Culinary Vacations and Wine Tasting Tuscany

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This marvelous vacation is meant to offer your special moments of beauty and flavor. With so many flavors and cultures all over the world, Italy is one of the most prominent countries to get in touch with exquisite food and wine. Its refined culture redefined the Westerns concept of pleasurably living, which involves beauty in every aspect of human life. Take charming cooking classes, be part of a special ritual were people are gathered to work with their own hands, and prepare meals that will be happily shared. Amazing wines will close this perfect trip of taste.

Highlights

  • Visit to a local market
  • Visit to a Tuscan vineyard
  • 4 traditional cuisine classes
  • Tours of local beautiful villages
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Life entertainment show
  • Airport transfers
  • 3 daily meals

Styles


7 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English

Airport transfer included: Pisa International Airport

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Accommodation

The La Mezzaluna is a bed and breakfast located on the border of La Garfagnana, close to the town of Lucca. It is just four kilometers from Barga, one of the most beautiful villages of Italy: a medieval village of rare beauty with many tourist attractions. This complex has self-contained apartments and en-suite rooms, with the formula bed and breakfast, half and full board. In there, you can find the following apartments:

Blue apartment

This apartment has one double room and one twin room, one bathroom, a small kitchen with dining area, a spacious outside area with table, benches, gazebo, and barbeque. It features the following services: satellite TV, iron, electric hob, fridge, microwave, small electric oven, and free WI-FI.

Green apartment

In this apartment you can find one double room, one twin room, one large bathroom, kitchen, and a large terrace with gazebo and benches for dining outdoors. The services available are satellite TV, gas cooker with electric oven, fridge, microwave, barbecue, and free WI-FI.

Red apartment

In this room, you will find one double room en-suite (room with fireplace), small kitchen with dining area, and terrace with a magnificent panorama. It features the following services: satellite TV, electric hob, fridge, microwave, small electric oven, free WI-FI.

Besides the apartments, La Mezzaluna has also two double bedrooms en-suite, and one small studio flat.

Program

During your vacations, you will have four days of cooking lessons and a 45-minute conversational lesson with Alessia, the language teacher. You will learn how to make delicious basic meals and sauces such as ragu, salsa di pomodoro (tomato), salsa salsiccia e porcini (sausage and mushrooms), zuppa di farro (grain similar to spelt), homemade pasta, cheese and spinach filles ravioli, gnocchi sformati (vegetable or potato pie), fish-based dinners, pizza, focaccia and cakes, tiramisu torta di ricotta.

Day 1

  • Arrival at Pisa airport.
  • Transfer to Residence La Mezzaluna (1 hour 15 minutes) where you will enjoy a welcome drink and talk about the week's activities.
  • Then, settle and relax in your room.
  • You could then visit Alex's local wine cellar to have a little wine tasting served with with cold meats, local cheeses, bruschetta and other local products.

Day 2

  • After breakfast, you will head to the medieval village of Barga where you can admire its ancient streets and its 11th century cathedral. Barga offers picturesque views of the Serchio valley.
  • Light lunch in Barga followed by a cookery lesson on pasta and sauces, starting approximately at 14:30. This will last for 45 minutes.
  • Time to relax on the veranda before savoring the meal you just prepared.

Day 3

  • After breakfast, spend the morning in Lucca. You can chill around the shops and admire the various cathedrals and squares.
  • Lunch at Lucca.
  • Then you will head off to Pisa to visit "Piazza Miracoli" with its cathedrals and leaning tower.
  • You will head back to La Mezzaluna.
  • Dinner this evening is a BBQ.

Day 4

  • You will head to the market to buy fresh vegetables and fish for your afternoon cookery lesson.
  • You will savor your meal and Alex will entertain you with live music.

Day 5

  • Visit Castelnuovo Garfagnana, another pretty medieval village. There is a market and you shall visit a few local stores with many local products.
  • Lunch with the locals or at La Mezzaluna.
  • Today's lesson is pizza! You will be shown the various techniques of making pizza in a log oven and traditional oven.

Day 6

  • After breakfast your host suggests a visit to the little village of Sommocolonia, an ancient hill town with incredible views. It was the home of Rita' parents before they emigrated to Scotland, and she has such fond memories that she would like to share with you.
  • You will then visit the vineyard "Concori." You will walk the vineyard and learn about making wine, followed by wine tasting and lunch.
  • At 16:00 you may have a 45-minute basic Italian conversational lesson with Alessia, or if you prefer, an afternoon to relax.
  • Dinner at La Mezzaluna.

