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Wine discovery in the Provinces of Prato

Linda Lotti

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Wine discovery in the Provinces of Prato

No, they are not, these are TUSCAN wines produced in the Province of Prato!

The scenic roads that twist their way up through vineyards and olive groves, are of such breathtaking beauty that  one would expect to meet Bacchus, the god of wine lounging there under the luscious grapes.

The sweet-smelling  panorama towards the end of summer season produces a variety of vibrant colors, where matured grapes and olives are waiting to be harvested .

The Medici Family chose this rich and fertile territory as their private domain. The quality and delicious nectar of wines produced in this area had not esaped the attention of the Medici Family who decided to set legal rules for the cultivation, area boundaries, harvesting and marketing of the local wines.


In 1998 the "Medici Road to the Carmigano wines" was established by the wines producers of this area to safeguard and promote the reputation of these wines.

During the month of September  " Di Vini Profumi "  takes place – This a Wine Town festival in Tuscany where many wine producers introduce their future wines, recent innovations, oenology  quality aspects and promotion of their territory.

On this occasion , Prato organizes " THE MEDICI ROAD OF CARMIGNANO WINES and TASTE OF TYPICAL LOCAL PRODUCTS" accompanying wine tasting. This is a unique opportunity to get to know some of the nine DOCG (controlled origin) Tuscan Wines.  Guided wine tasting tours are available at designated booths along the road where this event takes place.

The whole town is lively and in full swing, bars and restaurants with special menus and shops are open almost around the clock for this special event.


Olive oil  - The hills of Carmignano are covered by over 1100 hectares of olive plantations. Tuscan Olive Oil is derived from tour types of olive trees – MORAIOLO, FRANTOIO, LECCINO, PENDOLINO with their special characteristics of fruitiness, low acidity and sublime taste. Each year around the middle of October the olive picking seasons starts and ends by late November. By the first week of November you will have a chance to taste the new olive oil of the year. It is really an art and a cultural craft to discern the difference between a store-bought oil in your home-town and the genuine product from Italy. Italian people are very particular about olive oil, they demand authentic and excellent quality as this oil is the main condiment in their every-day food. Tuscany produces the best olive oil due to its geographical location in combination with a suitable climate and soil composition.

We will teach you through an olive tasting course how to recognize the top-quality product which will make quite a difference the next time you season your salads, your steaks or use it in cooking your meals.

Dried Figs

This is another typical product from the hills. Beside the olive and grape plantations you will find fig trees both with green and  purple fruits.The figs are know as an energy booster because of their high sugar content. Nowadays figs are used in the production of confectionery. The dried figs are still being processed by traditional methods. A plate of figs, salami sausage and unsalted Tuscan bread combined with a glass of red wine constitute a meal in itself.

In this particular area which is rather unspoiled and relatively unknown to tourists there are still important sites to be found which are part of the Renaissance Era and there is also evidence of an Etruscan presence, exhibited in the basement of "La Villa Ferdinanda" (better known as the "Villa of the Hundred Chimneys) found during the excavation of an Etruscan site.

The Still Life Art Museum exhibit around 200 paintings spread out over 16 rooms. The museum contains private collections of each member of the Medici Family. A very important Medici painting collection "Wall Bars" is exhibited in this museum. Special occasion painting exhibitions with free entrance are held on an irregular basis.

The 14 hectares of natural forest, named  "I BARCO" which covered a huge part of Carmignano and Poggio Caiano are formed by an abundance of oak trees, secular trees with their notable trunks and branches and other diversified vegetation and were fenced in during the 16th Century as a private reservation for hunting and recreation for exclusive use by the Medici Family. Exotic animal species such as deer, peacocks have disapeared but a large variety of birds can be observed. The forest has now become a Public Park with didactic and recreational activities.

Other activities to combine during your stay.

As you are in Italy, why not join one of the activities, getting to know the culture, even if it is only for a short period of time just to get a taste of of the atmosphere and maybe perhaps enticing you to return here and undergo different experience.

