Classic Culinary Vacations
In the beautiful historical backdrop of Italy, you will delve into a food culture that will help you understand how craftsmanship with local products (cheese, grains, meats, fish, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and wines) contributes flavor and intensity in its purest form.
Our seven-night, eight-day culinary vacation in verdant Umbria begins in an authentic Italian farmhouse surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. Tour UNESCO landmarked hill towns, local markets, and cultural centers. Visit cheesemakers and wineries to gain an appreciation for the culture of Italian craftsmanship. Train in rustic regional home cooking, from risotto to gnocchi, seafood to small game. Return home from our cooking tour in Italy with recipes you can recreate in your home kitchen, an appreciation for the art of the Italian table, and great memories of your cooking vacation.
Classic Culinary Vacation Itinerary
Day 1 - Arrival
Arrival in Rome. Transfer by train to Chiusi Chianciano station, where you will be greeted and shuttled to the farmhouse. You will have time to relax and explore the property before joining the full group for dinner at a nearby family-run Osteria specializing in traditional Umbrian cooking.
Day 2 - Cortona Tour, Wood-Fired Outdoor Grilling Class
Best known as the picturesque hill town in “Under the Tuscan Sun,” Cortona is bustling with small boutiques selling unique artisan leather, textiles, clothing, jewelry, art, and food. After a morning of wandering the streets of Cortona, we will enjoy a relaxing lunch.
In the evening, we will light our outdoor wood-fired grill and enjoy our first cooking experience at Cucina della Terra. The menu will celebrate Italian grilling traditions, featuring authentic bruschette (made with olive oil harvested on the property), as well as Umbrian sausages, beefsteak, small game, local vegetable dishes, and, of course, “dolci.”
Day 3 - Pienza Tour, Visit to our Outstanding Cheese-Maker and Pasta-Making Class
Pienza, a town in the province of Siena and UNESCO World Heritage site, sets the stage for a delightful stroll overlooking the verdant Val d’ Orcia. Postage stamp shops overflow with Italian-made linens, handcrafted ceramics, leather goods, and the famous pecorino cheese of Pienza. Meet a local artisan who specializes in these outstanding raw milk wheels – as well as ricotta – and deepen your knowledge of the process behind these two unique products.
In the evening, we will return to the kitchen at Cucina della Terra where we will learn to hand-make pasta and a lusty wild boar ragu along with ravioli stuffed with our sheep’s milk ricotta topped with a seasonal sauce.
Day 4 - Wine Tasting in Montepulciano, How to Make a Creamy Risotto, and the Italian Way to Sauté
High in the hills of Tuscany, overlooking the olive groves and vineyards of the Val di Chiana, sits Montepulciano. You’ll discover this historic wine town by first visiting a select group of artisans. Most notably, our tour will bring us to a top winery for visit to the cellars, vineyards, historical library, and finally a tasting of the vineyard’s wines: Vin Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montepulciano, and two more of their select labels.
In the evening, our cooking class will feature traditional risotto technique, as well as the Italian art of pan-sautéed proteins and vegetables.
Day 5 - Castiglione del Lago Green Market Tour, How to Make Gnocchi, and Rustic Roasting Techniques
Wednesday is the open-air market day in Castiglione del Lago, just five minutes from Cucina della Terra. Nothing can adequately express the social atmosphere and the warmth of small-town life as we meander shops overflowing with the renowned salumi, cheeses, balsamics, lentils of castelluccio, the ancient grain farro, beans of Lake Trasimeno, and olive oils. For those looking for a “deal,” this is the day to buy from the street vendors! If desired, you can visit the Palace of the della Corgna family and walk through the narrow passageway of the fortress to get a better feeling of defense centuries ago.
Our afternoon lunch provides a taste of the famous porchette sandwiches and torta al testo of Umbria. The afternoon allows time for a swim, a walk through the hills, or relaxation before returning to the cucina for a night of crafting one of Italy’s most beloved foodstuffs and our most sought-after gnocchi dish – gnocchi & mushroom ragu – as well as a master class in the techniques of roasting.
Day 6 - Cultural Tour of Orvieto and Mediterranean Fish Cooking Class
The former papal state of Orvieto sits atop a large butte of volcanic rock called “tufa.” At the base of the town, a necropolis bears the remains of Etruscan tombs, while in the town center, a 175-foot deep well (designed in the 16th century) remains a feat of engineering. At the top of the town lies a glistening Gothic cathedral, built in the 1300s and housing magnificent frescos, mosaics, and stained glass. Those seeking gifts and exquisite craftsmanship will enjoy a wide range of ceramic, olive wood, hand-made woolens, and jewelry shops. We’ll stop for lunch in an authentic trattoria before returning home to prepare a healthful feast of fish and seafood from the Mediterranean.
Day 7 - Fritatta, Italian Salads, and Siena Tour with Dinner
For our final full day in Italy, we start in the kitchen, diving into the techniques of Italian salads and egg cookery. Local cereals and grains will find a place on our menu as we enjoy a final well-earned lunch at the property. By late afternoon, we will be on our way to Siena, one of Italy’s most visually-stunning cities and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In the famed Piazza del Campo, eight streets radiate from the center of the square and invite you to explore the town’s historic and artistic significance. (If you have ever wondered what pan forte and ricchiarelli cookies taste like, this is the city to try them!)
Our evening ends with a farewell dinner at an elegant local restaurant.
Day 8 - Early Morning Departure by Train to Rome
A farewell breakfast ends this unique cooking vacation experience. Following breakfast, guests will be transported to Chiusi Chianciano Station.
**The above is a sample itinerary. Each trip's schedule may vary slightly to highlight the finest products of the season **
Cost of Tour
$3895 per person
Included With The Tour
From the moment we pick you up at the train station, to the moment we drop you off at the end of the tour, all your meals, wine, water , accommodations, transportation, and cooking classes are included in the price.
7 nights lodging in a Umbrian farmhouse (based on double occupancy)
7 Italian-style breakfasts, including espresso, , biscotti, pane, patisserie, yogurt, fruit, and juice
7 lunches, either prepared on the property or part of local city tours
7 dinners at regional restaurants
6 hands-on cooking classes, followed by dinners paired with premium regional wines
All transportation to and from daily tours on a chartered bus
Scheduled ground transportation to and from Chiusi Chianciano station
Travel insurance for medical coverage
Airfare and ground transport to and from Rome Fiumicino airport to Chiusi Chianciano station.
Personal expenses including phone, tips for staff, as well as heating at the property. (Ambient temperatures are personal, and we prefer to leave the choice up to our guests. Costs run approximately 10 euro/night.) There is an addition 5 euro state tax per person paid directly to the innkeeper.
We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment and put your mind at ease. There are a number of good agencies that will reimburse your costs should you need to cancel a trip because of unanticipated personal reasons.
A $500 deposit is required to secure your reservation. The Balance is due 90 days prior to departure. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
To reserve your spot fill out the information below:
You may contact Chef Gerri Sarnataro directly at:
New York: 1.646.761.8037