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Villa Florentine™

The Tuscan Traveler’s Cookbook™ ~ 7 Days

Cooking Tours
Prices & Dates
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Join Signor Rodolfo, Signora Lucia and Chef Luciana at Villa Florentine, the family estate for a week of cooking and touring in The Tuscan Traveler’s Cookbook. This beautiful villa, built in 1470, is located in the heart of the Tuscan countryside and just minutes from Florence. Chef Luciana’s kind, energetic personality, along with her talented cooking skills and delicious Tuscan cuisine, make this program one of our best sellers in Tuscany. The entire family welcomes you to Villa Florentine for a fun-filled cooking experience!

Set among tall cypresses that line a Tuscan country road, and rose gardens and pomegranate trees that surround the property, the Villa Florentine is an extraordinary place for your hands-on cooking tour. Learn the traditions of Florentine cuisine from century-old recipes with our Chef. Wake up and walk to the kitchen while relaxing in a dream-like place of beauty. Your cooking classes take place in a working kitchen that includes an equipped working area and wood-burning bread & pizza oven. During you cooking tour, you will make traditional Tuscan favorites including antipasto, hand-made fresh pasta, delicious main courses, wood-burning brick oven pizza and delicious desserts, to be enjoyed along with Signor Rodolfo’s award wining wine. After your cooking class, everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared in class around the table.

When you are not in the kitchen walk through property’s vineyards, olive groves and beautiful gardens. In summer, take a swim in the outdoor swimming pool with a view that overlooks the Certosa Monastery or you can walk into the small town with its colorful outside market.

Tuscan Cooking School Classes

Cooking and culture blend with visits to Siena, Florence, San Gimignano and Pisa where you will experience a wonderful combination of landmarks, local foods and gorgeous scenery. You will travel along winding roads and fields of sunflowers that are dotted with castles and towers. Our Tuscan Food Trails tour surrounds you with local people, and takes you on a market tour and visit to the famous hilltop towns known for great food, wine and art.

Accommodations

Signor Rodolfo & Signora Lucia, along with the Villa’s professional staff, are on site to assist with any of your questions.

The Villa, whose original structure was built around a medieval tower, is home to large guest rooms that are furnished with Florentine antiques and original masterpieces that tell the story of its romantic past. Florentine cotto tiles lines the floors, wide windows sweep open onto rolling vineyards and olive trees, and pastel frescoes decorate the walls. Private ensuite bathrooms with hair dryers, plush bathrobes & slippers, and air-conditioning accent each room. There is daily maid service and breakfast included.

Walk the grounds, visit the amphitheater or relax by the outdoor swimming pool, complete with deckchairs and towel services. The swimming pool is open from April 1 to October 31.

Tuscany Cooking Classes With Chef Luciana

Experience the delights of Chef Luciana’s hands-on cooking classes in traditional and simple flavors of Florentine cuisine. Vegetables, fish and especially meat play a major role in Tuscan cuisine, complimented by the property’s organic wine and extra virgin olive oil. Seasonal ingredients such as white beans, asparagus, truffles, mushrooms, tomatoes, spelt, artichokes, and Florentine steaks are a few of the things you will be cooking in the kitchen.

You will roll out Tagliatelle! You will sauté delicious porcini mushrooms and pepolino, cook with wild thyme and artichokes, stuff tomatoes with herbs and cheese and create the most stunning sauces. Learn to make Ravioli Nudi, typical fresh Tuscan pasta in a light seasonal sauces, and Pici or Pappardelle to name a few. Start with Fettunta, an appetizing Tuscan garlic bread; for primos there are Penne Strascicate ~ Penne With Meat Ragù; and Peposo All’Imprunetina ~ Impruneta-Style Beef Stew, slow cooked, as well as seafood or vegetable Risottos. Also learn how to cook a fine Tuscan steak with porcini mushrooms to perfection.

Make sure to leave room for dessert, because Chef Luciana’s creations are delightful and delicious. Traditions include cantuccini, Tuscan almond cookies, tiramisù, schiacciata con l’uva, Tuscan cake made with red grapes and rosemary and biscotti di vino to be eaten while sipping Vin Santo.  Recipes vary depending on the seasons and special menu requests respecting food allergies and diet restrictions are always available.

You will also learn about the property’s award-winning wine and olive oil. Products are produced on site and are genuine and certified. During your stay, you will visit with our sommelier who will take you on a tour of the Villa’s cantina, the vineyard and the cellar. At the end of the visit you will have the chance to taste the products grown on the estate. The wine tasting is paired with a selection of typical Tuscan appetizers with discussion and insight on the food and wine that locals have been enjoying for centuries.

