Luxury Lucca Villa Cooking

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 in Tuscany, 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 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 will be paired with wine.


Latest Review

We gave this trip 5 stars
Ross & Grace
Florida
Trip taken April 2016
The week spent with Valentino and Larisa in Lucca was perfect. The cooking classes exceeded our expectations and the lodging was excellent. The overall program was well managed, fun, educational and relaxing. We couldn't have asked for more. Most importantly Valentino and Larisa made us feel more like family or friends than clients. Charming, personable and professional. We would strongly recommend any program offered by these two professionals and would be pleased to be a reference for them if it is ever helpful. [Regarding the cooking vacation packet:] Yes, we had more than sufficient information. [Regarding The International Kitchen staff:] Peg was extremely professional and helpful. I would recommend her and the program to others.

Trip Details

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


We Can Help Plan It All

Flights, additional nights and tours, Transportation, and Much More

We might not be able to pack for you, but there are tons of things we can help with to make your vacation that much better.

Contact us for more information, or you can indicate your interest during check out and we will follow up directly!

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Itinerary

Day One

  • 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.
  • Overnight.

Wine tasting in Lucca


Day Two

  • 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.
  • Overnight.

San Gimignano Tuscany


Day Three

  • 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.
  • In the late afternoon, return to the villa for your second cooking lesson. Sample menu may include risotto al zafferano con zucchini e taleggio, pollo alla cacciatora con polenta, and tiramisu.
  • Dinner to follow based on your efforts.
  • Overnight.

Lucca rooftops, Tuscany


Day Four

  • 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.
  • Overnight.

Snack time in Tuscany


Day Five

  • Breakfast.
  • 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.
  • For dinner, relax and enjoy a pizza party at the villa with local artisanal beers.
  • Overnight.

Cooking class in Tuscany


Day Six

  • 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.
  • Overnight.

Pisa Leaning tower and cathedral


Day Seven

  • Breakfast.
  • 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.
  • Overnight.

Day Eight

  • Breakfast, check out, and departure group transfer around 10 a.m.
  • Buon Viaggio!

Trip Details

Included in the 7-Night Trip

Accommodations

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

Excursions

  • 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

Transfer Details

  • 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

Not Included

  • 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)

Accommodation Information

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.  Please inquire with specific dates for details.

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For smaller groups, we will arrange accommodations in a villa hotel or a private renovated residence.

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Pricing & Tour Dates

Looking for tour date information?


Year-Round Pricing:

7-night Program
US$4150 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.


    Tour Dates

    Available the following weeks for a minimum of 4 people.

    2019
    July 27-August 3
    August 3-10
    August 10-17
    August 17-24
    August 26-31
    August 31-September 7
    September 7-14
    September 14-21
    September 21-28
    September 28-October 5
    October 5-12
    October 12-19
    October 19-26
    October 26-November 2
    November 2-9
    November 9-16
    November 16-23
    November 23-30
    November 30-December 7
    December 7-14
    December 14-21
    December 21-28

    2020
    January 4-11
    January 11-18
    January 18-25
    January 25-February 1
    February 1-8
    February 8-15
    February 15-22
    February 22-29
    February 29-March 7
    March 7-14
    March 14-21
    March 21-28
    March 28-April 4
    April 4-11
    April 11-18
    April 18-25
    April 25-May 2
    May 2-9
    May 9-16
    May 16-23
    May 23-30
    May 30-June 6
    June 6-13
    June 13-20
    June 20-27
    June 27-July 4
    July 4-11
    July 11-18
    July 18-25
    July 25-August 1
    August 1-8
    August 8-15
    August 15-22
    August 22-29
    August 29-September 5
    September 5-12
    September 12-19
    September 19-26
    September 26-October 3
    October 3-10
    October 10-17
    October 17-24
    October 24-31
    October 31-7
    November 7-14
    November 14-21
    November 21-28
    November 28-December 5
    December 5-12
    December 12-19
    December 19-26

    Pricing & Dates

    Class Pricing

    Reviews

    We gave this trip 5 stars
    Ross & Grace
    Florida
    Trip taken April 2016
    The week spent with Valentino and Larisa in Lucca was perfect. The cooking classes exceeded our expectations and the lodging was excellent. The overall program was well managed, fun, educational and relaxing. We couldn't have asked for more. Most importantly Valentino and Larisa made us feel more like family or friends than clients. Charming, personable and professional. We would strongly recommend any program offered by these two professionals and would be pleased to be a reference for them if it is ever helpful. [Regarding the cooking vacation packet:] Yes, we had more than sufficient information. [Regarding The International Kitchen staff:] Peg was extremely professional and helpful. I would recommend her and the program to others.