Siena, the romantic Tuscan city, conjures up thoughts of the Piazza del Campo, Palio, the Siena Cathedral, the Duomo and Saint Catherine of Siena. Step inside its Medieval wall and step back in time. Stroll through ancient streets and the historic piazza, before slipping into your sophisticated hotel, an oasis of calm in this bustling town center. Our cooking program with Chef Gabriella takes you through three days of cooking Tuscan classics while teaching you the importance of regional products and precious Tuscan wines. When you are not in the kitchen, Nicoletta, native Senese takes you on a fascinating tour of Siena’s best-loved monuments, boutiques and artisan workshops.
Tie on your apron with Chef Gabriella and immerse yourself into hands-on authentic cooking classes where you will learn about true Tuscan menus from appetizer to dessert; including a fresh handmade pasta accompanied by sauces made from seasonal products. Chef Gabriella’s menus are prepared with local, seasonal ingredients, and follow the food philosophy of old world. Menus reflect Gabriella’s passion for reviving historic recipes and giving them a contemporary twist, ensuring that dishes are lighter and better suited to the modern palate. Classics include delicious homemade pici pasta, tagliatelle, ravioli, then again local Chianina beef, beans, stuffed vegetables and of course, cantucci biscuits to be dipped in vin santo make for a perfetto ending! Everyone joins in to enjoy the foods made in class following in lunch or dinner, and a ¼ liter of excellent local wine and mineral water (still or sparkling) is included.
Set among the olive groves and vineyards of Chianti, Siena is one of the most popular and attractive towns of Tuscany. It is a town that has changed very little over the centuries, and its unique Piazza del Campo, the central piazza, is known as one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe. Famous for its annual historic horse race, the Palio, which takes place in the central piazza, Siena has so much to offer each visitor. The Duomo is a striking example of Italian Romanesque architecture and was originally intended to be the grandest cathedral in existence (before funds ran out!), and Palazzo Pubblico, which houses Ambrogio Lorenzetti frescos are another masterpiece not to be missed. And just a few steps away from the main square are the narrow, winding streets that make for adventure and led to hidden angles of this ancient town, past pretty squares, and along fabulous restaurants, cafes and theaters.
Relax and enjoy your beautiful accommodations set in the heart of Siena. Each private room is decorated with elegant furnishings and boasts a colorful view over the town of Siena. Warm Tuscan colors create a cozy atmosphere, and antique prints line the walls and hallways. Each private room has a stylish en-suite bathroom equipped with hairdryer and quality linens. Take a stroll through the red brick cloisters, and enjoy breakfast under the brick vaulted ceilings. Nestling within the city walls, this historic property is perfectly situated for reaching shops and monuments alike, providing welcome respite from Siena’s bustling center.
Itinerary: 3 Days, 2 Nights
Check in and start your program on any day of the week
Day 1: Arrival & Check In
- Arrival in Siena and check in.
- In the evening, take a stroll round this beautiful town and pick out a little trattoria for dinner.
- Cooking Vacations offers a Restaurant Hot Pick list of the best ones to choose from.
Day 2: Guided Tour of Siena & Cooking Class 1
- Breakfast is served.
- Meet your guide Nicoletta at 10 am for a walking tour of Siena town center. Along the ancient main street, stop off at an artisan bakery, who keeps the old world baking traditions alive, and see how the local pici pasta is still made by the Nonnas. The tour continues with a visit of the cathedral, considered to be one of the most beautiful in Italy. Then time for tastings at the artisan bakery’s restaurant, with glass of wine included. After lunch, Nicoletta goes on to explain the history of the famous Piazza del Campo home to the Palio horse race. The famous Palio is the oldest event in Italy running annually since the 16th century. The tour ends on a sweet note in an ancient artisan cake shop where you will see how Siena’s famous Ricciarelli are made.
- After your tour, head to the kitchen for your Cooking Class 1 with Chef Gabriella. This hands-on cooking class focuses on the preparation of a full Tuscan menu, from appetizer to dessert, including fresh pasta and sauces, a main course, and biscotti, cake or pastries. Dinner follows and everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared in class. Local wine included, additional wine/beverages at a surcharge.
- Happy and replete, return to your accommodation or walk through Siena for a glimpse at dusk.
Day 3: Cooking Class 2 & Departure
- Breakfast is served.
- Cooking Class 2 with Chef Gabriella. Everyone meets at Gabriella’s kitchen where you will create your second traditional Tuscan menu. This hands-on cooking class includes the preparation of an appetizer, pasta, main course, and dessert. Lunch follows and everyone joins in to enjoy the foods that were prepared in class. Local wine included, additional wine/beverages at a surcharge.
- Check out & departure after lunch. Arrivederci!
- 3 days, 2 nights accommodations, based on double occupancy. Click to view!
- Daily breakfast.
- 2 hands-on cooking classes with lunch or dinner following on the foods prepared in class. Local wine included, additional wines/beverages at a surcharge.
- Guided tour of Siena, tastings and glass of wine included.
$1,350 per person, based on double occupancy.
Single Supplement: please call us for single pricing and we will do our best to fit you in with a group to ensure you receive the best possible single rate.
*An Italian visitor tax may apply in some cities and must be paid directly on site at check out.
Additional add-on nights are $255 per night, based on double occupancy, and include daily breakfast,
ADD ON MORE DAYS
If you plan to stay with us for a few more days.
Day 4: Sleep a little late, enjoy your Italian breakfast with a slow cappuccino and take the day to visit the town on your own or opt for one of our additional guided tours.
Ancient Siena & The Palio Museum
Meet with Nicoletta, our native Senese and professional guide, at 10 am and set out on a fascinating journey through Siena’s history. Learn more about the town’s ancient monuments and its division into the famous Contrade. These were originally primitive military districts, but today the same districts come together for Siena’s fiercely fought horse race, the Palio. Thanks to Nicoletta, you’ll be able to visit the Palio museum (often closed to visitors), where you’ll discover the race’s ancient origins and why in Siena, it generates such rivalry and competition amongst locals. Tour lasts approximately 3 hours.
$360 for a group of 1-8 people, includes guide’s fee. Museum entrance fees not included and payable at the door.
Add On A Medieval Lunch
After the museum, Nicoletta will treat you to a unique experience at a local trattoria which specializes in recreating Medieval fare- rice seasoned with meat, omelets filled with pasta, and cakes filled with honey and fruit, accompanied by Medieval spicy wine. Tour plus lunch lasts approximately 5 hours.
$105 per person for lunch. Gratuities at lunch not included.