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8 Day Gastronomical Tuscan Cooking Vacation in Tuscany, Province of Florence

The Villa Pandolfini Estate, Via Livornese 334, 50055 Lastra a Signa, Florence, Italy

Cooking Vacations in Italy

Experience a cooking vacation in Italy at the Accademia Italiana di Cucina Pandolfini. You will learn the Italian cuisine and lifestyle while staying in the Renaissance Villa Pandolfini and living the "bella vita". During your cooking vacation in Italy, not only you can watch the beauties of the "Bel Paese", but you will also bring back home a little piece of it in your heart. Come and learn the art of Italian cuisine!


  • 4 five-hour and five courses or 25 hours of cooking classes
  • Learn to cook traditional Tuscan dishes from professional chefs
  • Explore the delightful aspects of Tuscan cuisine and culture on many tours
  • Experience the bustling central food markets of Florence
  • Enjoy wine tour, local pastry and the real Italian pizza
  • 7 nights accommodation


8 days with instruction
Group size: Maximum of 14 participants
Airport transfer available:
Florence Airport, Peretola (Amerigo Vespucci Airport) (US$48 per person)
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Located on a magnificent estate comprising a private forest, vineyards and olive groves, Villa Pandolfini is a spacious property measuring 180 square meters. It can accommodate five people. This villa apartment has been furnished with beautiful antiques and still boasts the original frescoes that cover the ceilings.

You have access to the stunning frescoed loggia that looks onto a spectacular Renaissance-style Italian garden. It is just 15 minutes from the Florence city center and easily accessible both by car or by the local train which you can reach in an easy eight-minute walk.

The estate is very quiet and private and allows you to enjoy outdoor dining, visiting the local shops and outdoor fresh produce markets and pleasant walks. The estate produces wonderful extra virgin olive oil and wine which you can taste during our cooking classes held in the estate's main kitchen or purchase from the owners.

This is the perfect place to discover Florence and enjoy the real Tuscan countryside while staying in a graceful castle that has played host to guests such as Napoleon Bonaparte and King Charles VIII of France. It is famous for its architecture and design. A shared swimming pool is also available for you to use.

Villa Pandolfini offers you an incredible vacation experience, letting you live like a king. It has been completely restored five years ago. From the living room, there are two sets of double doors that open onto the loggia and the very typical Italian style gardens with lemon trees, hedges, and fountain. This is a sunny, peaceful, and private villa. This villa’s foundations date back to the 1200’s and its highlights are the 10 meters high ceilings, breathtaking frescoes, gold gilded mirrors, and terracotta floors.

Rooms are based on double occupancy. The villas are shared with other participants, private and single room supplements are available. Please send an inquiry to Accademia Italiana di Cucina Pandolfini for more information on rooms. Accommodations are in the villa or one of the farmhouses. The rooms and villa are chosen by based on the size of the group.


This culinary program has been designed for lovers of Tuscany and all that it represents - the charming medieval towns, the centuries-old traditions, the people and their culture, the art, and of course, the great food and incredible wine! You will spend time with Accademia Italiana di Cucina Pandolfini chefs to create a week dedicated to the secrets and traditions of Tuscan cookery.

Participants will spend many hands-on hours perfecting the skills of Tuscan cooking in historic kitchens of the 14th-century renaissance "Villa Pandolfini" or the medieval Torre from 1250.

During the week of this wine and olive oil historical estate, you will have a wonderful "Introduction to Tuscan Cuisine". You will discuss the history of the Tuscan diet, typical dishes, Tuscan bread, peasant foods, and how the gastronomy has changed throughout the medieval and renaissance periods up until modern times.

If you are thinking of a vacation in Italy, you just have to start feeling it: hills arising and designing landscapes, vineyards going up and down the countryside, your glass of wine and the flavor of an Italian dish you have just cooked with your friends, old town and medieval cities where you can smell history, a Renaissance villa. But, above all, Italian people with their hospitality and their culinary heritage full of secrets eager to be shared.

Having a specialty vacations like this one means to savor Italy as a land of an authentic way of life and traditional food, so why not you enjoy it? You will uncover the secrets of Italian cuisine - where you will experience them during the cooking classes held in the historic kitchen at Accademia Italiana di Cucina Pandolfini Renaissance estate. Not only that, you can also enjoy artistic and cultural trips around Italy, to start from Florence and Tuscan countryside.


