Cooking & Discovering Siena, Pisa, Florence & San Gimignano
Join Fabrizio and his family at their estate, a beautiful farmhouse villa located in the heart of the Tuscan countryside. The Tuscan cooking classes, held in the villa’s private kitchen, feature traditional recipes from the region, including Florence with our Chef Paolo. He will lead you through making Tuscan antipasto, pasta, main course and dessert. Fabrizio’s energetic personality, along with Chef Paolo’s talented cooking skills make this cooking program our best seller for Tuscany. The entire staff, along with Fabrizio and his family, welcome you for a fun-filled cooking experience in the heart of Chianti!
This food lover’s tour at the family estate blends cultural excursions to the famous towns of Siena, Pisa, Florence and San Gimignano. Tour along winding roads peppered with sunflowers, vineyards and castles of the ancient past in our Tuscan Traveler’s Dream cooking program. Private excursions through the Tuscan hills, visiting Chianti and ‘la strada del vino,’ the wine road, touring through San Gimignano – Italy’s wine country, Siena – the Medieval City of Art & Romance, and Pisa – famous for the Leaning Tower, in a private car with our driver. This cooking program brings together the best in Tuscan cooking, while exploring the famous towns and cities noted for food, art and wine.
Cooking Lessons & Outdoor Market Tour
Experience the delights of the traditional Tuscan lifestyle, while attending fun-filled cooking classes and enjoying relaxing excursions. You will learn to prepare Tuscan antipasto, pizza and breads, hearty soups, homemade pastas and sauces, meats, fish, vegetables and desserts.
Tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms and pepolino, wild thyme, artichokes and tomatoes stuffed with herbs and cheese, gnocchi with ragù, Chianti Etruscan sauce and beans all’uccelletto, Vin Santo & cantuccini, almond cookies, tiramisù, schiacciata con l’uva, Tuscan cake made with red grapes and rosemary, are just a sample of Fabrizio’s family recipes that you will learn. Recipes will vary depending on the seasons.
Each cooking class is hands-on and includes traditional Tuscan cuisine. The estate’s kitchen is located in the main villa in what used to be one of the family’s wine cellars.
You will learn the secrets of making gnocchetti verdi di patate con pomodorino fresco e basilico, green potato gnocchi with fresh tomatoes and basil, filetto d’orata al gratin di patate, fish with potato gratin or sea food risotto. Tuscan meats are prized in this region and Florentine steak and porcino mushrooms are on the menu if you like. semifreddo alle nocciole con cioccolato fondente, ice cream cake with dark chocolate and nuts. Following each cooking class, everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared together with wine from the estate.
Experience a visit to the vibrant marketplace as the scents of just baked bread, artisan cheese, and morning picked produce from the nearby rolling hills stir your senses. Listen to the sounds of sellers calling out their daily catch, prime cuts and specials. Shop along rows of passionate purveyors who have kept the old world way of protected food and wine.
During your stay, discover Certaldo!!! An excursion to this magical Tuscan town has you stepping along cobblestone paths lined with small coffee bars brewing up perfect espresso & cappuccino and fresh pasta shops displaying handmade pici, pappardelle and ravioli inside. Open doors of ancient churches welcome each guest in for ancient art, design and stained glass windows. Visit the home of great Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio who penned Decameron and On Famous Women. Then, a stop in Lucardo beckons for small shops showcasing vino, faro, spelt and all things Tuscan.
The family has operated its vineyards, specialising in Chianti wine since the 19th century. The superior wine, also award-winning, are the best in the Chianti region. Fabrizio carries on the knowledge and know-how of growing and producing superior Tuscans on this estate. Tradition and old family customs merge with modern winemaking technologies, which yield production totals of nearly 30,000 bottles a year. The award-winning wine boasts the Silver Label, awarded at the Tuscan Gastronomic Show in New York City 2005 & 2006, and inclusion in the VIII edition of the Tuscan Wine Selection in 2008.
Tuscan Villa Accommodations
The private villa has recently been restored, respecting its old-world charm, while adding modern comforts. Set on a working vineyard, the property is surrounded by rolling green Tuscan hills in the heart of Chianti. The estate has endless fields of olive grove and an organic vegetable garden, which produces beautiful olives, tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini and a bounty of seasonal produce. Guests are invited to pick the fruits and vegetables, which are then used in the cooking classes.
The villa offers large apartments and oversized superior rooms, traditionally furnished and newly renovated with modern conveniences including air-conditioning. Each room has a private ensuite bathroom, telephone, full kitchenette, refrigerator, satellite TV and wifi, and a private garden or spacious terrace.
Step outside your door and into a lush garden with a caffé-style terrace for dining, reading or painting. There is an outdoor wood-burning brick oven for our pizza making class, an over-sized swimming pool and terrace on the property grounds. Majestic Murgesi horses are bred on the premises. If you like to ride, let us know and we will arrange for horseback riding.
Breakfast is served daily In the farmhouse’s spacious dining room and outdoor terrace where you will enjoy your Tuscan breakfast featuring artisan breads, salumi, ham, artisan cheese, homemade jams, biscotti and cakes baked each morning. Traditional Tuscan lunch or dinner is also available; reservations must be made in advance.
Family-style suites and apartments are also available upon request.
Itinerary~ 7 Days, 6 Nights
Day 1: Welcome & Tuscan Dinner
- Check in, relax. Welcome aperitivo and introduction.
- In the evening, a Welcome dinner at the property, including a Chef’s Tasting Menu with Chianti wines produced by the property are included.
