La Mezzaluna organizes fun and informal authentic Tuscan cooking classes and culinary vacations in Tuscany.
During Rita's informative years, she gradually immersed herself in the culture, customs, and traditions of her parents and grandparents, and, in particular, their culinary cultures. Rita studied the ancient secrets and techniques of the traditional Tuscan cooking and kept alive certain recipes that lost. She has been in Barga for almost 30 years running her bed and breakfast apartments together with her children, and she has now opened her cooking school.
Isabella Roux and Jeanine Botha
from South Africa, January 2020
"UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE "
My daughter and I stayed and cooked with Rita for a week during Dec. 2019, we couldn't have asked or wished for a more authentic Italian experience!! We learned so much about Italian home-cooking, ate too much and drank way too much of Alex's wine on tap! Rita and Alex really made this a "I want to go again" experience - the beautiful town, Barga, where we stayed, the countryside, the places we were taken to - it was amazing!
from United States, November 2019
"Wonderful family vacation!"
Our group of seven had a wonderful time during our week with Rita and Alex! The cooking classes were fun and informative, and all the food was delicious. Alex's wine was also incredible, and it was a treat to be able to sample so many different varieties. We really enjoyed the opportunity to explore Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Lucca, Barga, Sommocolonia and Pisa - particularly since Rita gave us the flexibility to explore a bit on our own and meet back at a specific time and location, so we weren't committed to sticking with the group the whole time.
The B&B itself was nice and comfortable - not fancy, but a clean, nice space. There was also a small laundromat just a very short walk down the road, so we were able to wash clothes while we were there as well. The included breakfast was lovely - coffee, tea, meats and cheeses, yogurt, croissants, fruit, cereal, etc. - and the doors were open throughout the day if we wanted to come downstairs for a snack or another glass of wine. It was all just very comfortable and relaxed, and Rita and Alex were so warm and welcoming!
from Indonesia, October 2019
"Mama Rita and the Ducklings"
From the moment we arrived, Rita and Alec treated us like friends and family. We were invited to settle into our rooms and then enjoy a lovely afternoon snack with wine sampling.
from United States, October 2019
What a fantastic vacation! You arrive at La Mezzaluna as a guest and you leave feeling part of the family. Rita, Alex and Ricardo welcome you with open arms.
You could truly sense that Rita loves what she does, and this was demonstrated in her food and her teaching.She has created a perfect balance between cooking classes, tours(Pisa, Barga, Lucca and more),wine tasting tour, eating and relaxing.
If you are looking for an personalized vacation filled with delicious food, good company, and fantastic views, this is the trip for you
from Canada, September 2019
"Not so normal sister"
I felt like family as soon as we got there. Alex and Rita did everything in their power to make us feel at home, whether it was eating, drinking, touring, talking, sleeping.. It was a truly all inclusive trip.. Felt at home and learned so much about Italian Tuscan cooking... Learning about the Tuscan way was everything I thought it was going to be but better because we lived with the locals, ate with the locals, even learned some Italian gestures to get by when Rita was not close by. Wine flowed like water which was delightful but the best was Rita and Alex and Ricardo did everything in their power to keep me on my Lactose Free diet.. They went shopping for milk and cheeses just for me and I was so overwhelmed that I could enjoy all the Tuscan cooking... Rita will be my sister from another mother...
from Canada, August 2019
Alex , Ricardo, and Rita were so fabulous. They treated us like family with smiles and hugs everyday. Could not have asked for a better holiday. Thanks again to our Italian family.
from United States, May 2019
"Mother / daughter trip"
This vacation exceeded all my expectations! We saw and experienced Tuscany like the locals do and avoided the tourist traps. We had custom tours, our wonderful cooking classes, great food and wine and entertainment. Can't say enough about how wonderful this vacation was! Rita is a gem, your personal tour guide and great instructor. She makes everyone feel like family and you can't wait to come back.
from United States, November 2018
"Perfect Girl Retreat"
Meeting new friends over excellent wine and food.
from United States, September 2018
"Best vacation ever"
Just th right combination of cooking lessons, sightseeing and relaxing
from Great Britain, September 2018
"Traditional cooking in Tuscany"
This week gave a broad and enjoyable introduction to everyday traditional dishes. The programme was so arranged as to see the food journey from soil to table and to appreciate the local life, history and influences of the area.
