Join us in Florence, the heart of the Renaissance, for our Renaissance Women tour hosted by chef and food lover Lorena and Florentine art historian, guide. The exclusive program is perfect for women wanting to join a small group and meet new friends, or mothers, daughters, grandmothers and girlfriends vacationing for a unique food and art cooking experience.
Our cooking classes bring you into the Florentine kitchen with Chef Lorena. Tie on your apron and learn how to create authentic Tuscan traditions while preparing antipasto, fresh pasta and sauces, fish, meat or vegetarian, and delicious desserts. Everyone enjoys the food that was prepared in the cooking class to follow with a toast of local wine.
During your stay, you will also visit the Sant’Ambrogio Market with the Chef learning about fresh ingredients, how to shop and what to use in local recipes.
Also included is our Florentine Secret Addresses Tour where you will experience small artisan shops of food, wine, leather and paper goods – to name a few!
Experience Renaissance Florence in our authentic food, art and landmark tour!!!
Food and Romance In Renaissance Florence
Food, art and romance blend in Florence where ancient cobblestone streets are lined with caffès and trattorias that spill out onto piazzas. There are artisan makers of Renaissance paper, old world books, leather goods, wine, lines, 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 our Florentine guide and expert on art and all things Florence! He 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. Our English-speaking guide will lead the way while sharing his knowledge on everything Florence!!!
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. Daughter of 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. His words rang out with, “Florence and its art causes me to have rapid heartbeat, dizziness and even fainting.” 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 with an early morning visit to the Sant’ 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 Florentines negotiate the best product and price. Our Shopping with the Chef tour takes you through the Sant’Ambrogio market and introduces you to the foods of the region. From artisan bread and cheese, to fruits and vegetables, fish and meats, to salumi and desserts, the market is a historical landmark.
Florence Cooking Classes
Tie on your apron and learn how to prepare Tuscan antipasto, pasta, risotto, main courses and desserts under the guidance of Chef Lorena. She learned how to cook with her grandmother making fresh pasta, tagliatelle and Florentine almond biscotti. Her passion started when she was a child and continued as saying, “it was always in my heart and soul.”
Tuscan menus include crespelle alla fiorentina, Florentine crepes stuffed with spinach and ricotta; tagliatelle ai fungi porcini, handmade pasta with mushrooms; and ravioli di ricotta, handmade pasta stuffed with ricotta. Learn how to prepare Tuscan pappa al pomodoro, or Panzanella, Florentine bread salad with tomato and seasonal vegetables. Main courses include pollo Florentine, chicken Florentine, or Steak Florenine. Vegetarian menus are also available. Desserts are delicious from torta di mele, Tuscan apple cake and cantucci, twice-baked almond biscotti, and tiramisù al vinsanto. Following each cooking class, everyone enjoys the food that was prepared in the cooking class with a toast of local wine.
You will prepare treasured Tuscan recipes while experiencing the most treasured cooking classes, food, wine and art in Renaissance Florence!!!
A Note On Florentine Food & Wine
Tuscan food is simple, delicious and from the land offering thick hearty soups, antipasti, salumi and artisan cheese, wholesome pastas topped with sauces, truffle and porcini when in season, 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 tarts made with pears. And not to forget gelato, whatever the season, gelato is available in all the 4 season, and flavors include pumpkin, rose petal, summer fruits and winter blends of caffè, caramel and chocolate.
Buon Appetito~Antipasto, Primo, Secondo & Dolce!
Begin with a delicious 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.
Enjoy 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. Dessert include: Tuscan cantucci dipped in Vin Santo, frittelle di pere bosco, pears dipped in Vin Santo and baked and torte di mela, apple cake served with gelato.
Florence Accommodations – Select from 3, 4 or 5 Star
3 Star – Renaissance, Stylish & Historical
In the very heart of Florence is our boutique accommodation set in a Renaissance palazzo overlooking the River Arno. Comfortable, cozy and adorned with all the modern amenities, the historical property offers a spacious terrace caffè, a professional staff and a beautiful central location. The property is a short walk from the Museum Uffizi Musuem, restaurants and artisan shops. Step into newly renovated rooms, complete with Italian linens, comfortable bedding and large windows, ensuite private baths in every room with showers, hairdryers, and air conditioning. An elegant Renaissance breakfast room serving farm fresh eggs, artisan breads and cakes and jams, cheese, salumi and ham, assorted fruits and cereals, yogurt, cereals, Nutella and tea, coffee, espresso and cappuccino. Dine outside on the terrace, sip and swirl a Chianti wine or an afternoon tea and soak up the Florentine lifestyle. The terrace overlooks the River Arno.
