There is a flower that always makes me smile: the blossom of saffron.
So fragile but still making its way through the hard clumps.

The saffron plant comes from a bulb (crocus sativus) and grows around 20-30 centimeters in height. The flowers have a purplish lilac color and inside there are three bright red stigmas.

The latitude of Italy is perfect for growing the bulb. it arrived to us from Turkey. Definitely loves the sun!

The bulbs are in vegetative stasis during the summer, then in September they wake up and the filiform leaves, of an intense green color, are born from the ground. Some leaves vegetate throughout the winter, while the flowers appear from others. Finally, in spring the plant multiplies the bulbs from which the plants of the following year will be born.

But do you know where the spice comes from? It comes from three stigmas inside the flower corolla!

The picking of flowers takes place in autumn, between the end of October and the beginning of November. It is a truly evocative moment, both for the beauty of the land strewn with purple flowers, and for the gratification of being able to tap into the precious harvest. Once collected, the stigmas are separated by hand from the corollas and finally dried. It is a process that requires a lot of time and care. Just think that it takes about 150 flowers to make one single gram of spice!

Saffron has a very intense aroma and can be used from appetizers to desserts. The distinctive feature of saffron is certainly the yellow color it provides. The etymology of the word comes from the Arabic Za’faran: “asfar” means “yellow”. There are three main substances that compose it and it is one of these, crocin, that affects the color by characterizing the stigmas with yellow pigments.

Much of my knowledge about saffron comes from meeting the family that manages the Santa Maria Farmhouse near Pienza. Maura and Virno produce cereals, oil, jams, chickpeas, spelt, barley and, of course, saffron! The farm is one of our stops during the tour in Tuscany: we will have the opportunity to deepen the cultivation techniques and to taste wonderful dishes prepared by Maura, the owner, with this precious spice.
Last but not least at the Santa Maria farm they use this ingredient to make… beer! 

saffron farmhouse
saffron farmhouse

2022 TOURS THAT CAN BE COMBINED WITH AMALFI COAST WONDERS

AMALFI COAST WONDERS + TUSCAN SPLENDORS

AMALFI COAST May 3-9 – TUSCANY May 10-17 (1 night gap)
TUSCANY May 10-17 – AMALFI COAST May 18-24 (1 night gap)
AMALFI COAST May 18-24 – TUSCANY May 25-June (1 night gap)
TUSCANY Sept 4-11 – AMALFI COAST Sept 12-18 (1 night gap)
TUSCANY Oct 2-9 – AMALFI COAST Oct 10-16 (1 night gap)
AMALFI COAST Oct 10-16 – TUSCANY Oct 16-23 (no night gap)

AMALFI COAST WONDERS + SICILIAN FLAVORS

AMALFI COAST May 3-9 – SICILY May 10-16 (1 night gap)
AMALFI COAST May 18-24 – SICILY May 25-31 (1 night gap)
SICILY May 10-16 – AMALFI COAST May 18-24 (2 night gap)

AMALFI COAST WONDERS + UMBRIA, ASSISI & LE MARCHE MARVELS

AMALFI COAST May 18-24 – UMBRIA MARCHE May 25-31 (1 night gap)
AMALFI COAST Sept 12-18 – UMBRIA MARCHE Sept 19-25 (1 night gap)

2022 TOURS THAT CAN BE COMBINED WITH SICILIAN FLAVORS

SICILIAN FLAVORS + TUSCAN SPLENDORS

TUSCANY Oct 2-9 – SICILY Oct 9-15 (no night gap)
SICILY Sept 1-7 – TUSCANY Sept 11-18 (4 night gap)
SICILY Sept 25-Oct 1 – TUSCANY Oct 2-9 (1 night gap)
SICILY Oct 9-15 – TUSCANY Oct 16-23 (1 night gap)

SICILIAN FLAVORS + AMALFI COAST WONDERS

AMALFI COAST May 3-9 – SICILY May 10-16 (1 night gap)
AMALFI COAST May 18-24 – SICILY May 25-31 (1 night gap)
SICILY May 10-16 – AMALFI COAST May 18-24 (2 night gap)

SICILIAN FLAVORS + UMBRIA, ASSISI & LE MARCHE MARVELS

UMBRIA MARCHE May 3-9 – SICILY May 10-16 (1 night gap)
UMBRIA MARCHE Sept 19-25 – SICILY Sept 25-Oct 1 (no night gap)

2022 TOURS THAT CAN BE COMBINED WITH UMBRIA, ASSISI & LE MARCHE MARVELS

UMBRIA, ASSISI & LE MARCHE MARVELS + TUSCAN SPLENDORS

UMBRIA MARCHE May 3-9 – TUSCANY May 10-17 (1 night gap)
TUSCANY Sept 11-18 – UMBRIA MARCHE Sept 19-25 (1 night gap)
TUSCANY Oct 2-9 – UMBRIA MARCHE Oct 10-16 (1 night gap)
UMBRIA MARCHE Oct 10-16 – TUSCANY Oct 16-23 (no night gap)

 

UMBRIA, ASSISI & LE MARCHE MARVELS + AMALFI COAST WONDERS

AMALFI COAST May 18-24 – UMBRIA MARCHE May 25-31 (1 night gap)
AMALFI COAST Sept 12-18 – UMBRIA MARCHE Sept 19-25 (1 night gap)

 

UMBRIA, ASSISI & LE MARCHE MARVELS + SICILIAN FLAVORS

UMBRIA MARCHE May 3-9 – SICILY May 10-16 (1 night gap)
UMBRIA MARCHE Sept 19-25 – SICILY Sept 25-Oct 1 (no night gap)

2022 TOURS THAT CAN BE COMBINED WITH TUSCAN SPLENDORS

 

TUSCAN SPLENDORS + AMALFI COAST WONDERS

AMALFI COAST May 3-9 – TUSCANY May 10-17 (1 night gap)
TUSCANY May 10-17 – AMALFI COAST May 18-24 (1 night gap)
AMALFI COAST May 18-24 - TUSCANY May 25-June (1 night gap)
TUSCANY Sept 4-11 – AMALFI COAST Sept 12-18 (1 night gap)
TUSCANY Oct 2-9 – AMALFI COAST Oct 10-16 (1 night gap)
AMALFI COAST Oct 10-16 – TUSCANY Oct 16-23 (no night gap)

TUSCAN SPLENDORS + SICILIAN FLAVORS

TUSCANY Oct 2-9 – SICILY Oct 9-15 (no night gap)
SICILY Sept 25-Oct 1 – TUSCANY Oct 2-9 (1 night gap)
SICILY Oct 9-15 – TUSCANY Oct 16-23 (1 night gap)

TUSCAN SPLENDORS + UMBRIA, ASSISI & LE MARCHE MARVELS

UMBRIA MARCHE May 3-9 – TUSCANY May 10-17 (1 night gap)
TUSCANY Sept 11-18 – UMBRIA MARCHE Sept 19-25 (1 night gap)
TUSCANY Oct 2-9 – UMBRIA MARCHE Oct 10-16 (1 night gap)
UMBRIA MARCHE Oct 10-16 – TUSCANY Oct 16-23 (no night gap)

WALK RATING

Activity level:
2+ (on a scale from 1 to 5)
Daily Hours:
Up to 3
Daily Distance:
3 to 10 km (2 to 7 miles)
Walking Surfaces:
Gentle with some uneven terrain
Daily Elevation:
Up to 200 mt. (650 feet)
Personal Fitness:
Light exercise weekly, active lifestyle