Tuscan Cooking Vacation: Classica Tuscan Table at Villa Casagrande
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Classic Tuscan Table at Villa Casagrande - NEW
Figline Valdarno and Florence

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Tuscany is a land known for its rolling hills, beautiful vineyards, and olive groves. A part of the region's charm also comes from the quaint towns that populate the countryside. Situated a short way from Florence, travelers will find the tranquil town of Figline Valdarno. The 12th century town once had 19 towers as well as 4 gates; vestiges of that architecture remain, including walls around the town. Today it's a wonderful place to take a stroll — the historical medieval center is home to more than just the weekly food market — and use as a jumping off point for discovering the area. From Figline Valdarno, discover the wines of Chianti Classico, nearby hill towns. and the historical cities of Siena and San Gimignano. A juxtaposition to this quaint town, this Classic Tuscan Table itinerary also features some time in the vibrant city of Florence, where travelers will have a chance to explore and discover the Italian food scene, complete with a visit to a beloved bakery.

About the accommodations: Your Tuscan cooking vacation starts in the lovely boutique hotel of Villa Casagrande in Figline Valdarno. The distinctive building is designed completely in the Tuscan style and offers a relaxing respite complete with a spa and restaurant. For those who decide to book the 6-night option, the final two nights include accommodations at one of two 3-star centrally-located Florence hotels with modern amenities. (An upgrade to a 4-star hotel in Florence is available; please inquire.)

Chef PaolaAbout the cooking classes: Delve into the traditional flavors of Tuscan cuisine with a local chef, Anna, while surrounded by some of Italy's best scenery. The informal but informative cooking classes showcase the basic principles of Italian cuisine, including pasta, stews, pizza, and more. All three hands-on classes at the Villa are held in an ancient kitchen, and a meal based on your efforts will follow. Your class in Florence will be a special baking class at what we think is the best bakery in Florence! The only requirement? A passion for discovering the land and food of Tuscany!

Classic Tuscan Table at Villa Casagrande - NEW Itinerary

Day 1: Sunday

  • Arrive in Florence and transfer from either Florence airport or train station to Villa Casagrande in the charming town of Figline Valdarno.
  • Settle into your room, and, if time allows, enjoy entrance to the wellness center at the hotel.
  • At 6 p.m. go on a guided visit of the villa, followed by a wine tasting produced on the villa’s estate.
  • Welcome dinner at the hotel restaurant.
  • Overnight.

Day 2: Monday

  • Breakfast.
  • Around 9:30 a.m. depart with your driver for a half-day visit of Arezzo, which is the hometown to important figures in Italian culture such as the poet Petrarca and architect Vasari. The town was also featured in the movie “Life is Beautiful.” After a stroll through town your guide, enjoy some time on your own; perhaps visit the church of San Francesco and its famous frescoes by Piero della Francesca, one of the fathers of the Renaissance.
  • Lunch today will be at a local trattoria in downtown Arezzo, local wine included.
  • In the afternoon, meet Chef Anna for your first hands-on cooking class in the well-equipped kitchen at Villa Casagrande. Dinner to follow based on your efforts, local wine included.
  • Overnight.

Day 3: Tuesday

  • After breakfast, visit the local weekly market in Figline Valdarno’s square. Meet the locals and pick out some fresh ingredients for your next cooking class. Return to the hotel for your hands-on course with the chef in which you’ll learn how to make seasonal and traditional Tuscan dishes.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts, local wine included.
  • In the afternoon, enjoy some time on your own. (Optional excursions can be booked arranged, such as a visit to an olive mill, or a nearby mall outlet. These add-ons can be arranged with our Florence office once you’re in Italy).
  • Dinner tonight at the hotel restaurant offers a fish menu, local wine included.
  • Overnight.

Day 4: Wednesday

  • Breakfast.
  • Start your day with your next Tuscan cooking class. Lunch to follow based on your efforts, wine included.
  • In the afternoon, depart for the lovely wine region of Chianti Classico. While in Greve in Chianti, you’ll have a chance to taste the excellent local wine, as well as visit the castle of Montefioralle. The village offers a stunning view of the surrounding valley; be sure to bring your camera!
  • Enjoy a dinner at a local restaurant in Badia a Passignano along with local wines.
  • Return to the hotel and overnight.

Day 5: Thursday

  • Breakfast. (For those of you on the four-night program, return transfer to Florence train station. If you’d like to stay for the day excursion before returning to Florence, please inquire.)
  • For those on the 6-night trip, depart for a full-day excursion to two special Tuscan cities: San Gimignano and Siena.
  • In the morning, discover the preserved medieval town of San Gimignano, which if famous for its towers. Go up its highest tower — Torre Mangia — for some beautiful views (but just know it’s quite a walk!) Perhaps also take some time to visit the Collegiate Church, which features 14th century frescoes.
  • Lunch on your own.
  • In the afternoon, visit the medieval town of Siena, which is perhaps best known for its famous horse race “il Palio” that takes place in its central piazza. (If you would like a guide tour with a licensed guide in Siena that can be arranged for an additional cost).
  • Transfer to Florence and check in to your centrally-located 3-star hotel.
  • Dinner on your own.
  • Overnight in Florence.

Day 6: Friday

  • Breakfast.
  • Spend the morning on your own in the magnificent city of Florence. (An optional guided tour of Museo Opera del Duomo and the Bapistery can be arranged for an additional cost).
  • Lunch on your own.
  • Meet a guide for a tour of the San Niccolo quarter, where you’ll discover art galleries as well as local craftsmen shops. The tour ends at a lovely bakery, where you’ll learn how Florentine bread, pizza, and olive oil schiacciata is made. A pizza dinner will follow.
  • Overnight in Florence.

Day 7: Saturday

  • Breakfast followed by check out.
  • Take a private transfer to either Florence airport or train station.