Venice-Along The Grand Canal To Saint Mark's Square™

Dreaming of Venice ~ 7 Day

“Gondolas gliding through winding canals, ancient palazzos painted in pastels, and a surreal landscape frozen in time…”

Join us in Venice for an extraordinary cooking experience filled with delicious food, wine, art, culture, and history.  Stroll through the Rialto Market, hop on a vaporetto, a Venetian water taxi, sip a cappuccino in Piazza San Marco, and learn new recipes in our Venetian kitchen.  Venice’s beauty is endless, and its cuisine is simply splendid.  Tie on your apron and cook like a local, and soak up the culture in beautiful Venice.

Venice is a magical place where food and culture mesmerize – gondolas skim along narrow canals and festive Carnival masks peer down at your every turn.  The Rialto market, dating back to the ninth century, bustles with vendors selling fish, fruits and vegetables, artisan cheese, herbs, bread, and wine.  It’s a food lover’s dream where Old World tradition blends with modern innovation.  There’s ancient art, literature, and opera.  Our English-speaking guides and hosts, Sara and Daniela, welcome you to Venice and share their stories, monuments, tours, and tastings.  Get ready to cook and explore, and fall in love with Venice.

Venetian Cooking Classes

In the kitchen, Chefs Enzo and Vittorio will teach you the best of Venetian cooking in hands-on cooking classes spanning ingredients from the Renaissance to today. You will learn the traditions and techniques including farm-to-table produce from the Rialto Market.  Fresh fish, meat, fruit, and vegetables are key ingredients to make antipasto, fresh pasta and sauces, risotto, main courses, and desserts.  Learn how to make peperonata, a local antipasto with red pepper, capers, and olives.  Venetian recipes also include creamy risotto and sea bass with artichokes.  You will learn to make Venetian desserts such as zaletti and bussole biscottiTie on your apron for a splendid cooking experience with Chef Enzo and Vittorio in their Venetian kitchen!

Venice’s Menus

Cooking Class menus vary by season, a sampler includes:

Seafood Menu

Seasonal vegetables from the Rialto Market grilled, then with garnished herbs and olive oil
Risotto with baby shrimp and fresh artichokes prepared in a creamy Venetian style.
Venetian-style Tiramisu’.

Meat-Based Menu

Venetian flan finished with a creamy cheese sauce
Risotto with mushrooms served with homemade sausage
Tenderloin encrusted with herbs
Creamy warm custard drizzled with Marsala wine and served with Baicoli biscotti

Fresh Pasta Menu

Hand-made Venetian pasta served in a light tomato sauce with Parmesan cheese
Freshly made potato gnocchi with a baby duck ragù

Fresh hand-made ravioli stuffed with fresh spinach, Ricotta,
Mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, and sautéed in sage butter
Mixed seasonal salad with fresh fruit, walnuts & extra virgin olive oil
Fresh fruit Bavaroise

Menus vary using farm-to-table produce from the Rialto Market and can be tailored to accommodate diet requests and allergies.

Venice Accommodations

Live like a Venetian and step back in time at the privately owned 4-Star hotel in the heart of Venice. The hotel, a 17th-century villa property set on a quiet waterway just off the Grand Canal, is a short walk from the Accademia Bridge and vaporetto stop. Check in to your lovely and spacious bedroom furnished with Venetian antiques, beautiful linens, and modern comforts such as air conditioning, a mini bar, international TV, a private ensuite bath, and in-room wireless internet.  A friendly and professional staff is at your service and ready to answer any questions and help you during your stay. An expansive daily breakfast with Venetian cakes, biscotti, fresh fruit, eggs, artisan bread, yogurt, ham, cheese, cappuccino, tea, and fresh fruit juices is served in the elegant breakfast room overlooking the garden and waterway.  Following breakfast, step outside and stroll along the canal where artisan shops, bookshops, wine bars, and museums are conveniently located.  The 4-star villa hotel is set in one of the most beautiful areas of Venice.

Rialto Market

Venice’s famous Rialto Market is a bustling place starting at dawn.  Venders sail up from their barges, unload their products, and set up their stands for a colorful scene of buyers, sellers, and spectators – examining and negotiating between crates and stands. Fish from the local Adriatic Sea is famous in Venice, along with farm-to-table fruit, vegetables and produce, herbs, spices, fruits, and more. The Rialto Market is a landmark marketplace and dates back to 1097 with the same generation of established merchants shouting out their specials of the day.

The Campo Margherita

The Campo Margherita is a vibrant and welcoming place and the heart of the Dorsoduro district.  The Campo takes its name from the Church of Saint Margherita, dating back to the 9th century.  Surrounded by ancient buildings, today, it is home to caffés, bookshops, wine bars, and artisan shops. The Campo wakes each morning with an outdoor market where locals vie for the best flower, fish, vegetable, and fruit vendors. Caffés, artisan shops, and trattorias pepper the piazza.

