Cooking Lessons, Wine Tasting, and Market Visits in Florence, Rome, Venice, Tuscany, Palermo and Taormina


Cooking & Pizza Lessons, Wine Tasting,
Market Visits and Food Crawls

Florence, Rome, Venice, Tuscany, Palermo and Taormina

Add a culinary treat to your vacation with a half-day cooking class (which always includes a meal with wine after the lesson). Or join a wine tasting session, where you'll learn about the winemaking process as you taste the vintages, accompanied by traditional local snacks. Classes are in English and on request for any day year round, based upon availability, for a minimum of two people. When a booking is confirmed for one or two people, it does not guarantee a private class, only that you will have a guaranteed space in that class. Bookings are confirmed upon receipt of your full prepayment. We regret we cannot confirm any bookings received less than 5 days before your departure date from home.

Use the links below to see programs available in these areas:
Florence Cooking Lessons
Chocolate in Florence | Art & Cuisine in Florence
Pizza Lesson in Florence | Cook & Eat at a Family Home in Florence
Chianti Farmhouse Cooking & Wine Tasting
Florence Sunset Bike Ride & Wine Tasting
Rome Cooking Lesson & Market Visit
Trastevere Food & Wine Crawl
Full-Day Tuscan Wine, Cheese & Salami Tasting
Full-Day Cooking in a Medieval Village
Tuscany Cooking Lesson | Tuscany Pizza Lesson
Tuscany Gelato Lesson | Tuscany Wine Lesson
Venice Wine Tasting
Market Visit & Cooking Lesson in Palermo
Market Visit & Cooking Lesson in Taormina





Rome

Trastevere Food & Wine Crawl - 3.5 hours

This small group tour is offered for 2-8 people at a time, and whether it's just you or the full complement, great fun and a happy tummy are guaranteed for all. As your guide leads you through the warren of narrow ancient streets that comprise this most authentic of Roman neighborhoods, you'll find yourselves becoming a part of the lifestyle that truly makes this a place "across the Tiber." Along the way, you'll drop into various eateries favored by the locals, and sample such specialties as the supplì, which looks like any old rice croquette but gets its name (a Roman mispronunciation of the French word for "surprise") from the burst of gooey melted mozzarella that greets your taste buds when you bite into the delicately fried treat. Accompanied by the quintessentially Italian bubbly called prosecco, you'll progress through tasty bites of pizza, varieties of cheese and salamis, then on to three types of pasta washed down with wine, and followed, of course, by gelato and coffee. By the end of the evening, you will have "crawled" your way through an entire meal, and you'll be ready to call yourself un vero trasteverino!


Dates Available Lesson Time Days Available Price
Year-round January-May at 4:30 p.m.
June-October at 5 p.m.
Tuesday or
Friday
95 EURO/person


Included in the Price: Guided walking tour, all food and drinks as mentioned.

Language: English.

Notes:

  • This tour is for a maximum of eight people. It is guaranteed for a minimum of two people total (if you are one person and at least one other person you do not know has already confirmed, the lesson will proceed).
  • The entire tour lasts about 3.5 hours.
  • Children are welcome!




Rome Cooking and Market Visit

This authentically Roman experience begins when you join your host and chef for a stroll through the Baroque neighborhoods of the city. You'll see super star monuments like Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona, interspersed with such little-known treasures as a magical piazza built around an ancient Roman temple, or another "square" whose elaborate buildings actually form a perfect semi-circle. Along the way you'll feel like a true Roman, as you pay visits to the chef's favorite bakers or butchers or pastry wizards. The stroll also includes Campo de' Fiori, where you might watch a grandmother dressing artichokes, or a handsome gentleman might show off a range of coffee pots more vast than you could have thought possible.


A
fter this classic Roman interlude, you'll retire to the chef's palazzo apartment at the top of the Spanish Steps. Here you'll prepare a simple lunch using all the ingredients of your treasure hunt. Then, with a view of the entire ancient city outside the window, you'll sit down to savor the delicious tastes of the Eternal City, accompanied by good local wine. Click here for former guests' comments.



