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Join A Toast to Travel in Tuscany to relax and have a fun filled experience of daily hands-on cooking lessons from a menu designed exclusively for you, truffle hunting, visiting a local market, an outdoor yoga class, painting lessons, pizza making with a local pizza chef, wine tastings at a local Castle, and a day in Siena. This will be your unforgettable and relaxing week in the Tuscan countryside where you are surrounded by olive trees, rolling hills, and the vineyards of Tuscany.
Situated where Siena, Florence, and Arezzo intersect, Villa Barberino is your home for the next seven days. Here, you will relax, learn to cook authentic amazing Italian dishes, make new friends, and live like a local.
The villa dates back to the 14th century and served as a political and military stronghold. Today, the villa sits nestled in cypress trees and is home to our host family which has restored it to its former beauty. We welcome you to join us and become part of the family.
Overlooking a beautiful wooded valley and a lake, full and lush is what memories are made of, and memories are exactly what you will make. You can walk the beautiful grounds when you are not cooking or participating in one of the many activities that A Toast to Travel has in store for you. You can enjoy the swimming pool, solarium, tennis courts, Italian gardens, hiking, and panoramic views at the host villa for your unforgettable and relaxing week in the Tuscan countryside where you are surrounded by olive trees, rolling hills, and the vineyards of Tuscany. Walk through the Italian gardens and while enjoying a nice glass of Tuscan wine.
Our host villa has preserved the traditional Italian charm of the property while adding modern conveniences. All of the guest rooms have private bathrooms, air conditioning, LCD TV, free Wi-Fi, hairdryer, telephone, and shower. Remember, when you are a guest, you are part of the family and this will come through in every aspect of your time with A Toast to Travel.
These experiences are fully hosted and all-inclusive once you are with the group and your hosts.
You will meet tonight around 6 p.m. for the welcome cocktail (aperitivo) surrounded by the beautiful hills of Tuscany and sample local wines and appetizers which can range from bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and local olive oil, to prosciutto and salami, while you socialize with the fellow guests and toast to travel!
After the aperitivo, you will gather around the Tuscan dinner table for a meal specially prepared for you including fresh made pasta, filets of meat, fresh vegetables, and possibly the most delicious Italian desserts you’ve ever tried.
As you toast each other with the local Tuscan wine, A Toast to Travel shares with you all the exciting experiences in store for the week ahead. Pace yourself, pace yourself!
Start your day with a delicious Tuscan country breakfast, for the sweet lovers, there are delicious cakes, tortes, brioches, homemade jams, for those who love the savory, local salami and cheeses with many different choices of Italian breads. After breakfast, it’s time to hunt for truffles!
Gathering your truffles freshly gained, you head to the kitchen to begin your cooking class. You will immerse yourself in the art of making fresh, handmade tagliatelle and using the truffles from the morning hunt, you will make a delicious and mouthwatering sauce to top your fresh tagliatelle.
The resident chef, Simone, will guide you each step of the way. You will also cook dishes you will eat at dinner so that you can fully immerse yourself in cooking various Tuscan dishes. Before dinner, you will meet as a group for a wine tasting at the host villa’s underground wine cellar to sample some wine!
After breakfast, you head to the local market where you can learn first-hand how locals shop for their bread, cheese, meat, seafood, fruits, and vegetables. After the market, you are back to the kitchen to make pappa al pomodoro and gnocchi with a special sauce, a local favorite.
You immerse yourself in the preparation of all ingredients needed to make pappa al pomodoro, a hearty tomato bread soup, with fresh tomatoes, bread, olive oil, garlic, and basil.
Then, you begin to make your handmade gnocchi carefully shaping each piece into a delectable creation to be savored with the special, local sauce. After lunch, you will gather for a guided painting class surrounded by the beauty of Tuscany. For dinner tonight, you will visit a local restaurant to eat like a local and enjoy more Tuscan wine.
After breakfast, there’s an outdoor yoga session for those who need stretching before heading to the kitchen to cook. Today, you will learn how to make local favorites, bruschetta for starters and then, fresh handmade ravioli with bolognese sauce which you will enjoy for lunch.
Around 5 p.m., you will gather to be transported back in time as you venture out to a beautiful Tuscan winery for a tour of the historic grounds, an apertivo, and dinner together (with Tuscan wine, of course). Your breath will be taken away by the natural beauty, the history thousands of years old, and the delicious meal that awaits you.
You are spending the day in Siena! Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site and it’s a must see. You will travel to Siena where you will be guided by a local on a walking tour of Siena, visiting its most important sites and learning about its rich history and culture.
Later tonight and back at the host villa, A Toast to Travel has invited a local personality to spin pizza and entertain you while you learn how to make authentic Italian pizza.
As you work together as a group, you are entertained by the local pizza chef with all sorts of “pizza entertainment.” No pizza dinner is complete without some homemade gelato - Simone will be busy preparing the dessert!
Today, you are making pappardelle pasta and a typical and delicious local sauce, pappardelle al cinghiale. You will also learn to make Italian desserts.
Tonight, your last night together, you will have a farewell apertivo in the courtyard recounting highlights from your experience and enjoy an exclusive dinner menu.
Finally, after dinner, A Toast to Travel has invited a famous local musician to perform international music so you can celebrate your time together.
After breakfast this morning, don’t forget to take your final photos of beautiful Tuscany, the host villa, and all the new friends you’ve made. Take a last stroll in the gardens, visit the olive trees, smell the fresh Tuscan air, smiling into the sun for it’s not farewell but until next time.
Just remember, you may leave Tuscany but Tuscany will never leave you. Once you’ve experienced Tuscany, you will never forget La Dolce Vita. Besides, after having lived like a local for the week, you are now part of the family.
You will enjoy winery tours and wine tastings in Chianti and at the host villa. There will be a walking tour in Siena, accompanied by an English speaking guide.
This retreat will take place in San Giovanni Valdarno, Tuscany, Italy.
In total, you will have 6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 6 dinners. Wine is included with all meals. Menu will be shared with guests prior to arrival. Please let A Toast to Travel know of any food allergies, food sensitivities, and/or dietary restrictions so that where possible, substitutions can be made in advance.
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