Join us in Florence for our special women-only program in the birthplace of the Renaissance hosted by Chef and food lover Lorena and Florentine art historian guide, Luca. The exclusive Renaissance Women program is perfect for women wanting to join a small group and meet new friends; or mothers, daughters, grandmothers, or girlfriends getting together for a fun and educational cooking experience in Florence, while learning about the birthplace of the Renaissance Italy.
The cooking classes bring you into the Florentine kitchen with Chef Lorena. Step into her kitchen and learn how to create authentic Florentine foods and Italian classics, while participating in hands-on cooking and discovering new techniques for each recipe. The hands-on cooking classes include preparing antipasto, pasta, fish or meat dish, and delicious desserts. Chef Lorena will lead you through each step using only fresh in-season organic vegetables that she buys daily at the nearby Ambrogio Market. A market tour to the famous Ambrogio Market with the Chef is included, as is Lorena’s special Florentine Secret Addresses Tour where Chef Lorena leads you through her favorite places in Florence which will have you experience the city like a local.
This all women’s cooking program shares the experience of Renaissance Florence and its food, art and landmarks.
Food & Romance In Renaissance Florence
Food, art and romance overflow in Florence where ancient cobblestone streets are lined with cafes and trattorie that spill out onto piazzas. There are artisan makers of Renaissance paper, old world books, leather goods, wine, and Florentine food.
Florence is home to two important museums, both the Uffizi & Accademia which include an expansive collections of Renaissance art from Florentine greats such as Leonardo DaVinci (Adoration of the Magi), Michelangelo (Davide), Botticelli (Primavera) and Giorgio Vasari (the Vasari Corridor).
Meet Luca your Florentine guide and expert on art and all things Florence! Luca not only knows the history of the local art, but he knows the best places to eat and drink Tuscan wine. Learn about the first Etruscans who founded Florence, perhaps as early as 1000BC, the Medici Family, the Renaissance Art that followed, and how Florence evolved into being the art capital of Italy.
The Renaissance was a time of rebirth and new discoveries in food, art and culture. The era spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century and it all began in Florence. During our all-women’s culinary week, you will hear about great women like Catherine Medici, who shaped Italy at this time. Niece to Lorenzo de Medici, she was called the Italian grocer. She married Henry of Orléans in 1533, and moved to France taking her Florentine cooks and Italian cooking style with her. The Queen’s recipe book included, Cinestra, a broth made with Marsala, beaten eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar and Carabaccia, onion soup.
Step in the footsteps of the great personalities who were attracted to Florence, from Leonardo DaVinci to Catherine de Medici. There was also 19th century writer, Stendhal, who loved Florence so much he suffered from withdrawal when he was away. “Florence and its art causes me to have rapid heartbeat, dizziness and even fainting,” he said. A great travel read by Stendhal is Naples and Florence: A Journey From Milan to Reggio.
Florence ~ Shop With The Chef
Join Chef Lorena as she starts the morning off early and heads to the historical Ambrogio Market located in the ancient neighborhood of Camaldoli. Artisan vendors display their seasonal goods; fresh, local and piled high. It is a colorful scene as vendors shout out their specials of the day, and Italians of all sizes negotiate for the best product and price. This genuine market tour through the Sant’ Ambrogio market under the wings of Chef Lorena will introduce you to the foods of the region. From breads, cheese, fruit, vegetable, fish, and meats to savory salumi, the market is an authentic place to purchase foods for all tastes. Be sure to look for the indigenous cavolo nero, the dark cabbage exclusively from this region in season. Some of the fresh ingredients are bought for the class and used as an informal tasting before one of the classes. Return to her kitchen and get cooking.
Florence Cooking Classes
In your hands-on cooking classes you will learn to prepare antipasto, pasta, risotto, main courses and desserts under the guidance of Chef Lorena. She learned to cook by watching her grandmother make biscotti and tagliatelle for Sunday lunch. Her passion started when she was a child and continued as she says, “it was always in my heart and soul.”
You will learn from start-to-finish how to make Florentine bread including,-coccoli con prosciutto, schiacciata all’olio, and bruschette. There is fresh pasta, such as crespelle alla fiorentina, tagliatelle ai fungi porcini, and ravioli di ricotta. Also learn to make a great Tuscan pappa al pomodoro or Panzanella. Main courses or secondi, include,-pollo in fricassea, scamerita col cavolo nero, and polpette della nonna. Desserts include,- torta di mele, cantucci, and tiramisù al vinsanto to name a few. Following the seasons, recipes vary.
