Cooking, Wine & Walking Extravaganza Tour in Piedmont, Riviera & Tuscany
Experience Italy’s top reds right where they’re made, Barolo and Barbaresco in Piedmont and Brunello and Vino Nobile in Tuscany. Chefs and home cooks reveal their secrets in cooking school classes. Farmers and wine, olive oil and cheese 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 Piedmont and Tuscany and beautiful Cinque Terre towns and Portovenere. An amazing array of authentic Italian life experiences!
- 8 nights hotel accommodation
- all meals
- 4 Italian cooking school classes
- transport in private minivan
- private transfers from/to pick-up/drop-off points of Turin and Chiusi
- attentive guide throughout your Italy cooking school tour
Not included: Wines with your meals so you can choose the wines you like.
8 Night Italian Cooking School Tour Itinerary
Please note: Walks are optional. If you have other interests, just let us know and we can change the daily plan for you.
Meet your group at Turin airport or railway station before leaving for Piedmont’s Barolo wine country, about a one hour drive south. Stay in a three star hotel in Barolo with swimming pool and beautiful views of Barolo castle or at a lovely four star villa hotel with gardens and swimming pool in the hill town, Monforte.
Dine in a typical restaurant, drinking great local wines and eating authentic Piedmont specialties like chocolate cake with hazelnuts topped with a zabaglione of aromatic Moscato wine.
Explore the La Morra area, driving along its winding country roads, gazing in awe at the spectacular views of the verdant Barolo wine valley below.
Visit a great Barolo winery to get an introduction to the range of the region’s wines and learn how they’re made, their history and more. One of our favourite Piedmont wineries is Gigi Rosso whose Barolo Arione 2005 won the maximum “Five Bottle” award from the prestigious Italian Guide dell’Espresso’s Vini d’Italia 2010. You’ll get a wonderful overview of Barolo, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto wines and more from the passionate, welcoming owners or staff in this family run winery.
Eat a light lunch and sip wines like the aromatic white Arneis or robust red Barbera in the picturesque hill town, Castiglione Falletto on a cafe terrace with hill views.
Return to your hotel for a siesta.
Drive to a top restaurant outside a Barolo wine country town for a hands-on cooking school class with a young, passionate, creative Italian chef who welcomes you warmly to his kitchen. Some of his typical Piedmont dishes with innovative touches: a delicate little torte of asparagus and cod, tasty risotto with Barbera wine and local tuma cheese cream and semifreddo with boysenberries, white chocolate and mint. Savour your creations with a line-up of top wines.
Drive through the wine country hills, taking in the marvelous views to Barolo to visit the historic Marchesi di Barolo winery with 200 year old cellars, Discover the fascinating history of Barolo wine.
Travel to the hill town of Serralunga to visit a unique medieval castle, renovated in 1340. With the castle’s entertaining guide, discover ingenious architectural features that kept invaders out. On the top floor, marvel at the 360 degree views of the medieval town walls and the vine covered hills all around you.
On an isolated ridge, visit a family farm where friendly Francesca shares a slice of their everyday life with you. On their farm they produce their own cheeses and most of what they eat. Lunch at their wooden dining table in their kitchen of Francesca’s specialties. After lunch Francesca tours you around their farm.
In town of Sinio enjoy a full menu, hands-on cooking class of traditional Piedmont dishes with some wonderful local women, excellent home cooks and dine on your creations with them.
Drive to Portovenere on the Italian Riviera south of Cinque Terre. with beautiful coastal views, medieval walls, a castle and colorful, small port. Check into your hotel by the sea. For lunch, enjoy fresh focaccia and vegetable torts on the beach or in an outdoor cafe in Portovenere – weather permitting.
Enjoy free time to 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 in a Portovenere restaurant, with stunning views of the Bay of Poets.
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 Cinque Terre 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, savour fresh pecorino cheeses, salamis, and freshly baked Tuscan 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 Tuscan 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 with Roberto before enjoying dinner with wines he has selected specially for you. After dinner amble upstairs to your quiet room in his three star hotel.
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 in 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.
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 Tuscan 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 Tuscan cooking class 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 in Tuscany.
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 eight days with Mama Margaret & Friends in three 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.