Antinori’s Noble Tuscany: Tuscany Cooking Vacations & Tours
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Antinori's Noble Tuscany

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About the Tuscany cooking vacation location: The Antinori family is one of Italy's most famous wine-making families. They have been making wines in the Chianti region of Tuscany for over seven hundred years, and the Marchese Piero Antinori shook up the entire Italian wine world with "Tignanello," known today as one of the first Super Tuscans, which have for the decades since been regarded as some of the best wines in the world.

But wine is only a part of the amazing Antinori presence in Tuscany, as they are deeply committed to the land, the food, and the people. A small "borgo," owned by the Antiniori family, is the primary location for this International Kitchen Tuscany cooking school vacation.

Part of the Antinori wine empire lies on a 300-plus hectare plot near Badia a Passignano, which includes the lovely Fonte de' Medici that will be your home for this exclusive and unforgettable foray into the food and wines of Tuscany. Perched on a hilltop, ideally situated near Florence, and literally surrounded by vineyards on all sides, the Fonte de' Medici is a perfect place to explore Tuscany. The estate dates back to the 1400's, and the several small buildings now house the elegant B&B's rooms, suites,  and apartments, as well as a swimming pool, "trattoria," and tennis court.

About the cooking lessons: Your hands-on Tuscany cooking school classes will be at the new Fonte de' Medici Cooking School with Chef Matia Barciulli or his sous chef. The food that inspires the courses hails from the Trattoria de' Medici and the Michelin-star Osteria di Passignano, and its roots are all Tuscan. You will prepare staples of Tuscan cuisine as well as innovative Tuscan dishes that are all seasonally-based, and enriched by the Tuscan air and, of course, the accompanying Antinori wines.

Antinori's Noble Tuscany Itinerary

Day One - Sunday

  • Group transfer from Florence airport or train station to Fonte de’ Medici. This beautiful wine resort, owned by the famed wine-making Antinori family, is perfectly nestled in between the Chianti vineyards. The village, six hundred years old, takes its name from a fresh water spring that served as a resting place for pilgrims on their way from Florence to Rome.
  • Check in to your room (each room is named after a different grape), and enjoy a late afternoon at leisure to relax by the pool.
  • Welcome dinner at “Trattoria della Fonte,” the resort restaurant.
  • Overnight.

Day Two - Monday

  • Breakfast, followed by the morning at your disposal to enjoy the hotel facilities.
  • Lunch on your own.
  • Around 3:30 pm, meet the Chef at the Fonte de’ Medici Cooking School, where you will learn the two basic tenets of Tuscan cuisine : selection of fresh ingredients and olive oil!
  • After class, transfer and visit the historical Antinori wine cellars in Badia a Passignano (The Abbey of Passignano), located in the Chianti Classico region. The abbey is an ancient monastery dating back to 395 AD, when it was established by the archbishop of Florence. Today it is still inhabited by monks of the Vallombrosian Order, who remain the guardians of their cultural and historical treasures.
  • Dinner will follow at the Michelin-starred restaurant Osteria di Passignano, along with some prestigious Antinori wines.
  • Overnight.

Day Three - Tuesday

  • Breakfast.
  • At 9:30 am, meet your English-speaking driving guide for a full-day excursion to Siena and San Gimignano. In Siena you will have time at your disposal to discover on your own the city that was Florence’s sworn enemy for centuries, and that today is famous throughout world for hosting the Palio horse race in early July and mid August in Piazza del Campo, the town’s main square.
  • Lunch on your own in Siena. (Your driving guide will provide background on Siena with suggestions of things to see and places to eat, but if you prefer a 2-hour guided walking tour of the city, that can be arranged at an additional cost, to be paid locally.)
  • After lunch, depart for San Gimignano, known as the “Manhattan” of Tuscany for its stunning skyline of rare medieval tower-houses. The village is a UNESCO heritage site, and its main church, the Duomo, contains magnificent frescos of great Tuscan Renaissance artists like Benozzo Gozzoli and Domenico Ghirlandaio. Time at your disposal to walk around and shop on your own.
  • Early in the afternoon, transfer back to Fonte de’ Medici.
  • Dinner at “Trattoria della Fonte” and overnight.

Day Four - Wednesday

  • Breakfast and early morning at your disposal for individual explorations of the area, or for use of the hotel facilities.
  • At 11:45 a.m., transfer to the new headquarters of the prestigious Antinori family, certainly the biggest name in the world of Tuscan Wines. The Antinoris waited seven years to complete their breathtaking new cellar. From the very beginning, the fundamental concept was that of “invisibility.” The cellars were to be constructed in total harmony with the landscape and, for this reason, it was decided to plant a vineyard to cover the entire edifice. Enjoy a guided visit of the cellar followed by lunch at Ristorante Rinuccio 1180 inside the cellars.
  • Return to Fonte de’ Medici after lunch and enjoy your next cooking class and dinner at “Trattoria della Fonte.”
  • Overnight at Fonte de’ Medici.

Day Five - Thursday

  • Breakfast at the estate. (For those booked on the 4-night itinerary, group transfer around 10 am to Florence railway station or Florence airport.)
  • Around 9:30 am, meet your English-speaking driving guide for a full day excursion. You will first discover Greve and its quaint Piazza, where you make sure to stop at Falorni’s Butcher Shop. Walk up to Montefioralle to discover the Medieval village where Amerigo Vespucci was born.
  • Later, proceed to Castellina in Chianti and stop at Querceto di Castellina Wine Estate, a family-run winery. Enjoy a guided wine tasting together with a light lunch to follow.
  • Around 4:30 pm, arrive at Badia a Passignano, where you will head to the Pizzeria “Le Scuderie” to learn how to make a real Italian pizza in a wood-burning pizza oven. After the class you will be able to eat your own “personal” pizza.
  • Transfer back to Fonte de’ Medici.
  • Overnight.

Day Six - Friday

  • Breakfast, followed by free time to enjoy the pool or for a nice walk in the hills, woods, and vineyards surrounding Fonte de’ Medici. Or, enjoy a bike ride (bikes are provided by the property free of charge).
  • Lunch on your own.
  • Around 3:30 pm, meet Chef Matia for your last hands-on cooking lesson focusing on fresh pasta and bread, with a tasting of your dishes during the class.
  • Barbecue dinner to follow the cooking class.
  • Overnight.

Day Seven - Saturday

  • Breakfast and check out. Group transfer around 10:00 am to Florence railway station or Florence airport.