Click on the photos to enlarge them.





Dates Available Lesson Time Days Available Price
Year-round 9:30 a.m. On Request 110 EURO/person
Children under 13: 70 Euro/person

Included in the Price: Market visit, cooking lesson and lunch.

Language: English.

Notes:

  • This lesson is guaranteed for a minimum of two people total (if you are one person and at least one other person you do not know has confirmed, the lesson will proceed).
  • The walk and market visit last about one hour; the cooking lesson lasts 3-4 hours; usually lunch ends at about 3pm.
  • Children are welcome!
  • If you do this on a Sunday, you will visit one of Rome's most fascinating food markets instead of Campo de' Fiori (which is closed on Sundays).


Outside Rome

If you'll be staying in Rome without a car, or if you're looking for an interesting stop as you drive from Rome to Tuscany or Umbria, this is the perfect option for you, including a visit to an untouched medieval village, a hands-on cooking lesson, and a lunch at your chef's home. Your day starts when you meet your escort in central Rome, sit back and relax as your private vehicle wends its way through morning traffic (which can be very entertaining if you're not driving!). If you are driving your own car, you'll follow your escort, soon emerging into the pristine campagna romana, the countryside that looks much the same as when the local villages reached their heyday in the Middle Ages. A mere hour from the metropolitan bustle of Rome, you'll step across the timeline and wander with your escort, through the winding alleys, past the flowering balconies and crumbling ancient façades of homes that were once grand palazzi or menacing turrets or beloved family chapels. Very unlikely you'll spy a tourist here, and we aim to keep it that way, so we're not revealing the name of the town! After popping into the chef's favorite food stores, and snapping endless photos, you will retreat to the chef's home, where you'll learn to prepare some of the local specialties and then sit down to a relaxing, entertaining meal accompanied by wine. Later, you'll continue your drive north, or settle into the rear seat and let your driver whisk you back to the 21st century.



Click on the photos to enlarge them.





Dates Available Lesson Time Days Available Price
Year-round 8:30 a.m. On Request 130 EURO/person
Children under 13: 80 Euro/person

Included in the Price:Round-trip transportation, guided visit through the old town, cooking lesson and lunch.

Language: English.

Notes:

  • This lesson is guaranteed for a minimum of two people total (if you are one person and at least one other person you do not know has confirmed, the lesson will proceed).
  • The walk and market visit last about one hour; the cooking lesson lasts 3-4 hours; usually lunch ends at about 3pm.
  • Children are welcome!
  • The price is the same whether you have your own car or not.



Florence

Private Market Visit & Cooking Lesson & Lunch in Florence - 3 hours + lunch

Your day starts when you meet your chef and walk to the ancient S. Ambrogio market, where you will circulate among the stands and choose the freshest ingredients for the authentic Tuscan menu you will prepare. Ten minutes' stroll away is the kitchen, where you and the chef will prepare a complete meal. After the cooking class, lunch will be served, accompanied with local wines.

The market visit and lesson last three hours, followed by lunch. Prices include the guided market visit (in English), hands-on cooking lesson (in English), and lunch with good-quality local wine.

Price per Person in 2016
(based on total number of participants)
2 people:
3 people:
4 people:
5 people:
6 people:
7 people:
8 people:
140 Euro
98 Euro
80 Euro
73 Euro
66 Euro
57 Euro
54 Euro




Cooking Lesson & Dinner in Florence - 2-1/2 hours + dinner

Learn to cook a classic Tuscan meal and choose the correct wines to accompany it. Together with your English-speaking chefs Barbara and Valentina, you will be able to make a four-course meal (starter, first course, second course and dessert). Menus are seasonal, using the freshest ingredients to compose traditional dishes appropriate for the time of year. The lesson will be followed by dinner with the dishes you have prepared, accompanied by a good Tuscan wine in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Click here for former guests' comments.



