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The Unplugged Collection - Umbria™

Cooking & Spa Retreat ~ 5 Days

Our Unplugged Collection offers each guest the opportunity to detach and unwind at a luxurious villa property chosen for its dreamy location, serene surroundings and special amenities.  As life’s demands increase, so does our own need to disconnect from the hectic lifestyle and reconnect with our soul.  For this, we have organized these special programs with a little pampering and total relaxation time too.  Rediscover the delights of a quiet morning spent reading, pick out an isolated spot in which to meditate or simply lie at the pool and soak up the sun. Whatever it is you need, we will do our best to provide.

We invite you to join us, cooking healthy healing food, relax, unwind and unplug at our luxurious resort and spa property set in the verdant hills of Umbria.  Surrounded by cypress and olive trees, rolling hills where Mother Nature at her best, this villa is the perfect location to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and slip into a blissful world of total relaxation.

Take a step back in time as you stroll through the property’s extensive olive orchards, take in views of the gentle hills while sipping and swirling a glass of Montefalco red.  Once belonging to an 18th-century aristocratic family, the property maintains original decorations and furnishings, including stunning marble fireplaces and authentic tile flooring, while incorporating luxurious modern amenities for your stay.  Historic elegance meets modern comfort with two swimming pools, a tennis court, an organic vegetable garden, a high-end spa and wellness center, and an esteemed on-site gourmet restaurant, outdoor bistro and wine cellar – we guarantee you’ll never want to leave!

Umbria, known as Italy’s Green Heart, offers dazzling views of centuries-old villages perched atop sleepy hilltops and myriad vineyards producing award-winning wines and olive oil.  During your stay, opt to visit Assisi, Perugia, Spoleto, Montefalco, Orvieto and Gubbio – known for pottery, wine, lentils and truffles.  In addition to all its beauty, Umbria’s peaceful atmosphere is home to some of Italy’s most important saints:  Saints Benedict, Clare, Rita, Valentine, and most famous of all, Saint Francis of Assisi.  Nuns and monks throughout Italy were the best cooks and pastry makers – creating liqueurs, wine and baked goods.

During your stay, you’ll not only learn the traditions and culture of this region, but you’ll participate in hands-on cooking classes preparing authentic Umbrian cuisine.  Here in the kitchen, the focus is on farm-to-table ingredients used in authentic seasonal recipes.  The property has its own organic vegetable garden and supplies our chef with in-season vegetables and fruits. The region is also known for its typical cold cuts, prosciutto, pork sausages, wild boar salami, pancetta and dried sausages, along with Pecorino cheese, Castelluccio lentils, famous Perugia chocolate and most famously truffles – that are thinly sliced over pasta and risotto.

Umbria is also one of Italy’s most prized olive oil producers, and this property is no exception to the rule.  Extra virgin first-cold-pressed olive oil is produced on the property and is used in the cooking.  The property also boasts an extensive cantina featuring mostly biodynamic and organic wine.  White wines include Trebbiano, Verdello, Grechetto, Drupeggio, and Malvasia, and the main red wine grape variety is Sangiovese, although Gamay, Canaiolo, Trebbiano and Sagrantino – a native variety found only around the hillsides of Montefalco – are also produced in the immediate region.

Slip into the spa, located in the property’s 18th-century limonaia, a greenhouse built to protect lemon trees and which is encircled by tranquil, idyllic gardens, to be pampered by the professional staff offering treatments with organic cream, oils and scrubs infused with lavender, chamomile, sage and lemon oil.  Let your cares melt away as you enjoy the two spa treatments included in your program, centering yourself while surrounded by natural, calm, Italian beauty. The wellness center offers a tepidarium, a Turkish bath, sauna, hydrotherapy, and a variety of massages with other luxury treatments. And should you wish, you can add on extra days and half-day or full day visits to any one of the nearby towns or cities including Perugia, Assisi, Pienza, Cortona or Lake Trasimeno with a private driver.

Umbrian Cooking Classes

Tie on your apron and learn the art of Umbrian under the guidance of your chef.  Each cooking class includes the preparation of local in-season ingredients, many of which will have come straight from the property’s organic vegetable garden. Can’t get fresher than that!  Along with Chef Salvatore, you will pick up tips and techniques while preparing healthy and hearty Umbrian cuisine. Let’s start with antipasto, which may be a spicy farro or lentil soup, quick toasted bruschette with garlic, tomatoes or chicken liver paté, or even sformatino di fave e pecorino, a baked fava bean and pecorino custard.  Fresh pasta, a staple in Italian cuisine, is always part of the hands-on cooking classes.  Learn how to mix and roll out thick strands  pasta served with mushrooms, seasonal vegetables, meat sauce – and even truffles.  Under the guidance of Chef Salvatore, you will also learn how to prepar funaro pasta with porcini, stringozzi with wild asparagus, or umbrici con sugo finto, umbrici pasta with a special sauce and pecorino.  Main courses favor simply prepared meat and rabbit or pork – stuffed with wild fennel and garlic with a Sagrantino wine sauce.  Fish is also plentiful with baccalà with chickpeas and rosemary.  There are lots of vegetarian options too, as local vegetables and grains abound. And each cooking class has a sweet ending with delicious desserts such as: budino di castagne, cold chestnut pudding, amaretti and chocolate tartlets, or the famous torzetti – almond biscuits perfect for dunking in a glass of chilled Sagrantino wine.  Following each cooking class, everyone enjoys the foods that were made in class together with a toast of local red or white wine.  Special gluten-free and vegetarian menus are always available upon request.

