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Chef Maria's Venice™

Culinary Tours For Women Travelers Venice™ ~ 7 Day

Cooking Tours
Prices & Dates

“Winding waterways, soft colored palazzos,
gondolas gliding the canals, art, cuisine and imagination in Renaissance’s past.”

Join us in Venice, a land of dream & foods, for an extraordinary cooking experience with Chef Maria, in our Renaissance Women Only Tour. Walk under pink glass lamp lights, stroll along the majestic Piazza San Marco, cross dainty bridges that straddle over narrow inlets of water; its beauty is frozen in time. Discover Renaissance Venice in a cooking and culinary week designed for women only travelers.  This tour includes a an artisan workshop on the island Murano in glass making creating your own beads for earrings and decorative pieces.

Venice is a magical place where prisms of color reflect in meandering waterways, gondolas skim along the narrow canals, and festive Carnival masks peer down at your every turn. The Renaissance Women Only Tour brings you into the center of Venice for treasures of cooking with Chef Maria and leads you through its art, literature, poetry and music. The week long program gets you in the kitchen and also takes you through an enchanting land that for centuries has attracted literati, painters, musicians and food lovers.

And during your stay, Sara, a native Venetian, is your host. Her knowledge and in-sight into the foods and history of Venice will enlighten. Cross ancient bridges like the Rialto, explore the food markets and learn about local produce and cooking styles, ride a Gondola and pass where Marco Polo’s once lived. Venice will entice you with its canals, masks, traditions, cultures and most of all its 117 small islands.

This exclusive program a city of art, music & imagination explores the Renaissance Women who shaped Italy. During our all women’s culinary week, learn about the women who lived, ruled and conquered in Renaissance Venice. The Renaissance, which literally translates to Rebirth, unfolds in the pages of a Renaissance Women’s book included with the program.

Cooking Classes

Cooking with Chef Maria includes hands-on cooking classes spanning Venice’s foods of Renaissance past to its current cuisine. You will learn the traditions, technique and style of Venice’s foods under the direction of our professional and trained chef. Using fresh fruit, vegetables, produce and fish from the Rialto Market, you will be cooking like a true Venetian making appetizers, pasta & risotto, main dishes and desserts. Delicate pastas and sauces; Venetian rice, or risotto gently flavored with arugula, artichokes or tiny pink shrimp; Venetian cakes, or torte; polenta biscotti; and creamy fruit tarts are a small sample of the foods that you will prepare in class. Tie on your apron and get ready for a splendid authentic experience with Chef Maria in her Venetian kitchen!

Venice’s Menus

Cooking Class menus vary by season, a sample includes:

Seafood Menu

Seasonal vegetables sautéed and served with sea salt, herbs & olive oil
Risotto with shrimp and artichokes
Fresh Sea Bass encrusted in a bed of sea salt and slow baked
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

Venetian pasta served in a light tomato sauce with Parmesan cheese
Potato Gnocchi with a duck sauce ragu
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 to use the best seasonal ingredients available at the market, and can be tailored to accommodate special requests and/or diet needs.

Accommodations

Live like a Venetian and step back in time at the privately-owned villa hotel in the heart of Venice. The 17th century villa, nestled on a quiet waterway just off the Grand Canal, is a very short walk from the Accademia Bridge & vaporetto stop. Check in to your lovely & spacious bedroom; furnished with Venetian antiques, and modern comforts such as ac/heat, mini bar, International TV, private bath, heated towel rack, in-room wireless internet at a surcharge, and a famed Canal view (upon request). A diligent & professional staff is at your service and ready to assist and answer any of your questions. An expansive daily breakfast is served in the elegantly appointed breakfast room that overlooks the garden and waterway. Walk out your door and into the heart of Venice.

The villa hotel sits in one of the most beautiful areas of Venice, and steps away from the Accademia Museum and Campo St. Margherita. Step outside and pass by small bookshops, tiny trattorias, wine bars, and artisan shops filled with Murano glass. The open-air market on Campo St. Margherita is lined with cafés spilling to its center. The Accademia Bridge, 1 of 3 bridges that cross the Grand Canal, is a 2-minute walk from the hotel.

Rialto Market

Venice’s famous Rialto Market! The infamous outdoor market is a busy scene starting at the crack of dawn as suppliers sail up from their barges, unload and set up their stands for what becomes a boisterous scene of buyers, sellers and spectators passing by, examining, negotiating between crates and stands piled sky high with goods. Fish is famous here, along with vegetables, herbs, spices, fruits and more. And this landmark marketplace has been setting up and doing this daily since 1097. Established merchants shout out their specials of the day.

The Accademia

The perfect ending to any day is our visit to the Accademia, home to very rich collection of Venetian paintings from Veneto as well, from the Bizantine and Gothic fourteenth century to the artists of the Renaissance, Bellini, Carpaccio, Giorgione, Veronese, Tintoretto and Tiziano until Gianbattista Tiepolo and the Vedutisti of the eighteenth century, Canaletto, Guardi, Bellotto, Longhi. Step back in time and see the Accademia’s collection including a score of prized Renaissance masterpieces.

