Cooking Vacations in Tuscany, Italy: Cortona Cooking School
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Cooking and Vineyards of Southern Tuscany
Pergo, Tuscany (Cortona)

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About the location: The hillside village of Pergo enchants. While the village is situated just four miles from the Etruscan city walls of Cortona, it feels like a world away, and not only because the town consists of a handful of medieval streets. Surrounded by rolling green hills — and even some mountains in the distance — Pergo is a place where nature, history, art, and gastronomic traditions have fused to create a breathtaking and relaxing getaway. When not learning the ways of traditional Tuscan food, delight in the picturesque setting populated by olive groves and vineyards. Pergo is only a short ride away from other charming towns such as Arezzo, Pienza, Perugia, Deruta, and Assisi.


About the accommodations: Your home will be a lovingly restored 18th-century historic dwelling. The owners respected La Corte dei Papi’s past, as they used antique materials in the restoration and conserved original elements, including vaulted ceilings with exposed beams and terracotta floors. Many of the hotel accommodation rooms feature a magnificent view of not only the garden but also the rolling hills of the region; all rooms also include adjustable air conditioning and satellite TV. The property also features a stunning swimming pool and outdoor dining area, the perfect place to relax after your cooking class.


About the cooking lessons: In the heart of Italy, you will prepare Tuscan dishes, including everything from 4-course meals to a tasting dish of bruschetta. Of course a cooking class in Tuscany would not be complete without learning how to make hand-made pasta. All classes are hands-on as you learn creative and modern approaches to traditional recipes of the region. These classes are perfect for people who not only love to cook, but are also passionate about wine; every wine pairing is hand-picked to match the seasonal menus.

Cooking and Vineyards of Southern Tuscany Itinerary

Day 1

  • Transfer from Terontola Train Station.
  • Arrive at Hotel Corte Dei Papi. (Please note: 4-night program begins the same day as the scheduled 6-night program and ends after breakfast on Day 5.)
  • Rest until the evening and then enjoy a welcome aperitif, followed by a welcome a la carte dinner — which includes three courses — accompanied by a good house wine.
  • Overnight.

Day 2

  • Breakfast.
  • Morning: First hands-on cooking class, where you will learn to create a traditional Tuscan four-course meal, which might include such dishes as: ravioli, pappardelle, gnocchi, and pizza.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts, local wine included.
  • Afternoon: a guided tour of Cortona with an English-speaking guide. Visit the Etruscan Museum, which includes a rich collection of objects found during excavations in the area. Then, a visit to the Le Celle Monastery, just outside Cortona, where Saint Francis spent part of his monastic life.
  • Time on your own to explore the town and dinner on your own. (Return transfer back to the hotel must be paid locally).
  • Overnight.

Day 3

  • Breakfast.
  • In your second cooking class, learn how to prepare traditional dishes, which may include bruschetta, Tuscan pici pasta with a red sauce, bread soup, Florentine beef, and mascarpone.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts, local wine included.
  • Afternoon on your own. Perhaps visit Trasimeno lake, or shop at the nearby Valdichiana Outlet, where most famous Italian fashion brands can be found. (Transfers can be arranged locally).
  • Dinner on your own.
  • Overnight.

Day 4

  • After breakfast, depart for a full-day excursion.
  • In the morning, experience a guided wine tour of Montepulciano, as well as a wine tasting in ancient cellars located underneath the town.
  • Light lunch in a local trattoria or winery.
  • In the afternoon, head to Pienza for a guided tour of the town. Next, stop in Val d’Orcia to see the cheese factory, followed by a delicious cheese tasting in the garden of the property.
  • Return to the hotel for an a la carte dinner accompanied by good house wine.
  • Overnight.

Day 5

  • Breakfast.
  • For those on the 4-night program, check out and transfer to Terontola train station).
  • For those on the 6-night program, begin your third and final hands-on cooking class, which will be based on a seasonal menu.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts with local wine included.
  • Afternoon on your own. Perhaps relax by the pool, or visit Arezzo or Cortona on your own. (Transportation can be arranged locally).
  • Dinner on your own.
  • Overnight.

Day 6

  • Breakfast followed by a full-day excursion to Assisi. You will have a chance to explore this beautiful city on your own, including St. Frances’ Cathedral, a World Heritage Site decorated in frescos by Cimabue and Giotto, as well as other attractions, including St. Mary the Greater Church, the earliest religious building in Assisi. (Lunch on your own in Assisi). (If you would like to schedule a guided tour with a licensed guide, this can be added for an additional cost.)
  • In the evening, return to the hotel restaurant for a farewell a la carte dinner, including three courses, accompanied by good house wine.
  • Overnight.

Day 7

  • Breakfast.
  • Departure transfer to Terontola Train Station.