Once in a lifetime experiences
Funghi Porcini Hunting
This is best experienced by our guests during September or October, the perfect conditions are dependent on slight rain and still wind, here is the feedback from one set of guests who enjoyed Funghi Porcini hunting “2kg of Porcini and three hours of fun… San Pellegrino is not the one with the water but it’s very high, should have been a clue. Planning on Funghi again on Monday. Walking in chestnut groves. Having a great time and the weather is good.” Funghi Porcini are indigenous to our area and much of the cuisine makes the most of their presence. You can eat them fresh in pasta or dry them out to use later in the year. In order to find them it is best if you are accompanied by our guide, as it is easy to get disoriented in the woods and, as a wonderful “old hand” described that to be successful at finding the precious Funghi it is best to “have eyes in your feet”. You will know when Funghi Porcini can be found as a permit selling placard will be seen at the entrance to our locality.
Join in the “Vendemmia”
If you enjoy gardening, are staying at La Collina del Sole and would like to try something new, try helping out at our vendemmia, our expert team will show you how to pick grapes, which ones to pick and which to discard ( heart breaking but essential as a couple of bad bunches will turn the whole crop ). The vendemmia usually takes place in September, although it is dependent on the amount of sun La Collina del Sole has enjoyed over the summer, and the amount of rain that has quenched the land. A vendemmia day typically starts very early in the morning and the best grapes are picked and put aside to make the 1st pressing for the organic wine of “La Collina del Sole” the remainder of the grapes that are usable are picked and also pressed and made into a slightly less refined wine. The day is long and exhausting but very satisfying we suggest you end it with a “feast” from our wonderful caterer Maria,
We guarantee a happy tummy and a great night’s sleep!
Live the Lucca Festival experience
Lucca attracts phenomenal talent each year In July, like Stevie Wonder, the Backstreet Boys, Eagles and even Elton John! The setting is very relaxed in Piazza Napoleone within the Lucca walls. Guests of ours enjoyed a concert of their favourite band here is what they had to say. “The concert was great. The atmosphere was very laid back and friendly. I'm not sure whether it was at full capacity or not but there was plenty of space. We stood near the back where there was plenty of space and no fear of losing the children or them getting squashed but we could still see really well. The acoustics were good too. We parked in a car park outside the walls on the southern side and getting in and out was really easy - certainly beats getting out of Wembley stadium! For up to date information check www.summer-festival.com
Get Married at La Collina del Sole!
For an unforgettable wedding set with the Carrara marble mountains as your backdrop, all you will need to do is to each party obtain a permit from the town hall of your town and country of citizenship stating that both parties are free to marry, this must be officially translated by the Italian embassy or consulate. You can then leave as much or a little as you like to our team; from handing in the Italian papers and further translation to off and on site assistance, booking a photographer, sourcing the cake, catering for an intimate feast or a grander affair, booking the flowers and hairdresser for the bride and her party and for added local flavour ...local musicians.
Watch the Swallows “Happy Hour”
Whoever asserted that the best things in life are free … were right. Our favourite treat in the early evening is to watch the swallows drink their fill of the delicious gently saline water that fills the infinity pool at La Collina del Sole, They arrive in throngs that swoop and glide over the pool when it is empty; or even if there are swimmers gently enjoying a leisurely swim. The swallows duck and dive and generally have a wonderful time providing one of the most graceful and beautiful aerial acrobatics display ever.
Olive Oil and Wine Tasting
Telefone 0583 62193
As a guest of La Collina del Sole you may book your wine or Tuscan olive oil tasting session, call giving 2 days’ notice, a minimum of 2 people is required. Cost of tasting starts at Euro 10. The tastings are offered by Andrea Bertucci in the Vecchio Mulino this historic “ Osteria di Garfagnana ” which was built into the lower walls of the town and has been in this location for several centuries. This Osteria is a destination for Italian wine lovers. It sells local and Super Tuscan wines alongside local products, it offers wine and oil tasting. In the wine tasting sessions you can choose from Local, to Tuscan, from Northern Italy or Southern Italian wines to book speak to Andrea. It is Closed on Mondays
Held in the comfort of the very well-equipped kitchen at La Collina del Sole you can learn to cook, without having to travel anywhere and you will learn to cook how Mamma does in Italy, from our fabulous chefs which have been described by our guests as “gems”, “so nice and helpful” and “wonderful”, find out for yourself and surprise your friends at home. A starter lesson would typically include learning how to make 2 different types of pasta like ravioli and tagliatelle from scratch and a delicious ragù sauce. Cost is €80 for 5 people and €110 per 10 people, a more advanced menu lessons can be arranged. At the end of your session you will get to eat the delicious meal you created.