The Accademia Museum

The perfect ending to any day is a visit to the Accademia, home to a collection of Venetian paintings from Veneto, spanning the era from the Byzantine and Gothic fourteenth century.  There is a beautiful collection of Renaissance art from Bellini, Carpaccio, Giorgione, Veronese, Tintoretto, and Tiziano to Gianbattista Tiepolo and Vedutisti.  A must on every guest’s visit!!!

Murano – Glassmaking & Burano – Lacemaking

Murano, the closest Island to the mainland, is the most famous of the Venetian Islands and is noted for its artisan hand-blown glass. Venetians have been making crystal and glass here since the 10th Century – when the merchants of Venice brought back the secrets of glass production from the East. Murano is home to several famous glass producers who continue the tradition of making Murano glass chandeliers, vases, and glasses.  The Island of Burano, the most picturesque of Venetian Islands, is known for its famous artisan lace makers.  Small shops where Venetian women still produce this precious lace line the canal.  It’s a magical island noted for its brightly painted houses built on the lagoon.  Take time for lunch in any one of the quaint trattorias.

Itinerary ~ 7 days, 6 nights

Day 1: Arrival & Welcome Dinner

  • Arrival in Venice at the train station.  Meet your Captain for a water taxi transfer to the hotel.  Check in, relax, and enjoy your welcome Prosecco.
  • Later in the evening, enjoy your Chef’s Welcome Dinner featuring the local fare of antipasto, pasta, main course, and dessert. Wine & beverages are not included.

Day 2: Cooking Class 1

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Cooking class 1. Tie on your apron and get cooking in your hands-on cooking with Chefs Enzo and Vittorio. The hands-on cooking class includes an antipasto, pasta, main dish, and dessert. Lunch follows with the foods prepared in class. Wine, water, and dessert included.
  • Afternoon free. Suggestion: Take a Gondola Ride along the Grand Canal, and stop for a late afternoon drink at the Quardi Café. This grand café is positioned to catch the last glimpse of the sun in Piazza San Marco. Sit back, enjoy your Prosecco, and watch the sunset.
  • Dinner is on your own and suggestions are provided.

Day 3: Rialto Market Tour & Cooking Class 2

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Explore the best of culinary Venice with your Chef as you discover the Rialto Market. The Rialto Market is a historic place where vendors have been selling their fruits, vegetables, fish, artisan cheese, wine, and bread since the 9th century.  Learn about the local cuisine as you discover its history and products.
  • After the market visit, head into the kitchen for your hands-on cooking class 2 preparing an antipasto, fresh pasta or risotto, main course, and dessert.  Following the cooking class, everyone enjoys the food that was prepared in the cooking class.  Wine, water, and dessert included.
  • Enjoy the afternoon and visit Saint Mark’s Square, Saint Mark’s Cathedral, and Palazzo Ducale with suggestions provided.  You may add on a 2-hour guided tour of Saint Marco’s Square.  Please ask us for your requested time to reserve.
  • Dinner on your own, suggestions provided.

Day 4: Cooking Class 3

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Return to the kitchen for your hands-on cooking class 3 preparing an antipasto, fresh pasta or risotto, main course, and dessert.  Following the cooking class, everyone enjoys the food that was prepared in the cooking class.  Wine, water, and dessert included.
  • Following your cooking class, visit the La Fenice, Venice’s famous opera house, and end with a Bellini at Harry’s Bar.
  • Dinner on your own, suggestions provided.

Day 5: Bacaro Cicchetti Tour & Tastings

  • Breakfast is served.
  • The morning is free to explore the Campo Santa Margherita or visit the Accademia.
  • Walk to the Dorsoduro quarter and discover artisan bookshops, specialty shops, and caffés.
  • Suggestion:  Continue to the Accademia Museum.  This world-class museum houses the most precious masterpieces in Venice including a collection of Venetian paintings spanning from the Byzantine to Gothic, to the 14th century and the Renaissance.  The greatest artists include Carpaccio, Giorgione, Veronese, Tintoretto, Tiziano, Gianbattista Tiepolo, and Vedutisti.
  • In the afternoon, meet your guide for your Bacaro Tour.  This walking tour includes a 2-hour stroll through Venice with stops in historical bacari, the typical Venetian bar, where cicchetti, small bites, and ombra, wine, is served,  This tour explores the tradition of the aperitivo in Venice in a relaxing stroll, with wine and tastings included.
  • Dinner is on your own with suggestions provided.