Murano & Burano

Murano, the closest Island to the main land, is the most famous of the Venetian Islands and noted for its artisan hand-blown glass. Venetians have been making crystal and glass since the 10th Century, when the Venetian merchants brought back the secrets of production from the East. The Island, which is home to several famous glass producers carries on the art and continues to make Murano glass chandeliers, wine corks, vases, ornaments, glasses and more.

The Island of Burano, the most picturesque of Venetian Islands, is almost stopped in time. Famous for its lace-making, this quiet fishing village is lined with pastel houses, famous fish restaurants, and charming cafes. A must see!

Tea Talk

Highlighted during your week is a Tea Talk with your guide. Discover the pastries of Venice. Taste your way through sweets past and present with a steamy cup of tea or Venetian café.

Venice’s Writers, Poets & Literati Tour

A walk through Venice and you will walk where great writers once walked. From Renaissance writers & artists who created the poetical myth of the city to Lord Byron, Marcel Proust, Henry James, Richard Wagner, Thomas Mann, Ernest Hemingway, Venice was home to them all. And in this tour, you will see and hear the words of the literati of Venice’s past. As we walk through their steps, Cristina our guide reads famous passages about monuments and authors who lived in Venice. The tour covers ground from St. Mark’ s square to the Dorsoduro district. This tour lasts approximately 2 hours. Remember to carry along your own Renaissance Journal and jot down your own poetic words and inspirations.

The Borghese, which comprised the aristocratic families that once ruled Venice and who built the palazzos lining the Grand Canal, are attributed to Venice’s rich history in food, art, music and culture. This educated elegant group of Venice’s past had the power and money to afford the best food, wine, music, art & culture. After the tour you will feel like you are walking through Venice’s historical past from Saint Mark’s Square and Cathedral, to the majestic Doges’ Palace, and the Bridge of Sighs. Explore additional landmarks on your own, including the opera house, La Fenice & Harry’s Bar, where great literati types, such as Hemingway were often spotted with a Bellini in hand!

Campo Santa 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 post card.

Continue on to 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, local wine, and he knows how to cook Venetian food to perfection. His wine corner stocks Venice’s only locally produced wine made 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 is insurmountable.

We suggest a 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, 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 edition.

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!

Itinerary ~ 7 days, 6 nights

Day 1: Arrival & Welcome Dinner

  • Check in and relax. In the evening, enjoy a welcome cocktail, at the hotel, before your Welcome Dinner.
  • Enjoy a Chef’s Tasting Menu of Venetian cuisine at our favorite local restaurant. Tasting Menu included, wine and beverages at a surcharge.

Day 2: Cooking Class 1 ~ Campo Santa Margherita Tour & Tea Time

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Meet your Chef in the kitchen for your hands-on Cooking Class 1, tie on your apron and get ready for a morning of hands-on cooking with Chef Maria. 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.
  • In the afternoon, meet your guide for your Campo Santa Margherita Tour.
  • Enjoy this foodie walk to the best addresses in the Dorsoduro quarter. From bookshops to cafés, this walking tour shares our best-kept secret addresses of Food Lover’s Venice. We take you step-by-step to our artisan food purveyors.
  • Tea Time is still an art in magical Venice, and our next stop is an 18th Century café serving a plethora of teas and sweets. Open your travel journal, and be inspired by your surroundings. Sit back and enjoy a tea or caffé!
  • Afternoon walking tour includes a stop for tea or a cafe near the Rialto.
  • Evening free and dinner on your own. Suggestions provided.

Day 3: Rialto Market Tour & Cooking Class 2

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Explore the best of culinary Venice with your Chef as your guide. The Rialto Market is a colorful explosion of fruit, vegetables and fish. This old-world food marketplace is an animated center stage for those buying and selling their seasonal vegetables, fruit, produce and fresh fish of the day.
  • After the market visit, head into the kitchen for your hands-on Cooking Class 2. After class everyone eats the foods prepared in class for lunch. Wine, water and dessert included.
  • Evening free and dinner on your own, suggestions provided.

Day 4: Cooking Class 3

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Meet your Chef in the kitchen for your hands-on Cooking Class 3, tie on your apron and get ready for a morning of hands-on cooking with Chef Maria. 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 Quadri Café. This grand café is positioned to catch the last glimpse of sun in Piazza San Marco. Sit back, enjoy your Prosecco and watch the sun.
  • Dinner is on your own, suggestions provided.

Day 5: Venice Lagoon ~ Excursion To Murano ~ Venetian Glass Blowing Workshop

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Sail to the island of Murano and meet your host for a tour of an artisan glassmaker’s studio.  See how they transform minerals into colorful Murano glass creations.

