Cooking Under the Tuscan Sun

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Featured on NBC Extra’s Mansions & Millionaires, September 2014.

Located just three kilometers from the historical city of Cortona, famous for its hidden treasures and gorgeous landscapes, Il Falconiere is a small, luxury hotel in the heart of Tuscany. Within easy reach of Montepulciano, Pienza, Arezzo, Perugia, Assisi and Siena, and not far from Orvieto and Florence, Il Falconiere puts you in the heart of Italy.

Il Falconiere was for many generations the Baracchi family house before being made into a luxury hotel. The owners, Riccardo and Silvia Baracchi, manage the property and personally take care of the guests, giving the hotel a warm and inviting atmosphere, like staying at a friend’s gorgeous, sumptuous villa.

Cooking Under the Tuscan Sun Reviews

I gave this trip 5 stars
Diane
North Carolina
Silvia and all of the staff were friendly, knowledgeable, and accommodating. The preparation tables were set up with simple yet beautiful presentations. The location was photographic every where you looked. Planning was perfect and all of the "before" information was helpful. Peg did a great job keeping us informed.
I gave this trip 5 stars
Ninette
South Carolina
Trip taken May 2018
Wonderful accommodations and superb meals. Each detail was planned and executed so well. I learned so much and had great fun! Every superlative you can think of!
We gave this trip 5 stars
Kathleen S. & Lisa
Florida
Trip taken May 2018
The cooking school far exceeded my expectations! I had a wonderful time and I highly recommend Cooking Under The Tuscan Sun!
I gave this trip 5 stars
Martha
Florida
Trip taken May 2018
The best trip of my life time
I gave this trip 5 stars
Eileen
North Carolina
Trip taken May 2018
Overall it was outstanding. Staff was very helpful
No rating given with this review
Our stay at Il Falconiere and cooking lessons with hostess Silvia Baracchi and head chef Richard Titi were wonderful. We could not have asked for a better experience! Nestled outside of Cortona with a view of the beautiful Tuscan countryside, Il Falconiere is a warm and inviting villa well cared for by Silvia and her attentive staff. Everyone made us feel at home. Our first night in Italy we spent on the terrace at Il Falconiere soaking in the beautiful view and watching an eclipse of the moon while enjoying delicious food and wine! Silvia projects a passion and enthusiasm for what she does that engages you immediately. We had one cooking class with Silvia and one with head chef Richard Titi. They made the experience fun and also meaningful, crafting menus that we will be able to reproduce at home. We made stuffed zucchini flowers, gnocchi, pici pasta, veal, lamb, and tiramisu. Silvia claims to have the best tiramisu, and we have to agree that it is the best we have tasted! In addition to the cooking, we enjoyed a delightful tour of Cortona led by Carol and a tour of the Baracchi Winery led by Silvia and followed by a wine tasting in the wine cellar at the restaurant. The food and the wine were outstanding and matched equally by the warmth and graciousness with which we were greeted! Margaret W., OR
No rating given with this review
Our stay was great! The staff very friendly. Very upscale. The cooking classes were terrific. Ambiance was gracious and relaxing. We signed up for the 3 day tour. The first class was perfect -- 6 people and all great fun. The second class had twelve people and was not ideal -- less hands on and some people were more interested in cooking than others. The chef / instructor was fabulous. The food delicious. The sharing of the meal was great fun and the serivce top-notch. Also, everything promised was delivered: the first meal (incredible), the classes, the wine tour, and the Cortona tour. The International Kitchen staff was very helpful, very responsive. Christine W., CA
No rating given with this review
Il Falconiere was a beautiful location with very nice rooms. The Chef was excellent and accommodated our food preferences. We learned to cook several menu items of interest such as fresh pasta, meat ragu, cream pasta sauce, and tiramisu. The classes were well structured and the kitchen was very nice. The staff were also very attentive. We especially appreciated the efforts of Rosana who took us to Cortona and gave us a great tour. Barbara B., Canada
No rating given with this review
After our plane was delayed and it was going to be necessary to shift our program by a day, I was concerned about what would happen to our program. Marie at il Falconiere told me it would be "no problema" and it certainly was no problem. My friend and I were overwhelmed by the luxury of the Villa and it's surroundings. The hospitality of the staff and Silvia were beyond expectations. The cooking lessons given by Silvia were amazing. She explained everything very well, and I feel I have the confidence to repeat everything at home. We met some great people from the USA and it was a joy to share our experiences with Dale and Connie. We learned the difference from an American pinch of salt and a "Silvia" pinch of salt. As we shifted locations for our second lesson to Silvia's mom's restaurant, we met another couple who were also great fun, Sheila and Robert. Together we all learned "no makina" from momma when it came time for pasta making. The laughing, eating, learning, wine drinking all made this trip a remarkable experience. A special treat for my friend Catherine and I -- we are already planning my next adventure back to il Falconiere in a fall season for the harvest.....Silvia is a treasure for sure!!! The Chicago staff was very helpful and patient with my numerous emails and answering of questions. I found them to be very prompt. It was a pleasure to work with them. Elizabeth S., Armed Forces - Europe