Dates Available Lesson Time Days Available Price
Year-round 4:00 p.m. Daily
2 people: 113 EURO/person
3 people: 80 EURO/person
4 people: 69 EURO/person
5 people: 64 EURO/person
6 people: 58 EURO/person
7 people: 50 EURO/person
8 people: 48 EURO/person

Included in the Price: Chef, course, dinner with drinks.
Language: English and Italian.

Notes:






Pizza Lesson in Florence - 2 hours + lunch or dinner

Join the chef at a true Neapolitan pizzeria, located right by the colorful San Lorenzo food market in the heart of Florence. You'll learn all the secrets you need, from mixing and treating the dough, to baking the "pie" in the oven, so that you can prepare an authentic Neapolitan pizza at home. Once your work with the pizza-chef is done, you'll sit down to lunch or dinner including the fresh pizzas you’ve just made. The meal is accompanied by wine or other drinks, and coffee.

Classes are available daily at 10am or 4pm, and last two hours, followed by lunch or dinner.


Price per Person in 2016
(based on total number of participants)
2 people:
3 people:
4 people:
5 people:
6 people:
7 people:
8 people:
95 Euro
70 Euro
65 Euro
60 Euro
54 Euro
52 Euro
50 Euro




Florence Sunset Bike Ride & Wine Tasting - 2-1/2 hours

This picturesque excursion starts in Fiesole, where you'll meet your licensed cycling guide, Giovanni. A native of this famously beautiful hilltown, he considers himself a "craftsman of the territory," passionate about sharing his native land with visitors. As the sun sinks slowly in the afternoon sky, he'll lead you along mostly paved roads, through classically Tuscan vineyards, olive groves, country estates and cypress stands. In summertime, the elevation keeps temperatures down. On your way into the city, you'll stop at an authentic Tuscan farmhouse where you'll be rewarded with a tasting of local olive oil and wine.

The tour is available daily and starts at 5pm (earlier in early spring or late fall). The ride is 19 km long and lasts about three hours, with a 90-meter elevation gain. The technical difficulty is moderate. 10% of the roads are gravel, while the rest are all paved. Nevertheless, you must have experience riding a mountain bike with gears to do this ride. Sports shoes are mandatory, and cycling clothes are recommended. The tour finishes in Piazza San Marco, Florence, after the tasting. The cost for the excursion and tasting, for 2-8 people, is 85 Euro/person. It's easy to reach the starting point in 20 minutes by city bus (instructions will be given to you with your voucher), or we can organize a private transfer from the city. Bikes and helmets are provided for you.




Cook, Talk & Eat in a Real Florentine Home

If there is anything Italians like to do, it's cook, talk and eat. Good cuisine and the pleasure of sharing it with relatives or friends is more than a penchant, it's the way a civilization enhances its quality of life. Because this custom goes back to ancestral roots, it is natural for the Italians. This is your chance to learn how a good balance of traditional dishes, prepared with healthy, fresh ingredients, can blend with companionship to feed the body and the soul. At 6.00 pm, you will join the head of the family, a passionate chef, for a practical cooking lesson based on a real three-course family meal. Your host speaks fluent English, so during and after the lesson you may discuss the most common ingredients and cooking practices in Tuscan and Italian cuisine. At 8.00 pm you will join the rest of the family to continue the conversation over the delicious meal you have just prepared.


Price per Person in 2016
(based on total number of participants)
1 person:
2 people:
3 people:
4 people:
250 Euro
125 Euro
95 Euro
75 Euro




Private Chocolate in Florence - A Very Tasty History Lesson! - 3.5 hours + lunch

Chocoholics, this is the tour for you! Tuscany, and particularly Florence, were quite instrumental in introducing this New World delicacy to Italy after it first arrived in 1606. At first, it was consumed in the form of a hot liquid beverage; the Medicis adored it so much that Cosimo III commissioned a special new blend infused with jasmine flowers. This Medici state secret, known as the Granduke recipe, is what you will taste at the Coccole Cioccolato factory, where you'll enjoy a demonstration and tasting. This will be followed by a light lunch at a favorite Florentine restaurant known for its delectable desserts. Your yummy adventure then continues with a visit to the Vestri laboratory for a chocolate tasting, and a visit to the Procopio gelato workshop, for an ice cream demonstration and tasting.