Day 6: Sail To Murano – Artisan Glassblowing & Burano – Artisan Lacemaking

  • Breakfast is served.
  • This special Murano tour includes a boat trip to Murano for glassblowing and then to Burano for lacemaking.  Sail to Murano and visit the world’s most prized glass artisans. Artisan glass blowers transform glass into beautiful art pieces. Meet your host on the island for a tour of a family-owned Venetian glass workshop.   Learn the art of glass blowing and see the masters turn glass into art.  This tour includes a tour of the workshop and a demonstration of glass making.   After your tour, take time out to stroll the main waterway, sip a caffè and sambuca, and shop for artisan creations of Murano glass.  The tour ends here and you can opt to stay in Murano for lunch, continue on to Burano or Torcello, and or return to Venice on your own aboard the public vaporetto, water bus.  Then, continue onto Burano known for the artisan lace, and the local specialty bussolai buranelli, Venetian biscotti. 5-hour tour.
  • Take time out to enjoy lunch on your own in any one of the quaint restaurants with suggestions provided.
  • Return to the hotel.
  • Dinner on your own, suggestions provided.

Day 7: Departure

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Ciao – Arrivederci!

Program Includes:

  • 7 days, 6 nights in 4-Star boutique hotel set on a beautiful canal, based on 2 guests in a classic room.  Guests can upgrade to a superior room with a canal view upon request.
  • Daily breakfast and maid service
  • Welcome dinner including a Chef’s tasting dinner.  Wine and beverages are not included.
  • 3 cooking classes, followed by lunch or dinner including the food that was prepared in the cooking class.  Wine and water included.
  • Rialto Market Tour with English-speaking guide.
  • Murano artisan glassblowing and Burano artisan lacemaking tour with boat included.
  • Bacaro cicchetti tour with tastings along the way with our English-speaking guide.
  • Round-trip water taxi transfers upon arrival and departure from Santa Lucia Train Station
  • Cooking Vacations welcome bag including chef’s apron and recipe booklet.
  • A copy of Lauren’s book, It’s A Dream Place – Stories & Recipes of Food, Love and the Amalfi Coast.
Program Prices

$4,295 per person, based on 2 guests in 4-Star boutique hotel set on a beautiful canal.

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 from Venice Marco Polo Airport, including a hostess to meet you and accompany you from the airport to your hotel, can be added on.  Please call us for pricing, as prices vary depending on the number of guests in your group.  Porter service is not included, call us for prices.

*Supplement may apply during fair dates.  These are starting prices and Canal View upgrades available.

Check Availability

2024 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 is 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.

Optional Add-On Classes & Tours:

We suggest these add-on tours for an in-depth look into themes, neighborhoods, and interests in Venice. Please call for details on availability and pricing based on group size.

Venice’s Writers, Poets & Literati Tour

This 3-hour walking tour takes you in the footsteps of poetry. Stroll through Venice with passages from the works of writers who created the poetry of the city: Lord Byron, Marcel Proust, Henry James, Richard Wagner, Thomas Mann, Ernest Hemingway – to name a few. Your walk takes you to the places where the words tcome to life. More than a walk through the city, Writers, Poets & Literati Tour, brings you into Venice’s past and its literati world, as your guide reads famous passages about monuments and the authors who lived in Venice. Entrance fees are not included.

Campo Saint Margherita Guided Walking Tour

Artisan Market-Outdoor Cafés-Bookshops

This walking tour of the Campo Santa Margherita includes all our favorite stops & shops. Start with our award-winning Venetian artist who has captured many schools of art, picturesque watercolors of Venetian palazzos, gondolas, and waterways, to his vibrant oils on canvas of life on the Grand Canal, to his hand-crafted masks in gold and crystals. His studio comprises his work and that of other Venetian artists.

Then it’s off to the Campo Santa Margherita, where bookshops, cafés, and pastry shops line the narrow footpath that leads to the Campo. The Dorsoduro quarter is also home to the San Sebastiano and San Trovaso churches. The Campo is a large piazza lined with several cafés whose chairs spill onto the square on a warm sunny day. There is also a tiny morning market, whose owner calls out the best buy of the day. Stop for a time out, sip a steamy cappuccino, and write a postcard.

Continue on to Signor Maurizo’s. He owns one of the best-stocked organic markets for authentic Venetian food, wine, and provisions. Our well-heeled food lover, Maurizio is a connoisseur of quality Venetian rice, polenta, pasta, cheese, wood-oven bread, and local wine, and he knows how to cook Venetian food to perfection. His wine corner stocks Venice’s only locally produced wine produced on the island Torcello. Bring your shopping list and recipe book, and let Maurizo fill your shopping basket. His knowledge and passion for Venetian food, wine, and traditional cooking are insurmountable.