No rating given with this review
Initially we were disappointed that the class we had signed up for was cancelled. However, the class The International Kitchen reassigned us to (Cooking Under the Tuscan Sun) exceeded our expectations. Il Falconiere was outstanding in every aspect. The cooking class with Chef Silvia was exceptional. It was very hands on and we learned a lot. The accommodations were great and the staff was extremely helpful and very knowledgeable. The room we had looked out to the town of Cortona and had birds singing each morning. The excursions were great with a very experienced guide John Carlos. We learned a lot about the local towns and their history. Also the hotel that The International Kitchen found us in Florence was great!  Dale G.
No rating given with this review
Il Falconniere was spectacular. Silvia Baracchi and the entire staff was friendly, warm and could not do enough to try to please us. The rooms were very clean and the furnishings were lovely and atmospheric of Tuscany. The property itself is breathtaking. Chef Titi was wonderful. He was very patient, highly professional and very approachable. The recipes were delicious and although some of the recipes were a little complicated, Chef Titi was an expert instructor. What was especially nice was that the cooking lessons included others from outside our tour - but note it remained hands on and it was so organized that I never felt as though the kitchen was too crowded. Everyone could participate. One night we cooked with five women from China. Another night we cooked with a couple from Hawaii and another from Vermont. The concept of cooking and then dining together in the restaurant facilitated a comraderie and great conversation. Our guide Giancarlo was SUPERB! He was very knowledgeable and he tailored the tours to what he thought we would enjoy most. So much fun! With the planning, we were completely satisfied - in fact, it was the BEST travel planning experience I have had. Starting with Karen - who took the time to talk with me personally about which vacation she thought would be the best for us. No email went unanswered with Richard Davis - and I sent many. Richard was always pleasant and informative. Marisa G., NY
No rating given with this review
Our accommodations at Il Falconiere were clean and comfortable and the entire staff was outstanding. Our teacher Chef Richard was personable, patient, and taught us so many new cooking techniques to go with his delicious recipes. He used the finest and freshest ingredients. Sylvia, proprietor and also teacher at the resort, was a "gem" with a delightful and welcoming personality. We enjoyed the side tips to neighboring towns and would have liked more time to explore. Maureen G. and Barbara F.
No rating given with this review
We were impressed with every aspect of our stay as well as the excellent service provided by both Richard and Karen. Il Falconiere was beautiful and authentically Tuscan. The cooking instruction was exceptional especially by Chef Richard who involved us in every aspect of the preparation, explaining and teaching as we went along. There were four of us in the week long group and we got along famously. Other guests joined one or two lessons throughout the week, some more compatible than others. Our classes were usually held in the late afternoon and were four hours long, we then walked to the restaurant to be served the food we had prepared with compatible wines. None of us were accustomed to eating so much so late at night and we soon realized we could only eat a small fraction of each course and even still found it too much. The day trips left at 10am and they were fantastic, if too short. We all would have liked to have spent more time in Cortona, Montepulciano, Previa and Arrezzo. We were lucky to have had perfect weather during our week there. The grounds have bountiful fresh herbs: bay leaves, fennel, parsley, lavender, as well as pears, pomegranate, apples and grapes and olives, of course. We also had a tour of the winery which was very interesting. The staff were friendly and gracious despite their six day, 12-14 hour shifts. Riccardo was not there that week but Sylvia could not have been more welcoming and generous. We visited her mother's restaurant and cooked and ate there one evening. Their food and wine business is multigenerational which explains both it's excellence and it's scale. We stayed in the original family home which, although nicely restored has it's ancient authenticity. The shower was tiny, there were no screens on the windows, which is typical, and the bed was large but very hard. These are not complaints, just facts, we were very comfortable and the room had beautiful views and breezes. The hotels Karen booked for us in Rome and Venice were both very nice, particularly The Sofitel in Rome, although we would not recommend it's upstairs terrace for anything other than coffee, drinks and sightseeing. Also, the tour of the Vatican that The International Kitchen arranged for us was exceptional. Our tour guide, Georgia, was knowledgeable and very pleasant to be with. Sarah S., and Rachel W., Ontario