This whole experience lasts five-and-a-half hours including lunch. Prices include an English-language guide, all demonstrations and tastings, and a light lunch with dessert.


Price per Person in 2016
(based on total number of participants)
2 people:
3 people:
4 people:
5 people:
6 people:
160 Euro
135 Euro
110 Euro
95 Euro
90 Euro




Private Art & Cuisine in Florence - 2.5 hours + lunch

Join a veritable connoisseur of art, food and wine on this unique walking tour that traces the links between culture and cooking through the centuries in Florence. Our favorite itinerary is The Last Suppers of Florence, a delightful scavenger hunt among the nine masterpieces hiding inside as many churches and obscure palazzi in the center of this world capital of art. Although the subject and setting are the same, each of these works is totally different from the others; you will see as many as time permits, comparing them and building up an appetite. Other possible itineraries include the contrast between artistic parsimony and aristocratic luxury in 16th-century Florence (concentrating on the Pontormo frescoes and Pitti Palace); or the culinary links between Brunelleschi and the cupola he famously designed for the Duomo, which you will visit. After the walk, you'll retreat to a historic building, where your host will prepare a classic Florentine repast for you, including an aperitif with typical appetizer, a first course, a second meat or fish course (vegetarians will be accommodated in style!), two side dishes, and dessert with sweet wine.

The guided walk lasts two-and-a-half hours, followed by lunch. Prices include the guided walk (in English) and lunch with good-quality local wine.


Price per Person in 2016
(based on total number of participants)
2 people:
3 people:
4 people:
5 people:
6 people:
190 Euro
170 Euro
155 Euro
140 Euro
135 Euro



Venice Wine Tasting
Wine Lesson & Tasting in Venice - 1 hour

At 5:30 pm, meet your host in a conveniently central Venice location, then walk together to a nearby enoteca that is internationally renowned for its wine, food and art. Here you'll have a wonderful opportunity to sample four of the most important wines produced in the Veneto region, accompanied by four different types of cicchetti, the completely unique snacks for which Venice is famous. Click here for former guests' comments.

The tasting will include:

• Prosecco Bio (refreshing, light and bubbly)
• Ribolla Gialla (dry white wine)
• Refosco (warm and harmonious red with a toasty and elegant aftertaste)
• Ripasso (full bodied red wine)


Dates Available

Lesson Time

2016 Price

Year-round
except Easter and Christmas
Daily at 5:30pm 44 EURO/person

Included in the Price: Wine lesson, tasting and snacks.
Language:
English or Italian.

Notes:

  • This lesson is guaranteed for a minimum of even only one person.
  • Maximum number of people at one time is eight.
Book a lesson


Tuscany



Learn the culinary secrets of Authentic Southern Tuscany at Palazzo Bandino, a winery near Montepulciano. Your hands-on lesson begins at 5pm. With well-known local chef Luciano Benocci, you'll prepare Sienese specialties that combine the season's freshest ingredients, straight from the Palazzo Bandino estate. Or choose the pizza lesson, something it is very hard to find anywhere in Italy! You'll learn to make two kinds of pizza, cooked in the estate's authentic brick oven, as well as Tuscan roast chicken and potatoes.
Whether you have the classic cooking lesson or the pizza lesson, afterwards you'll visit the wine cellars for an introduction to Tuscan wines and a demonstration of how they are bottled. Dinner with wine follows, after which you will receive a certificate. The estate is easy to find, located just outside Chianciano Terme only five minutes from the autostrada exit. Cost for the lesson for 4-8 people is 115 EURO/person; lunch with wine for a companion who does not attend the cooking class (with minimum two cooks): 30 EURO/person. You may also combine the cooking lesson with the wine lesson (described below). This special package begins at 4pm and includes two lessons followed by a full dinner with wine. The cost is 210 EURO/person. Minimum of 4 people required. Classes are never available on Saturdays or Mondays. You must have a car or be a guest at Palazzo Bandino to take this class. Click here for former guests' comments.



