We recently enjoyed a week-long, semi-private, “Living Flavours” tour of the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany with Arianna and Alessio of KM Zero Tours. We have travelled extensively throughout Europe over the past several years and this was one of our favorite experiences.
If you are looking for crowds, long waits, large tour buses, and impersonal site visits with the masses of tourists, avoid KM Zero Tours! Instead, if you enjoy being catered to in all respects, residing at a country cottage, meeting artisans who will spend hours demonstrating and discussing their passions, meeting and eating intimate meals with organic and sustainable wine, cheese, and cashmere producers where you learn their personal stories, successes, and challenges, all accompanied by a lovely Italian couple who are passionate and knowledgeable, then you must contact KM Zero Tours.
Arianna and Alessio provided a detailed plan for our visit and were very flexible in making changes to personalize our visit. From the moment that Alessio picked us up at the airport until our departure, this was a first class operation. Despite packing in multiple activities each day, the pace felt very relaxed and we were never rushed to get to the next event. For all but 2 days, we enjoyed a private tour with Arianna and Alessio and we really felt like we were visiting friends who were showing us their neighborhood and introducing us to their friends. For the other 2 days, a lovely couple from New York joined us, which really just added to our enjoyment of the trip. Each activity and meal was wonderful. The agriturismo we stayed at was simply amazing.
By the end of the week, we felt like Arianna and Alessio had become close friends. As we parted, some tears were passed, but we certainly plan on returning for another visit in the not-to-distant-future.
You will not find a more passionate and professional couple than Arianna and Alessio. They have all the right connections in Tuscany to introduce you to authentic artisans. Every detail is thought of, and you can completely relax knowing this is the best way to experience the real Tuscany.
My partner and I were lucky enough to spend a week with Arianna & Alessio, where they introduced us to other amazing and passionate producers and artists. Each day we ate amazing food and drank amazing wine with genuinely beautiful local people.
I could not fault this tour or this couple for the experience and service they provide.
Our week included the below highlights...
- The most amazing cooking classes with a variety of chefs and stunning locations
- Goat farm visit including cheese tasting
- Silversmith in San Gimignano
- Amazing woodturning workshop visit
- Greve in Chianti village
- Terracotta workshop visit
- Olive Oil tasting
- Winery tours and lunch
The whole experience feels like your own private, VIP experience of Tuscany.
"The Trip of a Lifetime" is the best descriptor for the experience we had in Tuscany with KMZero! Our family was absolutely awed with the beauty, warmth, generosity, hospitality of the Tuscan people -- all brought to us through the tireless efforts of Arianna, Alessio and Michael of KMZero. We never expected to be welcomed into the homes of the great artisans they connected us with -- but that is exactly what occurred! We feasted on the local lifestyle and became immersed in this unforgettable part of the world. It is hard to say what we enjoyed most... the winery experiences? breadmaking in the backyard? cashmere goats? homecooked gourmet meal under the pergola of the incredibly talented couple that hosted us in their home? Sienna? San Gimingnano? or the beautiful Stefania coming to our villa to teach/prepare with us a traditional 4-course Tuscan meal? Suffice to say that we loved ALL of these opportunities. The villa itself was perfect, with the most breathtaking views imaginable.... Eternal thanks to Arianna, Alessio and Michael for putting all of this together for us, for attending to our every need (and believe me, we had some pretty extreme allergies/sensitivities that required attention and they did so with the greatest compassion and patience), and for now being part of our family! We look forward to coming back soon to Bella Italia!!!! Grazie mille!!!!
Our day with Arianna & Alessio was, without a doubt, the highlight of our two week trip to Italy. Their hospitality, warmth and genuine enthusiasm for their sharing their community with visitors was remarkable. We visited a goat cheese farm, winery, and olive oil producer. I wish we would have had additional days to spend with them checking out some of their other tour offerings. We learned about the history and culture of Tuscany while seeing the beautiful countryside and enjoying amazing food and wine. While we might have been able to cultivate some of those tours or experiences on our own, having Arianna & Alessio as our drivers and guides made the day so much more relaxing and engaging than if we tried to do it on our own. It was like we were visiting friends. We can't recommend their tours highly enough!
Dear Arianna,Alessio & Michael
Maybe you guys feel our energy because we are constantly thinking and talking about you.
Our conversations- so far- are only about Tuscany and everybody are ready to go back.