Try your hand at making a Pizza from scratch, once you know how it is surprisingly easy and very satisfying. Held at La Collina del Sole using the new “state of the art “Pizza Oven, this experience will take at least 3 hours to fully appreciate the full pizza making experience, as you start from making the "pomarola" sauce, and preparing the dough to cooking your very own creation ! The cost is €120 for 6 people or €160 for 10 people. A large variety of toppings will be brought for you to use and you will not only get to have a Pizza feast plus pudding but also to learn how to make Focaccia if you like. Every guest who has learnt how to make pizza has thoroughly enjoyed it. For a detailed list of choices available please follow this link.
In house dinning
Although our area is saturated with amazing restaurants there is nothing quite like having a banquet without having to move not even lift a finger. Maria our chef will cook all the food using local ingredients with free range poultry & eggs from her farmyard, and home grown vegetables & fruit. The most luxurious option is “the Feast” at € 30 per person, It is prepared and served for you and includes a full selection of Tuscan antipasti, followed by your selection of two pasta options from a tried and tested selection of eleven choices, followed by a fabulous main course with side dishes and topped off with a sumptuous pudding, all served with our own delicious La Collina del Sole organic wine. For a full list of options including food that is delivered to the kitchen at La Collina del Sole follow the suggested Menus link.
Walking and exploring
We have access to a fully accredited guide who can take you on walking tours in our immediate vicinity as well as further afield in our marvellously rugged mountain ranges and valleys. La Collina del Sole is surrounded by extremely beautiful walks. Each walk has varying levels of difficulty, we have rugged mountains, the Orechiella National Park, The Tuscan Emilian Apenine National Park, the regional park of the Apuan Alps and a variety of Carrara marble quarries both disused and in use, with many picturesque walks which have “Refugios” to eat at or to stay in. you will always find small reminders of Italian culture whether in derelict villages, shrines off the beaten track or remote churches. In addition to offering tailor made itineraries, we have compiled a short list of five routes including the surrounding chestnut woods of Le Prade. The picturesque and historic towns of Ceserana and Lupinaia, the famous “pierced” mountain or Monte Forato and the Pania della Croce in the Apuan Alps. For a detailed list of suggested Itineraries from La Collina del Sole follow this link
Learning the Culture
Learn Italian with an engaging and creative approach, one of our team teaches Italian as a second language and is available for private tutoring. Learn many useful expressions at the same time as getting to grips with Italian culture. From absolute beginners to advanced levels. Lessons upon request at La Collina del Sole, tutoring fee is €20 per hour which includes preparation time.
Discover the rugged beauty of La Bella Italia
There is so much more to Tuscany than Florence and Pisa, let our fabulous guide introduce you to the wonders of Garfagnana, Lucca, and Versilia. Italy has so much to offer, you can enjoy a super cultural visit and enjoy a lazy afternoon drinking in “La Dolce Vita” Alina our guide is able to show you the jewels of each region or town. In Garfagnana for example there is Barga a stunning town oozing with history both recent and past, the Grotta del vento a marvellous network of Caves that run deep into the Apuan Alps, San Pellegrino, The national Orecchiella park, the beautifully restored Fortress “Fortezza delle Verrucole”, Campo Catino e San Viano, the hermitage “Eremo di Calomini”, the lake “Lago di Gramolazzo” and the word famous devils bridge.
In Lucca must see sites are the Giunigi tower, the Basilica of San Frediano, the Cathedral of San Martino or Duomo, the Roman Amphitheatre with medieval houses built into it, one of the few oval amphitheatres in the world. The church of San Michele in Foro with is incredible ornate front and almost denuded body and for shopping there is Via Filungo with shops that range from top label fashion shops to shops that specialize in buttons with fabulous foodie shops to excellent gelaterias.
Versilia too has some beautiful hidden jewels in Forte de Marmi ( Fortress of Marble ), Pietrasanta, the natural park of Oasi Lipu Massaciuccoli and the Parco della Versiliana. A full day rate is €100 and €60 per half day
Translation and Concierge service
Would you like to discover all the insider tips of the area effortlessly? Our tem members offer an English speaking service to assist planning your vacation and will show you around the local market town. Many guests have had a resounding “thumbs up” experience from our team members of them. For a weekly fee of €100 you would expect to receive an orientation trip in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, and up to 3 sessions visiting you at La Collina del Sole to arrange trips, do Italian translating over the phone or give any further guidance. Should you need additional assistance we are happy to assist the hourly translation rate of €15 per hour.