Italy cooking vacations: Gastronomy in an Italian Villa
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Gastronomy in an Italian Villa
Montefalco, Umbria

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About the location: The picturesque town of Montefalco is perfectly situated in central Umbria, where it offers a stunning panoramic view of the Spoleto valley, full of olive groves and vineyards. Cobbled streets slope upwards to the center of the town, giving way to the town’s nickname, “la ringhiera dell’Umbria,” which means “the balcony of Umbria.” While known for its stunning views, Montefalco is also known for its beautiful medieval churches and its Passito, Sagrantino, and Secco wines.

Just outside the ancient walls of Montefalco, and within walking distance, lies the 200-year-old Villa Pambuffetti in a serene setting among beautiful gardens. Upper bedrooms of this renovated villa, once a family palazzo, offer wonderful views of the Umbrian countryside. Inside, the comfortable rooms are furnished with antiques and modern amenities, including individual heat and air-conditioning, a television, mini-bar, and hair dryer. Among the beautiful cypress trees is a large heated pool. Villa Pambuffetti is a true Italian sanctuary, offering a peaceful setting to relax, rejuvenate, and learn about Umbria and its cuisine.

About the cooking lessons: Both cooking lessons at Villa Pambuffetti are led by Italian-born Alessandra Pambuffetti, who speaks excellent English, and her cook Anna. At a young age, Alessandra discovered her passion for cooking while she helped her babysitter knead pizza dough. She learned the secrets to Italian cooking from her grandmothers and Chef Betulia, who cooked for the Pambuffetti family. In 1992, when the Pambuffetti family opened the villa, Alessandra cooked in the restaurant and began teaching cooking classes. During the classes, Alessandra and Anna share both Alessandra’s family culinary secrets and local folklore as you learn to create classic Italian and Umbrian dishes, including pizza and pasta.

Gastronomy in an Italian Villa Itinerary

Day 1 - Friday

  • Transfer from Foligno train station and check-in to your room at Villa Pambuffetti in Montefalco.
  • Enjoy a welcome drink, followed by dinner in the hotel.
  • Overnight.

Day 2 - Saturday

  • Following breakfast, begin your first cooking class with Alessandra.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts with local wines included.
  • In the afternoon, visit the butcher Massimiliano Angelucci in Montefalco to see the way salame, sausages, and other meats are produced and prepared.
  • Dinner in the hotel.
  • Overnight.

Day 3 - Sunday

  • Breakfast.
  • Your second hands-on cooking class, followed by lunch based on your efforts. Local wines included.
  • In the afternoon, depart for the walled town of Bevagna, which is flat unlike many Umbrian hill towns. On your own, see the influence of both the Etruscans and Romans on the churches, museums, and architecture.
  • Dinner in Montefalco at La Locanda del Teatro restaurant.
  • Overnight.

Day 4 - Monday

  • Breakfast, check-out, and transfer to Foligno train station.