Italian Cooking Vacations: Cooking Courses Tuscany and Umbria
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Cook and Walk in Umbria and Tuscany
Piegaro, Umbria

About the location: On the top of a hill in northern Umbria, a few kilometers from central Italy’s biggest lake, Lake Trasimeno, lies the medieval village of Piegaro. Situated close to the beautiful art cities of Orvieto, Perugia and Assisi in Umbria, as well as the border of southern Tuscany, its location is both ideal and far from the bustling cities. The ancient villa of a noble family is today a small hideaway and relais hotel, with magnificent frescoes in every room. Because of its architecture and important works of art, the Relais Ca’ de’ Principi has been declared an Historical Residence by the Region of Umbria. The Tuscan owners, the Crociani family, have carefully and faithfully restored the building, maintaining the tradition and classical taste and furnishing of the ancient building with antique pieces from their private collection.

The restaurant offers traditional Umbrian and Tuscan cuisine. The hands-on cooking courses take place in the lovely taverna of the Relais with its open fireplace. Combining easy walks of the softly rolling hills and cultural excursions, you will visit Tuscany’s most famous landscape; the artistic, natural and cultural Park of the Orcia Valley (a World Human Heritage since July 2004); Monte Vibiano for an eco-tour; as well as beautiful art cities. It is the perfect location for your authentic taste of Italian life.

About our culinary classes: Adria, who is not only a professional cook, but also someone with a passion and a love of teaching, will conduct your lessons. As with any great chef, her recipes are based on fresh and high-quality ingredients, uncomplicated recipes, and the experience of generations. Each cooking lesson will have a special theme. And, of course, the meals are paired with the right wine! During each lesson you will prepare a complete menu, which you will easily be able to cook on your own back home. Your cooking course is completed by tastings of wine, oil, cheese and the famous Cinta Senese pork.
About the walks: Each walk is moderate and ranges from 2-31/2 hours. No special shoes are required, just comfortable sport shoes.

Cook and Walk in Umbria and Tuscany Itinerary

Day 1

  • Pickup at 2:00 pm from Chiusi rail station and transfer to the Relais Ca’ de’ Principi.
  • Upon arrival, welcome cocktail and some time on your own.
  • Weather permitting, a barbecue at the pool with a panoramic view over the hills, while you enjoy an introductory tasting of typical culinary products of Umbria; otherwise, dinner is inside the charming taverna with open fireplace.

Day 2

  • Breakfast.
  • Excursion to the Orcia Valley in southern Tuscany for a short, approximately two hour, walking tour along the famous path of cypresses and the characteristic calanchi. This landscape is one of the most beautiful and typical landscapes of Tuscany; since 2004 it’s also been under the protection of UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
  • Then it’s on to Pienza, a UNESCO World Human Heritage site and an ideal Renaissance town that was built by Pope Pius II as one of the first examples of a planned town. Today, it is memorable also for its food and specialty cheese shops.
  • An informal lunch of cheese tasting with wine, typical ham and salami in a lovely wine bar in Pienza.
  • Back to the Relais for your first cooking class, concentrating on handmade pasta.
  • Dinner to follow along with local wine.

Day 3

  • Breakfast.
  • In the morning, depart on an excursion to Monte Vibiano for an eco-tour, the perfect way to explore this area famous for its wines and olive oil. During the tour, you’ll have the chance to taste the exquisite wines as well as have a taste of bruschetta, which has been seasoned by the company’s signature oil.
  • A walk along Trasimeno Lake and its historical villages and castles followed by a special lunch in a fish restaurant.
  • In the afternoon, your second cooking lesson, focusing on meat and antipasti.
  • Dinner in the relais to follow with local wine.

Day 4

  • Breakfast.
  • Visit Assisi and its many sanctuaries of Saint Francis and Saint Clair. After seeing the Basilica, your guide will take you to the Hermitage, church of San Damiano, the sacred hovel, and the Porziuncola where St. Francis died.
  • An informal lunch will take place in either a local restaurant or farm with a tasting of various regional products.
  • In the afternoon, your third cooking lesson will focus on desserts.
  • Farewell dinner at the relais paired with local wine.

Day 5

  • Breakfast.
  • Transfer to the Chiusi rail station at 10:00 am.