Day 1, Saturday

You will arrive at the Villa Pandolfini Estate in the afternoon and settle into your accommodation. On this day, you will have a welcome dinner with the organizers and villa owners. It is a fun and easy way to get to know everyone including your hosts and chefs.

Day 2, Sunday - full day excursion at Southern Tuscany - delights of Tuscany

You will have breakfast at a local pastry shop and visit magnificent medieval hilltop towns such as Pienza or Montalcino and Bagno Vignoni. Lunch will be in a typical trattoria. Brunello wine tasting and cellar tour. Afterward, you will go back for a real Italian pizza in the local pizzeria.

Day 3, Monday - cooking class

Today you will have a cooking class that will finish with a five-course meal preparation and sits down for lunch or dinner afterwards. You have free time in the morning or afternoon to relax, enjoy the grounds and pool, or go to Florence, Pisa or Siena on the local train.

Day 4, Tuesday

Today, you will have Florence market and historical tour, lunch and then free time or visit the museums. Dinner will be at a local restaurant. If you come during summer months, Accademia Italiana di Cucina Pandolfini will choose an outdoor dining. You will be off to Florence to meet your guide for a historic walking tour before the tour of the central food markets where you will witness a real part of Florentine history. The Florentines have been enjoying this market for centuries and it is the best way to see so much fresh produce, meat, fish all at one time.

Lunch at a charming little Osteria. Free time to shop and explore the city or to visit the Uffizi museum. Afterward, you will transfer back to the villa and have a memorable dinner at a local restaurant for example 'Villa Caruso' where Enrico Caruso, the opera singer, lived. It is a stunning property located five minutes from Villa Pandolfini where you can enjoy the gardens and lovely grounds and feel like you are being taken back in time or on the hills at Artimino or the bustling generation-owned Sanesi Trattoria.

Day 5, Wednesday - cooking class

Cooking class finishing with a five-course meal preparation and sit down lunch afterward. Free afternoon to do additional optional tours such as Chianti and San Gimignano or do truffle hunting (available from October to December), Lucca and Pisa, Siena, or Florence.

Day 6, Thursday - cooking class

Cooking class finishing with a five-course meal preparation and sit down lunch afterward. The evening is at your leisure to enjoy the pool or take an excursion. You can also make a light dinner or platter and have a glass of wine and laughs with your new friends in your villa.

Day 7, Friday - local tour of one of the Medici Residence's in Poggio A Caiano, Artimino a medieval hamlet and a ceramics factory

If you prefer, you can do a local wine tasting instead of the villa or the ceramics. You will leave around 9:00 a.m. to have coffee and pastries then you will have a visit to a nearby ceramic factory to see how they paint and produce the beautiful Tuscan ceramics. You will then drive through the countryside of Carmignano to Poggio A Caiano where you will do a tour of a Medici Villa. The villa was built for Lorenzo the Magnificent and was an architectural triumph for the period late 1400's.

Light lunch will be at the picturesque hamlet of Artimino which overlooks an imposing Medici Villa, originally one of their hunting lodges. Afterward, you will head back to the villa to pack and freshen up for a cooking class.

The cooking class will start at 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tonight you will enjoy your last cooking class but you will also be tasked with the preparation of the farewell dinner for the group including your hosts and the villa owners. Everyone will be dining together.

Day 8, Saturday - check out

You can have cooking classes on Saturday if you would like to do an extra one before you go or do an extension with further activities and classes.

The program outlined is a guide and the order of the days may change due to seasons. Some cooking classes may start in the afternoon instead of in the morning which will provide you dinner and also leave you the most part of the day free to relax or enjoy additional activities.

Included excursions

  • A full day Southern Tuscany villages and wine excursion
  • Full day cultural tour on Italian ceramics or Medici villa tour and Artimino
  • Visit to the central food markets of Florence


This retreat will take place in Florence, Italy at Villa Pandolfini, which is located 12 kilometers from the Florence center. Trains, buses, and all shops are within walking distance and it is close to all major highways. You can stroll downtown to buy your fresh bread or morning cappuccino and feel like a local.

The area is full of great restaurants, weekly open air small markets, straw museum, and horse riding. Throughout the year, the little villages and towns scattered through Tuscany celebrate "sagre", which give visitors a perfect opportunity to share this unique experience. Accademia Italiana di Cucina Pandolfini will happily give you advice on events taking place in the area.