Click on the photos to enlarge them.




Tuscan Artisan Gelato Lesson
Do you adore Italian ice cream and long for it once you get home? Well, why don't you just make your own! It's easy, especially after you enjoy this class with a master gelataio (ice cream maker). You'll start with a brief introduction to the ingredients that make this such a special dessert, then you'll have a hands-on lesson in which you'll learn the secrets to making two different flavors. And what's even more unique, you'll learn how to make a Tuscan variation of gelato, using such esteemed local ingredients as extra virgin olive oil and Chianti wine. It's delicious! And now you'll never have to hanker for gelato again! The class starts at 5 pm at Palazzo Bandino and is followed by a generous buffet of local Tuscan foods, with wine and of course, ice cream for dessert! Cost for the lesson for 2-8 people is 115 EURO/person. Available September 15-May 31.


Farmhouse Winery Visit, Tasting, Cooking Lesson & Dinner - 3 hours + dinner
This authentic Tuscan experience takes place at a charming winery in the heart of the Chianti district, just outside Castellina. If you have a car, we will tell you how to get there; if you are staying in Florence you can opt for the private transfer to/from the country. Either way, you will get to the farm at 5pm, in time to visit the cellars for a guided tour followed by a winetasting. Next, you'll meet your hostesses, the farm owner and her daughter, both of whom speak English. Together with them, in the big farmhouse kitchen, you will prepare a three-course Tuscan dinner. Your efforts will now be rewarded as you relax for a typical aperitif and then enjoy the meal, accompanied by the farm's own award-winning wines.

The experience lasts three hours followed by dinner. Prices include the cellar visit, winetasting, hands-on cooking lesson, and dinner with local wine.

Price per Person in 2016 (based on total number of participants)
With your own transportation
2 people:
3 people:
4 people:
5 people:
6 people:
7 people:
8 people:
150 Euro
105 Euro
95 Euro
90 Euro
85 Euro
78 Euro
73 Euro
  With our private transportation
Price available upon request




Full-Day Tuscan Wine, Cheese & Salami Tasting
Depart at 9:15 am from your lodgings in central Florence.

After guide meets you at your central Florence lodgings, this completely unique private full-day trip starts with a quick pause at Piazzale Michelangiolo for the best photo op in Italy: the entire city spread out at your feet in all its red-roofed glory. Next comes the impeccable Tuscan countryside, with its olive groves and dark green cypress trees and ochre villas and opulent vineyards. You will stop at one of these for a tasting of wine and olive oil, then it's on to a completely different kind of farm producing salamis, cheeses and balsamic vinegar, all of which you'll taste. Now it's time for lunch! Here's how you do it in Tuscany: start with a toast of rosé or sparkling white wine accompanied by appetizers made from vegetables and meats produced on site, then proceed to a pasta dish, followed by local cheese dressed with balsamic, and end with homemade dessert, all washed down with three different wines. More glorious scenery awaits on the road to Castellina in Chianti, where you'll have free time to visit the town and walk off some of that lunch! On the way home you'll stop in Europe's tiniest walled medieval village, and then you're off to the enchanting ancient town of Fiesole, perched atop a hill overlooking Florence. Depending on how much time remains, you are free to visit the Etruscan tombs, the Roman amphitheatre, the cathedral and the church of San Francesco before returning to Florence at 7:30pm.

This tour lasts 10 hours and is for a minimum of 2 people and a maximum of 8 people. It is available daily, on request, from March 15 to October 31. We recommend you try to avoid Sunday, when many wineries are closed.
2016 Prices
  • 2 people:
  • 3 people:
  • 4 people:
  • 5 people:
  • 6 people:
  • 7 people:
  • 8 people:
669 EURO
710 EURO
761 EURO
813 EURO
854 EURO
895 EURO
947 EURO
Price includes transportation to/from downtown Florence, private guide, all tastings, lunch, and excursions. Entrance fees at archeological sites or museums are NOT included.




