Taormina Isola Bella Cooking™

Our Sicilian Family Cooking ~ 5 Day

Join our Sicilian family and tie on your apron with Chef Mimo for your Sicily Cooking Vacations.  Say the word Taormina and images of Sicilian pasta, turquoise waters and nearby Mount Etna come to mind!  In the kitchen at our Sicily cooking classes, you’ll learn to make arancini, rice balls, pasta alla Norma and Sicilian cannoli.  Check into the beautiful hotel accommodations, enjoy a Prosecco welcome, and soak up the sea view from your terrace. Excellent food and wine of Taormina, along with charming locals, history and art, will have you wanting to extend your stay!!!

Taormina – Sicily

Taormina on the east coast of the island, halfway between Messina and Catania, and it is one of the most beautiful places imaginable. Its origins date back to 734 BC, even before the Greeks founded the nearby town of Naxos.

Its beauty of land and sea has attracted travellers forever.  Stroll through the ancient historic center and discover age-old monuments and orche-glazed palazzos built by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans and French – all leaving their mark.

Taormina was a haven for writers, artists and intellectuals throughout time.  Let’s start with D.H. Lawrence, who wrote Lady Chatterly’s Lover, along with Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams, to name a few.  The town is featured in Goethe’s Italian Journey, and was home to Nobel Prize winner-Halldor Laxness.

Stroll the many pedestrian walkways winding through town and pass artisan shops – olive oil, ceramics and crafts, along with bakeries showcasing colorful marzipans, and trattorias serving delectable food and wine.

Taormina’s most famous beauty is the ancient Greek Theatre, dating back to the 3rd century BC and remarkably well-preserved.  When the Greek Theatre was first constructed, it was used by the Greeks and then by the Romans as a musical theatre and arena for gladiator fights.  Today, it’s a venue for operas, concerts, ballets and the Taormina Art festival in the summertime.  A short walk from the property and you can experience the famous cable car that brings you to the waterfront and Isola Bella, a tiny green island connected to the mainland by a narrow sand pathway.

Taormina Market Tour & Cooking Classes

Tie on your apron and join Chef Mimo who will lead you through Sicilian cooking classes, pasta-making classes and a historic market tour.  Shop with the chef and experience the Sicilian outdoor market.  Learn how to select the perfect eggplant, not too big nor heavy, a true indication of seeds.  From farm-to-table fruit and vegetables to local fishermen who display their daily catch, there are ingredients for everyone.  Meat sellers and artisan cheese makers line up and sell their goods, along with farmers who sell their herbs, spices, and wine from Mount Etna.  At the end of the tour, Chef Mimo’s basket is filled with products that will be used in the hands-on cooking class.  Following the Taormina market tour, we return to the kitchen.

In the kitchen, Chef Mimo leads you through making antipasti, fresh pasta making, a main course and dessert.  You’ll stuff creamy Sicilian ricotta into fresh zucchini flowers, then flash fry and sprinkle with sea salt.  Mix and roll out gnocchi, handmade ravioli stuffed with salty caciotta cheese, while sautéing eggplant and tomatoes.  Learn how to transform peppers, eggplant and zucchini into Caponata, or stuff artichokes with our secret Sicilian stuffing.  If you love fish, think sea bass enveloped in sea salt or calamari drowned in tomato sauce with capers and black olives.  If you love meat, Sicilians love to grill and stuff veal, beef and pork called, involtini.  Sicilians are noted for their delicious desserts:  handmade cannoli stuffed with whipped ricotta, Cassatta Siciliana, sweet ricotta and lemon zest cake made with organic cake flour and farm-fresh eggs.  This work of art, tastes as good as it looks.  Following each cooking class, guests enjoy the foods that were prepared during the class, including a wine pairing of 2 local Sicilian wines.

Taormina Food Lover’s Tour & Tastings

You will also enjoy a Food Lover’s Walking Tour of Taormina with our English-speaking guide. Learn about the rich history of the city as well as its cuisine, while seeing all its major landmarks and sampling local bites along the way.

Mount Etna Wine Tour & Tasting Lunch

Walk on the slopes of Mount Ethan with your English-speaking sommelier. Enjoy your excursion to walk in the shadow of Mount Etna as you experience a wine tour and tasting lunch at Sicily’s most important wine maker – a noble family who has been making wine since 1880. Put on your walking shoes, pack your camera and get ready to sip and swirl for a wine experience on Mount Etna.  Our Sicilian wine tour and tasting lunch takes you to the vineyard, winemaking cellars and tasting room with a full course Sicilian lunch to follow.

Discover Mount Etna’s diverse viticulture spanning 18 hectares of this estate!  Learn about the complexities of how climate and soil contribute to the essence of indigenous Nerello Macales, Nerrello Cappuccio, Carricante, Minella, and Nero d’Avola grape varieties. Your day starts with an introduction to the winery hosted by our English-speaking sommelier.  Next visit the ancient vineyard, then to the palmento, ancient stone press dating back to the 1700s, then the antique cellar where you will enjoy a tasting including the award-winning wine and a full course lunch with pasta reale, a traditional Sicilian almond paste cookie.