Tuscan Bread Making

Mix, knead and roll out Tuscan bread with Chef Luciana and bake it to perfection in an ancient wood-burning brick oven. Tuscan bread pairs with aged salumi and cheese, and is added to soups such as minestra di pane and rebollita. Tuscan breads include Covaccino, Doucesses, Pane Integrale, Procorn E Panda, Cazzottini and Focaccia. After a day with Chef Luciana you will be baking bread like a Tuscan. And of course, pizza made in a wood burning oven is the best!

When you are not cooking, you will also visit the outdoor marketplace and watch vendors converse with locals over daily specials. They will bargain on prices for the freshest eggs, the daily bread and the biggest rounds of Pecorino cheese. This is an experience that puts you in the real life of the locals often called la dolce vita.

Family Tradition

Signor Rodolfo’s family tradition runs deep at the villa, because the property has been in his family for centuries. A cook at heart and great storyteller of all things Florentine, he will tell of the villa’s past and his most favorite traditional foods from Florence, Peposo. The Tuscan beef stew is, “molto antico”, he will tell you. “It was made before the discovery of America, so there are no tomatoes in it… and Pappa al Pomodoro, a hearty tomato soup thickened with day old bread. I remember my Mom would cut the hard bread with a double edge knife just for the soup. She also prepared a minestra of vegetables, without potato, but with cavolo nero – a long black leafy cabbage with an incredible taste and flavor! Ah, La Ribollita another typical Fiorentina soup meaning ‘reboiled.’ At lunch you eat it as is, and for dinner you re-boil it and it tastes even better! These are silly things, but are they’re good, …incredible, and make me smile,” and he tells the story of his family recipes and the peasant foods for gente di campagna.

Siena & San Gimignano

Siena and San Gimignano are great escapes during your stay where you will visit landmarks, churches and food shops filled with local specialties like Panforte, the sweet spicy cake made at Christmastime in Siena, Cantucci & Vin Santo and the finest Tuscan wines. Walk through Siena’s piazza, home to the Palio and narrow alleyways filled with artisan shops, such as Florentine paper, spices, wine & cheese, tea, leather, sweets and leather goods.  During your stay you can also explore Monastery of Certosa just by the Villa. It is a historical place where the monks once made wine and jam. Visit the Church of San Lorenzo, patron Saint of Chefs & Cooks and make sure to see the frescos and architecture from this 11th-century landmark.

Siena

Set in the olive groves and vineyards of Chianti, is Siena. You can see its unique bell towers from miles. Its Piazza del Campo is regarded as one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe. And there is also the Duomo, a great example of Italian Romanesque architecture that was originally intended to be the grandest cathedral. You may also visit the Palazzo Pubblico home to Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s frescos. Or walk the narrow walkways and discover Siena’s ancient past. Cafés, wine bars, trattorie and gelaterias will pull you in. Specialty food shops selling local faro, spelt, and Tuscan beans. And before you leave, make sure to have a taste of Panforte, it is a very regional.

San Gimignano

San Gimignano is the Medieval town of art, music and history and is renowned for its towers. Although there are only 14 still standing of the original 72, it still is a sign of the town’s history and the wealthy families that built the tallest ones to prove their power. A stroll round the main piazza and its shops is a must to see hand-painted pottery, olive wood chopping boards, local artists in their galleries, wine and olive oil shops, and the area’s famous salamis made with fennel seeds and deep red Prosciutto. Take a seat in the piazza for stunning views under the red roofs of San Gimignano.

Pisa

One of Italy’s best known tourist destinations, the ancient maritime republic of Pisa is a quiet university town that boasts one of the best loved piazzas in the world. The piazza, Campo Dei Miracoli, is a vast green lawn that houses the town’s Duomo, its famous bell tower, better known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Baptistery and the Camposanto which has to be one of the most beautiful cemeteries ever built. Interestingly enough, however, it’s not only Pisa’s tower that leans. A closer look at the Baptistery and the Duomo will reveal that they too are far from straight, though less noticeably so than the tower.

Itinerary: 7 Days, 6 Nights

Day 1: Arrival & Tuscan Dinner

  • Transfer from Florence Airport or Train Station to the Villa.
  • Relax, check in and meet your hosts.
  • In the evening, full course Tuscan Dinner with wine tasting of the property’s prized wines included.

