The Tuscan Vineyard & Val d’Orcia™

Cooking in Montalcino & Brunello Wine ~ 6 Days

Tie on your aprons and join Chef Massimo in the heart of Tuscany in picturesque Montalcino.  Check into the dreamy villa property set in the countryside of Val d’Orcia nestled between rolling green hills, silvery olive orchards, and an endless vineyard on your 6-day cooking adventure. Travel through winding roads lined with tall cypress trees and fields of fertile green fields that lead to the property – the natural beauty of this region is simply undeniable.

Check into the Tuscan estate set in a small hamlet on a working vineyard with a farmhouse and quaint chapel and swimming pool.  The villa and wine-growing estate have been completely renovated respecting their original architecture and charm. Spend a day in Montalcino which is just two kilometers from the property and explore the historic landmarks, artisan shops and wine tasting cellars. The location of the property also makes it an easy drive to Montepulciano, Pienza, Monticchiello and Castiglione d’Orcia, the small Tuscan villages in the Val d’Orcia.

Tuscany Cooking Classes

In his Tuscan kitchen, Chef Massimo uses farm-to-table fruits, vegetables and produce in each hands-on cooking classes.  He shops daily selecting local produce, meats, cheeses, pasta, and truffles the nearby farms and artisans and then transforms them into full-course Tuscan menus. He shares his Nonna’s recipes and professional techniques kneading flour and farm eggs then rolling the dough into tagliatelle, agnolini and sheets of pasta that will be filled with herbs and light ricotta cheese and folded into ravioli.  Learn the cuts of Florentine beef and names of Tuscan beans while you slice, dice and sauté. You will also sip and swirl Brunello of Montalcino, the world-famous Brunello red wine of the region – the vineyard and cantina are on the property.

Tuscan cooking is simple and always in-season using peas and fava beans in the spring, summer squash flowers and zucchini in the summer, and yellow and green squash during the cold months of winter. Genuine organic ingredients go into creating antipasto, fresh pasta and sauces, main courses, and desserts. Grilled meats, such as the classic Fiorentina steak, are a tradition, as are pappardelle, gnocchi, crostini, and torta di olive di olio, Tuscan olive cake.

Tuscan antipasti begins with bruschetta, toasted bread garnished with grilled eggplant, zucchini or garlic, olive oil or herbs. Antipasto platters brim with prosciutto, salumi, and artisan Pecorino cheese, and crostini toscani, Tuscan bread garnished with creamy chicken liver, is every Tuscan’s favorite.

Learn to prepare handmade pici all’alglione, a rustic pasta served in a creamy tomato and garlic sauce, or gnudi, naked ravioli, prepared in a light parmesan cream sauce with roasted chestnuts.  You will learn to make cannelloni, thin sheets of pasta filled with ricotta cheese, mushrooms and roasted squash. Tuscan ravioli filled with ricotta and spinach served with butter, sage, and aged parmesan are also a classic.

Traditional Tuscan main courses include Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a special cut of steak from the Chianina cattle – an ancient Tuscan breed known for its precious meat and delicate taste grilled over red-hot coals rare. Rabbit breast stuffed with pork sausage are loved by every Italian while beef spezzatino, a Tuscan stew slow-cooked in white wine, wows everyone! There’s farmer’s pollo alla Cacciatora, a hunter’s chicken stew with cabbage, tomato, and black olives. Fish lovers will applaude branzino al cartoccio, a local sea bass served with parsley, garlic, and capers and slow cooked inside an envelope of parchment paper. Ribolitta, a hearty slow-cooked bean stew made with white cannellini beans, seasonal vegetables served with grilled Tuscan bread, is the pièce de resistance.

Discover and prepare classic Tuscan desserts such as ricciarelli, a dense almond cookie tradition with a crispy meringue exterior. Also on the menu is castagnaccio, Tuscany’s famous chestnut cake prepared with walnuts, pine nuts, and rosemary. Cantucci, twice-baked biscuit, whose main ingredients is almonds is a winner – and always dipped in Vin Santo, the blessed wine.  Autumn menus include schiacciata alla Fiorentina, a sweet flat Tuscan cake garnished with grape must.