    Venetian Glass Blowing

    Join us in an artisan glass making class on the romantic island of Murano. Sail to the island of Murano with Cooking Vacations for a fun and unique day of glass-blowing and artisan jewelry making with a family who has been making Venetian glass for centuries.

    Each guest will have a unique hands-on experience in a small group with our master Murano glassmakers learning how to select glass, blending colors and even adding threads of gold in the process to make the perfect final product – either earrings, glass beads, necklace, bracelets – over even a complete set.

    Murano glass making, dating back to the 7th century, includes using crystalline glass, smalto, and aventurine, with threads of gold, millefiori, multicolored and lattimo, mild glass. It is a serious art and today the Venetian artisans continue to create masterpieces of chandeliers, frames, jewel boxes and glasses for Champagne and wine!

    Learn techniques of layering of colored liquid glass, cane working, filigree, engraving and submersion and sommerso – or submerged. Each lesson lasts 2 hours and at the end you will have your own hand-made Venetian glass piece.  After the tour and workshop, stay on the island of Murano, continue onto Burano or return to Venice.  This tour includes a one way group boat tour transfer from the hotel to Murano.  Due to the nature of the program where you can stay and explore on your own, continue onto Burano or return to Venice, we leave that time up to you.  Ludovico, our host, will assist you in either private boat or public vaparetto transfer.

Evening.  Dinner is on your own.  Please see your hot picks restaurant list.

Day 6: Venice’s Writers, Poets & Literati Tour & Accademia Visit

  • Breakfast is served. Morning is free to relax.
  • In the afternoon, join your guide for your Writers, Poets & Literati Tour, a 3-hour walking tour in the footsteps of poetry. A walk through Venice with passages from the works of writers who created the poetical myth 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 themselves come to life in front of the very building. More than a walk through the city, “Writers, Poets & Literati Scene, 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 not included. Stop by La Fenice, Venice’s famous opera house, and end with a Bellini at Harry’s Bar.
  • Suggestion: visit The Accademia, housing important Renaissance masterpieces.
  • Dinner is free and on your own.

Day 7: Departure

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Ciao – Arrivederci!

 

Program Includes:

  • 7 days, 6 nights accommodations, based on double occupancy.
  • Daily Breakfast.
  • Chef’s Tasting Dinner on first night of arrival. Wine/ beverages not included.
  • 3 cooking classes, followed by lunch or dinner on the foods prepared in class; wine, water and dessert included.
  • Rialto Market Visit before one cooking class.
  • Campo Santa Margherita Guided Tour with Afternoon Tea (2 hrs with private guide).
  • Murano Glass Excursion-transfer to Island included, with guide for the tour at the artisan glass maker. (4-Hour Lagoon private tour can be added-on at a surcharge).
  • Walking Tour ‘Venice Writer’s, Poets & Literati’ (3 hr walking tour with private guide).
  • Arrival & Departure transfers from Venice Santa Lucia Train Station with hostess on arrival.
  • Welcome Bag featuring Cooking Apron, hand-made journal and recipe booklet.
Program Prices

Low Season: $2,495 per person, based on double occupancy. (December, January & February, except weekend of Carnevale)
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.

Mid Season: $2,795 per person, based on double occupancy. (March, July, August & November)
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.

High Season: $3,395 per person, based on double occupancy. (April, May, June, September, October and weekend of Carnevale)
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.

Transfers from Venice Marco Polo Airport are available at a supplement of $115 each way including hostess to meet you at the airport and accompany you from the Airport to dock and private boat transfer. Portage service not included, and is available at a fee per bag.

The Chef’s Welcome Dinner, wine tasting, and excursions/transfers may have couples and males due to the public aspect of this part of the programs. All cooking classes and women-only related activities are reserved only for women.

Check Availability

2019 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.

Additional Activities – Venetian Glass Blowing

Join us in an artisan glass making class on the romantic island of Murano.  Sail to the island of Murano with Cooking Vacations for a fun and unique day of glass-blowing and artisan jewelry making with a family who has been making Venetian glass for centuries. Each guest will have a unique hands-on experience in a small group with our master Murano glassmakers learning how to select glass, blending colors and even adding threads of gold in the process to make the perfect final product – either earrings, glass beads, necklace, bracelets – over even a complete set.

Murano glass making, dating back to the 7th century, includes using crystalline glass, smalto, and aventurine, with threads of gold, millefiori, multicolored and lattimo, mild glass.  It is a serious art and today the Venetian artisans continue to create masterpieces of chandeliers, frames, jewel boxes and glasses for Champagne and wine! Learn techniques of layering of colored liquid glass, cane working, filigree, engraving and submersion and sommerso – or submerged.  Each lesson lasts 2 hours and at the end you will have your own hand-made Venetian glass piece.

Program Prices

$135 per person per workshop. All taxes and Italian VAT included. Lunch and gratuities not included.