At Home in a Tuscan Villa
Bargecchia, Massarosa Lucca
About the location: Explore the Versilia, the part of western Tuscany dominating the coast with an awe-inspiring panorama that rolls from the Leaning Tower of Pisa down to the Mediterranean Sea, where it meets the Tuscan archipelago and the coast towns of the Cinque Terre. From the well-known seaside town of Viareggio, to the "marble capital" of Pietrasanta, western Tuscany offers many exciting sites and charming towns to explore, and its proximity to the famed "five lands" of the Cinque Terre make it a perfect place for exploring those charming villages as well.
About the accommodations: The Villa Gobbi Benelli is a magnificent 16th-century historical villa nestled among the hills of western Tuscany. This family-owned villa boasts a swimming pool on a large veranda overlooking the Versilia, and on clear days you can catch a glimpse clear to the sea and the Cinque Terre.
The villa was renovated with every comfort in mind, yet retained the original materials and historical character of the original building, resulting in an elegant home that offers peace and relaxation. The six bedrooms and suites all look out onto the amazing landscape and include air conditioning, WiFi, TV, telephone, minibar, and more.
The hands-on cooking classes take place in the "Living Kitchen" of the villa, and end with lunch or dinner accompanied by fine Tuscan wines. The philosophy behind the "living kitchen" focuses on sharing the variety, history, and richness of Tuscan cuisine with all its guests; it also means that local food specialties — along with food specialties and recipes that were lost through the centuries — will be rediscovered. In turn, you'll discover a real sense of community between your fellow travelers and the chefs.
Before classes begin, guests will have the opportunity to select ingredients directly from local suppliers in order to better understand about food production and the origin of the products. Along the way, you'll have the chance to do more than prepare food; if you wish, you can learn about table setting, wine pouring, and more. That's not all either. To complement the cooking classes, guests may partake in other activities (at an additional cost) like yoga, meeting a nutritionist, and hikes.
The cooking courses will be led by three different chefs, providing a wonderful way to be truly and fully immersed in Tuscan cuisine. Your instructor for two of the classes will be a local, Chef Aurora, who has experience as a home chef and pastry chef; during the courses, she will relate anecdotes and recipes of the local Tuscan cuisine. For your pizza class, learn all about pizza (and bread!) with the pizzaiolo, Ruben, who has been in the restaurant business for more than 20 years. Lastly, learn all about fish dishes with Chef Andrea, who managed an osteria for more than 20 years and who is an expert in seafood and wild game dishes. It will be an experience for all five senses!