Nearby places

  • Florence, 12 kilometers
  • Forte Dei Marmi Volterra - 40 minutes
  • Lucca - 40 minutes
  • Montecatini - 20 minutes
  • Pisa - 40 minutes
  • San Gimignano - 40 minutes
  • Siena - 40 minutes



  • Horse riding
  • Swimming
  • Swimming pool (outdoor)
  • Wine tasting


  • Dining area
  • Kitchen
  • Restaurant
  • Special menu request


  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi


A welcome basket containing fruit, yogurt, cereal, bread, prosciutto, cheeses, juice, coffee, tea, wine, and much more are included. A welcome dinner prepared by the estate's chef to be enjoyed in the 14th century Villa Pandolfini with your fellow participants is also included. Meals included in the price are as specified in the itinerary. Accademia Italiana di Cucina Pandolfini can cater to all dietary needs vegetarians, celiac, and much more.

An example of what you can enjoy during your cooking holiday

Saturday welcome dinner

  • Red onions stuffed with pecorino cheese
  • Tagliatelle with traditional ragu
  • Guinea fowl cooked in Vin Santo
  • Rosemary potatoes
  • Castagnaccio con ricotta - peasant style chestnut
  • Cake with pinenuts served with fresh ricotta

Cooking lesson one

  • Crostini toscani
  • Saffron risotto veal broth
  • Potato gnocchi with duck ragu
  • Ossobuco
  • Florentine spinach
  • Individual tiramisu

Cooking lesson two

  • Crostini with Tuscan sausage and stracchino cheese
  • Florentine savory crepes with radicchio rosso and bechamel
  • Eggplant and walnut ravioli garnished with butter and fresh parsley
  • Spezzatino - Chianti slow cooked beef stew
  • Potato and truffle flan
  • Panna cotta served with mixed berries coulis

Cooking lesson three

  • Cannellini bean salad
  • Pici pasta with aglione sauce
  • Gnudi with tomato and basil
  • Baked pork marinated in orange, fennel, and wine
  • Ricotta cake with chocolate sauce

Cooking lesson four

  • Artichoke salad with parmesan shaves and walnuts
  • Bi colored tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms
  • Ribollita - Tuscan peasant bread soup
  • Stuffed chicken with pistachio nuts and fontina
  • Zucchini flowers
  • Cantuccini biscuits with Accademia Italiana di Cucina Pandolfini homemade vin santo ice cream

The following meals are included:

  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • A day in Cinque Terre
  • A day in Rome and Venice with a guide
  • Additional cooking classes
  • Additional wine tastings
  • Discover many local attractions such as horse riding, trekking, antique markets, Caruso’s villa and gardens, medieval villages, and Etruscan ruins
  • Experience the wonderful dining experiences at the many local restaurants, some noted as being the best in Italy
  • Horseback Riding
  • Relax at the villa and enjoy its grounds, wine, and forest

What's included

  • 4 five-hour Italian cooking classes with the chefs
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • 150-page Tuscan recipe book in English
  • A full day Southern Tuscany villages and wine excursion
  • A signature Villa Pandolfini apron
  • A welcome basket
  • All taxes
  • English speaking chefs
  • Florence day history and food market tour
  • Full day culture tour on Italian ceramics, Medici villa tour, or Artimino
  • Maid service everyday except on Sunday
  • Most lunches and dinners each day at excellent restaurants
  • Welcome dinner prepared by the estate's chef

What's not included

  • Additional maid service
  • Car rental
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Optional activities
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Toiletries
  • Transfers to the estate
  • Transportation during your own personal excursions
  • Wine and oil purchases

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Florence Airport, Peretola (FLR). Accademia Italiana di Cucina Pandolfini can arrange for participants to be picked up from the airport to the estate for 40 EUR.

Arrival by train

There is also a train service available from Florence city to Lastra a Signa. The estate is just a short distance away from the Lastra a Signa train station.

Airport: Florence Airport, Peretola (Amerigo Vespucci Airport) Airport transfer available: Florence Airport, Peretola (Amerigo Vespucci Airport) (US$48 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 30% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Quality of activity
8 days / 7 nights
from --
Pricing information

This cooking holiday is also available for those who wish to not participate in cooking classes. The price for non-participant is 1900 EUR per person and are based on double occupancy. There will be a 4% booking fee when you book this holiday. For more information on the prices, please send an inquiry to Accademia Italiana di Cucina Pandolfini.

Special discount

There is a special 10% discount for the following arrival dates: 19th May, 26th May, 2nd June, 9th June and 16th June.


Please send the inquiry only for the dates available in the calendar. The rest of the dates are unavailable.

Solo travellers

This retreat can accommodate single travellers.

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