Tuscany Wine Lesson
If you are interested in learning more about Tuscan wines, tasting a wide variety of them and purchasing some at the lower local prices, then we have an extremely rare opportunity for you. Instead of driving around to visit each winery, and most likely being turned away at the door because they only accept groups or they are closed for the day, we offer a half-day wine appreciation and tasting session near Montepulciano that encompasses all the great Tuscan vintages: Chianti, Rosso di Montepulciano, Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino and Colli Etruria. Your morning at Palazzo Bandino (see above) starts at 10 a.m., with a very entertaining and informative explanation of the history of these wines, illustrating how and why Chianti evolved from a straw-encased staple of college dormitories to one of the world's most respected wine classifications, and then gave birth to the Super Tuscans, which have earned their place in the Olympus of world wine history. You will taste samples of each wine group, accompanied by cheese, olives and typical Tuscan bread. After this you will stretch your legs in the vineyard, and visit the winery to witness the process whereby a grape becomes a sip. Lunch with wine follows, after which you may purchase all the wine you want and pay the same price as if you visited each wine estate individually. Palazzo Bandino is easy to find, located just outside Chianciano Terme only five minutes from the autostrada exit. Cost for the lesson for 4-8 people is 115 EURO/person. Minimum of 4 people required. Classes are never available on Saturdays or Mondays. You must have a car or be a guest at Palazzo Bandino to take this class. Not available on Saturdays or Mondays. You must have a car or be a guest at Palazzo Bandino to take this class. We do not recommend the evening class for anyone but palazzo guests (no drinking and driving please!). Click here for former guests' comments.



Sicily
Market Visit & Lesson in Palermo

What a quintessential Sicilian experience! At 9am you'll meet your chef at his central Palermo restaurant and head off for a walking tour of our favorite Italian market, where you will be introduced to all the unique local food specialties, the ultra-fresh seafood, the gleaming vegetables and juicy fruits, the dried and preserved delicacies that originated at the four corners of the Mediterranean and are now a mainstay of Sicilian cuisine. If the lesson ended here it would already be memorable! But wait, there's loads more back in the kitchen, where you will learn to clean and slice and dice and combine and season and cook all those ingredients using the quick, simple techniques that lead to the best cuisine. The fun continues in the dining room, where you will enjoy a scrumptious meal accompanied by the appropriate Sicilian wine and completed with homemade biscotti dipped in sweet local dessert wine. Each lesson is for a total of 2-8 people and usually lasts until 1:30pm; the cost is 150 EURO/person.

Included in the Price: Market visit, cooking lesson and lunch.

Language: English.




Market Visit & Lesson in Taormina

For this exciting experience, your host is the chef at one of the favorite restaurants in Sicily's leading resort town. You'll meet him at 9am and enjoy a short stroll through the colorful streets of the town, ending up at the outdoor market. Here you'll see a vast array of foods you may recognize and others that might look completely unfamiliar. You'll learn about these Sicilian delicacies, then you'll help the chef pick out the ingredients for your lunch. Next it's off to the restaurant kitchen, where you'll participate in a private hands-on lesson and learn how to turn those fresh ingredients into a scrumptious meal. Afterwards, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labors, in the dining room or out on the patio. A glass of good local wine accompanies your meal, which ends of course with a yummy Sicilian sweet washed down by a tiny cup of espresso.

Included in the Price: Market visit, cooking lesson, lunch and recipe booklet.
Language: English.


Dates Available

Lesson Time

Days Available

Price

Year-round 9 a.m. Daily
2 people: 247 EURO
3 people: 345 EURO
4 people: 442 EURO
5 people: 514 EURO
6 people: 607 EURO
7 people: 664 EURO
8 people: 751 EURO