book for visit of the factory
Tel : 0755276796
(40 min from Il Pino)

Wine tasting and dinner at Osteria del Teatro 2011  by Jenny

Molesini in Cortona has organised free wine tasting events outside his Enoteca in Piazza Republica. Later on there is also a set meal and the wines you have tasted at Osteria del Teatro if you want.
We went on 12th May and tasted Talenti Montalcino wines. The vineyard owner and Marco Molesini were also at the meal and gave a brief talk. The meal was excellent as were the wines which we were tempted to purchase. The meal cost 40 Euros all inclusive.
The free winetasting starts at 17:00 and you can arrive anytime, we went about 19:00 as the meal was at 20:30. It is a good idea to go as a group as you may guess it get booked quickly by tour operators.
This is the list of dates for the rest of this year and the wines.
14th July                                                    Venica & Venica
8th September                                         Siro Pacenti Montalcino
15th September                                      Arnaldo Caprai Montefalco
22nd September                                     Brancaia
29th September                                      Leuta Cortona
6th October                                              Bertani Amarone
13th October                                           Ciacci Piccolomini Montacino

Restaurant in Guazzino

Guazzino is a small, fairly irrelvant little place on the road from Bettolle to Sinalunga.  However it does contain a gem of a restaurant, which has rapidly become a favourite for us.  Il Fornacino (http://www.ilfornacino.it/) is situated in the middle of the village, impossible to miss.  Welcoming and warm service from Luigi (has spent time in Newcastle so happy to try his English out!), spectacular cooking from his wife Daniella and relatively inexpensive to boot.

Try anything, I’ve not had a bad course yet.  Last time I did Penne Arriabbata, Tagliata Rucola and Tiramisu… they were all fantastic.  Ordering house wine results in a lovely Chianti or a nice Chardonnay from a local winery (http://www.ilsosso.it/) being brought to the table and just left until you don’t want anymore from the bottle(s)!  Oh and then Luigi brings complimentary Vin Santo to have with or without your chosen dessert. (You can see why I like this place!!)

This place is 10/15 mins from Il Pino… there is nothing to dislike about it.  I love it!

Girls take note! A great post from Aurore:

Fashionista Tour : Outlets

* Firenze outlets

Dolce & Gabbana
Località S. Maria Maddalena, 49, Pian dell’isola 50064 Incisa val d’arno
Tel : 0558331300
Monday-saturday : 9-19h
Sunday : 15-19h

The Mall (Gucci, Tod’s, Armani, La perla, Burberry, Ermenegildo Zegna, Diesel,…)
Via Europa, 8, 50066 Leccio Reggello

Prada Outlet
Via Levanella Becorpi
Localita Levanella, S.S. 69 Montevarchi
Need to take tickets to go in so need to be patient sometimes …

* Marche outlets : special for shoes as the Marche region is where most of italian shoes are produced : It is worth the trip but plan a full day as need at least  2,5 h for one way trip

Geox : Via Alpi, 200, 63014 Montegranaro
Tel : 0734893901
Very big discounts

Tod’s : Via Filippo della valle, cda brancadoro, Sant’elpidio a mare
Tel : 0734871671
More choice than Firenze outlet but same price

You have a lot for outlets in montegranaro and sant’elpidio as shoes are produce there so you can stop at any warehouse if you want or still have money left…

Best Pizza

Top tip from Aurore:

Best Pizza place in the area :
La Zinfarosa at Foiano della chiana
Piazzetta S. Domenico 4
Tel : 0575640146
Close on wednesday
The owner is very friendly and this is the best pizza we experienced here. They have also some typical tuscan appetizers or pasta if you don’t want to eat pizza. Large terrace and parking as well

….if you are still hungry…

you can finish your meal by eating a very nice Gelato in Fior di Latte Gelateria
corso V.Emanuele, 105
walking distance from Zinfarosa

Thanks to Aurore for this post:

Foiano della Chiana : Market day
Monday is the market day in Foiano which make it the closest market from il Pino. Quite convenient when you just arrived on the week-end. You will find most of the same stalls from Camucia markets as many vendors do both or them.

Get Pampered

A great post from Aurore:

Get Pampered : Tuscan Spas…………

Perfect during winter when pool at Il pino is closed or even during summer :

* Rapolano Terme : just 20 minutes from Il pino, expressway to Siena

– San Giovanni Terme : 53040 Rapolano Terme
Tel : 0577724030
http://www.termesangiovanni.it
Thermal swimming pool with mud for day entry (13 euro)or day-spa package with massages
They offer romantic dinner on saturday with pool until midnight

– Terme Antica Querciolaia
Tel : 0577724091
http://www.termeaq.it
Day entry 12 euro
Less mud (!) but very nice complex, pools of different temperature.
They have also a special opening during summer on tuesday until 1 am and you can also have dinner (need to make booking)

While you visit Rapolano for the Thermal pools or not, here is a GREAT restaurant in Rapolano :
Osteria Il granaio
Via dei Monaci
Tel : 0577726975
Closed on tuesday and wednesday at lunch time

* San Casciano dei Bagni : 1 h from Il Pino, A1 exit chiusi chianciano terme

– Fonteverde Spa : more luxurious than Rapolano and more expensive
Tel : 057857241
http://www.fonteverdespa.com
Tried the one day spa and it was great

Enjoy…………

From Aurore