No rating given with this review
Had an amazing time. Il Falconiere was magnificent. The food and scenery were great. Sylvia and Richard were extremely welcoming and accommodating, the classes were fun. The staff were very helpful. But there was too much food to eat! Jay S., Anthony W., and Stanley S., MA
No rating given with this review
The physical setting (Il Falconiere) in Tuscany was absolutely fabulous. The cooking classes were very comprehensive and hands on. We really enjoyed them. The tour of the vineyard and wine tasting was a lot of fun. The guided tour of Cortona was informative and flexible. Nancy S. and Christine L., NY
No rating given with this review
Wonderful location, beautiful accommodations, excellent meals. All nice people, good service, cleanness and all beautifully decorated. The info [in the program packet] provided even exceeded the needs. [The International Kitchen staff] were all very quick and efficient. Regina M., Brazil
No rating given with this review
We enjoyed 3 fabulous days at Il Falconiere. The estate is beautiful . Our hostess, owner and top chef was gracious and charming. We had two educational cooking classes. I was impressed with the time taken for the classes and even more impressed with being served what we created, paired with great wines. The staff was very helpful, polite, and generous with their time. We met some wonderful people during our stay. Our final evening a large group of us went to Cortona snd ate at our hosts other restaurant which was also fabulous. Again we were all treated like VIPs. I truly cannot say anything bad about our stay. Silvia Baracchi and her family made our first time visit to Tuscany a memorable experience. The staff here in Chicago was very helpful, professional and courteous. I cannot think of anything more that can really prepare you for how amazing this is. Catherine H., IL
No rating given with this review
The overall experience at the Baracchi winery and five star hotel was fantastic. Best part of our trip and one of the best trips we have completed over many years. The Baracchi family made our experience feel as if we were family at their "home". The staff and services (attention to ever need) was the best and very sincere and respectful in their meet our needs. [Regarding The International Kitchen staff:] Yes, very much so and very helpful in the communications effort and interchange with hotel and cooking school. Thank you for a first-class cooking experience! Larry, Marlene, Lexi, and Gabi E., TX
No rating given with this review
Absolutely loved it. A wonderful experience in a beautiful place, great lessons with Silvia. My lifelong friend and I take a trip every other year for our birthdays and this was one of our best! Mona P. & Linda S.
No rating given with this review
Our trip was to Italy - every detail was arranged by The International Kitchen to perfection. In addition to our segment of the trip in Tuscany, we also relied on TIK for help booking our stays in Rome and Florence. TIK's recommendation for a cooking was at Il Falconiere. This place was the most fantastic place we have every visited. The views were breath taking, the service was over the top and the cooking classes were totally enjoyable. We learned a lot and enjoyed every minute of our stay. We would not even think of booking another trip without the assistance of The International Kitchen. [Regarding The International Kitchen staff:] Karen and Richard were outstanding. they arranged every little detail for our trip and everything plated out perfectly. Raymond and Joyce G., NC
No rating given with this review
We had an absolutely WONDERFUL time in Italy! Our 10 day trip centered around our 3 day cooking experience at Cooking Under the Tuscan Sun. It was everything we hoped for and more! The grounds were breath-taking, the staff was like family-very helpful and accommodating! The food, at the Michelin star restaurant, along with the wine pairings from their vineyard was to die for! We very much enjoyed the cooking portion of our stay. Silvia was fantastic! It was a lot of fun-nothing stuffy about this trip! LOVED the Cortona tour and our tour guide for the day! We would definitely recommend this trip and would actually like to repeat it ourselves! It truly the trip of a lifetime! We can't wait to decide where we want to cook next! We will definitely be repeat customers :) Amy
No rating given with this review
It was so much fun. Tours were great. I especially loved that everything was small group. I loved that the chef took us under her wing and personally took us places. Food and wine were great, resort was top notch. Deborah