Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

We would like to wish family , freinds and all our guests at Montestigliano a wonderful ‘ Holiday season and Happy New Year 2015!

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Tuscany Tour with SimpleItaly – Hosted at Montestigliano!

2015 Departure Dates
A Unique Curated Small Group Experience

The 2015 dates for the week-long Tuscany Tour with SimpleItaly at Villa Pipistrelli south of Siena are: April 11-18, April 18-25; October 3-10, October 10-17.

Few experiences are as memorable as sharing time and a spectacular destination with an intimate group of friends, colleagues, or grown-up family.

Program hosts Sharon and Walter Sanders met, fell in love, worked and married in Tuscany. Their award winning blog helps people all over the world celebrate their Inner Italian.

Walter and Sharon Sanders help you celebrate your Inner Italian.

SimpleItaly has partnered with the Donati family of the Montestigliano estate to create a week in Tuscany like no other.

Sharon is a Certified Culinary Professional of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, a food writer, cookbook author, and teacher. Walter, a private business consultant, formerly developed escorted tour programs to western Europe, Mexico, central and south America for Cartan Tours and was a Certified Travel Counselor.
“We lived in Tuscany,” says Sharon, “and we want to share the experience of unpacking just once, settling into the luxurious Villa Pipistrelli, and feeling the rhythm of a secluded and majestic Tuscan location. The meals, prepared by personal chefs, reflect the culinary integrity and wine heritage of Tuscany.”

“Instead of spending precious time behind the windows of a tour bus, we immerse you in a special destination,” says Walter. “We bring experts, authors, artists, cheese makers, and foragers to the villa so you guests engage with them. The few jaunts we take off the property are nearby, and they open worlds normally not discoverable by tourists.”

“Tuscany comes to life in April, with a freshened tempo. And October is a harvest dance, celebrating the close of a growing season,” says Sharon.

Roll pasta, be happy with your Tuscany Tour with SimpleItaly

Celebrate your Inner Italian artist with a watercolor painting class under the glorious Tuscan sun.

Tuscany Tour with SimpleItaly is limited to 12. It is ideal for self-formed groups of family, friends, colleagues . . . or couples traveling independently. The cost is $2,995 per person, double occupancy, ground only. All meals are included.

Here’s what some SimpleItaly guests have to say:

June Hudson, Jenkintown, Pa. — “Don’t hesitate on this one. It’s a calm, laid back approach to the beauty of experiencing Tuscany, just like the people of Tuscany live their lives on a daily basis. Thank you Walter and Sharon for creating an experience we never could have.”

Dennis Ashley, Summerville, S.C.— “The activities were well thought out, better than any summer camp could be. Come to think about it, this was summer camp for adults … with wine! If a wonderful week in Tuscany is on your bucket list, this is a must do.”

More information at
#montestigliano #siena #tuscany #villaintuscany #tuscanvillas #tuscanvilla #friends #food #wine

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Montestigliano – Olive Oil – Article by the Virginia Sportsman.

A wonderful article about Montestigliano’s Olive Oil.
Click on the following link to read the full article. Pdf format.

Enjoy! Hope to see you all soon at Montestigliano!

Click to see full article olive oil-2Senza nome 1_html_m1bfa1bcd

Click to see full article olive oil-2

Posted in News | Leave a comment


A wonderful article about Montestigliano and Palazzo Donati in Le Marche.
Click on the following link to read the full article. Pdf format.
Enjoy! Hope to see you all soon at Montestigliano!


image.pngA wonderful article about Montestigliano and Palazzo Donati in Le Marche.
Click on the following link to read the full article. Pdf format.
Enjoy! Hope to see you all soon at Montestigliano!


Posted in News | Leave a comment

Holiday with us in 2015!

Stay in the heart of Tuscany in 2015!

Explore majestic rolling countryside, vineyards, ancient walled towns and architecture. Visit Siena, Florence, San Gimignano, Pienza and countless other historic towns and rural retreats. Relax and enjoy Tuscan cuisine, olive oil, wine and other local specialties.

If you are planning a long vacation, a short holiday break, looking for a unique wedding reception venue or simply just want to get away from it all… then Montesigliano would be an ideal holiday destination.

Montestigliano is a privately owned farm estate (agritourism) spread over 2475 acres. All our self-contained 18th†century holiday villas have been professionally restored to the highest level, and are fully equipped. Every villa has easy access to some of the most beautiful countryside in Tuscany. With cypress avenues, olive groves, fig trees and ancient terraces it’s an ideal location to walk and enjoy the countryside.

We cater for individuals, large and small families and groups and have facilities to host special events.