from Germany, September 2018
My heart is full in thinking back on our time with Rita, Alex and Ricardo! Rita has a spirit so stunningly beautiful and a home so incredibly welcoming that our whole group came in as strangers, felt immediately cared for, nourished and welcomed, so we settled in as if we were at our favorite family home and had the best time ever getting to know each other, laughing, singing, being silly, cooking, and relaxing. We left as best friends planning our next reunion! Rita read our energy levels and both showed us how to do more than we thought possible and provided the perfect times of relaxation when we needed it. Her patience and joy was such a delight with half of our group not being the cooking type and who were more there for the fun and food :-) - she gave us both in full measure!! The food was plentiful, delicious and so much fun to make. We were there in the high heat of August, but the nights cooled down beautifully. The location is gorgeous. This was a short stop for us in a 3 week European tour, but this was, no question, the highlight! Thank you again, Rita! Hugs and can't wait to do it again!!
from United States, August 2018
"Wonderful culinary and excursion vacation!"
Rita, our host and cooking instructor was extremely welcoming and kind! I thoroughly enjoyed the week learning and making pasta, fish, pizza, pastry tarts and our excursions to neighboring regions. Rita even added a few items to the cooking lessons that I had never experienced- ie. Octopus! Also, enjoyed being in a fun group of individuals from other countries...lots of laughs, singing and wine!! This is my third cooking school vacation in Italy, it was great to experience and learn different techniques/styles compared to instructors from other regions throughout Italy.
from Belgium, August 2018
"Home away from home, without the cleaning"
The program is excellent for a first introduction to Italian cooking and Tuscany. Rita is super friendly and you feel immediately at home, only you don't have to clean up the mess in the kitchen :-) We were busy with nice activities besides cooking and eating, but also had enough free time to rest. Friends and family would also stop by for visits and sometimes dinner, adding to the homey feel. I had luck that there were several festivals so the evenings were also fun. And the wine is almost never-ending, starting with an aperitif around 11 am til as late as you want. The airport pick-up/drop-off service is also great. Overall an excellent worry-free vacation!
from United States, May 2018
"A life-changing experience"
I have, for my entire adult life, dreamed of taking a culinary vacation in Tuscany. My time at La Mezza Luna met the expectations of that dream within the first few hours. Rita is genuine, hilarious, kind and a fantastic teacher. She became part of our group, interacting with us, sharing personal stories and getting to know us. The recipes she guided us through were both complex and simple -- but they were all delicious and, more importantly, doable by home-chefs. Rita's partner Alex was part of our group, as well. He kept the wine flowing and the karaoke machine warmed up. I can't say enough about this experience. I will never forget a single moment.
from Great Britain, August 2020
"Felt like home"
Had exceptional care from start to finish. Rita’s attention to detail makes everything work like clockwork. Nothing is too much trouble. Had some fabulous experiences and can’t wait to buy my first pasta machine.
from United States, December 2019
"I'm already thinking about when I can go back!"
The Mezzaluna experience was the perfect combination of some hands-on cooking, small group visits to sights (in a relaxed and low key way) and some alone time. Rita was a wonderful host and chef; she made us all feel at home, involved everyone in the group and shared her vast knowledge and experience to help us learn in a fun way. She was also very accommodating to the group's wishes. The food was so delicious! And the bonus was being in a beautiful and serene setting, wine and music courtesy of Alex and warm hospitality from Eleanora. Transportation pick up & drop off also made this very easy. And we had a special, internationally mixed group which made for fun and interesting conversation. Perfect for a solo traveler. I also really loved walking Lucca and Barga. Highly recommend! Thank you, Rita and Alex for such a memorable experience!
from Great Britain, December 2019
"Don't miss out on this experience!"
Rita is a fantastic host and tutor. A very likeable person.
The group mixed very well and we are looking forward to our reunion.
Alex does karaoke and kept us topped up with wine.
It is a well balanced short holiday which combines trips out with lunches and fun cooking lessons when you get back. You don't need to know how to cook or have any experience. Everyone helps each other.
