We have seats to the Palio of Siena!
Join Signor Francesco, chef, wine maker and sommelier in Siena where jockeys and horses from 10 of Siena’s 17 different contrade, districts, ride bareback for three laps of the Piazza del Campo, the town’s main piazza. The ancient race is held only twice per year and dates back to Medieval times. It’s named Palio di Provenzano for its July 2, in honour of the Madonna of Provenzano, a Marian devotion particular to Siena and Palio dell’Assunta on 16 August in honour of the Assumption of Mary. Locals arrive early, cheer on their favourite horses and the winning contrada erupts in an explosion of joy. In this race, it is the horse that wins, not the jockey, so the first horse over the finish line without its rider takes the trophy. Guests flock from all over the world to attend the great Palio. The costumes are colourful in this historical horserace in the heart of Siena.
Meanwhile, Signor Francesco’s Tuscan kitchen is waiting for you! Food and wine lover, he is always tempting with his hands-on cooking classes accompanied by his wine at the property. Gently sweeping hills adorned with pristine vineyards and grey-green olive groves, pretty country churches and imposing stone castles provide the backdrop for your cooking school vacation. Take a tour of the property’s winery, visiting the vineyard, tasting wines and learning about the Chianti Classico; enjoy accompanying your meals with a delicious selection of house reds and whites; and discover the wonderful healing properties of wine and grapes and reserve a wine therapy massage at the Estate’s spa. The property produces first cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil, and grows its own fruits and vegetables from the expansive garden, ensuring local products and authentic traditions.
Join Signor Francesco, chef, wine maker and sommelier philosophy is “see, smell and eat it” and each day, He is very particular and selects only the best fresh ingredients from the garden and the market for your hands-on cooking classes. The atmosphere in the kitchen is informal, encouraging you to ask questions, roll up your sleeves and get involved. Signor Francesco is a true Tuscan food lover – preparing homemade antipasto, pasta, risotto – main courses – and desserts!
Tuscan cuisine is unique and based on the simplicity of raw materials, cooked with skillful craftsmanship. Tuscan history speaks of agriculture and simple living, therefore dishes are based around the use of the ingredients of common people who could not afford luxuries in the kitchen – olive oil replacing lard, vegetables as a base for the soups instead of meat, chestnut flour, and so on. Everyone will prepare genuine ingredients using ancient culinary traditions and methods, creating delicious Tuscan everything frompanzanella, pappa al pomodoro, pici, lasagna, risotto, roast pork loin, duck, tripe, to cantuccini and tiramisù.
Each class is 2 to 3 hours long. Following each cooking class, everyone dines together enjoying the foods that were prepared in the class with Signor Francesco’s Tuscan wine included.
Gaiole in Chianti
The village of Gaiole is located approximately 40 km southeast of Florence and 15 km northeast of Siena in the Chianti hills, the most famous region of Tuscany. Gaiole in Chianti, like the whole Chianti region, is famous for its wine, artisan food products, and the unique romantic beauty of its landscapes: beautifully tended vineyards and olive groves, gently rolling hills, restored Medieval villages and farmhouses and characteristic avenues of stately poplar trees. Once a market town on the road from Chianti to Valdarno, Gaiole is still a wonderful place to visit for its wine shops, osterias, and local artisan shops, and perhaps more than any other village, represents the divine Tuscan landscape visitors dream of.
Imagine a beautifully restored Tuscan villa nestled cozily in the Chianti hillside: this will be your home for the duration of your cooking program. Rooms and suites are marked by distinctive and charming elements; for example, one suite has a bed made completely from antique oak barrels. Floors are made of the traditional terracotta tiles, exposed stones and beams give character to apartments and furnishings are carefully chosen to reflect the traditional Tuscan style and comfort. Each bedroom has a private bathroom (some equipped with hydromassage), mini bar, TV, air conditioning, some of which boast private living rooms, and others private terraces.
Suites and apartments available for groups and families of different sizes. Please call for more information on accommodation options.
Itinerary: 5 Days, 4 Nights
Day 1: Arrival & Check In
- Transfer from Florence airport to the Estate.
- Check in, then take time to relax and settle in.
- Welcome Dinner with local wine is served at the property.
Day 2: Cooking Class
- Breakfast is served.
- Meet in the kitchen for your Cooking Class. Get involved and spend a half-day having fun, learning and tasting in the kitchen. Tie on your aprons for your hands-on cooking class. You will prepare a three course traditional Tuscan meal. The course is 2 or 3 hours long, after which everyone dines together, enjoying the food made in class. Toast with a glass of wine, included.
- Relax in the afternoon or explore Chianti on your own. There are a lot of activities available like tennis, pool, archery, badminton, darts, etc. and at extra cost, you can also benefit from the small wellness center with its spa treatments where you can indulge in a variety of massages and a host of unique services including vinotherapy and chocotherapy.
- Dinner included at the property.
Day 3: Palio di Siena
- Breakfast is served.
- Morning free to relax.
- In the afternoon, set out for the Palio di Siena with your driver. It’s not easy to bag a seat for the Palio – but you will have one! Settle in and enjoy the pageants, parades and flag show that take place before the race, then pick a contrada and get ready to cheer as the riders and horses charge round the piazza. And even if your contrada doesn’t win, celebrate along with the winners and soak up the atmosphere of this unique event.
- Return to property.
Day 4: Wine Tour & Tasting
- Breakfast is served.
- In the morning enjoy your Wine Tour and Tasting. Along with your sommelier, you will tour the property’s winery and cellar, then enjoy a tasting of some of the property’s IGT and DOC wines. • In the afternoon, ask about reserving a Wine Therapy Treatment, including imperial bath with wine or explore the area on your own. (Not included.)
- Gourmet dinner at the property, paired wines included.
Day 5: Check out and Arrivederci!
- Breakfast is served.
- Check out and transfer to the Florence airport.
*Note: This schedule may vary due to inclement weather, saint days or festivals. All activities, in the event of rescheduling, are always included during the week.
- 5 days, 4 nights accommodations with private bathroom, based on double occupancy.
- Daily Breakfast.
- Chef’s Welcome Dinner with Wine Pairings served at the restaurant. Full course menu featuring local cuisine and superior wine produced on the property.
- 1 hands-on cooking class, with lunch or dinner following on the foods prepared in class. A bottle of local wine and a bottle of water included.
- 2 Exclusive seats at the Palio di Siena horse race. Transfers to and from Siena included.
- Wine tour with wine tasting.
- Gourmet dinner with wine pairing.
- Welcome Bag with Chef’s Apron.
- Arrival & Departure transfers from Florence Airport or Train Station.
$2,795 per person, based on double occupancy.
If you are a single traveler and would like to join a group, please call us for best single pricing.