Explore, visit & relax… holiday with us at Montestigliano!

For information and availablity please email Francesco


foto di Montestigliano.

foto di Montestigliano.


foto di Montestigliano.foto di Montestigliano.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

The ‘Magic’ of Montestigliano a BEAUTIFUL Tuscan Wedding!

Thank you to Liam and Nicole for sharing these wonderful pictures of their beautiful Tuscan wedding at Montestigliano earlier this year! Photography by the fantastic, Chloe Brown. Caught the Light photography!





The ‘Magic’ of Montestigliano a BEAUTIFULTuscan wedding!

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Stay on a farm in Italy with wine expert |


Montestigliano: At the Heart of Italian Agritourismo

Aug 15, 2014Julie Pegg, Wine & Spirits Editor, Canada0

accommodations in  MontestiglianoAgritourismo is holidaying on a working farm and it’s popularity, especially in Italy, is on the rise. Usually the focus is culinary. And the food couldn’t be more “real.” The cheese, meats, fruits and vegetables, olive oil, wheat (for bread and pasta), and wine that grace the table is churned, reared, grown, pressed, milled or fermented nearby or on site—sometimes within feet of the house.

For the hardworking locals that farm these estates, the philosophy of field-to-table (and vineyard-to-bottle) isn’t a locavore trend, but a way of life. With that first nibble of fresh pecorino, slice of grainy bread or thin-crust pizza, silky noodle, bit of fresh fennel, or quaff of zippy wine, you’re bound to love these folks’ connection to the land.
Agrotourismo lodgings range from the rustic to deluxe. Villa Pipistrelli, definitely the latter, is situated on Montestigliano, a 2,475-acre estate that was once a tenant farm, about 8 mi (15 km) from the town of Siena and 50 mi (80 km) from Florence. The Donati Family, who own and run the entire domain, has painstakingly restored the centuries’ old villa. It’s a family affair: Massimo, head of the farm and wild boar hunter extraordinaire, oversees production of the estate’s own olive oil. Luisa, our bubbly host, takes care of communication and events with a fine detail (and a fine command of English). Damiano and Marta crunch the numbers and ensure guests feel at home. And it wouldn’t surprise me if Virginia, an architect, had input into the villa’s restoration and renovation.

This is the Life!

Lodging in agritourismo ranges from rustic to luxe.

Lodging in agritourismo ranges from rustic to luxe.

It’s 7 a.m. the first morning of our stay.

I unbolt the shutters and throw open the window. The sweet aroma of sage and the misty view of hills, ochre-hued stone and spring-greened shrubbery roust me from a deep slumber.

Tough as it is to toss back the layers of embroidered bedspread, feathery comforter and crisp linens, I force myself out of my super-comfy bed. I take my time about it, finally lured by much needed, eye-opening Italian roast coffee and the tantalizing spread of locally-made prosciutto, pecorino (sheep) cheese, hard-cooked eggs and sweet homemade crostata that await in the kitchen.

Villa Pipistrelli is my kind of indulgence—posh yet rustic. Exposed wood, stone, tile, hearth, art and artifacts are in keeping the Tuscan landscape. Massimo’s wife, an interior designer, did a marvelous job with the villa. Bedrooms are pure luxury, but devoid of kitsch and clutter. The villa kitchen, kitted out with top-notch appliances, tableware, and (of course!) large lovely wine glasses, is a bonus for those who wish to self-cater. However, many guests prefer to let the estate’s private chef, Anna, handle the hearth.

The olive tree in front of my flat.

The olive tree in front of my flat.

I and another guest choose to stay in the annex, a two-bedroom “cottage” just steps from the main house. A winding staircase descends to a sitting room, well-equipped galley kitchen and laundry room. French doors open onto the private patio. I covet the red leather love seat by the fireplace and find time each afternoon to sink into it, pour myself a glass of wine and read Bill Buford’s Heat. (Much of this New York Times author’s delightful memoir of writer-turned-butcher takes place the Tuscan hills. And, while I am not swayed to follow a similar pursuit, it’s the perfect read for my surroundings.)

More modest but no less accommodating are the flats filled this holiday weekend with other guests in the Montestigliano hamlet, a 10-minute stroll from the villa. We meet and mingle over an al fresco lunch of bruschetta, fennel salad and grilled sausages. The next evening it’s handmade wood fired pizzas washed down with Chianti Colli Senese in the Estate’s former granary-turned-social room, accompanied by much song and laughter. Brimming with fruit and spice notes, the wine from vineyards around Siena is as boisterous as its imbibers.