Montalcino is a quaint medieval town set on a hilltop overlooking the Val d’Orcia filled with fields of yellow sunflowers, rolling fertile vineyards and silvery-green olive orchards. Centuries-old cypress trees pepper the landscape of the UNESCO Tuscan landscape.  Cypress trees, planted by the Romans hundreds of years ago, line the roads throughout Val d’Orcia.

An endless 360-degree circle showcases Mother Nature’s best beauty. Sleepy farmhouses and vineyards dot the distance. Inside the village, artisan shops along the via Mazzini sell Italian linens, tablecloths, dinner napkins, table runners and fabric by the meter. An artisan cheese and salumi shop showcases fennel salumi and goat cheese aged under Sangiovese grape must, and offers complimentary tastings. The scent of panforte, a dark and dense Sienese cake made with almonds, candied orange, cinnamon, cloves, cardamon and honey, fills the air.

The town is protected by the Fortezza di Montalcino, a military fortress, on the highest point of the town. The fortress, designed by Sienese architects Mino Foresi and Domenico di Feo, has been constructed in the shape of a pentagon with four towers on each end. It’s set on via Francigena, the pilgrimage route from England to Rome. Historians say the town dates to the Etruscans and Romans. Although there were many Sienese and Florentine sieges during its history, the fortress and town were never conquered.

In the center of the village, there’s Piazza del Popolo, meaning square of the people, and the Palazzo Comunale, also called the Palazzo dei Priori, a 13th century building decorated with the coats-of-arms of governors who have been in office through time.  An ancient bell tower sits center in the square and defines the town’s skyline.  La Loggia, an open-area terrace, covered under a vaulted ceilings and built in the 14th century is everyone’s favorite place to sit and converse with locals. Italian Renaissance author and architect Leon Battista Alberti once wrote, “there should be a loggia in every piazza for young and old, babies and elderly men, to meet and sit.”

The Piazza del Popolo is charming and filled with small trattorias that serve traditional fare, the Duomo, Cathedral of the Holy Savior, dedicated to San Salvatore built in the 14th century and the Civic Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art located inside the former convent of Sant’Agostino

Montalcino is famously known for its precious Brunello di Montalcino, the most famous red wine of Italy known around the world. The Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino has a serious long list of rules and protocol that must be followed when making the prized wine. The most important, the Brunello di Montalcino must be made from 100% Sangiovese grapes, and the date of the wine being put on the marketplace for sale must be January 1st of the fifth year after harvesting. During this time, the wine must be aged five years, two of which must take place in oak barrels. Brunello literally translates to little brown one, referring to the color of the grape.

Montalcino Accommodations

Check into the charming villa farmhouse set in a small hamlet and just minutes from Montalcino. The property dates to 1672 and includes a main farmhouse, a wine-growing estate, a villa farmhouse. A serene, verdant landscape of vineyards, fields and olive groves surrounds the property. The villa farmhouse has been completely renovated with modern amenities while still retaining a classic ambiance. Guests can cool off in the swimming pool or explore the walking and biking paths. Each accommodation offers fully equipped apartment with private kitchens, spacious living rooms with satellite TVs, Wi-Fi access, outdoor barbecues, and expansive views over the green vineyards. Rooms are fully furnished and spotless with comfortable bedding, Italian linens, and private ensuite bathrooms with toiletries.  The property has every amenity to serve your need including a beautiful swimming pool.

Itinerary: 6 Days, 5 Nights

Day 1: Check-In and Tuscan Picnic Basket Welcome with Brunello di Montalcino Wine

•Transfer to the property from the Chiusi Train Station.
• Check-in with your Cooking Vacations Welcome Bag and Prosecco toast.
• Later in the evening, enjoy a Welcome Tuscan picnic basket with assorted artisan cheese, salumi, olives, bread, and a bottle of Brunello wine.