We can not thank you enough for your hospitality your kindness and perfect arrangements,( we wake cup in the morning and everything was ready for us, perfect breakfast great trips always with lunch and fantastic dinners).
All the special people whom we meet will stay in our memory forever .
Now we know much more about wine, olive and of course about honey.
This was only possible, because of you. !!!!!!! Vi ringrazio molto
Arianna , you guys are doing excellent job - bringing your beautiful and beloved Tuscany to others.
I always loved Italy - ora mi sono innamorato con la Toscana.
We may have a lot of friends but in seven days in Tuscany we meet new peoples who became our friends and will stay in our memory forever.
Margaret and the rest of the Polish/Ukrainian group.
Absolutely Amazing! My family (6 adults + 1 baby) met up at Montrogoli for a week-long tuscan vacation. Since we were coming from all over the world, we wanted an unforgettable experience and Arianna and Alessio more than exceeded our expectations. First of all, the villa was gorgeous with plenty of room for everyone. We loved coming back in the evening to have a bottle of wine in the garden- the views were spectacular. During the day, Arianna and Alessio treated us to a variety of experiences and each person we met was nicer than the last. My personal favorite was the cooking class with Veronica, but other favorites included wine tasting with Anna and the cashmere goat farm with an "under the Tuscan sun" lunch. This was a phenomenal trip, and we are hoping to go back in the future. You won't find a better experience than this!
Our time in Tuscany with KMZero tours was the most memorable and in the moment travel experience I have ever had. I touched real people living lives with passion about what they believe and do. They shared their homes, lives, and livelihoods with us on a personal level that connected us with the craft, food, wine, history, and people that live and do life in the Chianti region of Tuscany. I spent my 60th birthday on the most lovely tour of an olive farm with the most wonderful food, wine, and conversation all thanks to KMZero tours and perfect planning. The memories and thoughts that grew from this experience will be with me the remainder of my time in this journey we call life. I will always think of the Italian way of life at a greater and fonder depth due to our experience with KM Zero tours. Thanks to this time well spent I will eat, drink, and live differently forever. Grazie mille to you Arianna, Allesio, and Michael!
It was a truly lovely experience. It was something new and extraordinary for us who come a long way and have different cultures. We loved their amiability, their eagerness to explain/teach and their passion for the food. We definitely recommend it! I was trying to think which was my favorite part and I can't find it because everything in the tour was marvelous and exciting. I loved that they were very easy to talk to; it wasn't forced. It was my favorite tour in the two weeks we were in Italy. Thank you Arianna and Alesio!
Wow, where can I even begin? When friends and family ask me about my one week trip to the Chianti region of Tuscany my response is usually something along the lines of: "Words can’t do it justice…" followed by a descriptor of "Authentic” to try and find somewhere to start.
Hi! Amanda and Ross here!! We signed up with KM Zero tours for a one week trip to the Chianti region of Tuscany in October 2016, it was clear from the very beginning that the trip was going to be unreal!
Before our flights were even booked, Arianna was making sure that arrangements were suitable for us, as well as planning menus around the multiple allergies Ross was blessed with. Allergies were not the only flexibility that KMZero tours provided us: when we couldn't find an arriving flight that would fit within the pick-up times outlined by KMZ, they offered to pick us up at a later time as a welcoming present! They also provided us with multiple solutions to our departure flight when we ran into the same problem. This alleviated a lot of potential stress that could have been added to the trip.
We stayed at Arianna's childhood home, a beautiful 13th century, countryside villa that had been upgraded with plumbing, electricity and beautiful Tuscan décor in the 80s. Seriously...13th century brick flooring everyone!! Weathered from the centuries of people who stood there before us! The villa is plunked right in the middle of the Tuscan countryside. Our room was like its own little retreat, with calming colours and beautiful views. We were immediately swept up in the slow paced, relaxed lifestyle.
To kick off the trip Arianna, along with her boyfriend Alessio and his brother Michael hosted a beautiful pizza supper. Alessio wowed us all with his innate cooking talents, making many different types of pizzas in a homemade outdoor pizza oven. This is where we were first introduced to the slow and relaxing ways of the Tuscan people, we were encouraged to take our time and enjoy the fresh local ingredients on each pizza, along with a beautiful white wine. It was a great welcoming supper event.
