Out With Alisa: Exploring the Italian Countryside

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Rob and Katie Hersov invited 60 of their friends to join them at Villa Mangiacane for a 3-day weekend getaway in Florence, Italy. Villa Mangiacane, which is nestled in the heart of the Chianti Classico winemaking region, is a magnificent 15th century villa built which was built by the Machiavelli family (Niccolò Machiavelli famously wrote The Prince). Located just 12km south of Florence, the villa sits on 600 acres of flourishing vineyards and olive groves.

We arrived Friday, and that evening the guests (including Natalie Von Bismarck, Robert White, Louise Tabiner and Glynn Cohen) had drinks by the pool, followed by a seated dinner in the villa’s wine cellar. On Saturday we had a full day of activities, starting with a tour of the Villa Mangiacane (which features over 200 pieces of original Shona sculptures) and a bike ride through the estate. We had a cooking class with local chef Francesca Marcella (who showed us traditional Italian dishes), a wine tasting, golf at the Ugolino Golf Club (widely regarded as one of the most beautiful courses in the world) and a trip to Florence to see La Galleria degli Uffizi, La Galleria Dell’Accademia, El Museo Nazionale del Bargello and the Pitti Museums. There was also a Fiat 500 Rally, which was a fun and unique opportunity to drive vintage Fiat 500s around the beautiful Tuscan hills. The day finished off with a masquerade dinner party back at the Villa Mangiacane. On Sunday night we bid farewell and flew back home.

Many thanks to our hosts and all the guests for this lovely weekend! Although we were sad to leave the beautiful Italian countryside, everybody got to bring home a little taste of the region: a bottle of award-winning Mangiacane wine, olive oil and a gift certificate for Kate Hersov’s company Pret a Porter. Thank you very much Rob and Katie, we can’t wait to come back!