Taormina Accommodations

Luxury Villa With Sea View

Your Taormina accommodation is a stunningly appointed luxury villa hotel overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Once a home to Taormina aristocrats, this villa is the perfect home base for your Sicilian stay. Its dramatic perch atop rocks and sea will take your breath away, and it is only steps away from the historic center – bustling shops and restaurants at Corso Umberto – or a short walk from the Teatro Antico di Taormina ruins. This old-world hotel is tastefully decorated with Sicilian art decor and cool colors. Each room offers comfortable bedding and cool linens to make your stay relaxing. There are modern amenities: private ensuite bathroom, free wifi, television, air conditioning, and a minibar and sea view. Breakfast is served each morning – enjoy it on the terrace – and daily maid service is provided for your convenience. Sunbathe by the outdoor pool with panoramic sea views, or sip an aperitif at the bar, or elegant guest lounge in your down time. Light Sicilian fare is served at the bistro bar. Soak up the view, sip, swirl and relax in beautiful Taormina!

4 Star Boutique Villa With Sea View

The quintessential Sicilian property, this 4-star boutique villa-turned-hotel exudes luxury. Surrounded by lush gardens and looking out over the Ionian Sea and the looming Mount Etna, you will feel like you are in a world of your own at this property, but the bustling main streets of Taormina are just a 10-minute stroll away. Sit by the serene pool overlooking the cerulean sea or enjoy the comforts of your spacious room, meticulously designed and decorated to fit the atmosphere of the property and Taormina: refined, yet comfortable. Each room has a standing balcony with a view and includes all the amenities: a large ensuite private bathroom with walk-in shower, wifi, air conditioning, slippers and bathrobes to name a few. With its close proximity to caffés and shops, this property is the perfect place to relax after a day of cooking, touring, and exploring.

3 Star Deluxe Property 

This traditional and stunning Sicilian property is located in the heart of Taormina, right on the glamorous and bustling Corso Umberto. The property boats a rooftop terrace with breathtaking views of the twinkling Ionian Sea and the majestic Mt. Etna. Spacious rooms with comfortable beds and bedding are decorated in warm hues, like the surrounding homes and shops seen outside the hotel windows. Amenities include a private ensuite bathroom, television, free wifi and air conditioning, to name a few. An enchanting position – steps away from the best shopping and dining Taormina has to offer and just five minutes away from the historical center – makes this the perfect location during your stay. Start your day in the charming breakfast room each morning, breakfast is included, and in your down time, take the hotel shuttle to enjoy its private beach and relax.

Itinerary ~ 5 Day – 4 Nights


Day 1: Check In & Chef’s Welcome Dinner

  • Arrival and check in.  Rest, refresh and explore Taormina.
  • Welcome dinner including a full course Chef’s tasting menu featuring Sicilian fare.  Wine is not included.

Day 2: Food Lover’s Walking Tour & Cooking Class 1 with Cannoli Making Class

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Meet your English-speaking guide in the morning for your Food Lover’s Walking Tour.  Stroll through the city streets, learning about the famous landmarks and local cuisine, enjoying tastings along the way.
  • Return to the kitchen for your hands-on cooking class preparing a full course meal.
  • Following the cooking class, everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared in the cooking class with local wine included.
  • The rest of the day is free and on your own.  Dinner suggestions provided.

Day 3: Market Tour & Cooking Class 2

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Meet Chef Mimo in the morning for your outdoor market tour.  Shop with the chef and learn how to select fruit and vegetables and produce for an authentic farm-to-table experience.
  • Return to the kitchen for your hands-on cooking class preparing a full course meal.
  • Following the cooking class, everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared in the cooking class with local wine included.
  • Your evening is free and dinner on your own.
  • Suggestion, add on the The Godfather tour and visit the famous Corleone Villa where the epic movie was filmed.

Day 4: Mount Etna Vineyard Tour With Wine Tastings & Lunch

  • Breakfast is served.
  • In the morning, your private driver will pick you up for your trip to an award-winning vineyard right on the slopes of Mount Etna. Walk through vines that surround an extinct volcanic crater, soaking in beautiful panoramic views, and learn how the volcanic soil influences the wine. After, tour the vinification hall and the stunning property, followed by an expert sommelier-led tasting.
  • Enjoy a full lunch served at vineyard.
  • Driver returns you to the property.
  • Evening free and dinner on your own.

Day 5: Departure & Arrivederci!

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, check out and departure.

Or Add On & Extend Your Cooking Vacations

Add On, if you want to add on – The Godfather’s Villa

& Sicilian Lunch with Wine or Taormina Boast Cruise on the Coast

Program Includes:

  • 5 days, 4 nights with a sea-view balcony.  Click To View!
  • Daily breakfast and maid service.
  • Chef’s welcome dinner including a full course dinner featuring traditional Sicilian fare.  Wine not included.
  • Food Lover’s Walking Tour of Taormina with tastings, led by your English-speaking guide.
  • Shop with the chef market tour with discussions along the way.
  • Two hands-on cooking classes preparing traditional Sicilian fare.  Following the cooking classes, everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared in the cooking classes with local wine included.
  • Excursion to an award-winning vineyard with driver to Mount Etna with sommelier-visit the vineyard, cantina, with wine tasting and and full course Sicilian lunch.
  • Excursion with your driver to the Godfather’s Villa with lunch and wine included – if you opt for the 5 night tour.
  • Round trip airport or train transfers from Catania.
  • Cooking Vacations welcome bag with chef’s apron, Prosecco and recipe booklet.
Program Prices

$2,395 per person, in 3 star Deluxe property with sea view, based on 2 guests.

$2,795 per person, in a Villa Villa with sea view, based on 2 guests.

$3,395 per person, in 4 star Luxury Boutique Villa with sea view, based on 2 guests, price starting at.

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.

*Transfers to and from Catania Airport or Train Station the property are available.  Please call us for pricing based on the number or guests in your group.

Check Availability

2023 Dates: This program is available throughout the year. Check in and start your 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.