I would describe travelling through the Chianti region of Tuscany as “a breeze”. For real, we did not have to consider one detail, everything was taken care of, including, but not limited to: transportation (with Michael and Alessio acting as our own personal chauffeurs), hydration, and meals. Our typical day consisted of breakfast in the villa (all local foods, including hand delivered baked goods from the local Paniao) two major tour events a “light” lunch and a delicious supper.
Here is a brief breakdown of our the tours we got to experience: A walking tour of Arianna’s home town of Mercatale as well as the surrounding villages and countryside, hosted by two men from Mercatale: Roberto and the local Panaio, Beppe. Their route ended with a tour of a local goat cheese farm where we had the pleasure of learning all about goat cheese, how it’s made, how it tastes, and the importance of sustainable and organic farming; A really cool cooking class where we learned how to cook a traditional Tuscan meal with local ingredients, and then enjoyed the meal that we took part in producing; A visit to a local, family owned terracotta workshop where we learned all about what it takes to make a piece of true terracotta pottery as well as how to spot a fake; A visit to the actual olive oil producer that Arianna and Alessio personally bring their olives to during the harvest season, which included a professional olive oil tasting and learning about how much work goes into producing a high quality olive oil, and what to take into consideration when shopping for a tasty oil at the supermarket; A visit to an artisanal pasta factory, stressing the importance of time in the creation of pasta products, and the proper way to cook various types of pasta; Visits to both a local red, and white winery: the former in production for centuries, with a beautiful 15th century estate, the latter, a vineyard taken over by a young family producing the only white wine variety in the Chianti region; Picturesque walking tours of the cute little town of Montefioralle, the Town of Fine Towers San Gimignano, and Greve in Chianti, all beautiful local towns with historical importance and gorgeous views; A walking tour of San Frediano district in Florence, including crossing the famous Ponte Vecchio over the beautiful Arno River, and displaying the side of Florence that had a more relaxed community feel, rather than the hustle and bustle of typical city life; and finally a biking tour of the village where we gathered the ingredients for the final meal of the week Steak Florentine.
And now to the food! I think it’s fair to describe it as PHENOMINAL! Truely, each meal was an experience: from picnic lunches to full out 5 course meals, not one repeated dish, and many new tastes! Many of our tours included a “light” lunch, Arianna explained to us that a light meal in Italy means a meal without a meat main… so don’t be fooled! Both winery tours included one of these so called light lunches where we were given the opportunity to taste some of their wines along with some delicious eats, the pasta factory also provided a delightful lunch allowing us to sample some of their “Priest Choker” pasta, finishing off with their cantucci and some vin santo! The lunches were all great, but for us, the dinners were really the star of the show! I have already described the initial pizza night which was amazing, the next night we were invited into the home of Arianna and Alessio’s close friends who prepared for us a delicious meal which was cooked in their outdoor oven, it was such a welcoming experience, we felt like we were personally part of their friend group. On a few other nights we ate twice at a local eco-tourisimo and once at a local restaurant where we were served, again, multiple courses of traditional Tuscan cuisine, which were all created using locally produced ingredients from organic and sustainable sources and paired with local and organic wines. Our favorite meals though, were the ones that were carefully and skillfully prepared by KMZ’s own Alessio, a very talented cook. The second meal that Alessio prepared for us after pizza night was Polenta all’Abruzzese a delightful traditional meal from Alessio and Michaels hometown which is typically reserved for family celebrations and gatherings, a meal that I think everyone should have the chance to experience, and on the final night a glorious meal of Steak Florentine cooked outside on their home made brick barbeque, Amazing! Another part of each meal that we appreciated was that before we ate the chef of the meal or Arianna would explain the importance or historical value of each dish and how it was eaten, and a little about the vineyard the wine we would be enjoying came from, it really added to the educational value of the trip.
A few things amazed us about these tours #1 Arianna’s immaculate knowledge of local history, sustainable farming, wine production, olive oil production and more… she was a great source of information and hard to stump with any questions we had #2 The total community vibe of sustainable eco-tourism, it was like Arianna, Alessio and Michael were employees at each place we stopped! They were always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone, anywhere we went: dealing with compost on one winery, selling bottles at another, serving meals at dinner in other people’s homes and more! #3 The history of the country is unbelievable, from reinforcements on buildings as a result of assaults from WWII, to the realization that the age of a vineyard / olive tree grove is older than the country that you come from!
