Day 1: Pick-up in Florence and arrival to Villa Castelletti. Fly to Italy. We will pick you up in Florence and then you will be accompanied by car or van to Villa Castelletti and then welcomed at the Borgo (Hamlet) - your vacation home next to the main Villa. After settling in, Linda will show you around the entire estate which will be your home for one week! You will have time to relax in your lovely apartment before enjoying a welcome drink with the staff at the Borgo. We will dine at the restaurant on the Villa Castelletti estate where Roberto, your cooking teacher for the week, will prepare your first Tuscan meal at the restaurant (located on the estate) where you will be taking your hands on cooking classes throughout the week.
Day 2: A perfect morning in Lucca. In the morning, after Breakfast either in your apartments or out in the breakfast room, you will take off to beautiful Lucca, a town west of Villa Castelletti. We will take a pleasant tour around the heart of Lucca, which is considered to be one of the most picturesque of all the fortified (medieval wall) towns in Tuscany. After our informative tour, you will have free time to shop, take a walk around it’s 16th century intact walls, visit museums and churches or simply sit in one of the many cafe’s that line this Roman city. You will enjoy a light lunch in one of the many Trattoria’s in Lucca. Cooking course followed by dinner.
Day 3: Carmignano Wines to Pisan Cuisine. This morning you will have breakfast at your own leisure, have time to take a stroll around the estate or simply relax in your comfortable apartments before your cooking class followed by lunch. In the afternoon, we will take a picturesque drive through the Carmignano wine region to the winery known as Tenuta di Capezzana. Here you will enjoy a wine tour of the estate and later try selected wines from Capezzana including the well known Tuscan desert wine called ‘Vino Santo”. Later in the afternoon, we will visit the most famous “leaning tower” town (Pisa) in Italy and there we will try a little Pisan cuisine.
Day 4: Medieval Towers in the heart of Chianti. In the morning, you will take a drive through the Chianti region situated between Florence and Siena where an ancient Roman road will take us to the medieval town known as San Gimignano; you will discover why San Gimignano is the only remaining medieval town which has been called the “Manhattan of Tuscany” because of its ten (originally there were sixty five) towers! You will have a chance to shop while strolling along the magical windy streets packed with local artisans stores specializing in things such as ceramics, leather goods and wooden crafts. We will stop at a local winery in San Gimignano we will taste the only white wine in the Chianti region known as Vernaccia, taste local delicacies and if the weekly market is open you will be in for a gastronomic surprise! Cooking course followed by dinner at Villa Castelletti.
Day 5: A Florentine Treat with our friends Sharon and Mim’s. On this special day, we will meet up with Sharon, who is a restaurant owner and Chef of the famous Trattoria Garga, and her delightful partner Mims at the main central market in Florence. Sharon and Mims will take us on a gastronomic tour teaching us about the main raw ingredients of Tuscan Cuisine in preparation for the evening cooking course. After this eye-opening outdoor market tour, you will have free time to shop and discover the historical treasures of Florence. For example, you could go visit the Uffizi and the main cathedral (Il Duomo). Later in the afternoon, we will meet back with Mims and Sharon at the 16th century palazzo (located in the heart of Florence not far from the Ponte Vecchio) opposite Trattoria Garga where you will enjoy a hands on cooking extravaganza (cooking course followed by meal)!
Day 6: Leonardo Da Vinci in the morning, Gala dinner in the evening! This morning we will head out (West of Villa Castelletti) to discover the quaint town of Vinci - home of the great genius Leornardo Da Vinci! We will make our way through the area of Montalbano where we will stop at an olive oil farm and have a very informative olive oil tasting. The rest of the day will be spent on “our” noble estate at Villa Castelletti, where we will all be very busy preparing for our fabulous farewell gala dinner! When available, we will be having this gala dinner in the Main Villa.
Day 7: Farewell Villa Castelletti and friends. After Breakfast and good-byes, you will be taken to the airport or the train station in Florence in time for your departure or Florentine hotel check-in, if you will be spending additional time in Florence.