Don't forget, they collect you from the airport and take you back and everything is included in the price.
from Canada, November 2019
"Best Culinary Vacation"
We loved the daily excursions...then back to prepare our lunch....then later ...prepare dinner....then later...karaoke...our hosts..Rita and Alex were...amazing!! Sharing our stories with them...sharing great food ..great wine...and great company with our group. Rita was very flexible with meal times...and sight seeing.
from Great Britain, November 2019
"A dream come true. The best week ever."
Where to start about how amazing this holiday was. Rita and Alex are second family to me now. The food, the unlimited wine, the location, the excursions, the lessons, the good company and entertainment. It was truly a dream come true. As a solo traveller and someone who hadn’t done anything like this before, I was an anxious traveller. Rita was very gracious at answering all of my questions and helping. From the moment we arrived at the gorgeous rustic spot in the middle of the Tuscan countryside and greeted with a prosecco, I knew it would be an amazing week. If you’re expecting new build five star accommodation, then this isn’t for you. The rooms are clean and have a gorgeous rustic charm and this is how you should experience this kind of holiday. Please ignore the reviews that dwell on this. It’s true in that you come as strangers and leave as family. I’m so pleased to be part of the LaMezzaluna family and I can’t wait to come back. I’ll also be making all the dishes in due course! A big thank you to Rita, Alex, Manuela and all the company. I’ll never forget it.
from United States, October 2019
"All inclusive gourmet cooking course "
I loved it all! Rita makes you feel like you’re at home from the moment you arrive. Her culinary and people skills exceeded all expectations. The culinary vacation is a perfect balance of relaxing, learning, exploring and connecting with interesting people who are passionate about Italian food and culture. The views from La Mezzaluna will take your breath away, and the Italian cuisine will have you wanting even more. I loved the trips to the nearby villages; I was given a glimpse into even more of the beauty of Tuscany and its’ people. It was very difficult to say goodbye after 5 days. I only wish I had done the 7 day experience, but I hope to return one day. Rita is an incredibly special person. Thank you Rita for creating memories to last a lifetime. I do hope I’ll get back to La Mezzaluna one day.
from Great Britain, September 2019
"A fabulous culinary experience!"
The whole experience here was amazing from being picked up at the airport and taken back.My friend and I felt so looked after by Rita and Alex nothing was too much trouble.
Rita goes out of her way to ensure you see as much as possible while you are staying and the food and wine is wonderful the cookery lessons are so much fun! can’t recommend it enough.
from Italy, September 2019
"An Amazing Experience"
This was an amazing experience for me. It was a perfect balance between several educational cooking lessons, offsite tours (Pisa, Luca, Barga, etc.), eating, relaxation and just having fun. All set in a beautiful setting in Tuscany. Rita is phenomenal chief and a very gracious host along with Alex. This was definitely time and money well spent. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience. Michael - Chicago
from United States, August 2019
I loved everything about this trip. It was for my son and his 21st birthday, but the area , the classes, Rita, Alex and Ricardo, the meals and wine were all amazing. I could not recommend this trip more! I felt very at home, if you needed anything you just had to ask!
from Iceland, August 2019
"Stop looking; this is The One."
The warmth and familial experience that we felt at La Mezzaluna with Mama Rita was unparalleled. Not only was Rita´s homegrown cooking instruction exceptionally seasoned with prowess and years of observing the culinary techniques of her Italian mother, but the kitchen was delightfully filled with constant laughter, a medley of arresting aromas and instant community.
This culinary holiday is planned to perfection with the most ideal mix of cooking, eating, wine tasting, resting, walking through the most picturesque parts of Tuscany and just enjoying the new community that manifests from La Mezzaluna´s atmosphere.
It is the best way to step into the Italian culture and be forever changed. Grazie mille!
from Great Britain, July 2019
This trip and cooking experience was fun from start to finish
from Great Britain, July 2019
If you're even slightly interested in Italian food, or scenery, or history, or wine, or just having a great time with wonderful people, come and spend a week with Rita, Alex and Ricardo! The whole week was excellent fun, and right from being picked up from the airport it felt as though I was visiting extended family; trips to the nearby towns where Rita would tell us all sorts of interesting local facts, cooking classes that were hilarious and informative, wonderful alfresco dinners overlooking the valley with plenty of wine to accompany, followed by a bit of karaoke ;) Rita, Alex and Ricardo are some of the warmest, most beautiful people you will ever meet - nothing was ever too much trouble, and they went out of their way to make sure everything was comfortable. 10 / 10 will be going back!!