Everyone joins around the table and enjoys the foods that were made in class following. Local wine, dessert and great conversation always included. Chef, food lover, and member of a professional choir at the School of Music in Fiesole, there is always music in Lorena’s kitchen!
You will be cooking up some of the regions most treasured recipes! She welcomes each and every guest into her kitchen, while sharing the secret addresses of Florence for food, wine, artisan products and local produce. This exclusive Food & Romance cooking tour for women only will have you cooking, learning, and touring – the perfect trip for real foodies!
A Note On Florentine Food & Wine
Tuscan food is simple, delicious and from the land offering thick hearty soups, antipasti with salumi and artisan cheese, wholesome pastas topped with truffle, porcini and meat sauce. Beans are also a staple in the Tuscan diet, as is the famous Florentine meat, roasted, grilled, fried, braised and always with wine, most often Chianti or Sangiovese. Bread is a staple as well, there are many; always made without salt respecting the anti salt tax laws that once existed. Florentine’s love their dolce be it biscotti, cantucci, crostata or torte made with golden apples, roasted chestnuts, and tart pears. And not to forget gelato, whatever the season, gelato is available in seasonal flavors. Gelato in all the 4 season flavors include pumpkin, rose petal, summer fruits and winter blends of caffè, caramel and chocolate.
Buon Appetito~Antipasto, Primo, Secondo & Dolce!
Start off with Tuscan bruschetta, a trilogy of three Tuscan breads served with first cold pressed extra olive oils dusted with sea salt and herbs, or white beans & olive oil, and always the Tuscan black olives and fennel. Then for the adventurous at heart, try the classical, toasted bread and fegato, sautéed livers and onion.
Florentine pastas such as Gnudi, little pasta dumplings made with ricotta (in Renaissance dialect, ignudi literally meant naked) or Pici, thick wholesome strands of hand-rolled pasta served in a zesty garlic sauce, and the classics, Tagliatelle, Ravioli and Tortelli served with vegetable or meat sauces! Coniglio in Umido, Vitello and Bistecca Fiorentina. Sweet desserts, including,- baked Tuscan Cantucci dipped in Vin Santo, Frittelle di Pere, Bosc pears dipped in Vin Santo and fried golden; Torte di Mela, a golden apple cake served with gelato.
In the very heart of Renaissance Florence and where all the artists once lived is our B&B. Comfy, cozy and adorned with all the modern touches is your sweet B&B. The property is just around the corner from Dante’s statue and a short walk from the Museum Uffizi. Set on a quiet street filled with Florentine palazzi make its location convenient and centrally located. Step into the warmth of the newly renovated B&B, and into a clean modern atmosphere, with comfortable furnishing, large windows, ensuite private baths in every room with showers, hairdryers, and air conditioning. A common breakfast room always filled with the sweet smell of Lorna’s home baked cakes and jam welcomes you each morning. A continental breakfast is included daily.
When you’re not cooking, stroll round Florence’s cobblestone streets and pedestrian walk ways to discover the city’s famous goldsmiths, jewelers and leather artisans; cross the ancient Ponte Vecchio; visit the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. The beauty of Renaissance Florence will surely inspire you to add a little Renaissance magic to your own life as well. The Medieval City of Florence, home to Brunelleschi’s Duomo, is hailed the most romantic city in Italy. We will provide you with our hot pick list of where to eat, shop and visit!
Itinerary ~ 5 Nights, 6 Days
Monday: Arrival & Chef’s Tasting Dinner
- Arrival and check in.
- Introduction to your Renaissance Women’s culinary program, and a Welcome Aperitivo.
- Chef’s Tasting Dinner with the Chef’s Tasting Menu at our favorite Ristorante, including classics such as crostini or bruschette, a classical antipasto; Tagliatelle & Porcini or Gnudi, as your primo. Secondo includes, tempting Tuscan beef-fillet with Arugola & Parmigiano or the classic bistecca alla Fiorentina.
- Fish or vegetarian menus are also available. Top it off with a sweet ending Tuscan Torta Mela or Cantucci & Vin Santo.
Tuesday: Market Tour & Cooking Class 1
- Breakfast is served.
- Market Tour Chef Lorena takes you to the Ambrogio Market. Make your way through the tiny streets and you soon arrive to the famous marketplace where you will learn about the local foods in season. As you make your way through the heart of the Ambrogio Market, experience the smells, sounds and sights of colorful produce, watch vendors shout out their specials!
- Next, head into the kitchen with Chef Lorena for your Cooking Class 1.
- Lunch follows on the foods prepared in class. Wine, water and café included.