The whole trip was just fantastic, we didn’t want to leave! Thank you so much to Arianna, Alessio, and Michael for providing us with such an amazing experience, we will never forget it!
We had a great week enjoying the Tuscan countryside, two vineyards, olive pressing factory with a tasting, terracotta factory, a natural goat farm, and a half dozen towns.
What we liked best was a week of no menus! The group would sit down, and on would come the wine, several appetizers, main course, desert, desert wine, and after diner drinks. Every meal was fantastic, and varied with nothing repeated. The food was all great but, I wish I knew how many appetizers where coming before the main course; maybe we would not have had so many seconds!
Starting our first full day with a hike through the country side will the local baker Beppe who stopped to explain the vines, olive trees, and an abandoned church; also answering any questions that we had. Plus when he opened his backpack, and pulled out bread that he had made that morning pouring olive oil that was from the groove we were standing in was fantastic. A little later from the backpack came more bread but, this time wine was poured on it, and it was sprinkled with sugar; then later out came biscotti, and a delicious desert wine! Standing in the beautiful country side with these small samplings will always be a special memory for us!
We had a tour through a terracotta plant which was given by the daughter with her father, and her grand-father working on the pots that just came out of the kiln as we walked around. Everything was so interesting with how the children are taking over the businesses from their parents.
Since it was harvest season during our tour of the olive oil pressing factory, we enjoyed seeing the farmers come in with their vehicles full of just harvested olives, and how these where immediately turned into oil for the farmers to take back. Then we went upstairs, and had an olive oil tasting session to compare: olive oil, basic virgin olive oil with their own Tuscany grown olive oils; what a difference!
Looking at the itinerary I thought we would have time to relax at the villa but we kept on moving all day long with maybe time for a quick half hour nap before dinner!
Staying in the villa whose owner was our tour guide, and her boyfriend was the driver of one van with his younger brother driving the other had a great comfortable feel with all questions being answered, and our every need being taken care of even before we knew we needed to be taken care of!
We want to thank Arianna, Alessio, and Michael for making our week in Tuscany such a wonderful, and fulfilling experience!
We spent a memorable day with Arianna and Alesio visiting an organic farm that produces wine, olives and honey. We loved the farm experience -- the owner is so knowledgeable and passionate about what he does. We really felt we were closer to authentic Italy during this excursion. Arianna and Alesio are very gracious hosts -- they were so friendly and conversational throughout the day! We would certainly book another tour with them if we have an opportunity to return to Italy.
On Sept 15, 2016 we spent the day with Arianna and Alesio visiting local organic wineries in the Tuscany Region. We visited both Il Bacio and Cappella Saint Andrea. Everyone throughly enjoyed the relaxing experience learning much of the wine industry and the local area from Anianna and Alesio and the operators of the wineries. We will certainly join them again on our next trip to the Tuscany Region.
We only had one day to spend in Tuscany on our trip, but with Arianna and Alesio by our side, we had a weeks worth of experiences! They are truly passionate and knowledgable about the countryside and have a special gift in being able to share that with visitors. This is not a normal "tour," this is a secret passage way into true Tuscany. We are already dreaming of our return and spending much more time with Arianna and Alesio!
Arianna and Alesio led us on a one-of-a-kind tour of the Tuscan countryside. They graciously put together a special combination of tours for our group to visit a pasta factory and winery. We met the owners at the small, family-run pasta factory, and the tour included a delicious lunch and a cooking lesson. The winery has been in the same family for 500 years and our tour guide was a wonderfully sweet elderly woman who lives in the beautiful house and gardens on site. Arianna and Alesio have clearly gone to a great effort to coordinate tours of intimate, family-run businesses that reveal an authentic experience. They are wonderful and knowledgeable guides from the area who can tell you about the history, geography, culture, etc. of Tuscany and Italy. I would highly recommend the tours to anyone looking for an intimate tour with welcoming and hospitable hosts, good conversation, and a great taste of Tuscany.
I gave myself a big pat on the back for choosing Arianna and Alesio's amazing service. It was like meeting old friends, they made us feel their love for beautiful Italy. A truly memorable and authentic experience. Beautiful nature, amazing wine, great food and lovely people.. What more can you ask for?
It was a very incredible experience. Thank you so much Alessio and Arianna, Tuscany with you was so unique!