Day 2: Cooking Class 1 and Brunello di Montalcino Wine Tasting at Property

• Start the morning with your first hands-on cooking class. Learn to prepare traditional recipes with Chef Massimo using farm-to-table ingredients. Following the cooking class, everyone enjoys lunch with the food made in the class with a toast of wine included.
• After your cooking class, experience Wine Tour and Tasting at the property. Take a private tour of the property’s organic vineyard, then visit the cellar to discover their winemaking process and wine aging. Afterwards, sip and swirl a selection of the property’s wines in the tasting room.
• Following the wine tasting, enjoy free time to relax by the pool, walk along paths, or rent an e-bike.
• In the evening, enjoy dinner on your own with suggestions provided.

Day 3: Visit Montalcino and Brunello di Montalcino Wine Tour with Tasting

• Start the morning and meet your driver.  Discover an ancient medieval vineyard and cantina dating back to the 11th century, and just a few kilometers north of Montalcino. Tour the vineyards and learn about Montalcino di Brunello, the vineyard terrain, and the requirements of producing the wine by the consortium. Following the tour, visit the cantina and enjoy a wine tasting of Brunello di Montalcino wine, paired with Tuscan bites on the property.
• After the winery, continue to Montalcino village. Walk along cobblestone pathways that line this quaint town steeped in history. Stroll the medieval town and discover its enotecas, artisan leather shops, Italian linen makers and gelaterias. Take time for lunch on our own with suggestions provided.
• Following lunch, explore the majestic Fortress of Montalcino, which was the last bastion of the Republic of Siena against Florence during the 14th century. The structure is truly a a shining example of military architecture. Visit the Piazza del Popolo, the main square.
• Following your excursion in Montalcino, return to the property with your driver.
• In the evening, enjoy dinner on your own with suggestions provided.

Day 4: Cooking Class 2

• Start the morning with cooking class 2.  Tie on your apron for your second hands-on cooking class. Learn to prepare traditional dishes with Chef Massimo using farm-to-table ingredients. Following the cooking class, everyone enjoys lunch with the food made in the class, with a toast of wine included.
• Following the cooking class, relax at the property, walk the gardens or sit by the swimming pool.
• In the evening, enjoy dinner on your own with suggestions provided.


Day 5: Cooking Class 3

• Start the morning with cooking class 3.  Tie tie on your apron for your third hands-on cooking class. Learn to prepare traditional dishes with Chef Massimo using farm-to-table ingredients. Following the cooking class, everyone enjoys lunch with the food made in the class with a toast of wine included.
• In the evening, enjoy dinner on your own with suggestions provided.

Day 6: Arrivederci!

  • Check out of the accommodation and transfer to Chiusi Train Station.
  • Arrivederci!

Program Includes

• 6 days, 5 nights accommodation in a charming villa with breakfast fruit basket.
• Welcome Tuscan Picnic Basket with artisan cheese, prosciutto and salumi, and a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino wine.
• 3 hands-on cooking classes on the property including a full menu followed by lunch or dinner including the foods prepared in class and a glass of Brunello di Montalcino wine.
• Private tour of the property’s vineyard followed by a tasting of Brunello di Montalcino wine with Tuscan snacks.
• Excursion to a vineyard and cantina of a Brunello di Montalcino wine maker including a tour of the vineyard and cantina with a wine tasting of Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscan snacks with a driver.
• Excursion to Montalcino village with driver.
• Round trip transfers to and from Chiusi Train Station to the property.
• Cooking Vacations Welcome Bag with chef’s apron, Prosecco and recipe book.
• A copy of Lauren’s book, “It’s A Dream Place – Stories & Recipes of Food, Love and The Amalfi Coast.”

Program Price

$3,995 based on two guests in a full suite apartment in the Villa farmhouse with private ensuite bathroom.  A beautiful swimming pool on the property for your relaxation and enjoyment.

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.

Check Availability

2024 Dates: This program is available throughout the entire 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.