Cooking course – I believe almost everybody knows spaghetti originates in Italy, but come to see for yourself how many Italians cultivate vegetables and fruits in their own backyard "The Orto"  Even the smallest piece of land yields spectacular results . They firmly believe that eating your own home-grown products, free of pesticides and chemicals ensurers an enormous sense of well-being.

Starting from March until the end of October "The Orto" produces a large variety of of vegetables, thanks to climatic conditions during that period.. With the variety of vegetables, how are menus prepared ?

Join us according to your schedule for just  one day in the kitchen, or three days of cooking, or a one week intensive cooking course accompanied by your group of friends.

These courses are available in Prato, Lucca, and Bologna. What are the typical dishes from these towns?

Please check with us for suggestions; if you have a special menu in mind we will do our best to find the appropriate course.










Black berries                                                                                  Artichokes and fenel seeds

A Painting course at your place ?
Yes, this is certainly possible ; just send us your course of study if you have been painting before and are in need of a refresher course of if you would like to learn additional specific techniques, even if you are a beginner, we will send you the program suitable for your level.

How many of you intend to join the painting course ? Every individual has a different level of skills. This is not a problem, your teacher will instruct you according to your level of experience.

There is also the possibility to paint at the artist's studio. Also, do not forget to make a reservation for a guided visit to one of the museums to enhance your interest in painting 

Music Seminar ?
The seminar will teach you harmonious integration between theory and practice, technique and expression. These seminars are open to singers, guitarists, bassists, pianist/keyboards players of all ages.

A simple Yoga practice for posture, breathing and relaxation techniques is taught during the seminar.

Our local musicians are also available to entertain you for special occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays, engagement parties at your place of residence in Tuscany. Consult us for details.

Parla Italiano ? Do you speak italian?
If you do not speak Italian, would it not be be nice to be able to  order a cup of coffee in a restaurant or bar in local language on your travels around Italy?  But of course there are numerous possibilities to engage a private teacher to learn the basics of the language, especially a teacher who is an expert in dealing with beginners.

How about meeting other students in a group class ? This will give you a unique opportunity to meet and converse with other foreign students who came either to brush up their Italian language skills or beginners just like you. Which school and which town should you choose ? Florence, Bologna, Lucca ? Quite  confusing because there are so many language schools in Tuscany!  How to arrange suitable accommodation for my age group?  Please don't be worried , our School Partner has a high quality reputation and is ready to enroll you as one of their students. Host families have years of happy experience and many friendships have been maintained even a long time after the guests have left.

However, if you prefer to be independent and prepare your own meals, you can opt to stay in a single room with other students or single Italian individuals or any other type of lodging of your choice.

Still have time for more adventures ?
The September – November period is the time for  mushrooms. Did you ever taste the Porcini , Galletti mushrooms combined with the pasta or the steak  dishes? Or just  the mushrooms as a single dish prepared by an expert ? Maybe not ! How about making a trip to the forest with an expert ? Locate the  mushrooms, and pick them with your own hands, it is so exciting !  Check with us when is the right time, because the mushrooms will only grow and mature under the proper climatic conditions. You may be able to recognize some mushroom types, but  only an expert could tell you yes, that is the right one.

Galletti mushroom                                                                                        Porcini mushrooms 


If you plan to attend any of these events during the Fall Season in Italy, did you already make arrangements for lodgings? You have the choice to stay in the country-side, in a green environment, overlooking vineyards and olive plantations yet not too far from the nearest town or stay in the town itself. If you do not wish to be locked up in a tiny hotel room, perhaps a small studio apartment is not a bad idea, where you can make your own sandwich or pasta and do not have to reply on restaurant food all the time.  It depends on your dudget and we could assist you in finding a suitable place for your needs.

Should you plan to extend your holidays in Italy and desire to spend some time with an Italian family, a single or double room wih half-board can be arranged.

Linda Lotti is is pleased to provide you with guidance, cater to all your needs and organize traditional cooking lessons – wine tasting – language and art courses, music seminars, museum visits, accomodation and other personalized events for you , your family and your group of friends.

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