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 bustling town center.
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.
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 (before funds ran out!), 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, cafés 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.
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.
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 a Restaurant Hot Pick list of the best ones to choose from.
Day 2: Guided Tour Of Siena & Cooking Class 1
- Breakfast is served.
- Meet your guide Nicoletta at 10 am for a walking tour of Siena town center. Along the ancient main street, stop off at an artisan bakery, who keeps the old world baking traditions alive, and see how the local pici pasta is still made by the Nonnas. The tour continues with a visit of the cathedral, considered to be one of the most beautiful in Italy. Then time for tastings at the artisan bakery’s restaurant, with glass of wine included. After lunch, Nicoletta goes on to explain the history of 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.
- After your tour, head to the kitchen for your Cooking Class 1 with Chef Gabriella. This hands-on cooking class focuses on the preparation of a full Tuscan menu, from appetizer 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/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: Full Day Excursion With Private Driver
- Breakfast is served.
- At 9:30am your private driver Eduardo picks you up for a full day trip through the countryside surrounding Siena. Choose between the following two options:
- Tour One: San Quirico, the Abbey of Sant’Antimo & Montalcino. Sit back and soak up the scenery as Eduardo whisks you off to the pretty town of San Quirico d’Orcia. Wander through the ancient streets and enjoy a spot of 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.
- Tour Two: Cheese maker, Montepulciano & Pienza. Eduardo your driver picks you up for your full day excursion which starts with a visit to a cheese maker to learn how local artisans create the area’s wonderful pecorino cheese. Discussion and tastings included. Stop off at the town of Montepulciano, which is not only one of Tuscany’s best known wine centers, but also where many scenes from the films Under The Tuscan Sun and The New Moon (Twilight Saga) were shot. Wander through the streets, do a little shopping and admire the many wine shops and wine bars. Next stop is a renowned wine producer for a tour of the winery, wine tasting and 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 packed full of cheeses of every description, showcasing Italy’s best cheese. This charming little off the tourist track town has artisan boutiques selling beautiful linens, pottery shops displaying the town’s brightly colored hand-painted ceramics and of course delicious cheese. Return to Siena.
- Free for dinner.
Day 4: Cooking Class 2
- Breakfast is served.
- Cooking Class 2 with Chef Gabriella. Everyone meets at Gabriella’s kitchen to create your second traditional Tuscan menu. This hands-on cooking class includes the preparation of an appetizer, 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 tangled back streets or hang out in Piazza del Campo and soak up the town’s unique atmosphere.
- Free for dinner.
Day 5: Departure & Arrivederci
- Breakfast is served.
- Check out & departure. Arrivederci!
- 5 days, 4 nights accommodations, based on double occupancy. Click to view!
- Daily breakfast.
- 2 hands-on cooking classes with lunch or dinner following on the foods prepared in class. Local wine included, additional wines/beverages at a surcharge.
- Guided tour of Siena, tastings and glass of wine included.
- Full-day excursion to San Quirico, the Abbey of Sant’Antimo & Montalcino with private driver. Wine tasting and light lunch included.
- Welcome Bag with Chef’s Apron.
- Wi-Fi internet connection available.
$2,295 per person, based on double occupancy. Includes Italian VAT.
Single Supplement: please call us for single pricing and we will do our best to fit you in with a group to ensure you receive the best possible single rate.
*An Italian visitor tax may apply in some cities and must be paid directly on site at check out.
Additional add-on nights are $275 per night, based on double occupancy, and include daily breakfast, all taxes and Italian VAT.