HOTEL CERTOSA DI MAGGIANO
This splendid inn is a converted Carthusian monastery built in the 14th century. It's now owned by Margherita Grossi, who takes us to a classical music concert in a Renaissance theatre in Siena.
The Locanda was a fortified farm village in the 14th century. Owner Carlo Citterio has turned it into a Renaissance inn with an outstanding restaurant. We learn to make a traditional pasta dish, and Carlo takes us to the Siena City Museum to see a medieval painting that features the Amorosa farm.
CASTELLO DI SPALTENA
This thousand year old castle is now owned by Julie Scartozzoni and Seamus de Pentheny O'Kelly. Julie is a well-known designer who has furnished the castle and creates works in her boutique on the grounds. Seamus is a chef, classically trained in France who now runs a brilliant restaurant. He shows us one of his favorite recipes.
The Palio in Siena
We learn the history of this 700-year-old horse race run through the center of the city twice a year.
We visit the Castello di Ama winery, and meet the young woman owner who has won awards with her novel way of producing chianti.
Some of the finest Italian crystal is made in Tuscany in the town of Colle di Val d'Elsa. We visit a factory and learn the process of crystal making and how to buy directly from the manufacturers at wholesale prices.
City of Towers
We visit San Gimignano, a hilltop city of narrow streets whose Renaissance merchants flaunted their wealth by building huge towers. The jealous Florentines finally forced them to stop building.