from Australia, June 2019
"Best little holiday I've ever had"
It was just what I had hoped for. Lovely rustic accommodation in Tuscany. Rita was there to meet me at Pisa airport and was just lovely right from the start. There were six of us from all over the world for this 5 day course, and as a solo traveler just felt comfortable with this holiday and the group. Everything was included in the holiday. It was a great blend of sightseeing and cooking. The cooking classes were so much fun and has given me more confidence with cooking pasta and pizza now. This holiday was worth the 24 hour flight from Sydney.
from United States, June 2019
"Best Experience Ever"
The whole Package / Experience
from Ireland, June 2019
"Exceeded my expectations"
Cooking and dining with Rita & Alex at Mezzaluna was a wonderful and unforgettable experience. Rita's style of cooking and tuition suited me; informal, fun and informative. I learned a lot about the basics. The results were delicious and the group and I enjoyed wonderful lunches & dinners al fresco on the terrace. I also loved the touring in the local towns and villages, and my friend and I lucked out with a lovely group to share the experience. Breakfast is good and there is plenty of still water or wine provided.
I would recommend this holiday if you want to relax in beautiful Tuscany, gazing at the hills as you dine, and to have fun cooking and to taste many good local wines ; - )
from Great Britain, April 2019
"Our Italian cooking experience"
It was a home from home experience. Rita and Alex made us feel very much part of the family. We smiled all of the time and were treated like gold. Rita works tirelessly to ensure that all runs smoothly. Her cooking lessons are first class, and lots of fun. The excursions were well planned and extremely interesting. Magic happens at La Mezzaluna.
from United States, November 2018
"It was a great meeting of new people from diverse places."
For me, I did not participate in the class, Instead I took pictures and ate the creations and the wine! Rita provided the group with various tours of local places that were my other highlights.
from Great Britain, August 2018
"1st Solo visit to Mezza Luna "
As a novice solo traveller I found the experience really refreshing. I felt at home straight away and was made feel very welcome. The cooking experience mixed with touring the local area was perfect, Rita and Alex make a great team. I highly recommend this trip, especially for female solo travellers.
from United States, August 2018
" Rita, Ricardo and Alex were AWESOME."
Staying at La Mezzaluna did not feel like a hotel or a school, I felt I was visiting relatives who would invite me to cook with them.
The story of how I ended up going on this trip is an interesting one but I wouldn't change the outcome for anything in the world.
Rita was AWESOME (inside joke for the amazing group who went to this trip).
Her level of energy and patience was unparalleled to anyone, and the other attendees made me feel, as a solo traveler, I was meant to be with them.
The food was great, wine was always present, and now I wish I paid more attention to the pie making lessons.
Overall it was a great experience.
from United States, July 2018
"Best vacation of my life!"
Rita is an Italian treasure! She made us immediately feel like a part of her family. The classes are wonderful, Alex’s wines are delicious, and the food is delectable!
from Great Britain, May 2018
Rita was the perfect hostess; She was a natural, and Alex provided fantastic evenings of entertainment. I learnt so much about cooking delicious Italian recipes and made some fantastic friends who I will keep in contact with
from Great Britain, May 2018
"Hugely enjoyable stay cooking with Rita "
Rita is very warm and welcoming. She is a fantastic host and knows her Italian cooking and passes down recipes that have gone down generation to generation. The day started with breakfast and we ended up (on a five day/4 night stay course) of visiting local towns on three of the mornings. The group was a nice size of six. We spent two afternoons making various pastas and sauces along with Focaccia bread on one of them, and pizza's on the second.
from Great Britain, May 2018
"Excellent hopitality and value for money"
Rita was a delight to be with, very attentive and worked tirelessly to look after us. From the meet and greet at the airport, to serving drinks and guiding us around the towns she was great. The cookery lessons were lots of fun, very informative and the food we had delicious. Rita is obviously very knowledgably and happy to guide and support through all the cooking process. Breakfast was good, the all inclusive drinks great and the general atmosphere very relaxed and enjoyable. The 4 visits to the towns and villages were excellent, Rita really supported us with these and again tried very hard to provide a quality visit and experience. All in all a really fun, positive and learning experience. Well done Rita :-)