Why Stay in a Villa for a Cooking Vacation?
If you're looking for a special getaway as you plan your next Italian getaway, consider staying at a villa. While you can still have a luxurious experience at at four or five star hotel, a villa offers a certain je ne sais quoi, or 'it' factor, that you may be hard pressed to find elsewhere.
Once country estates designed for noblemen to escape city life, today villas are private residences that can either be rented out by you and all your travel companions, or a family-run property booked as part of a cooking vacation. Most have a certain sort of charm, surrounded as they are with gardens and beautiful views of the surrounding area. And they also offer a number of other features you don't typically find at hotels or even Relais & Chateaux properties. For one, the public spaces will often include a kitchen (but that doesn't mean you'll be cooking all your meals either, even on a culinary vacation.)
Here are photos from four such villas, which offer both a relaxing atmosphere as well as a great home base for your excursions into the surrounding area.
Tuscan Dream: Cook in a Luxury Chianti Villa
There's a reason we call this trip a "Tuscan Dream," and for starters, the private villa, in Panzano in Chianti, is beautifully restored. The property features six bedrooms, and a wonderful outdoor space that includes a pool, outdoor dining, olive groves, vineyards, gardens, and a pizza oven. The trip also includes visits to a cheese farm, olive oil producer, and even a flagship winery. View the 7-night itinerary.
Luxury Lucca Villa Cooking
Stay in an exclusive, family-run villa just outside Lucca during this adventure in Tuscany. Once a monastery, today the property boasts 11 beautiful rooms and, of course, wonderful views of the surrounding countryside. A husband and wife team will be your guides during this trip; Chef George leads the five cooking classes, while his wife Laudat is a sommelier who will teach you how to pair wine with all your meals. View the 7-night itinerary.
Gastronomy in an Italian Villa
Situated just outside the city walls of Montefalco, the 200-year-old Villa Pambuffetti was once a family palazzo. Today, it's a true Italian sanctuary with all modern amenities, and the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate as you learn about traditional Umbrian cuisine from two cooks. View the 4-night itinerary.
Have you ever stayed at a villa, for a cooking vacation or otherwise? Share your thoughts on villa vacations below!
By Liz Hall