Cooking, Wine & Walking Extravaganza Tour in Cinque Terre & Tuscany
Experience some of Italy’s top reds right where they’re made, Brunello and Vino Nobile in Tuscany. Chefs and home cooks reveal their secrets in cooking lessons. Farmers and wine, olive oil and makers, all passionate about their products, tour you around their land and wine cellars. Enjoy optional walks along paths with splendid views of vineyard covered hills in Tuscany and beautiful Cinque Terre towns and Portovenere. An amazing array of authentic Italian life experiences!
Read about the “Italians you will meet” on this Italy cooking school tour.
- hotel accommodation
- all meals
- cooking lessons
- transport in private minivan
- private transfers from/to pick-up/drop-off points of La Spezia and Chiusi
- attentive guide throughout this Italy cooking school tour
Not included: Wines with your meals so you can choose the wines you like.
5 Night Italy Cooking School Tour Itinerary
Drive to Portovenere on the Italian Riviera south of Cinque Terre, stopping along the way in the pretty seaside Riviera town of Camogli. For lunch, enjoy fresh focaccia and vegetable torts on the beach or in an outdoor cafe – weather permitting. Afterwards, stroll through Camogli’s picturesque old centre, port and beach for a real slice of small town Italian life.
After a one hour drive, reach the port of Portovenere with beautiful coastal views, medieval walls, a castle and colorful, small port. Check into your hotel. Walk along the sea, up to the castle, or along narrow streets filled with gelato shops and coffee bars or simply sit at an outdoor seafront cafe and watch life go by.
Dine on stellar fish and seafood back at your hotel’s terrace, with stunning views of the Bay of Poets below.
Explore the food and culture of the nearby Cinque Terre – five villages that hug the dramatic cliffs of the northern Italian coastline. Towns are connected by an oceanside pathway so you can explore them on foot or arrive by boat or train.
In the beautiful Vernazza, walk past terraces of multicolored houses before lounging in a restaurant on the piazza by the sea for your midday meal of pasta with fresh basil pesto and local seafood.
In late afternoon return to Portovenere by boat, arriving back at your hotel at around 7 pm. Dine at another wonderful restaurant and on sumptuous pasta, seafood and vegetable dishes.
Leave for Southern Tuscany, with its country scenery that’s inspired many a painter, poet and writer through the ages.
After a three or four hour drive, arrive in the walled hill town of Montalcino, famous for Brunello, one of Italy’s top red wines. In the medieval fortress, now a wine bar, a knowledgeable staff member tells you what makes Brunello such a fine wine. Along with Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello wines, savor fresh pecorino cheeses, salamis, and freshly baked bread.
Stroll through the town with your guide and browse the many small shops that line the streets.
From Montalcino we drive past vineyards and olive groves and up into higher hills in the mountains. In a small hamlet, the charming, hospitable, fun loving Chef Roberto welcomes you to his pretty, little three star hotel and restaurant, praised in many guidebooks.
At his restaurant, renowned for its mushroom dishes, learn to prepare divine Tuscan cuisine with a creative flair before enjoying dinner with wines Roberto has selected specially for you. After dinner amble upstairs to your quiet room.
After breakfast with Roberto, drive down to Pienza to check in to a three star, modern hotel with 16 attractive rooms, half with amazing panoramas of the Val D’Orcia with its vast rolling hills. On the way we stop at a winery to tour its cellars and taste its Brunello wine, Rosso di Montalcino and Vin Santo right with the producer.
Enjoy a light lunch in Pienza, a little medieval jewel with walkways along its walls with vast views over the Orcia valley and its exquisite Renaissance main piazza. It’s also famous for pecorino cheese offered many shops.
Visit the picturesque hill town of Montepulciano, home to the famous Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, one of the top Italian red wines. With your guide tour the town and its distinguished palaces, wine shops and amazing array of unique stores.
Savor a light lunch in Montepulciano with free time to walk on country paths, shop or hang out in the main piazza watching local life.
Drive across the valley to a lovely little hill town, Montefollonico. In a winery in a 14th century palazzo the hospitable winery owner takes you on a personal tour of the cellars. Enjoy tasting his Rosso di Montepulciano, Vino Nobile and Vin Santo and chatting about life on his garden terrace with fabulous views across the valley to Montepulciano.
Dine in a little restaurant in Montefollonico whose pici pasta with tomato and garlic sauce and roast lamb with rosemary and garlic, all washed down with good Tuscan red, are to die for.
From Pienza drive about 40 minutes to visit an artisan olive oil maker, charming Alberto on his organic farm filled with exotic trees and plants. He shows you his age old techniques for making olive oil with the traditional granite wheel. In your cooking lesson with Alberto, who’s a fabulous cook, discover how to cook traditional Tuscan dishes that were vanishing. Dine around a long wooden table in his olive oil production room.
On the way home, stop at Sant’Antimo, one of Tuscany’s most beautiful Romanesque churches, dating back over 1000 years set in an idyllic valley of cypresses, olive groves, vineyards and fields.
Before dinner, stroll around Pienza with your guide.
Enjoy a light farewell dinner at a local trattoria in town. Good food, wine and conversation are the perfect way to round off your last evening of this magical wine and cooking adventure.
After breakfast, leave for Chiusi train station, which lies about halfway between Florence and Rome. Or we can arrange a private driver for you for an extra charge.
Your five days with Mama Margaret & Friends in two beautiful regions will be unforgettable. You’ll take with you memories of the wonderful food, wines and friendly people, making this trip an extraordinary experience.