Day 7

  • After breakfast you will visit many areas of interest in the Garfaganana area - La Grotta del Vento, situated in the center of the Apuan Alps and The Calomini Heritage, a local 18th Centuary.Monastery.
  • You will have an afternoon lesson, mainly vegetarian making savory pies like sformato di patate, sformato di verdura, torta di farro and zuppa di farro.
  • Finish your trip with visiting Alex's winery and hoping that you have had a wonderful experience here at La Mezzaluna!

Day 8

  • After breakfast, transfer to the airport.

Included excursions

  • Explore a vineyard
  • Tour around Pisa, Florence and the Garfagnana area
  • Visit a local flour mill and Bargas local market

Instructors

Rita Lucherini
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.

Location

This retreat will take place in and around the region of Tuscany, Italy.

Barga

At the border of the Garfagnana region, Barga has been recognized as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and has gained recognition by both the Bandiera Aranicone Touring Club (Orange flag touring club), and by the Citt Slow (Slow city) movement. The adopted home of Giovanni Pascoli, Barga, is a medieval village of rare beauty; from its Duomo, to the ancient aqueduct and the museum, which was once home to Giovanni Pascoli.

Castelnuovo Garfagnana

As a medieval center besides the Serchio river, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana historical heart is encircled by a big ancient fortress. It is rich in local artisans and restorers, and it is a place where you can taste the true traditional dishes of Garfagnana. Not to be missed is the path of Ariosto: a beautiful walk leading to the Fortezza di Montalfonso, where views are spectacular.

Lucca

The large circular wall which borders the town is still accessible today. You can walk or cycle there. Once inside the walls, you can visit innumerable churches, surrounded by piazzas, courts, medieval towers, buildings and gardens. Among them is La Cattedrale di San Martino, which is particularly worth a visit. At the heart of the town is via Fillungo, offering numerous shops and small boutiques, rich with typical produce from the area: il buccellato (a sweet Tuscan bread), cured meats, and honey. Finally, theres the Piazza dellAnfiteatro, a famous circular piazza that in ancient times was a marketplace.

Pisa

Pisa is famous all over the world for its Leaning Tower, as well as for the magnificent Piazza dei Miracoli.

Nearby places

  • Barga village, 4 kilometers
  • Lucca city, 36 kilometers
  • Pisa - 1 hour drive

Food

During this culinary vacation, guests will be provided with tasty daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as with wine and soft drinks. You may also do mixed classes with gluten free guests. Kindly send your request to your host.

Things to do (optional)

  • Explore Grotta del Vento (cave of winds) underground karst landscape, and Parco del Levigliese, a park surrounded by the Apuan Alps
  • Get fit at Garfagnana Golf Club and the Il Ciocco Sports Village
  • Visit Lucca Quad and Parco Aventura Selva del Buffardello Adventure Park

What's included

  • 4 45-minute cookery lessons
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Cheese tasting
  • Conversational Italian lesson with language teacher
  • Daily meals with wine and soft drinks
  • Local transfers
  • Transfers to and from airport
  • Trip to Barga, Lucca, Pisa, local market
  • Trip to local vineyard and various places of interest
  • Wine tasting at Alex winery

What's not included

  • Airfare
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned above
  • Optional activities

How to get there

Driving directions from Pisa

Take the motorway (green signs) A12 route north, direction to Genova.

Join the A11 route, direction to Firenze (first exit).

Exit at Lucca Est.

Follow the signs for Castelnuovo Garfagnana.

Continue to the circular road. City walls are on your right.

Keep following Castelnuovo up the Serchio Valley, for about 35 kilometers.

When you come to the sign Welcome to Gallicano, turn right in direction to Barga.

After 1 kilometer, you will arrive in Mologno.

Continue up to the crossroads, turn left and you will see the sign La Mezzaluna or La Luna del West, after about 100 meters.

Arrival by airplane

Please arrive at Pisa International Airport (PSA). La Mezzaluna will pick you up. The pick-up is included in the price.

Arrival by train

Take the train from either Pisa International Airport (PSA), or Pisa Centrale. Pisa Centrale is a 5- minutes taxi ride from the airport, so it is often easier to do this. The train route you need is Pisa - Lucca - Barga - Gallicano. Some trains are direct, but in some cases you will have to change at Lucca.

Airport: Pisa International Airport Airport transfer included: Pisa International Airport No additional charges. 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 on arrival.
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8 days / 7 nights
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Solo travellers

This retreat can accommodate solo travellers.

 

Transport

Transport included from Pisa international airport (PSA).

 

Availability

This holiday is available on other dates on request. Kindly send your inquiry to La Mezzaluna.

 

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