Our meeting point is a small parking area at Hotel Villa Belvedere just off the Autostrada between Florence and Siena. From the Autostrada, turn off the Colle Val d’Elsa Sud junction towards Colle Val d’Elsa. After 100m, at the roundabout, turn first right towards Colle Val d’Elsa/San Gimignano/Volterra (SP5). After 200m, on your right, you will see the sign for Hotel Villa Belvedere. The parking where we meet is just by the road.
We will decide the exact launch site in this area when we meet in the morning of your flight. Our choice is governed by weather conditions and/or logistical factors.
This area, half way between Florence and Siena, witnessed countless conflicts between these city-states in medieval Tuscany and the ages have left their mark. The nearby towns San Gimignano and the walled city of Monteriggioni and several other small hamlets and castles still retain their fortified aspect, reflecting their defensive position from the days when the campagna (the countryside) was fit only for abbeys, monasteries, battles, and exile.
The launch sites in this area are surrounded by gentle rolling fields and conveniently serves the southern Chianti region and is easily accessible from Florence and Siena. The fertile and scrupulously cultivated sienna red valleys mixed with woodland adjacent to Colle Val d’Elsa give splendid views towards San Gimignano, the Chianti region, and Monteriggioni, the walled city made famous by Dante.
On some days, a good breeze may take you right over to San Gimignano, or all the way to the Etruscan town Volterra. On other days, you may fly low over the silent landscape, a combination of husbandry with geological majesty. One might spot a family of deer or the elusive and clever wild boar trying to hide from the mysterious balloon gliding overhead looking for a place to land.