Hunt for Truffles with Canine Guide at Adler Spa Resort

 Mid-October is the best time to seek the region’s prized white delicacies

Bagno Vignoni, Italy, September 2019 … Repeat visitors to ADLER Spa Resort THERMAE already know the pleasures of activities like luxuriating in the hotel’s thermal pools, enjoying treatments at the five-star spa and signing up for excursions like gravel biking, e-biking, wine tasting and even Gregorian-style choral singing. But mid-October is the best time of year for an especially delicious pursuit: Foraging for truffles, specifically the prized white ones of San Giovanni d’Asso.

Guests spend time with Gino, a passionate truffle hunter with more than two decades of experience. He owns a private, riverside truffière and looks for the fabulous fungi with the help of a very special canine companion: Willy, his sharp-nosed Lagotto Romagnolo (an Italian breed that’s sometimes called a water retriever). Guests join the pair for one of their weekly four-mile walks. Here’s how one guest describes her recent experience.

We hop in the hotel’s mini-van and drive to the village of San Giovanni d’Asso, a hamlet near Montalcino, with a population of around one thousand people. We meet Gino and his four-legged friend, Willy, an adorable dog with infallible sniffing skills, who is already chomping at the bit. We make our way along the route following Willy’s busy nose – the terrain isn’t too challenging, but sturdy footwear is essential.

Truffle hunting can require quite a lot of patience. Rummaging among trees and bushes, Willy combs the undergrowth for the telltale scent. Then he starts digging frantically—that’s the signal that he has finally located a ripe truffle. Sometimes the pungent fungi are just hidden under a thin layer of leaves, but they might also be growing more than a foot deep into the earth. As soon as Willy starts his excited pawing, Gino has to rush over and stop him from swallowing the delectable treasure! He attracts Willy’s attention by calling his name; then he rewards his friend with a treat.

Foraging for truffles is a fascinating experience that brings us into close contact with nature. But there is more to it than just that. It is also a wonderful occasion to observe from up close the perfect synergy between man and dog, and their shared joy when the precious fungus is finally found. According to Gino, for truffle hunting, 2018 was an exceptional year. He would come back from every trip with truffles that weighed close to half a pound each, and once even found one that clocked in at three quarters of a pound.

Our day out ends with—what else?—a truffle tasting. Gino’s wife, Serenella, welcomes us to Agriturismo La Canonica, serving us pasta sprinkled with fresh truffle shavings, pairing it with a tasty local red wine. As we enjoy our meal, we can’t help but reflect on how truffles are a gift from nature, and their unpredictability is part of their unique charm.


ADLER Spa Resort Thermae in Tuscany, set between the vineyards of Montepulciano and Montalcino, has redefined the idea of wellness. Its peaceful surroundings in the UNESCO Tuscan site, warm thermal waters and the staff’s fierce dedication have proven to be a magical combination. The spa menu is always improving, capitalizing on the highest quality natural products and state-of-the-art equipment. Treatments address both inner harmony and outer beauty while encouraging deep relaxation. A team of more than 40 staff members and physicians provide individual counseling and treatments for body and soul.

The five-star hotel spa offers not only relaxation and beauty treatments, but also modern western medicine and alternative healing methods. The ADLER MED medical competence center has its own team of doctors from disciplines like general medicine, laboratory medicine, aesthetic medicine, modern Mayr medicine, homeopathy, herbal medicine and nutrition.

The hotel has a total of 90 luxury rooms and suites: The Superior is for two people, while Junior Suites accommodate three to four. The spacious rooms offer a sitting area with tea table, sofa, writing desk and armchair. The decor features rich wood furnishings with warm-toned draperies. Rooms and suites have “Bio air-conditioning” (room temperature and humidity individually adjustable) and private terraces or balconies overlooking the splendid Orcia Valley. The marble bathroom features a separate glass-enclosed shower, toilet and bidet. Hypoallergenic and handicapped-accessible rooms are also available.


ADLER Spa Resort THERMAE has several sister hotels, including ADLER Spa Resort DOLOMITI and the adjacent adults-only ADLER Spa Resort BALANCE, both in the Dolomites’ Val Gardena area. ADLER Lodge ALPE is an intimate, chalet-style hotel in the famed Alpe di Suisi ski area. A new hotel, ADLER Lodge RITTEN, will be opening in Lichtenstern in summer 2019. As the hotels have grown and expanded from their humble roots, one thing has not changed: The Sanoner family, who have owned and managed the properties for seven generations and are passionate about hospitality.

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