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  • Toscana, Paradise on a Plate under the Stars.

    La Botte Piccola is pleased to offer you an absolutely relaxing long weekend in an extraordinarily beautiful and timeless location.

    A hamlet set among the hills of Siena on a property spreading over ninety hectares of land, with a swimming pool, sauna, Turkish bath and outside tubs heated at various temperatures, all available for La Botte Piccola guests. Good food and typical cooking are the distinguishing features of this long weekend during which you can taste the most traditional version of “ribollita” - a vegetable soup cooked only with vegetables from the organic vegetable garden - while keeping warm beside the fireplace, and pamper yourself with an invigorating massage using home-made honey in this very special spa with a view of the woods as far as the eye can see.

    The location chosen for your break from metropolitan stress is considered by The Sunday Times newspaper to be among the twenty best “destination resorts in the world” and is one of the best in Italy for anyone who dreams of “a stay-at-home holiday” but in an enchanting location with every comfort and a thousand activities to discover.

    The Botte Piccola autumnal long weekend is a proposal of complete relaxation in a place where you’ll feel reinvigorated in a constructive way thanks to the numerous activities which take place immersed in the splendid natural surroundings, and let’s not forget the pleasures of good Tuscan food.

    The weekend will be dedicated to the discovery of pork, an important element in local cooking, which you will be able to taste in countless variations: traditional Tuscan recipes such as “fegatelli di maiale” - pig’s liver cooked with herbs and fennel seeds, roast pork and the unforgettably delicious local sausages. It will be interesting to participate in the preparation of the meat and other activities connected with pig farming and to observe these animals in their natural state in the countryside within the property’s grounds.

    Far from the frenzy of city life, guests will have the opportunity of an unforgettable experience: an absolutely unique feature of this resort is the astronomy observatory in the woods, a wooden cottage a few steps from the villa whose roof opens on to a starry sky which can be observed through the lens of a professional telescope assisted, for those who wish, by the expert eyes of Sienese astronomy lovers.

    But that isn’t all: with 25 horses to choose from you can go horse-riding in the woods or take an adventurous discovery tour of the property in a mule-drawn cart; the woods, three small lakes for fishing and the greenhouse make for many an interesting encounter: donkeys and mules, piglets, cows and sheep. Back at the villa, you can wait for dinner on the lovely covered patio.

    Pork and the products from the organic vegetable garden will be the basic theme of this weekend. For clients of La Piccola Botte, there’s a particularly winning offer: a monographic cooking course dedicated to the pig.

    - The offer, for groups of not less than 4 people, includes the slaughtering of the pig on Friday evening, followed by the bleeding and skinning. Some parts of the pig will be used immediately in the kitchen to prepare the typical “crostoni” (toasted bread with pate’ or other toppings) and “tegamata di maiale” (pan-cooked pork with sweetbread).

    - Next day, the pig will be cut up and each piece prepared according to traditional methods to make salami, ham, sausages and other smallgoods such as “capocolli”, “sorpressate” and “buristi”.

    At this point, the informal lunch could only be based on fresh sausages and pork steak.

    Having completed the preparations and relative salting, everything is put aside for the maturing stage.

    - On the third day, the various parts of the carcass are hung up in the cellar to season. A light lunch and dinner follow based on pork accompanied by flavoursome vegetables fresh from the garden, where the owner selects and plants ancient local varieties.  

    A second version, not necessarily reserved to two people, envisages the slaughtering on Friday evening or Saturday morning of one or two smaller pigs which will then be prepared and cut up to use the fresh meat.

    The rest of the time is spent in the kitchen helping to prepare some Sienese recipes.

    Variations on the theme: discovering ways of preparing the large variety of local vegetables selected and grown in the villa’s vegetable garden.

    The variety of vegetables, which the property owner cultivates with care, has been selected not according to the dictates of the market but to favour their bio-diversity. In fact, you can find particular, ancient varieties such as the “pomo d’oro” - “the golden apple” (the original yellow one, hence the name), the “pastinocello” carrot (nowadays almost extinct but it was still present on our tables until the middle of last century), or yellow zucchini (courgettes). Varieties which have survived the standardization of the agricultural industry and which find a home in this vegetable garden thanks, also, to the teachings of the old market gardeners. Not having to undergo long trips to arrive on our tables, the vegetables are picked when they are ripe and, so, maintain their real flavour, satisfying the palate to the utmost.

    Following the same philosophy in planting the orchard, the choice was to select ancient, less demanding and more resistant fruit which, although less impressive in size, is much more generous in flavour and, at times, more bizarre in name: apples such as “ciucca” (plastered), “a culo d’asino” (shaped like a donkey’s bum), “casolana”; “briaca” (drunk) pear, “saturnina” (gloomy) peach.

    This little trip is for a discerning public whose conception of a holiday is not only a moment to relax but also to exercise the body and the mind. This location offers the best response to the needs of this new type of holiday which, in many aspects, is inspired by the ancient Roman concept of “ozium”, in which one works more for the body and the spirit than for the “ufficium”.

    At your disposal, then, the spaces of the villa: to take unending walks in the woods, in the vegetable garden, in the fields where the animals live in a natural state, the astronomy observatory, the unlimited availability of the out-door spa, the cinema and, for those who really can’t go without a car, there are the nearby hills of Siena, Montalcino, Pienza and the beauty of the Tuscan villages.

    If, on the other hand, you decide to arrive by train or plane, you can request a shuttle service and/or a chauffeur-driven car to take excursions in the area.

    The villa is located in Localita’ Tocchi in Monticiano, less than half an hour by car from Siena.

    The Botte Piccola strongly recommends this holiday during the autumn and winter when the heated swimming pools and saunas offer maximum enjoyment. The hamlet restored as a hotel resort offers fifteen rooms in a setting which will draw you closer to the infinite.

    The programme is as follows:

    Arrival at the resort on Friday (further nights can be added, on request).

    A one-hour welcome massage using honey and officinal herbs (lavender steeped in pure honey). We recommend using the hotel’s sauna beforehand in order to prepare your skin for the treatment.

    A walk around the vegetable garden and view of the animals in their natural state.

    Cooking course based on pork in the two versions described above.

    Lunch prepared by the guests during the morning.

    Free time on the property.

    Dinner

    Saturday: continuation of cooking course.

    Lunch prepared by the guests in the morning.

    Dinner

    Sunday: continuation of cooking course.

    Lunch prepared by the guests in the morning.

    Departure

    During your stay, the following will be available and are included in the price:

    Astronomy observatory

    Sauna

    Out-door heated tubs overlooking the woods

    Cinema

    Wi-fi internet connection

    On request:

    Wine tasting

    Cheese tasting

    Chauffeur-driven car

    Shuttle service

    Bicycles

    Horses

    Further massage sessions

    Hairdresser

    The price of this holiday is 500 euro per person in a double room.

    The price includes:

    Bed & Breakfast accommodation

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Cooking course

    Welcome massage

    Sauna

    NB: The programmes may vary according to the number of participants or depending on the size of the pig, end or on the temperature. If there is a smaller pig available, the first programme will also be presented to smaller groups.

    This trip is available from October 2008 to April 2009 inclusive.

    For further information and/or variations to the programme, please contact:

    Carolina Salini

    info@labottepiccola.net