Active Gourmet Holidays
Active Gourmet Holidays

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Tuscany, Italy - 6 nights
Available April to June, September to November - Sunday to Saturday


Whether you are a novice or experienced cook, this holiday will teach you all there is to know about Tuscan cuisine. Classes are taught by experienced and professional instructors in a beautiful state of the art, air conditioned kitchen where lessons are truly hands-on and conducted in English. Located between Viareggio and Lucca, the school lies within a beautiful 17th century old villa and all rooms have ensuite bathrooms and air conditioning. In your down time how about some bicycling, horseback or kayaking? One of our best selling cooking holidays! If you already have a place to stay, ask about joining in a day cooking class or truffle hunt followed by a truffle based lunch!


Your host and founder is an accomplished author, contributing to Italy's most prestigious cooking magazines and also conducts private cooking lessons. She is a true Tuscan, extremely knowledgeable as well as very entertaining! The lessons focus on traditional Tuscan techniques, the innovative use of ingredients, and esthetic presentation. What changes is the seasonality of the food. Each course devotes special attention to pairing foods with appropriate wines.


You will arrive on a Sunday and are welcomed with a traditional Tuscan lunch. Spend the rest of the day exploring your new surroundings and relaxing before you enjoy a delicious four course dinner prepared by your instructors.


Monday through Friday, lessons are held from 10:00-1:00. Classes are small, completely hands-on, and make use of all-natural, seasonally-fresh ingredients. Essential Tuscan techniques you will master include: homemade pasta, ravioli, gnocchi, pizza, focaccia, risotto, bruschette, crostini and other types of canapes, vegetable and grain soups, grilled, roasted, fried and stuffed vegetables, fish and meat preparation, sweet and savory tarts, pastries, ice creams and sorbets.


Lunch is from 1:00-2:30 and features foods prepared during the mornings' lessons. Each meal consists of three courses accompanied by local wines.


Afternoon tours take place from 3:00-7:30 and are led by professional, English-speaking guides. You will visit the following:


Pisa - Students will visit the Piazza dei Miracoli and be able to see the leaning tower, the Duomo and the Battistero. Those interested in the Jewish cemetery please inquire as it is not always open. You will also tour the town and pass over the Arno river. On this day, our guides will also take you to Torre del Lago Puccini to see the lake and the house where the Maestro lived and composed most of his operas.



Viareggio - Viareggio is a seaside resort of Italy, where you can spend the morning at the market, walking on the boardwalk, or laying in the sun. The beach in Viareggio is beautiful and sandy. The promenade with buildings in Liberty Style offers a lot of options: bookstores, cafes and pizzerias and great stores.


Pietrasanta -  Located about 20 minutes away Pietrasanta is a beautiful art center. Your guides will take you to a marble studio where artists extract beauty from marble just like Michelangelo used to do. After the visit to the studio, students are taken to the town for a visit. The Duomo and the Cittadella are beautifully preserved and so is the Rocca on top of the hill. Statues by Botero enrich the town. It is possible to see exhibits during the Spring period. Folon, Botero, Mitoray and many more chose Pietrasanta as cultural center for their art.


Lucca - You will visit this beautifully preserved Roman and Medieval 11th century walled city surrounded by 3.5 miles of perfectly preserved walls. Located about 20 minutes from the school, you will visit the town with its beautiful churches and cathedral, the walls and the Roman Amphitheater. You will have plenty of time to buy ceramic, gold, fabric and the famous Buccellato, a rustic cake used to be made centuries ago.


San Gimignano - This small walled medieval hill town innorth-central Italy is known as the Town of Fine Towers. San Gimignano is famous for its medieval architecture, unique in the preservation of about a dozen of its tower houses which, with its hilltop setting and encircling walls, form "an unforgettable skyline". Within the walls, the well-preserved buildings include notable examples of both Romanesque and Gothic architecture with outstanding examples of secular buildings as well as churches. The "Historic Centre of San Gimignano" is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town also is known for saffron, the Golden Ham, and its white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano produced from the ancient variety of Vernaccia grape which is grown on the sandstone hillsides of the area.


Dinner is at 8pm each night and features four delectable courses prepared by your instructors and accompanied by a variety of excellent local wines. One night during the week, you will be our guest at a famous local wine bar, whose owners will personally prepare an exclusive dinner, each course paired with wines from their incomparable collection. Your Tuscan experience reaches its finale on Friday night at our graduation festival dinner, where you receive a diploma certifying your newly acquired status as an "Authentic Tuscan Cook." **Saturday is solely a departure day and no breakfast or meals are served that day so please plan accordingly.


*Food allergies and dietary and religious restrictions will be respected. Please let us know your preferences.


*The content or order of the itinerary may change depending on dates, availability of services or activities, local festivals/holidays, weather constraints, etc. Menus are samples and may vary according to the season 





A minimum of 1 participant is required to run this tour and the tour is limited to a maximum of 12 participants.


(The number of participants refers to how many persons are required to run the tour, not to how many persons you must have in your party. Please inquire.)






The Cooking School is located 10 miles from Pisa International Airport which has direct flights from Rome, Milan and most other major European cities. The school's driver will pick you up at Pisa Airport, or Pisa Train Station but arrival information must be provided at least two weeks ahead of time. This service is included in the price.

Pick ups will occur at both Pisa Airport and Pisa Train Station at the following times only: 

Sunday (Arrival Day):

Pisa Airport at 12 NOON and at 4 pm. Our driver will meet you at the ARRIVAL (inside the airport) with a sign with the name of the school on it. Pisa Train Station – at 12:30 PM and 3:30 PM. Please exit the station and turn left towards McDonald’s. Our driver, will pick you up in front of it.

Saturday (Departure Day):

Our tour guides will will take you back to either Pisa Train Station or Pisa Airport. This service starts at 8:00 am and ends at 11:00 am. Pisa Airport is about 25 minutes far from the school with no traffic. You need to be at the airport at least 2 hours prior to your flight. The station is approximately 20 minutes away from the school with no traffic. For early departures we wil be happy to help you arrange a cab. This service in NOT included in the price you pay. For further questions, please inquire.


*These details are provided as additional information. Please check below to see if transfers are included in this tour.







For further inquiries or to register, click here.


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Please contact us for cancellation policy information. Travel insurance is highly recommended.






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This exciting region is depicted below. You can also access Google MapsTM by clicking HERE



*In some cases mapping may give clients a general sense of location due to changes in venue. Please inquire about specific location.

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Hi Jo-Ann - We wanted to let you know that we had an AMAZING time at the cooking school. My mother and I could not have had a better time. Paola and Simonetta were such wonderful hosts and teachers. We were treated like family. The house and property were beautiful. The hands-on cooking classes were so much fun...we learned so many great recipes that I cannot wait to test on my friends back home. I will definitely be recommending this experience to all of my friends and colleagues. Thank you so much for all of your help in setting up this once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation. It is something neither one of us will ever forget!


Best, Erin S. and Flor V.,
New York, New York

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