Day 5 – Wednesday, May 6th: Casole d'Elsa / Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore

After a leisurely breakfast we travel the scenic route and visit the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore. Here we will be given a tour of this beautiful and fascinating abbey with its three, 15th century cloisters, impressive monastic library and the dispensary consisting of ceramic pharmaceutical jars dating back to the 17th century. After our visit we travel the short distance to explore the tiny, walled in village of Buonconvento. The one main street is filled with little restaurants and trattorias where we will stop for lunch. From here we set off to the medieval hilltop town of Casole d'Elsa where we will visit the Verrocchio Arts Centre. These are the studios of sculpture Nigel Konstam who owns and runs this successful centre where he practices and facilitates a variety of art courses taught by both himself and visiting tutors. After a tour of the studios we will have the opportunity to stroll through the streets of Casole d'Elsa whose history dates back to the 13th century.