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Immersive Cooking Vacation in Italy

Lecce is often nicknamed the Florence of the South, the Baroque city, famous for its stunning architectural richness and is stately palazzi, cast as precious gems across the winding old town’s lanes. If you are looking for something different, and wish to experience a less well-known part of Italy, Lecce and Apulia region is an amazing place to visit. You’ll get a full immersion in the traditions of the best Italian cuisine, two cooking lessons tailor-made for you, and two exclusive culinary excursions and visits discovering authentic treasures of history, art, culture, nature, that belong to the immense Italian heritage, in short, authentic "goodies."

Meet the instructors

Chef Francesca
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  • Enjoy culinary excursions
  • Cooking classes and wine glasses
  • Wine tasting with traditional and local products
  • Full-day culinary excursions to Otranto or Ostuni, and surroundings
  • Full-day visit to Lecce historical town, discovering the Wonders of the Baroque
  • Certificate of participation after the course
  • Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
  • 3 nights accommodation


3 days with instruction
Group size: Minimum of 2 participants
Airport transfer available:
Brindisi – Salento Airport (US$68 per person)
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Check-in Time:
Check-out Time:

You'll be centrally located in Lecce, steps from Roman Amphitheater and Piazza Sant'Oronzo. Your hotel is within close proximity of Chiesa di San Matteo and Castle of Charles V, located in Lecce’s historical center, near the cathedral.

The cooking classes will take place in the Residenza della Chef, an attic with a large terrace, in the residential area, just a few minutes from the historic center.

The accommodation name will be confimed upon booking.


Day 1 - Arrival

  • Arrival of guests in Lecce, at the hotel, in the afternoon
  • Welcome drink, staff presentation, and introduction to the program and itineraries
  • Dinner on your own, in a typical restaurant recommended by Nenà Al Borgo Castello, with the specialties of the Leccese cuisine
  • After dinner, guided tour Lecce by night, with the glow of the night, the lights and the nightlife, Lecce sheds its skin and becomes one of the most beautiful cities of Italy and vital

Day 2 - Excursion, wine tasting, cooking class

  • Discover Otranto, the Adriatic coast and the surrounding countryside
  • Depart from Lecce after breakfast
  • Arrival at Otranto. Besides its beautiful beaches, Otranto has many other things to offer you: it is definitely one of the most beautiful sea towns of Salento and of Puglia in general
  • It is a very ancient town, which preserves monuments, roads, rocks and a borderline vibe
  • Wine tasting with traditional and local products
  • Transfer to Lecce in the afternoon
  • Cooking class number one in the late afternoon
  • Dinner with the dishes cooked and prepared during the class

Day 3 - Excursion, cooking class

  • Lecce historical center
  • After breakfast, tour “Discovering Lecce and its gems”
  • At lunchtime, don't expect to eat while sitting at the classic restaurant!
  • Walking through the alleys of Lecce, from a highlight to another, you will stop and delight your palate with the most famous and tasty delicacies of Salento (puccia, rustico, friselle, pasticciotto)
  • The tour continues through ancient palaces, baroque churches and a visit to the fascinating shops of the famous local handicrafts: cartapesta (papier-mâché) and pietra leccese
  • Free time for shopping and exploring the surroundings on your own
  • Cooking class number two in the late afternoon
  • Dinner with the dishes cooked and prepared during the class

Day 4 - Departure

This is the end of the program.

Included excursions

  • 1 full-day culinary excursion to Otranto or Ostuni and surroundings, with an English speaking guide, tasting of traditional and local products
  • 1 full-day excursion to Lecce, with an English speaking guide, light lunch in the historical center included


Chef Francesca


Lecce is the ideal base for exploring the Salento region as it’s located between the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, so you can reach all of the peninsula’s sights within 30–60 minutes.

Nearby locations

  • Otranto (40 minutes): A beautiful seaside town overlooking the turquoise sea.
  • Coast North of Otranto (approximately 35 minutes): Some great beaches including Torre dell’Orso and the unique Cave of Poetry swimming hole
  • Gallipoli (35 minutes): Another lovely seaside town with a beach and old olive press to visit
  • Galantina (25 minutes): A small town with a baroque center that’s often overlooked
  • Coriglione d’Otranto (25 minutes): An untouristy town with an interesting medieval castle
  • The nearest beach to Lecce is San Cataldo (12 kilometers), but a better option is the string of beaches north of Porto Cesareo including Torre Lapillo and Punta Prosciutto


This package includes daily breakfast, house wine and beverages, homemade liqueurs tasting, and coffee. Two dinners will also be included (with the dishes cooked and prepared during your classes), house wine and beverages, tasting of the homemade liqueurs, and coffee. House wine, soft drinks, tea, and coffee are freely available.

What will you learn in your cooking classes?

The chef is originally from Lecce but has worked for 20 years in Rome, so she will share with you how to make the traditional specialties of both Roman and Salento cultures, for example, Orecchiette con le cime di rapa (orecchiette with turnip greens), Ciciri e tria (chickpeas with fried pasta), Fae e Foje (a broad bean purée which is flavored with olive oil and served with boiled chicory: a sublime combination of vegetables and legumes), Salentina lasagna, taralli (salt biscuites), fried pizza, and many others.

There are also Pasta alla carbonara, Pasta alla amatriciana, Lasagna Tradizionale, Fettuccine, Gnocchi, Saltimbocca, Tiramisù and so on.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Soda
  • Alcoholic beverages

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

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
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)

There are culinary tours that you can choose.

Winery tour

Salento offers an ideal habitat for a diversity of grape varieties and contributes subtle nuances to the personalities of its various wines (Negramaro, Primitivo, Susumaniello, Verdeca, Fiano). You may visit prestigious cellars, where experts of the houses tell the company's story, the methods of production of wines and talk about the "art of wine" and the "secrets" to produce a great wine! Into the wine cellars among the barrels, enjoy a tasting of high-quality local wines served with delicious local products.

Pecorino cheese, ricotta and cheeses

  • Visit a farm that produces pecorino cheese. The owner will tell and show you how to produce the cheese. Tasting of products and the possibility to eat cheeses.

Extra-virgin olive oil

Visit a traditional olive oil mill, in Italian "Frantoio", where the owner will explain and show us the oil process. Tasting of the extra-virgin olive oil, along with other delicious organic products produced by the farm.


Small and circular, these crackers make for a wonderful snack, especially alongside a glass of Pugliese wine! They are made with flavors like fennel, black peppercorns or poppy seeds or sweet, with white wine and sugar.

What's included

  • 2 cooking classes with wine glasses
  • 1 full-day culinary excursion to Otranto or Ostuni, with tasting of traditional and local products
  • 1 full-day excursion to Lecce, with tasting of the most famous delicacies of Salento
  • Culinary excursions (to be confirmed based on the availability of suppliers, holidays, periods of the year)
  • An English-speaking guide
  • Cooking kit with Nena’s recipe book and Nenà’s apron
  • A certificate of participation in the cooking course after completion
  • House wine, soft drinks, tea, and coffee
  • Daily breakfast, 2 dinners
  • 3 nights’ accommodation

What's not included

  • Airport and car transfers
  • Travel insurance (it is appropriate to take out travel insurance for any risk)

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Brindisi International Airport (BDS) or Bari Palese International Airport (BRI). Transfers from and to these airports are available upon request. Nenà Al Borgo Castello provides a car with a driver upon request.

Arrival by train

You can use Rome-Lecce railway, the Lecce train station is located very close to the center of the town.

Airport: Brindisi – Salento Airport Airport transfer available: Brindisi – Salento Airport (US$68 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
4 days / 3 nights
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Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 2 participants

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