Magnificent Siena & The Palio Horse Race™

Cooking & Scenic Tours in Siena ~ 5 Days

Tie on your aprons and join us in Siena!!!  Siena, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of the most renowned Tuscan cities in Italy. Full of history, art and culture, it conjures up thoughts of the Piazza del Campo, Palio, Siena Cathedral, Duomo and Saint Catherine of Siena. Step inside its Medieval walls and go back in time. Stroll through its ancient streets, reserved for pedestrians only, and discover the historic Piazza del Campo, before slipping into your charming and well appointed accommodation, an oasis of calm in the heart of bustling Siena.

Our Siena cooking program brings you into Chef Gabriella’s kitchen and will have you cooking Tuscan classics, while learning the importance of regional products and precious Tuscan wines with our local Chef. And when you are not in the kitchen, Nicoletta, our native guide or Senese (that translates to native of Siena in dialect), takes you on a fascinating tour of Siena’s best-loved monuments, shops and artisan workshops, and your private driver, Eduardo, whisks you off for a day exploring Siena’s beautiful Tuscan hill towns, wine producers and peaceful Abbeys.

Cooking Classes

Tie on your apron and follow Chef Gabriella in hands-on authentic cooking classes while learning about regional Tuscan foods of Siena. You will prepare, from appetizer to dessert, a full course lunch or dinner, including fresh handmade pasta accompanied by sauces. Her menus include local, seasonal ingredients, and follow old world traditions in cooking. Menus reflect Chef Gabriella’s passion for reviving historic recipes and giving them a contemporary twist, ensuring that recipes are lighter for the modern palate. Classics include delicious homemade pici pasta, tagliatelle, ravioli, local Chianina beef, Tuscan beans, stuffed garden vegetables and of course, cantucci biscuits dipped in vin santo that make for a perfetto ending! Everyone joins in to enjoy the foods made in class at lunch or dinner, and a ¼ liter of excellent local wine and mineral water (still or sparkling) is included.


Set among the olive groves and vineyards of Chianti, Siena was first settled by the Etruscans making it a must for all visitors. It is a town that has changed very little over the centuries, and its unique Piazza del Campo, the central piazza, is known as one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe. Famous for its annual historic horse race, the Palio, which takes place in the central piazza, There is also the Duomo, a striking example of Italian Romanesque architecture, originally intended to be the grandest Cathedral in existence and Palazzo Pubblico, which houses Ambrogio Lorenzetti frescos and is another masterpiece not to be missed. And just a few steps away from the main square are the narrow, winding streets that make for adventure and lead to hidden angles leading to pretty squares, fabulous restaurants, caffés and theaters.

For the wine lover, there is the Medicean Fortress, home to the Italian Enoteca, an institution dedicated to Italian wine home to the most famous wines of Italy DOC, DOCG and IGT of over 1500 wines.  Visit for a sip and swirl of great Super Tuscans and local artisan producers.

Siena Accommodations

4-Star Hotel

Relax and enjoy your beautiful accommodations set in the heart of Siena. Each private room is decorated with elegant furnishings and boasts a colorful view over the town of Siena. Warm Tuscan colors create a cozy atmosphere, and antique prints line the walls and hallways. Each private room has a stylish en-suite bathroom equipped with hairdryer, quality linens, air conditioning, minibar, safe and free Wi-Fi internet connection. Take a stroll through the red brick cloisters, and enjoy breakfast under the brick vaulted ceilings. Nestling within the city walls, this historic property is perfectly situated for reaching shops and monuments alike, providing welcome respite from Siena’s bustling center.

Luxury B&B

Nestled in the very heart of Siena’s storied historical center, this deluxe and intimate accommodation stands as a testament to elegance and history, merging the allure of a bygone era with the comforts of modern luxury. Situated at the nexus of the city’s vibrant life, it offers comfortable bright rooms with breathtaking views of the renowned Piazza del Campo, immersing guests in the rich tapestry of Sienese culture and history. Committed to blending the historical ambiance with modern amenities, the establishment provides guests with complimentary Wi-Fi among other comforts, ensuring a stay that is both luxuriously comfortable and deeply connected to the historical essence of Siena. Each room is adorned with comfortable beds, Italian linens and ensuite private baths. Daily breakfast includes Tuscan cake, bread, fruit, cappuccino, coffee, tea and homemade jams. Daily maid service and breakfast included.

Itinerary: 5 Days, 4 Nights

Check in and start your program on any day of the week

Day 1: Arrival & Check In

  • Arrival in Siena and check in.
  • In the evening, take a stroll round this beautiful town and pick out a little trattoria for dinner. Dinner on your own.
  • Cooking Vacations offers our local restaurant suggestions.