- Afternoon free and dinner on your own.
Wednesday: Cooking Class 2 & Uffizi Museum Tour
- Breakfast is served.
- Meet Chef Lorena for your Cooking Class 2.
- Lunch follows with the foods prepared in class, wine & beverages included.
- Afternoon: Uffizi Museum Tour with our professional and well-appointed guide. Spend the morning at the Uffizi Gallery and see the Masterpieces of Botticelli, Da Vinci and Caravaggio. Giovanni Botticelli’s, Birth Of Venus & Primavera depict Renaissance art at its best. Also on displays are drawings by the female Renaissance artist Plautilla Nelli (1523 – 1588) with her works, Head Of A Woman and Kneeling Woman. The half-day excursion is with our private guide and reserved museum entrance included (tickets payable at the door).
- Take time out for dinner in one of many of the trattorias in the Santa Croce area. Suggestions provided.
Thursday: Florentine Secret Addresses Tour
- Breakfast is served.
- Morning: Florentine Secret Addresses Tour. Chef Lorena leads you through her favorite places in Florence; choose between a walk in the hills to see one of the most unforgettable panoramas or along the city’s cobblestones streets for a window shopping experience to the most exclusive artisan shops in the historical center. Her personalized tour has you experience Florence like a local while you are meeting locals who are at the top of their craft. Along the way, stop for an award-winning coffee in the most charming cafe, a special glass of wine in a cozy enoteca, or a gelato made by artisan hands. Informal discussion, notes and tastings included personally guided by Chef Lorena.
- Free for lunch.
- Afternoon is free to explore Florence on your own or visit the Galleria dell’Accademia and Florence’s most popular tourist attraction – Michelangelo’s Davide. Other important works by the genius of the Renaissance are housed within the Accademia as well.
- Suggestion, visit the Santa Croce area for afternoon shopping and café at one of the many chic cafes in the neighborhood.
Friday: Boboli Gardens & Renaissance Women Discussion
- Breakfast is served.
- Meet Luca for a Renaissance Women’s Tour at the Boboli & Bardini Gardens. An informal discussion on the achievements of important Renaissance women as you tour the Gardens.
- The Gardens, a true example of late Renaissance art, were laid out for Eleonora di Toledo (the wife of Cosimo I dé Medici) one year after the Medici Family purchased the palace. These romantic Gardens with their perfect shapes and symmetry are a great example the Renaissance.
- Lunch on your own, suggestions included.
- Afternoon free. Suggestion: Visit the San Marco Museum or the Church of Santa Maria Novella where you can see some further works of Plautilla Nelli – ‘The Lamentation with Saints’ housed in the Refectory of San Marco Museum, or the ‘Last Supper’, housed in the Refectory of Santa Maria Novella. For a glimpse into the history of female fashion, visit the Costume Gallery of Pitti Palace to admire unique examples of Renaissance female attire.
- Breakfast is served.
- Check out and say goodbye-until next time.
- Ciao e Arrivederci!
*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 program.
- 6 Days, 5 Nights in classic double room, based on double occupancy.
- Daily breakfast.
- 2 hands-on cooking classes followed by lunch or dinner on the foods prepared in class. Wine and beverages included.
- 1 Florentine Secret Addresses Tour with Chef Lorena, coffee, wine or gelato included.
- Chef’s Tasting Dinner with Tasting Menu at local restaurant, antipasto, primo-pasta, secondo and dessert. Wine and beverages not included.
- Welcome Aperitivo & Introduction.
- Ambrogio Market Tour, with discussion & tastings.
- Museum Tour of the Uffizi Gallery, including 3-hour tour with private professional guide & reserved entrance to the museum (Museum tickets not included).
- Renaissance Women’s Tour at the Boboli & Bardini Gardens (museum tickets included).
- Welcome bag with Chef’s apron and handmade journal for travel writings.
- Round trip transfers to and from Florence Airport or Train Station.
$2,295 per person, based on double occupancy in 3-star. All taxes and VAT included.
$700 Single Supplement, based on minimum 2 people in the program in 3-star accommodations, if you are traveling with a friend and prefer your own private room.
If you are a single traveler and would like to join a small group, please call us for best single pricing.
*Supplement may apply during fair dates.
*An Italian visitor tax may apply in some cities and must be paid directly on site at check out.
2018 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.
The Chef’s Welcome Dinner and excursions/transfers may have couples and males due to the public aspect of these parts of the programs. All cooking classes and women-only related activities are reserved only for women.
Add-on extra nights, cooking, painting and or Italian classes & tours to your program.