Ballooning & Champagne Breakfast
The Balloon Flight
We fly at dawn (approximately 6.00 am at mid-summer). Morning flights are nearly always possible, whereas evening flights are often difficult because of the sea breeze from the Mediterranean, 50 miles away, which can be quite stiff, and sometimes doesn't drop until well after dark. The inflation takes about 30 minutes, and we are usually home by mid-morning. We can accommodate up to 16 people in the basket but usually it will be 8 to 10.
The balloon flight lasts about an hour and a quarter, and concludes with the traditional Champagne toast and a Champagne breakfast after which we load everything back on to the trailer of the chase vehicle which follows our flight from the launch site, and return home. Where possible we follow the route that we took in the balloon, so that you can see from ground level what you noticed from the air.
Private Balloon Flight for Two People
For those wanting a really special and private ballooning experience we can offer the exclusive use of a smaller balloon, a longer flight, and a champagne breakfast to finish with, in the field where we land.
Tailor-made Balloon Flights from Other Launch Site
If you have a suitable field or lawn it may be possible to fly from your location. This requires some considerable organisation which includes site inspections and examination of aeronautical charts. This is reflected in the charges that we make! Please ask for further information.
The area in which we fly is about 20 miles south of Siena and is called the Crete Senesi, an area of rolling downland with steep valleys, villages on hilltops, and isolated farmhouses and castles. The wine towns of Montepulciano and Montalcino lie to the east and west of us, with Pienza and the Val d'Orcia to the south. There is a wooded range of hills about 5 miles wide and 1000 feet high which separates the Crete Senesi from the flat Valdichiana which runs N-S. This is intensely cultivated in strips but in the end you can always get in somewhere!
Closer to earth we can chat to farmers clipping their olive trees or seeing to their vines as we coast by down the valley, looking for a place to land, skirting castles and villages that have not changed in centuries. It is a well cared for landscape that is a pleasure to behold.
To the north you will see Siena and even the mountains behind Florence, while to the east the folds of the Apennines beyond Lake Trasimeno rise to the high peaks of Umbria and Le Marche. Southwards we look down on Montepulciano and the Val d'Orcia, and Monte Amiata at 5000 feet dwarfs Montalcino nestling at its feet, with the Mediterranean glinting in the distance to the west.
The Ballooning Season
The "ballooning season" is approximately late Spring to early Autumn with annual variations. Sometimes May is cold and rainy and October is warm and sunny—you never know!—but the middle months of the summer are regularly good for ballooning. We recommend passengers to overnight locally if they are staying more than a 30 minute ride away. We can arrange simple bed and breakfast accommodation in a lovely hotel in Montisi, near Pienza, about 30 miles south of Siena, or we can organise your stay in more luxurious hotels and country homes nearby.