Tasting the Fruit of the Field

By 9 a.m. (and several cups of coffee later), I’m on a brisk, woodsy walk with my friends to the estate’s olive grove. Our host, Luisa, leads the way.

Brother Massimo Donati is already at the grove ready to walk and talk us through the process of making of really good olive oil, not the so-called brands of extra virgin olive oil but the first-pressed oil from gently gathered olives. Aldo the grove keeper pantomimes gathering the fruit. He rustles the branches with a broom-like machine with long slender “fingers,” which loosens the olives. The ripe fruit tumbles to the ground where it’s collected and sorted. Following the picking demonstration, it’s off to the granary’s drying room where Massimo talks and tastes us through oils from big brands to small batch artisan and the delicate process of making his own.

I'd pour is Montestigliano olive oil on just about anything.

I’d pour Montestigliano olive oil on just about anything.

No need to guess which oil is our favorite. The estate’s olive oil, viscous, fruity, with an agreeable bitterness, is the perfect finishing oil. I lightly drizzle it on everything from bread and salad to pasta and pizza to cheese. Given the chance, I think I would have even trickled it over vanilla gelato.

Cinta Sinese Pork

Spannocchia is another estate of artisans who strive to maintain the biodiversity of this idyllic landscape that we visit a couple of days into our stay. The owners strived successfully to save and preserve the Cinta Senesi pigs, a heritage breed that’s highly regarded for its succulent, tender flesh.

The heritage pigs yield delightful porcine platters like this one.

The heritage pigs yield delightful porcine platters like this one.

These pampered piggies enjoy a life of grazing in the grass on this 12th century estate before they become pepper-flecked salami, prosciutto, capicolla, melt-on-the-tongue lardo, or the Tuscan version of sopressata, more like headcheese than dried cured meat.
Our porcine platter served at Bottega di Stigliano, a market/deli-cum-restaurant that sells Spanocchia’s wares and other regional products, is washed down with the estate’s own vino rosso (red wine).

Off to Siena

Luisa has arranged an afternoon in Siena for us. I slip away to the side streets and hit upon a wine grotto. I could spend hours here scouting the cramped space that’s crammed with fine Chianti and Brunello wines. I also find a hole-in-the wall pizzeria and gelateria and I return to the bustling square with an excellent coffee gelato in tow.

It’s a good thing I also didn’t go for a slab of pizza because this evening’s fare is a BBQ Italian style. A harvest table is festooned with herb-and olive oil anointed chicken, cheese-stuffed pasta shells (lumache), grilled veggies, fresh greens, and, of course, more wine.

Freshly made pasta.

Freshly made pasta.

Our last evening is warm enough to eat outside under Pipistrelli’s tiled eaves. It’s a family affair and everybody shows up. Anna and crew juggle the rolling, sauteing, grinding and grilling. The result once again is spectacular– gnocchi, crostini, various meats and salads, and wine. We sip and linger with the family until long after dark while candles burn down slowly.

On of the delights of agritourismo is meeting artisan producers like Dino Aldo.

On of the delights of agritourismo is meeting artisan producers like Aldo.

Montestigliano has fed my body and soul. I’ve loved visiting producers, the hours’ long convivial meals, the laughter and chit-chat. I’ve also had time for respite, a quiet wood or garden stroll and the rare opportunity for an uninterrupted read. And all in only three and a half days. Next time, I want a couple of weeks during harvest—and let me loose in the kitchen! – Story and photos (unless otherwise credited) by Julie Pegg, Wine & Spirits Editor

In my next story on Italy, I’ll take you to Palazzo Donati, the family “home” in Mercatello sul Matauro, a tiny village nestled between Tuscany and Emiglia-Romana in the Le Marche. Stay tuned.

Montestigliano apartments and Villa Pipistrelli

agritourism agritourismo artisan olive oil Europe Great places to eat Italy Italy Julie Pegg villas wine and food Italy

Previous PostGet Your Cajun On Next PostLifewise Oregon Berry Festival: An Inside Look

Julie Pegg, Wine & Spirits Editor, Canada

Julie Pegg, Wine & Spirits Editor, Canada

Julie Pegg has been writing about food, wine, and spirits for 15 years. She was a product consultant for 14 of her 24 years working for the British Columbia Liquor Board in Vancouver. She still keeps her hand in (and elbow firmly bent) at Dundarave Wine Cellars in West Vancouver, British Columbia. Julie is also a keen amateur cook who loves culinary travel. Farmers’ markets and wine shops are always her first stop. Julie is RFT’s Wine & Spirits Editor, Canada.

Related articles

Stay on a farm in Italy with wine expert |

Posted in News | Leave a comment