Food & Wine Tours in Lucca, Tuscany
When it comes to food, Tuscany is a region with an abundance of natural ingredients. From seafood and fish to meats, cheeses, olive oils, wines, fresh vegetables, and of course homemade pasta, Tuscany is a cooking tour destination that is always unforgettable.
On The International Kitchen’s 7-night cooking vacation, you’ll discover stunning landscapes and the centuries-old gastronomical traditions while enjoying lodging nestled in the rolling hills near Lucca. An ancient Etruscan settlement, Lucca became a part of the Roman Empire and developed its prominent city wall transformed today into a picturesque pedestrian path.
Be prepared for an exceptional gastronomical experience as your private chef and sommelier guide and assist you through your Lucca culinary vacation. After growing up in Romania, Chef Valentino moved to Tuscany to focus on the art of cooking and the business of villa hospitality.
Just as Chef Valentino is passionate about the food of Tuscany and teaching his students new skills in the kitchen, his wife, Larisa, is passionate about wine. As a sommelier, she strives to teach all of her guests about the different grape varieties and how to pair wine with food; as such, each of your included meals during your Lucca food tour will be paired with wine.
Lucca Culinary Experiences Highlights
Our amazing Lucca food and wine vacations start with your hosts. A warm and welcoming couple, they are also a private chef and sommelier, and they will guide you through your Italian culinary vacation and your exploration of Tuscan gastronomy:
- 5 hands-on cooking classes
- winery visits and tastings
- excursions to Greve, Verazzano Castle, San Gimignano, Barga, and Garfagnana
- a private guided tour of Lucca
- meals as indicated
- deluxe accommodations tailored to your group size
- and more!
Lucca, Italy Cooking Holidays Itinerary
A sample itinerary for our Luxury Lucca villa cooking vacation and wine tour follows, but as this is generally offered as a private Tuscany tour, the itinerary can easily be customized.
- Transfer from Pisa or Florence airport (or Lucca train station), and check in to your villa accommodations.
- Enjoy a welcome drink and snack before touring the beautiful villa and gardens with your host.
- At 7:00pm meet the Chef, Sommelier and villa owners for an introduction to your culinary itinerary for the week.
- A dinner buffet to follow.
- After breakfast, visit an enchanting Lucchese villa built in the 16th century. From the majestic gardens to the ornate main hall, Villa Torrigiani displays the popular architectural designs of Lucca’s past. Their “garden of Flora” will be like stepping into a fairytale with its grottoes, nymph temples, and flowers.
- Following the villa visit, arrive at a winery near Montecarlo for a winery tour, tasting, and light lunch. This area has long-standing traditions surrounding white wine production using grapes such as vermentino, rousssane, semillon, sauvignon, pinot blanc, and chardonnay. But in the last decade or so, reds have also risen to prominence.
- In the afternoon, return to the villa for some time to relax before starting your first cooking lesson.
- In this lesson, you will learn about olive oil and pasta as the Chef will teach you how to make pasta from scratch. Sample menu may include ravioli ricotta e spinaci, tagliatelle al pesto, arista con patate al forno, and cantucci con Vin Santo.
- Dinner to follow based on your efforts.
- Breakfast like a local at a caffe-pasticceria today. Perhaps enjoy a frothy cappuccino and a flaky cornetto.
- Depart for Greve, located in the heart of Chianti Classico. This region is famous for the production of Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Malvasia, and Trebbiano grapes that make the popular wines which you will have a chance to taste after visiting an 8th generation owned butcher shop. A light lunch will be provided at Verazzano Castle, which dates back to the 14th century.
- Continue to San Gimignano, known as the city of the towers because of the fourteen towers that pierce its skyline. There, you can enjoy its many artisan shops offering handmade and painted ceramics before stopping for a gelato at one of the world’s best gelaterias. Maybe try a taste of rosemary-scented raspberry gelato or pink grapefruit and sparkling wine gelato.
- For dinner, relax and enjoy a pizza party at the villa with local artisanal beers.
- After breakfast, tour the charming city of Lucca with a private guide. After a visit to the Roman Amphitheatre — once mined for building stones and today a quiet piazza — you will learn about its rich gastronomical history by visiting its oldest wine cellar for a tasting followed by a delectable food sampling at a favorite local delicatessen. A typical Lucchese lunch to follow.
- Now that you are inspired by the rich local flavors of Lucca return to the kitchen for your next cooking lesson. Sample menu may include minestrone di verdure, lasagna, and la zuppa lucchese.
- Dinner to follow based on your efforts.