4 Star – Sophisticated, Elegant & Stylish
Our 4 star property is set in the heart of Florence overlooking the Arno River. Elegant and luxurious is the vibe. Stylish comfortable bedding, Italian linens, ensuite private tiled bathrooms, Italian design furniture, drapery and sophisticated décor dominated by warm tones of wood and bronze set the mood in every room. Amenities include fluffy terrycloth towels, slippers and bathrobes of the utmost quality. Additional amenities include air-conditioning and heating, feather or hypoallergenic pillows upon request and wifi. A Florentine bar and bistro accented with comfortable armchairs and tables is open daily for your convenience. The bistro and bar serve wine, Prosecco and cocktails along with light bites of antipasto, pasta, pizza, sandwiches and soups made by the chef using high-quality Tuscan products. Daily breakfast is included featuring Tuscan farm fresh eggs, artisan breads and cakes and jams, cheese, salumi and ham, assorted fruits, yogurt, cereals, Nutella along with tea, coffee, espresso and cappuccino. A kind professional staff is at your service for your every request. Superior rooms offer balconies and spectacular views overlooking the Arno River and the roof tops of Florence.
5 star options, available upon request.
When you’re not cooking, stroll round Florence’s cobblestone streets and pedestrian walkways to discover the city’s famous goldsmiths, jewelers and leather artisans. Cross the ancient Ponte Vecchio and 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
Day 1: Arrival & Chef’s Tasting Dinner
- Arrival and check in.
- Enjoy your Cooking Vacations’ Welcome bag and Prosecco.
- Enjoy our Welcome Dinner with a Chef’s Tasting Dinner featuring a full course menu featuring local fare. Wine not included.
Tuesday: Market Tour & Cooking Class 1
- Breakfast is served.
- Following breakfast, meet Chef Lorena for our shopping with the chef experience to Sant’ Ambrogio Market. Explore the ancient streets and visit the famous marketplace where you will learn about the local foods in season. As you make your way through the heart of the Sant’ Ambrogio Market, enjoy the scents, sounds and sights of venders selling their produce and products.
- Next, head into the kitchen for cooking class 1.
- Lunch follows and includes the food the was prepared in the cooking class with a toast of wine included.
- In the afternoon, soak up the culture of Florence, enjoy a gelato at an outdoor caffe or stroll along the Arno!!!
Day 2: Cooking Class 2 & Uffizi Museum Tour
- Breakfast is served.
- Tie on your aprons and join Chef Lorena in the kitchen for your cooking class 2.
- Lunch follows and everyone enjoys tbe food that was prepared in the cooking class with a toast of wine.
- Later in the afternoon, visit the Uffizi Museum Tour with our English-speaking guide. Discover the Uffizi Gallery and the Masterpieces of Botticelli, Da Vinci and Caravaggio. Giovanni Botticelli’s, Birth Of Venus & Primavera depict Renaissance art at its best. Visit the Renaissance artist Plautilla Nelli’s (1523 – 1588), Head Of A Woman and Kneeling Woman. The tour includes a reserved museum entrance time and museum tickets.
- Later in the evening, enjoy dinner on your own with our restaurant suggestions.
Day 3: Florentine Secret Addresses Tour
- Breakfast is served.
- Following breakfast, meet our guide for our Florentine Secret Addresses Tour. Discover Florence along city’s cobblestones streets for shopping experience to the artisan shops in the historical center. Discover Florence like a local while you meet locals who share their craft. Along the way, stop for caffè and dolce, sweet, wine or gelato.
- Enjoy lunch on your own in a beautiful trattoria.
- Later in the afternoon explore Florence on your own – visit the Galleria dell’Accademia and Florence’s Michelangelo’s Davide along with other important works by the Renaissance that are housed within the Accademia.
- Suggestion, stoll to Santa Croce area for afternoon shopping and a caffé at one of the many chic spots in the neighborhood.
Day 4: Boboli Gardens & Renaissance Women Discussion
- Breakfast is served.
- Following breakfast, meet our English-speaking guide for a Renaissance Women’s Tour at the Boboli Gardens. The Gardens are a true example of late Renaissance art created for Eleonora di Toledo (the wife of Cosimo I dé Medici) one year after the Medici Family purchased the palace. These romantic Garden, brimming with art is the perfect example of Renaissance.
- Take time out for Lunch on your own with Cooking Vacations’ suggestions provided.
- Enjoy the afternoon on your own. Suggestions include: 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.
Day 5: Departure
- Breakfast is served.
- Check out and departure.
- 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 the heart of beautiful Florence.
- Daily breakfast and maid service.
- 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 English-speaking guide with tastings along the way.
- 1 Welcome Dinner with Chef’s Tasting Menu featuring an antipasto, primo-pasta, main course and dessert. Wine and beverages not included.
- Sant’ Ambrogio Market Tour, with guide along with discussion and tastings along the way.
- Museum Tour of the Uffizi Gallery, including 3-hour tour with private professional guide and reserved entrance to the museum with museum tickets included.
- Renaissance Women’s Tour at the Boboli Gardens and Bardini Gardens with museum tickets included.
- Round trip transfers to and from Florence Airport or Train Station.
- Cooking Vacations’ welcome bag, Chef’s apron and handmade journal for travel writings.
$ 2,895 per person, based on 2 guests in a 3 Star Deluxe.
$3,695 per person, based on 2 guests in a 4 Star Superior with view on Florence.
$3,995 per person, based on 2 guests in a 4 Star Superior with view on the Arno River.
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. A 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.
2024 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.
Add-on additional nights with cooking, painting or Italian classes!