Perugia

Perugia, the capital of Umbria is a town known around the world, which still holds on to its ancient past. It is home to the 14th-century University of Perugia, one of Italy’s oldest and most well-respected educational institutions, a weave of ancient architecture and caffès that bustle with life morning till night. The town’s Piazza IV Novembre is surrounded by splendid ancient buildings and and monuments.  Landmarks include the Fontana Maggiore, a medieval fountain that was built in the 12th century by sculptors Nicola Pisano and Giovanni Pisano, the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria brimming with local art, and the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Perugia’s Gothic cathedral. There are endless bars, caffès and trattorias where you can take a front row seat on the terrace, order an aperitivo, Prosecco, spritz or vino bianco and watch the world go by.

Assisi

Step back into time when you stroll through Assisi, the birthplace of Saint Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan order and one of the most popular saints in history.  The 13th-century Basilica di San Francesco is adorned with frescos painted by a young Giotto where he depicts the life of Saint Francis. You may also visit Saint Francis in the crypt, meander through its outside areas and inside halls. Assisi is also home to Rocca Maggiore, a medieval fortress, and the Basilica di Santa Chiara.

Pienza

Travel through Umbrian hills and into Pienza, a delightful Medieval town set just across the border in Tuscany.  Its piazza boasts a curious trapezoidal main square, Palazzo Piccolomini, and a historic Duomo and tiny streets with pedestrian access only.  Pienza is also best known for its Pecorino cheese.  Artisan cheese makers display rounds of their prized sheep’s and goat’s cheese.  Shopkeepers discuss the history of cheese while they dole out complimentary samples of Pecorino – soaked in wine, aged in ashes, wrapped in grape leaves, and spiked with truffles – to name but a few.  Continue along cobblestone streets – no cars allowed – lined with artisan shops selling Italian linens and terracotta hand-made pottery.  Quaint, quiet and off the tourist track, Pienza makes for the perfect day trip.

Umbria Accommodations

Our property will enchant you with its timeless vistas and gardens and a serenity is infinite.  Step into any one of its unique guest room, each one elegantly decorated with authentic tile flooring, period furniture and ornate Umbrian fabrics  Comfortable bedding, linens and amenities make your stay as cozy as possible.  All rooms include a beautifully designed private ensuite bathroom, a seating area and thoughtful touches to maximize your stayt, including a soft bathrobe and slippers.  There is no shortage of modern amenities, including free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and heat, flat-screen televisions, phones, and room service, as well as a turndown service.  Check into a dreamy suite or borgo set amongst flowering fields and relax.

Itinerary ~ 5 Days, 4 Nights

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

Day One:  Check In & Chef’s Tasting Dinner

  • Arrival transfer and check into our Umbria Unplug Collection cooking program.
  • Enjoy a welcome aperitivo.
  • Chef’s Tasting dinner including a full course menu.  Wine is not included.

Day Two: Spa Treatment 1 & Cooking Class 1

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, check into the spa for an unforgettably serene morning. Choose from a variety of massages or treatments and forget about the outside world, soaking up the beauty of the surrounding Italian gardens in the private chalet-like structure.  Order a tea from the tea bar and enjoy your treatment.
  • In the afternoon, tie on your apron and get cooking in your first hands-on traditional Umbrian cooking class creating a full course dinner.  Dinner follows and includes the foods that were made in the cooking class with a a toast of wine included.

Day Three: Wine Tasting & Optional Day-Trip Excursions

  • Breakfast is served.
  • If you choose, spend the day on an excursions to nearby Perugia, Assisi, Pienza, Cortona, Lake Trasimeno, or Deruta. Explore the surrounding area and get a better understanding of the local culture and food while wandering winding stone roads and stopping to sample the tastiest bites along the way.
  • Lunch is on your own.
  • When you return to the property, get ready for our wine introduction and tasting tour!  Under the expert tutelage of the villa’s sommelier, you will sample the finest wines the Umbrian region has to offer.  While you sip and swirl, you will enjoy light finger foods.
  • Dinner is on your own.  Suggestions are provided or you can opt to dine in at the villa’s restaurant.

Day Four: Spa Treatment 2 & Cooking Class 2

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, relax and check into the spa for your second treatment.
  • Enjoy a light lunch at the property, a toast of wine included.
  • Later in the afternoon, tie on your apron for Cooking Class 2.  You’ll prepare a traditional menu using the freshest ingredients from the property’s organic garden.  Dinner follows and includes the foods that were made in the cooking class with a toast of local wine.

Day 5: Check out & Arrivederci

  • Check out and transfer to Perugia train station.
  • Arrivederci Umbria!

Note: This sample itinerary schedule may vary due to inclement weather, saints’ days, festivals. All activities, in the event of rescheduling, are always included during the week.

Program Includes:

  • Five days and four nights, based on 2 guests.
  • Daily breakfast and maid service.
  • Welcome Prosecco and Chef’s tasting welcome dinner on your first night. Wine not included and available directly from your chef.
  • 1 lunch on the property with one course, fruit and a glass of wine included.
  • 2 hands-on cooking classes followed by lunch with the foods prepared in class with a toast of local wine.
  • 2 spa treatments in the villa’s spa and wellness center.
  • A wine tasting with the property’s sommelier, accompanied by light foods.
  • Free access to swimming pool and tennis courts on the villa property.
  • Arrival and departure transfers from Perugia train station.
  • Cooking Vacations’ welcome bag with Chef’s apron, recipe book and Prosecco.
Program Price:

$1,795 per person, based on 2 guests.

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. 1 transfer per group each way. There is free wi-fi throughout the property.

Optional Add-Ons:

  • Day trip excursions to Perugia, Assisi, Pienza, Cortona, Lake Trasimeno, or Deruta with private driver and guide. Inquire for pricing.

Check Availability

2020 Dates: This program is from April to November. 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.  Group transfers for the cooking tour are included.  Transfers before, after or to another destination outside of your cooking tour are not included.