Day 2: Introduction & Cooking Class 1
- Breakfast is served.
- In the morning meet our family – Fabrizio and Chef. They will be your hosts for the week. You will have an introduction and overview of your cooking week. Take a walk through the property, the vineyards, and the horse stables. Horseback riding is available on the estate; if you would like to ride, make arrangements with Cooking Vacations advance. Relax by the pool or take a swim, weather permitting, or walk to the small village at the entrance of the villa property and explore, sip a cappuccino at the local Italian caffé.
- In the afternoon, cooking class 1. This hands-on experience shares Fabrizio’s family recipes in making traditional Tuscan fare. The menu includes a first course, second course, contorno, side dish, and dessert. Dinner follows and includes the foods that were prepared in class. Wine is included.
Day 3: Visit To The Outdoor Farmers’ Market & Cooking Class 2
- Breakfast is served.
- Morning visit to the local Farmers’ Market. Fabrizio takes you to the local outdoor market, where producers and farmers display their vegetables, fruits, fish, artisan cheese, meat, fish, olive oil and artisan leather goods, linens, wooden cooking tools – to name a few. Piled high are baskets of the season’s freshest produce. Select the ingredients that will be used in class while Fabrizio shares tips on how to pick out the freshest fruits and vegetables.
- Lunch on your own.
- Afternoon, cooking class 2. Dinner follows with everyone eating the foods prepared in class. Wine and dessert included.
Day 4: Excursion~Siena, San Gimignano & Tuscan Dinner At The Villa
- Breakfast is served.
- Following breakfast a full day excursion to Siena and San Gimignano with your private driver. You will visit Siena, the magical town of the towers, the round Piazza del Campo, home to the famous horse race, the Palio, held each year in early July. Also, visit the Siena cathedral, reference for the whole of Italian Gothic architecture. Then, it is off to San Gimignano, city of music, sunflowers and towers. San Gimignano rises on a hill (334m high) dominating the Elsa Valley with its towers. Once the seat of a small Etruscan village of the Hellenistic period (200-300 BC) it began its life as a town in the 10th century taking its name from the Holy Bishop of Modena, St. Gimignano, who is said to have saved the village from the barbarian hordes.
- Evening, Tuscan Dinner served at the Villa. Chianti wine and dessert included.
Day 5: Florence Excursion
- Breakfast is served. Following breakfast, private transfer to visit Florence, Italy’s City of Art, for a full day visit. Explore the city on foot, and we suggest the following sites not to be missed: A private tour guide is available, upon request. Reservation required. Museum tickets are not included in the program.
Add On the Florence Food Lover’s Tour & Museum Tours with English- Speaking Guide
Meet up with English-speaking guide, and art and food historian, Luca who will take you on a delicious and informative Food Lover’s Tour of Florence. He blends history with food stops covering history, culture and Florentine food and wine. Taste your way through Florence, sampling the caffè, artisan cheese, salumi and dessert leading to Sant’Ambrogio outdoor market. Luca’s interest in Slow Food and local culinary traditions makes him the perfect food guide for this Food Lover’s Tour of Florence. Ask Luca’s advice and pick out a quiet trattoria for lunch or dinner.
- Food Lover’s Tour: Add on our Food Lover’s Tour and experience Florence in a walk with food tastings along the way with our English-speaking guide.
- The Accademia Museum: Florence’s 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.
- 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.”
- Evening, dinner on your own in Florence. Cooking Vacations provides our list of favorites.
Day 6: Pisa, or Medieval Town- Monteriggioni, Vineyard Tour & Tasting, Cooking Class 3
- Breakfast is served. Morning excursion to Pisa and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Stop for some photo taking and visit the cathedral, or visit the quaint little town of Monteriggioni.
- In Pisa or Monteriggioni, walk through cobblestone streets, taste local products such as panforte, the traditional fig and nut cake, stop for a cappuccino and biscotti brutti ma buoni, a traditional Tuscan sweet, or lunch on a hearty bowl of pici pasta. Ancient churches and stone buildings dating back to the 900s and wild flowers all around, make the visit to this old-world town worth the trip. Take time for lunch, on your own.
- Return to the Estate for a tour the property’s olive grove, vineyard and cantina. In the cantina, you will see the wine and how they are produced – Premium, Reserve, Vin Santo and Grappa. Discussion and tastings included with Fabrizio, our award-winning “Super Tuscan” wine producer and olive oil maker.
- In the afternoon, cooking class 3. Everyone joins together to prepare a full Tuscan dinner. Dinner follows and includes the foods that were prepared in class. Wine is included
Day 7: Departure & Arrivederci!
- Breakfast is served.
- Departure, Ciao & a presto!
*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.
- 7 days, 6 nights in a superior double room, based on double occupancy. Click To View!
- Daily breakfast and maid service.
- 3 hands-on cooking classes followed by lunch or dinner with Chianti wine included.
- Vineyard tour and wine tasting at the Estate.
- Outdoor market tour with informal discussion and tastings.
- Full day excursion to Siena and San Gimignano.
- Half day excursion to Pisa and the Leaning Tower.
- Transfers to and from Florence for a full day in the city.
- 2 classic Tuscan dinners at the Villa, with Chianti wine and dessert included.
- Arrival and Departure Transfers to and from Florence train station or airport.
- Cooking Vacations’ welcome bag with chef’s apron and recipe booklet.
$2,995 per person, based on 2 guests.
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.