Day 2: Guided Food & Landmark Tour Of Siena & Cooking Class

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Join Nicoletta our English-speaking guide at 10 am for a Food & Landmark walking tour of Siena with delicious tastings included.  Learn about the ancient city of Siena, the churches and museums while visiting the city’s most respected artisan food and wine purveyors.  Start with a visit to the artisan bakery, who has kept the Old-World baking traditions alive, tastings included.  Next, visit a food shop showcasing a variety of local pasta, fruits and vegetables and wine, with a glass of wine and a tasting included.  Learn about pici pasta, and how it is still made by Tuscan Nonnas. The tour continues with a visit of the Cathedral of Saint Catherine, considered to be one of the most beautiful in Italy.  Visit the famous Piazza del Campo home to the Palio horse race. The famous Palio is the oldest event in Italy running annually since the 16th century. The tour ends on a sweet note in an ancient artisan cake shop where you will see how Siena’s famous Ricciarelli are made.  Buon appetito!!!
  • After your tour, head to the kitchen for your Cooking Class 1 with our Chef Gabriella.  This hands-on cooking class focuses on the preparation of a full Tuscan menu, from antipasto to dessert, including fresh pasta and sauces, a main course, and biscotti, cake or pastries. Dinner follows and everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared in class. Local wine included, additional wine and beverages at a surcharge.
  • After your cooking class, you can check in at your accommodation or explore the many walkways of Siena for a glimpse the ancient Tuscan city at dusk.

Day 3: Tuscan Countryside Excursion!  Visit San Quiricio – the Abbye of Sant’ Antimo and Montalcino or Artisan Cheese Maker, Montepulciano & Pienza

  • Breakfast is served.
  • At 9:30am your private driver Eduardo picks you up for a full day trip through the countryside surrounding Siena. Select one of the following two options:
  • San Quirico, the Abbey of Sant’ Antimo & Montalcino in the heart of the Valdorcia landscape. Sit back and soak up the scenery as your private driver pick you up and then you are off to visit the pretty town of San Quirico d’Orcia. Wander through the ancient streets and enjoy the historical sites, churches or shopping.
  • Next stop, we visit a renowned wine producer and tour a winery, which includes a wine tasting and light lunch. Then we visit the very special Abbey of Sant’Antimo, a former Benedictine Abbey, and now inhabited by Norbertines. Listen to the Monks as they practice their beautiful musical chants. After the Abbey, stop off in the Medieval hill-town of Montalcino (home to the exquisite DOCG wine Brunello di Montalcino), and enjoy a stroll, a coffee and some relaxed people watching. Return to Siena.


  • Artisan Cheese Maker, Montepulciano & Pienza. Eduardo your driver picks you up for your full day excursion which starts with a visit to an artisan cheese maker to learn how the local cheeses, including pecorino cheese, are made. Discussion and tastings included.  Following the cheese maker visit, your driver continues on to Montepulciano, the Tuscan town known for its wine and cantinas and artisans – from wood-workers, artists painting the local landscape to cantinas offering the best Vino Nobile Montepulciano to Vin Santo.  Discover this ancient towns’ cobblestone streets, take in the shops or visit the local museums. Next, your driver continues on to visit a renowned winery for a wine tour and tasting with a light lunch. In the afternoon, head to the delightful town of Pienza with its curious trapezoidal piazza, Palazzo Piccolomini, and the Duomo. Remember to leave enough time to stroll along the main thoroughfare past shop windows displaying artisan cheeses – Percorino and goat cheese, hard and soft, wrapped in grape leaves, fig leaves, crushed pepper and wine.  Pienza is the Tuscan town known for its precious cheeses.  There are also many quaint artisan boutiques where artists can be seen making linens, pottery and ceramics.  Later in the day, your driver returns to Siena.
  • Free for dinner.

Day 4: Cooking Class

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Cooking Class 1 with our Chef Gabriella. This hands-on cooking class includes the preparation of an antipasto, pasta, main course, and dessert. Lunch follows and everyone joins in to enjoy the foods that were prepared in class. Local wine included, additional wine/beverages at a surcharge.
  • Afternoon free to explore more of Siena’s beautiful foot paths, the Palio Museum and Piazza del Campo.  Order a wine or coffee and soak up the town’s Old World atmosphere.
  • Dinner is free and on your own.  We provide suggestions.

Day 5: Departure & Arrivederci

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Check out & departure. Arrivederci!


Program Includes:

  • 5 Days and 4 Nights accommodations in the center of historic Siena. Click to view!
  • Daily breakfast and maid service.
  • 2 hands-on cooking classes with lunch or dinner following on the foods prepared in class. Local wine included, additional wine and beverages at a surcharge.
  • Food Lovers’ Landmark tour of Siena with English-speaking guide, tastings and wine included.
  • Select your preferred tour for a full day excursion to either San Quirico, the Abbey of Sant’ Antimo & Montalcino – wine tasting and light lunch included or artisan cheese maker, Montepulciano and Pienza with private driver.
  • Cooking Vacations’ Welcome Bag with chef’s apron, Prosecco and recipe booklet.
  • A copy of Lauren’s cookbook, It’s A Dream Place  – Stories & Recipes of Food, Love and the Amalfi Coast.
Program Prices

$2,695 per person, based on 2 guests in a Luxury B&B.

$2,895 per person, based on 2 guest in a 4 star hotel.

For Single Guests: If you are traveling on your own, please call us for the best group price. We are happy to welcome you into an already scheduled group.

*An Italian visitor tax may apply in some cities and must be paid directly on site at check out.

Add on additional nights, $295 per night, based on 2 guests in a program, and include daily breakfast and maid service.

Check Availability

2024 Dates: This program is available throughout the year. You can check in and start your cooking program any day of the week. Rates are subject to change based on currency exchange. Call for updated rates. Airfare not included. Group transfers for any cooking tour or tours that include transfers, are for the group and are not private. Transfers before, after or to another destination outside of your cooking tour are not included in the program price. If you would like to add on a private transfer or transfers, let us know and we will send you pricing.