Throughout Tuscany you will find some of Italys best Olives grown. Often growing within the vineyards, the nutrients in the ground just seem to add that special something to the Olives and the Olive oil produced in the area.
The majority of the Olives in Tuscany and Umbria are still harvested by hand with members of extended families and friends travelling to the family farms to help bring in the olives. Nets are laid under the trees to protect any falling olives, baskets are tied around waists and each branch is methodically stripped of its prize. A sharp hit from a broom handle normally dislodges any stray olives too!
In Tuscany, the olives are picked whilst Green and it is this early crop that gives the local Tuscan oils their distinctive taste and texture.
Once picked, it is important to get the harvest to the olive press as soon as possible in order to avoid any spoiling of the olives - because of their fat content, olives can spoil quickly and ferment. Most presses in Tuscany operate as a 'Frantoio' which is a communual mill and every grower has an appointment to press their olives for their oil - something that is watched closely so that different growers olives are not mixed by mistake.
The best quality oil is that of the 'First Press' and this is highly prized amongst the growers and fetches the highest price if sold.
For those of you staying at Montebuoni or Montefiorile in November, you are welcome to help out with the olive harvest and to visit to the nearby Frantoio.
Situated in the heart of the Chianti region, apartments sleep from between 2-6 people. Click here for more details
The last 3 weekends of November are given over to Festivals celebrating the harvesting of White Truffles in the San Miniato area of Tuscany. Easily reached from all areas of Tuscany, San Miniato is one of the most productive areas in Europe for the valuable White Truffles and the locally grown truffles are the most expensive of their kind. The Tubar Magnatum Pico is the most valuable because it will only grow in the most precise conditions and is therefore very limited in its harvesting.
The San Miniato National White Truffle Fair sees stalls selling the famous delicacy along with other local
produce such as truffle oils, porcini mushrooms, walnuts, artichokes and even the Sigaro Toscana - Tuscan Cigar - that is also produced in the San Miniato area.
The nearest property to San Miniato is the private villa Colle di Sotto for 4-6 people
THRUSH FESTIVAL, MONTALCINO:
Celebrating the traditional hunting skills in the area, the Thrush Festival is an excuse for the villages in the area of Montalcino to compete against each other in ancient arts such as archery. Food and drink are in abundance as the citizens of the area come out in Medieval costumes to support their local competitors and showcase their produce.
19km from Montalcino is the hamlet of Fattoria Armena, this is a small hamlet of 3 rented apartments and the owners house nestled in the countryside. The apartments can sleep between 4 - 7 people.
Now in its 26th year, the Florence marathon takes place on Sunday 29th November and is a well established fixture on the marathon calendar, taking in the sights of the beautiful city and the hospitality of the locals - it is not unknown for people to fly in to Florence or Pisa in the morning to take part and fly home again afterwards! - it is of course more restful to combine the marathon with a holiday though.