Day 2: Cooking Class 1 & Lunch

  • Breakfast is served.
  • After breakfast, enjoy a tour of the property’s vineyard & cellar, wine tastings included.
  • Later on head into the kitchen with Chef Luciana for your hands-on Cooking Class 1. Start with an antipasto such as Bruschetta, then the first course such as Spaghetti with Pommarola Sauce for a slow simmered to perfection tomato sauce. Your second course may include one of Chef Luciana’s specialties such as chicken Escalopes Mugnaia-style with insalata di arancio, a fresh orange salad, and for dessert Florentine torte. Menus vary to use the best fresh seasonal ingredients and can be tailored to accommodate vegetarian, food allergies and other diet requirements.
  • Lunch or dinner follows on the foods prepared in class. Wine pairings from the property included.
  • You can also rent bicycles from the property and set off for a ride through the Tuscan countryside. The gentle slopes allow for a pleasant ride for all levels and bring your camera for incredible photo-taking opportunities along the way.
  • Return to the Villa in the later afternoon.
  • Dinner on your own. Reserve in advance at the Villa or we have great local restaurants near the Villa upon request.  Florence is just a 5 minute taxi ride away, let us know and we will reserve a table at one of our local trattoria favorites.

Day 3: Full Day Florence ~ Guided Uffizi Museum Tour

  • Breakfast is served.
  • After breakfast, your driver will pick you up for a full day in Florence with guided museum tourStart your day with a transfer to downtown Florence to meet your private English-speaking guide. This half-day walking tour takes you into Florence’s world-famous museums. Chose the Uffizi with works by DaVinci, Caravaggio, Botticelli; or the Accademia with its prized centerpiece of Michelangelo’s David. Your guide brings art to life with historic notes, myths and mysteries surrounding Florence’s incredible art collections. (Museum tickets not included in program price).  Take time out for lunch on your own in Florence, suggestions provided upon request, and some time for shopping in the renowned leather market of San Lorenzo or the glittering Ponte Vecchio.
  • The Uffizi Gallery: Florence’s first museum to open to the public is 8,000 sq.m. and it displays one of the most important collections of art of all time, including classical sculpture and paintings on canvas and wood by 13th to 18th century Italian and foreign schools. Its four centuries of history make the Uffizi Gallery the oldest museum in the world.
    The Duomo: the distinctive icon in Florence’s skyline is the dome of the cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore. The building located due north of the Piazza della Signoria, was begun by the sculptor Arnolfo di Cambio in 1296. Numerous local artists continued to work on it during the following century and a half. The painter Giotto designed its sturdy bell tower, campanile, in 1334. The Duomo’s octagonal cupola (1420-36), which dominates the city, was the creation of Filippo Brunelleschi, master architect and sculptor.
    Though the cathedral was begun by Arnolfo di Cambio in 1296, in 1366, the city of Florence, following the advice of certain painters and sculptors, decided that the Gothic style should no longer be used and that all new work should follow Roman forms, including an octagonal dome spanning 42 meters, to be built at the east end of the nave. The dome was not built until the early 15th century, when in 1415, Filippo Brunelleschi, a goldsmith and sculptor, prepared a design for the dome. He daringly proposed to construct the dome without the aid of formwork, which had been absolutely necessary in all previous Roman and Gothic construction. He built a 1:12 model of the dome in brick to demonstrate his method and the design was accepted and built under his supervision from 1420 to 1436. Brunelleschi was hailed as the man who “renewed Roman masonry work.” The Duomo was established as the paragon of built form.  Opposite the cathedral stands the Baptistery; the building dates from the 11th century but is a Roman monument dating back to 1330; 1401-52. The third pair of these doors, by Lorenzo Ghiberti, were of such rare beauty that Michelangelo christened them the ” Gates of Paradise.”
  • The Accademia Museum: There is time while you are in Florence for the day to explore the most celebrated museum, home to Giovanni da Milano’s Pieta (fourteenth century), the “Annunciation” by Lorenzo Monaco (fifteenth century), the beautiful front called Adimari Cassone showing a sumptuous marriage procession (c. 1450) and the Madonna of the Sea attributed to Botticelli (1445-1510). A recent re-arrangement and restoration of some of the rooms have given more space for the display of paintings from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries, plaster models of Lorenzo Bartolini and Luigi Pampaloni, famous Italian sculptors of the nineteenth century also on display, and Michelangelo’s David.
  • Dinner on your own. Reserve in advance at the Villa or we have great local restaurants near the Villa upon request.