We suggest lunch on your own at our local trattoria for the best pranzo, or lunch in the Campo. Tickle your taste buds with the Fragolino, the “Forbidden Wine.” The pink sparkling wine pairs well with lunch! Pink fresh shrimp tossed with rucola and black Venetian pasta, a fresh glass of local wine to follow, and a semifreddo dessert, the “Grand Canal,” topped with a sun-colored glaze. This is just a sample of the gourmet fare served in the gastronomical food mecca.

Visit Venice’s most treasured mask-maker Stefano. The award-winning Baroque mask maker applauded by the Venetian Academy has the “DOC” stamp. All of his creations are produced in limited editions.

For a sweet ending, dive in and experience a Venetian chocolate tradition! The famous artisan chocolate maker transforms the cocoa bean and modern recipes with a twist. Chocolate works of art are inspired by the magically, mysterious atmosphere of Venice. White, dark, caramel, café, and lemon, -flavors are endless!

Lagoon Tour: Murano & Burano

Meet your guide for a Lagoon Tour with a private boat. This 4-hour tour takes you into the lagoon of Venice to the Islands of Murano, known for the famous glass-blowing, and Burano, known for the artisan lace, merletto & the local specialty bussolai buranelli, egg yolk- yellow cookies perfect for dipping in Vin Santo, tea or even Prosecco!

Venetian Masks

This incredible experience takes you into the workshop of a renowned Venetian mask-maker for a discussion and historical look at Venetian masks. Learn how the artisan mask is born, the steps needed to create a mask, and the stories and myths behind the masks of Carnevale and Venetian commedie dell’arte.

After your presentation, choose to decorate your own mask. Learn about traditional decoration and characters such as the classic Bauta, a simple full-face mask, la Farfalla, the butterfly style mask, la Dama, the woman, Pinocchio, Zanni, servants, and Jolly, the joker. Paint and decorate your mask of choice with ribbons, feathers, crystals, beads, and more.  Decorate your own mask including instructions and supplies to create your own mask & bring it home with you. Prices vary based on group size.  Hidden Venice: Dorsoduro District

This itinerary takes you into secret corners of the Dorsoduro district, Venice’s elegant “Rive Gauche”. From the vast Campo Santa Margherita, where students and artists meet at the many open-air cafés, walk to San Nicolò dei Mendicoli, once a neighborhood of seafarers and fishermen, still retaining its liveliness. We continue then to the Renaissance church of San Sebastiano – one of the saints invoked to save the sick during the Black Plague – masterly decorated with frescoes and canvases by Paolo Veronese, who lies buried here. Past San Trovaso, one of the last gondola yards, our tour ends at the Zattere, the sunny promenade along the Giudecca Canal, particularly frequented by the Venetians in the warm summer evenings.

Hidden Venice: Melting Pot

Harbor and market, production center of luxury goods and stop in the Grand Tour: for reasons of commerce, education, or pleasure, Venice always attracted many foreigners and managed to live in peace and prosperity with them. This exotic blend of cultures and people created unique artistic results. In a secluded courtyard, a few steps away from St Mark’s stands the Orthodox church of St. George of the Greeks: Italian in its architectural forms, it enshrines a rich iconic decoration by Cretan artists. A little further is the Brotherhood of the Dalmatian people, whose brave soldiers were loyal to the Republic until the very end. The intense Renaissance atmosphere of Carpaccio’s paintings will transport you back in time. We then reach the Rialto Bridge, where the German community had its social and business center since the Middle Ages. The imposing facade of the German Fontego, a former inn as well as a trading center, still dominates the area.

Cannareggio & Jewish Venice

Cannaregio, one of the six sestieri, neighborhoods of Venice is even today an area inhabited by Venetians. Past the busy open-air market, explore the Jewish Ghetto, and walk down along the luminous canals to the Gothic church of la Madonna dell’Orto that hosts powerful canvases by Tintoretto (along with his tomb). Past this tranquil area, at the extreme northern point of town, enjoy a marvelous, melancholy view over the lagoon, where the cemetery island of San Michele, comes into view.

After your tour, you may choose to continue on and visit three of Venice’s synagogues with a tour departing from the Jewish Museum. Synagogue tour not included; directions provided to continue on your own.

Venetian Museum: Accademia, Ca’ Rezzonico, Guggenheim

Enjoy an in-depth 3-hour guided tour through your choice of Venetian museum. Choose from the famous Galleria dell’Accademia, where the most important collection of Venetian paintings dating from the 14th to 17th century, Ca’ Rezzonico, a museum dedicated to exploring 18th century Venice in this extravagant private residence from that period. Or, choose the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, an American art museum with Venetian charm, the most important museum in Italy for European and American arts of the first half of the 20th century, with works by artists such as Picasso, Braque, De Chirico, Kandinsky and more.