LA RACCOLTA – Tuscan Olive Harvest

Olive Harvest in Tuscany With Chef Pamela Sheldon Johns

Exclusive Program-5 Nights, All-Inclusive

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Poggio Etrusco is Pamela Sheldon Johns’ and Johnny Johns’ 15-acre working olive farm which completed organic certification in 2005. During our week together, we think you will begin to feel some of the passion of the local food artisans and understand their connection to the land. The message is pure and simple… sitting at the table together, eating in season, using quality ingredients, and treating them simply.

The Johns’ first olive harvest in 2001 taught them a lot. They bottled 125 litres of extra-virgin olive oil. Pruning, fertilizing, and turning the soil produced 9 quintale (900 kilos, over 2000 pounds) of olives in 2002 (about 150 litres of oil). In 2003, due to harsh weather conditions (early spring freeze, summer drought), the harvest only produced enough olives to get 10 litres of oil. Last year was far better with over 1000 kilos (over 2200 pounds of olives) and 200 litres of oil. In the typical Tuscan way, they have refrained from making predictions for this year (they don’t want to jinx themselves!) but, let’s just say that this year is looking even better!

We will probably spend two to three days harvesting. Each day after breakfast, we begin picking the olives. Nets are spread under the trees, baskets tied around our waists, and olives are picked by hand. Lunch will be an energy-replenishing, home-cooked meal. If you get tired of picking, you can always take a break in your room or lend a hand in the kitchen. You will see the olives from tree to table and will be able to taste the truly unique moment when the olive oil is at its ultimate…just-pressed and drizzled on a fire-toasted slice of bread.

Chef Pamela and Johnny are very proud of their oil and pleased to share one of the year’s best moments, La Raccolta, the olive harvest!


Within 15 minutes of Poggio Etrusco

  • The wine-inspired hilltop town of Montepulciano
  • Charming Renaissance Pienza and Monticchiello
  • Medieval Montefollonico
  • The Etruscan town of Chiusi
  • The spa town of Chianciano Terme

Helpful Links

  • Montepulciano – Local news in Montepulciano, home of Poggio Etrusco.
  • Chianciano Terme – Local news in Chianciano, famous for the spa waters, 2 kms from Poggio Etrusco.
  • Cicloposse Bike Company – Local bicycle rentals..
  • Strada del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Information about the DOCG wine produced in Montepulciano.
  • Val d’Orcia – Information about the nearby natural park of the Val d’Orcia, including Pienza, Bagno Vignone, and Montalcino.
  • Il Sasso Language School in Montepulciano, recognized as one of the best Italian language schools in Italy.

Within 30 minutes of Poggio Etrusco

  • Montalcino, famed for Brunello wine
  •  San Giovanni d’Asso, home of white truffles
  • Bagno Vignone, site of an ancient Roman Bath
  • Mt. Amiata, the extinct volcano
  • Under the Tuscan sun in Cortona
  • Sarteano, San Quirico d’Orcia, Cetona, and other colorful towns

Within 45 minutes to an hour from Poggio Etrusco

  • Siena, Chianti, Arezzo
  • The Umbrian towns of Perugia, Orvieto, Assisi and Deruta

Day Trips from Poggio Etrusco

  • Florence
  • Pisa
  • Rome and the Vatican



This sample itinerary is to give you an idea of what we usually do. Much depends on weather, so the days might change or there will be additional activities (cooking classes, probably) if we are unable to pick.


Arrive to Chiusi train station (halfway between Florence and Rome) at approximately 11:00 am (we will help organize your arrival; you can see train schedules at We will head for the old part of Chiusi, the heart of the Etruscan world. Our first stop is the celebrated Etruscan museum for a quick overview of Etruscan civilization, then visit the underground labyrinths. Our historian guide will take us to see one of the seldom visited ancient tombs near the Lake of Chiusi. Our lunch at a lakeside trattoria will be one imagined to be similar to what Etruscans ate: fresh perch from the lake smoked over canes and dressed with local olive oil, pici (the local pasta with ancient roots), and the local Sangiovese wine.

Once we have settled into Poggio Etrusco, we will head to the medieval village of Monticchiello where we will have a demonstration of a dish using farro, an ancient strain of wheat. We’ll have some time to stroll around charming Monticchiello, then return for dinner and a lesson from a wine master on the spectrum of wines in Tuscany.


This morning we have a hands-on cooking class to will make the classic Tuscan lunch: crostini fegatini, Ribollita, roasted chicken and potatoes. Dessert is a fig crostata.

In the afternoon we explore the charming Renaissance hilltown of Pienza, famous for its Pecorino cheese. We will learn about pecorino cheese and salume from an artisanal cheesemaker.

Dinner will be ravioli made with Pienza’s fresh ricotta, stuffed guinea hen, and a chestnut meringata.


Morning harvest, farmhouse lunch. Today we boost our energy with risotto al porcini, braised lamb with olives, seasonal vegetable, and fresh ricotta with chestnut honey. After we freshen up, we will head to a countryside trattoria with farm-raised meats and handmade pasta.

Dinner will be at a countryside trattoria with handmade pasta and farm-raised meats.


Morning harvest, farmhouse lunch of affetatti (sliced meats and cheeses), pasta al forno (lasagna), polpettone (like a meatloaf), garden greens, and torta della nonna (grandmother’s cake).

After lunch, we will plan to bring our olives to the frantoio (olive pressing mill). After our olives are pressed, we will toast fresh bread, rub it with garlic, and drizzle on our very own fresher-than-fresh olive oil. If there is time, we will also visit a mill that uses modern techniques.

In the afternoon we go to Montepulciano for a cooking demonstration at the highly acclaimed Ristorante La Grotta followed by some free time to explore, then back to the restaurant to enjoy an elegant dinner.


This morning we have the opportunity to go out with a truffle hunter, and his dog. Not far from here is San Giovanni d’Asso, a tiny zone for white truffles. We will end up at a traditional trattoria for lunch with local truffles.

Our farewell dinner is at Mondo X, in Cetona – very special!

Cetona is a beautiful little wooded village is at the very edge of Tuscany and home to a unique restaurant. Mondo “X” is in the Convent of St. Francesco which dates back to 1212. This convent was in a total state of disrepair when Father Eligio assumed possession. With a crew of reformed and reforming drug-users, the convent was restored to a magnificent state. The residents then began growing their own vegetables and fruit, raising meat, and learned to cook in an unbelievable gourmet style. We will arrive early to enjoy the grounds, perfectly maintained by the residents who are learning the trades of gardening, as the others work at cooking and restaurant and hotel jobs.



$3695 – Per Person, Double Occupancy



  • 5 Nights accommodations at Poggia Etrusco
  • Transfers upon arrival and departure from/to Chiusi Train Station
  • All meals during your stay, some on-site and some in local trattorias as our excursion itinerary dictates
  • Cultural and culinary excursions

Not Included

  • Air Travel
  • Travel Insurance





Please refer to our Terms and Conditions on our main page. We will email you our complete Terms and Conditions document at the time of booking. We prefer to have signed Terms and Conditions sheet to accompany your deposit.