- Today is a free day for relaxing. You might want to schedule a massage or explore the area by bike. Or, you might want to take the day and go to Florence or the Cinque Terre. Upon request we can also schedule a visit to a local cheese producer and olive press. (Arrangements can be made on request for an additional cost).
- Today there is no formal lunch, but you can help yourself to a light lunch from the fridge.
- In the late afternoon, return to the villa for your next cooking lesson. Sample menu may include risotto al zafferano con zucchini e taleggio, pollo alla cacciatora con polenta, and tiramisu.
- Breakfast, then depart for the medieval towns of Barga and Castelnuovo di Garfagnana to meet the local producers of pecorino cheese, salami and prosciutto.
- Enjoy lunch in the area while taking in the breathtaking mountainous views.
- In the afternoon, return to the villa for some time on your own.
- Your cooking lesson tonight might include insalatina con pere, pecorino e aceto balsamico, bucatini all’ amatriciana, bistecca all brace con fagioli al fiasco, and castagnaccio e ricotta del pastore. (If you have chosen to do a long excursion on your own, you can also skip the cooking and just enjoy dinner.)
- Dinner to follow based on your efforts.
- For your last full day, enjoy time on your own to relax or explore the nearby cities, such as Montecatini Terme with its thermal waters and spa, Pisa with the Leaning Tower, Viareggio with its beaches and seaside promenade, or Pietrasanta with its marble sculptors and artists.
- Lunch on your own (depending on where you are staying, you may be able to walk to a local restaurant or your hosts can arrange a taxi).
- Your last cooking lesson will take place in the afternoon and will focus on seafood. Sample menu may include gamberoni con fagioli cannellini, paccheri alla marinara, pesce al cartoccio, and semifreddo al limone.
- Before you sit down to enjoy your creations for your last dinner, your Sommelier will lead you through one last wine tasting followed by a graduation ceremony.
- Farewell dinner.
- Breakfast, check out, and departure group transfer around 10 a.m.
- Buon Viaggio!
Details of Cooking Experiences in Lucca, Tuscany
Included in Our 7-Night Lucca Food and Wine Vacations
7 nights accommodation in private villa or residence (depending on the number of people)
Food & Beverages
- Daily breakfast
- 4 lunches
- 7 dinners
- Local wine included with all included meals
Classes & Instructors
5 cooking classes with Chef Valentino. Sample menus include:
- ricotta and spinach ravioli, tagliatelle with pesto, pork roast with potatoes, cantucci cookies with Vin Santo
- saffron risotto with zucchini and taleggio cheese, chicken ‘alla cacciatora’ with polenta, tiramisù
- vegetable minestrone, lasagna, ‘zuppa lucchese’
- bucatini with amatriciana sauce, Tuscan steak and beans, ‘castagnaccio’ cake
- prawns with cannellini beans, paccheri pasta alla marinara, fish in parchment, lemon semifreddo
- Visit to Villa Torrigiani and winery near Montecarlo
- Full day excursion to Greve, Verazzano Castle, and San Gimignano
- Private guided tour of Lucca
- Barga and Garfagnana
- Arrival group transfer from Pisa airport(around 2:30 p.m.) or Lucca train station (around 3:30 p.m.)
- Departure group transfer around 10 am to either Pisa airport, or Lucca train station
- Massage services and bicycles at villa (must be booked in advance)
- Villa deposit (this is 200-300 Euro per person security deposit in cash required by some, but not all, villas – please inquire for details)
- Travel insurance (our Italian partners request that all their guests have travel insurance)
Your culinary vacation accommodations will be at one of several private villas and residences in the area. For larger groups of 10-12, a private villa will be proposed. See sample villas below, but please inquire with specific dates for details.
For smaller groups, we will arrange accommodations in a villa hotel or a private renovated residence.
Lucca Vacations Packages: Pricing & Dates 2022-2023
Find pricing and dates for our Lucca food tours below, and contact us for availability or to book your trip.
Lucca Food & Gourmet Tours Pricing:
7-Night Culinary Vacation Pricing
US$3950 per person based on double occupancy
30% deposit due to confirm booking.
Balance payment due 60 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!
Single occupancy rate: please inquire.
Please note that depending on the accommodation a cash deposit per person in Euros may be required at check in, to be refunded on the day of departure (inquire for details).
Our Italian partners request that all their guests have travel insurance. Please let us know if you would like a quote.
Lucca Foodie Vacations Dates
Our Lucca Tuscany food and wine vacations are available most weeks for a minimum of 4 people. Please inquire with specific dates for availability and to determine which accommodation will best suit your group.
September 24-October 1
October 29-November 5
November 26-December 3
Available weekly year round. Please inquire for dates.