The Associazione Aerostatica Toscana is based in Tavarnelle Val di Pesa which is situated 12 miles south of Florence on the hills along the Pesa valley. It is strategically positioned on the ancient crossroads of two Roman roads – the “Via Cassia” leading from Florence to Siena and on to Rome, and the “Via del Chianti” towards San Donato and Castellina in Chianti. The launch site is situated along this road close to the geographic center of the Chianti region.
From here, you will fly over the legendary Chianti landscape with its hilltop towns, castles, valleys, famous vineyards, and mixed woodlands. A powerful landscape, one of the most civilised rural scenes on earth, cultivated tranquility of olives, vines, and corn. The olives’ silver and the many variegated shades of green appear as a veil over elemental majesty and silence. On clear days in the distance you can see Florence to the North and the Apennine mountain range in the background; to the West you can see the Elsa valley, San Gimignano, Certaldo, and Volterra and the sea in the far distance; to the South, Poggibonsi, Colle Val d’Elsa and Siena and Monte Amiata in the distance; to the East the higher Monti del Chianti and mixed oak woodlands.
Our hot air balloon flights over Tuscany last from 45 minutes to one and a half hours, during which, thanks also to smooth flying conditions, you may take the opportunity to shoot wonderful images of exclusively Tuscan landscape: admire the infamous terracotta “red-roofed” towns and follow the course of wild animals taking “flight” in the fields below… The first light of dawn creates the magic frame for the scene your eyes are observing.
While flying above you can listen to your pilot’s stories about the terrain and its history. At the end of the balloon tour, having landed you follow in the tradition of Hot Air Ballooning… Now to follow your Italian balloon flights experience comes a sumptuous brunch, comprising traditional Tuscan “peasant” food and drink – nourishment of the soul – you will have the opportunity to taste some products typical of the area just visited from “on high”, thus feasting not only eyes with the beauty of our magnificent land.
Is a balloon flight safe?
Yes, very much so. Ballooning is the safest form of air travel. Your pilot will be a fully qualified Commercial Pilot with a wealth of experience. All flights are carried out in accordance with strict guidelines set out and monitored by the Civil Aviation Authority.
When do we fly?
We fly all year round at dawn and a few hours before sunset. We do this to avoid the hot thermic conditions that build up during the day.
Where will we go?
Well that is my favourite aspect of ballooning. You just don’t really know. Obviously we have forecasts which will give us a good indication, but we only really find out when we take off. Every flight is different.
How long will we be in the air?
You will be in the air for about an hour.
How involved can we be?
As much as you like. In fact during the balloon’s inflation you will be encouraged to get involved. It gives you a better understanding of the whole flight process and is part of the fun.
Is it cold up there?
Not really. Because we travel with the wind, it is often warmer in the air than on the ground. Certainly this can be the case in winter.
How long does it last?
You should allow three to three and a half hours for the whole experience.
What will I be able to see?
As we take off, you will be amazed at the 360° panoramic view. When we are drifting above the tree tops, you will be able to spot wildlife that sometimes doesn’t even realize you are there. As we climb higher you will be able to see the countryside pan out in front of your eyes. If we are lucky and conditions are right, we can be treated to the spectacle of clouds from close distance.
How high do we fly?
Low enough to pick pine cones from tree tops, and high enough to view the top of snow peaked mountains.
I am afraid of heights – should I go?
Unless heights put you in a state of panic, the answer is YES! We get many passengers who are uncomfortable with heights, and it does not bother them. Because they leave the ground so gradually and gently, they are often 1000 feet up and comfortable before they realize they have left the ground. Most passengers with a fear of heights feel a sense of accomplishment and say they would do it again.
How many people fit in the basket?
Balloons are of different dimensions. Generally they hold from 4 to 10 passengers up.
Is it windy in the balloon?
No. Because the balloon moves with the wind, the only time one will feel a breeze is if the balloon is going up or down or changing from one direction to another.
What if we get bad weather?
The flight is postponed until better weather conditions will allow the flight. The pilot gets all available weather information in order to determine if conditions are flyable or not.
How do we return to the launch field?
The trained crew will drive passengers back in one of our 4×4’s or minibuses.
Should I bring a camera?
Yes, Yes, Yes bring your camera, video camera and make sure they are fully charged!
What should I wear?
Dress with layers on top, long trousers, sturdy shoes comfortable for standing and walking, sunglasses, and a hat for those of you who are tall. We recommend you wear layers so you can peel them off as the sun begins warming things up.
Are there group rate discounts?
Contact us for group quotes; group discounts may or may not be available for the time you want to fly.
Do I need to make reservations?
Yes, we recommend making reservations as far in advance as possible, in order to give you the best service you deserve.