Day 4: Market Tour & Cooking Class 2

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Start early in the morning for a visit to the Local Market to learn about the fruits and vegetable in season, meats, fish, cheeses and freshly baked breads. Cooking seasonally is a way of life and Chef Luciana shows you how to choose the best fresh ingredients of the season.
  • Return to the kitchen for Cooking Class 2. Start with an antipasto such as Tuscan Canapè, then a first course of pasta served Florentine-Style with Ricotta and spinach in red pepper sauce. Prepare a second course based on the season such as Tuscan chicken, Florentine beef or vegetarian if you like.
  • End with a sweet dessert such as Florentine biscotti, the famous Cantucci dipped in Vin Santo. Menus vary to use the best fresh seasonal ingredients and can be tailored to accommodate vegetarian, food allergies and other diet requirements.
  • Lunch follows on the foods prepared in class, paired with wines from the Villa. Olive oil tasting also included.
  • The afternoon is free to relax, enjoy a swim in the pool, relax in the Villa’s gardens or hop taxi and return to Florence for some shopping and gelato!
  • Dinner on your own. Reserve in advance at the Villa or we have great local restaurants near the Villa upon request.  Florence is just a 5 minute taxi ride away, let us know and we will reserve a table at one of our local trattoria favorites.

Day 5: Excursion to Siena & San Gimignano

  • Breakfast is served.
  • After breakfast, your driver will pick you up for your excursion to Siena & San Gimignano: Visit the two cities of Italian Romanesque architecture with towers and landmarks that will take your breath away.
  • Dinner on your own. Reserve in advance at the Villa or we have great local restaurants near the Villa upon request.

Day 6: Cooking Class 3

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Choose from morning or afternoon cooking class with Chef Luciana for your hands-on Cooking Class 3. Create a full course menu including an appetizer, pasta, secondo and dessert. Specialties may include Croutons with cannellini beans, taglierini pasta with white truffles, grilled beef tagliata with arugula and end with a White or dark chocolate mousse. Menus vary to use the best fresh seasonal ingredients and can be tailored to accommodate vegetarian, food allergies and other diet requirements.
  • Lunch or dinner follows on the foods that were prepared in class with wines from the Villa.
  • Afternoon (or morning) excursion to Pisa, the land of the Leaning Tower. Tour lasts approximately four and a half hours and includes private driver.
  • Dinner on your own. Reserve in advance at the Villa or we have great local restaurants near the Villa upon request.  Florence is just a 5 minute taxi ride away, let us know and we will reserve a table at one of our local trattoria favorites.

Day 7: Departure

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Check out and departure transfer to Florence Airport or Train Station.
  • Arrivederci Firenze!

*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.

 

Program Includes:

  • 7 days, 6 nights based on double occupancy in Deluxe double room with daily maid service.
  • Daily buffet breakfast.
  • Group transfers to/from Florence airport on arrival/departure.
  • 3 hands-on cooking classes. Choose from morning or afternoon cooking classes, lunch or dinner follows on the foods that were prepared in class with tasting of wines from the Villa included. (Including 1 pizza class if you choose, using the villa’s wood-burning oven.)
  • Visit to local outside market with discussions and tastings included.
  • Visit to the Villa’s vineyards & wine cellar, property’s award winning wine tasting included.
  • Tasting of the property’s extra virgin olive oils.
  • 1 traditional full course Tuscan dinner at Villa Florentine, wines included.
  • Full day in Florence with three hour museum visit and guided tour with professional English speaking guide, round trip transfers to and from property included.  Spend the rest of the day visiting Florence, shopping and tasting your  way.  (Museum tickets not included in program price).
  • Full day group excursion to Siena & San Gimignano with driver.
  • Half day group excursion to Pisa, with driver.
  • Welcome Bag with Chef’s apron and recipe book.
Program Prices

$2,995 per person, based on double occupancy. All taxes and Italian VAT included.
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.

Note: Additional transfers to/from the Villa to downtown Florence, additional excursions can be reserved at an additional cost. Alternatively, if you prefer to have a rental car and tour on your own in your free time, we provide suggested itineraries and stops for visits on your own.

Check Availability

ROUND TRIP TRANSFERS

*Round trip group transfers from Florence Airport/Train to the Villa and from the Villa to Florence Airport/Train are included in your program. ARRIVAL-Arrival transfers from Florence Airport going to Villa are at scheduled 1:00pm and 4:00pm; and from Florence train station to Florence at 3:00pm, in consideration of international arrivals. Departures leave promptly at the scheduled time. Please call us if you have any questions about your airline and train itinerary.

If you cannot make the scheduled group transfer time, a special transfer can be reserved and the private transfer cost. All transfer fees are payable directly to the car service. Please call us if you have any questions.

DEPARTURE-Departure from the property to Florence Airport/Train are at 4am and 10am (in heavy traffic conditions, departures may start 30 minutes prior). 10am is the official property check out time on the morning of your departure. If you would like an earlier or later departure transfer, a special transfer departure can be reserved at an extra transfer cost depending on the size of your group. All extra add on transfer fees are payable directly to the car service. Please call us if you have any questions.

2018 Dates: This program is available January 10 to December 20. 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.