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4 Days Niasca Portofino Italy Cooking Vacations

Cooking Vacation in Italy

The project Niasca Portofino has the purpose to restore local traditions, reuse abandoned land, revamp decaying buildings, bootstrap virtuous local businesses, offer high quality and at a reasonable price services and products, make Portofino alive and kicking 12 months a year stretching the peak season, convey the beauty of Portofino and its local products in Italy and abroad. So join a refreshing cooking vacation in Italy that lets you take a peek atsmall mixed farming, quality food manufacturing, food market, and all sorts of courses.


  • Cooking lessons
  • Pizza and pasta making
  • A chance to be involved in the Portofino community
  • Various options for tours and courses
  • Explore cultural Portofino sites
  • 3 nights accommodation


3 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
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There is an apartment composed of 2 bedrooms. Each with private bathroom, a kitchen, and a living area next door. Free Wi-Fi is included.


Day 1

Arrival in Portofino at the Fondaco.

Please note that the Fondaco does not offer parking space. You have to park the car in the town garage and the cost is approximately 21 EUR per day to be paid locally. If the car goes in and out of the garage, they will apply the hour rate of 6 EUR per hour. You are therefore suggested to leave the car in the garage for the entire length of the stay.

Check-in is from 14:00 until 17:00. A welcome drink with snacks will be offered.

Free dinner.

Day 2

Meeting at the Fondaco (right next door to the apartment) at 10:00.

You will head towards the lands with enchanting view from "The Three Lakes" over Portofino.

Enjoy a fresh drink and on the way back, you will be picked up from the aromatic garden the herbs to use during your cooking course.

You will then return to the Fondaco and start the course with the chef.

You will start with the preparation of the pesto, following the antique technique of the Mortar. To follow, you will prepare handmade pasta and the typical Ripieni alla Genovese, that is to say stuffed vegetables to be cooked in the oven.

Lunch will follow, and you will enjoy the Nostralino wine, the lemonade made from the lemons of the Gulf of Tigullio, and mineral water. A dessert will also be served.

The course will last about 4 hours, and the rest of the afternoon will be considered free.

Day 3

You will meet at the Fondaco to enjoy a focaccia and pizza cooking course with your chef. You will experience a true course of flour working with the pizza chef and will enjoy the meal at the end of the preparation.

At lunch, you will be served with the Nostralino wine, the lemonade made from the lemons of the Gulf of Tigullio, and mineral water. A dessert will also be served.

Suggested activity: During the afternoon, you will enjoy a guided visit of Chiavari, an ancient nearby town. The town of Chiavari, fortified in the Middle Ages by Genoa, and more recently, in the 1900s, enlarged by the families of emigrants coming back from America. You will admire the caruggio dritto, the main medieval lane still decorated with marble columns and visit the old shops full of traditions: hand-crafted chairs, candles, embroideries, jewellery, and local food (gelato, focaccia, and cookies). The old town is enriched by a botanic garden, noble villas and many baroque churches, sign of the past wealth of this town. The tour will last 3 hours, including the tour of the local shops and small food tastings. The cost is 165 EUR plus 3 EUR per person for the train ticket to Chiavari.

Day 4

Check-out date.

Suggested activity: Luggage will be held at Fondaco, while you can enjoy a 4-hour excursion by private boat to the area of Tigullio Gulf (including Santa Margherita Ligure, Portofino, San Fruttuoso and Camogli). Please note that the Cinque Terre cannot be reached in a half day excursion. Upon return from the boat tour, you can collect the luggage at the Fondaco. The cost is 604 EUR.


This retreat will take place in Portofino, Italy. The Fondaco is located in the center of Portofino and it is Niasca Portofino's headquarters. From Fondaco, there is a short 10 minute walk uphill to reach the Cultivars, their private lands with panoramic and breathtaking view on the village of Portofino and the bay. On the land, there are specific areas for tastings and demonstrations.


Dinner is always to be considered at your choice; you are welcome to use the kitchen or to visit one of the tasty and excellent restaurants in Portofino. Breakfast in the morning is not served; however, the fully-equipped kitchen includes a selection of marmalades at your disposal.

A taste of Niasca Portofinos wine

Step by step, slowly, each day of the year, through the seasons, the wind, the sun, and the rain, work together to create and modify their grapes, so that at the end of summer, they can pick the fruits and start the creation of what will later become their wine. The procedure is long and delicate, but when the bottle is opened and the scent reaches your nostrils, you do understand that all the patience requested was fully compensated by such a lovely moment. The perfume of the wine, before the taste of it, tells you its story and if you would like to discover part of it, Niasca Portofino will be honored to lead you along the first steps of enology.

After a small walk uphill, you will reach your lands with the vineyards. The agronomist will talk to you about the plant and the grapes, telling you their secrets, and answering all your questions. You will then receive a glass of their two wines (one white and one red) and the sommelier will teach you how to use your senses to understand and to know them. The lesson will be held in the pictoresque and unique location of "The Three Lakes", with enchanting view over Portofino.


Genoese Pesto, created by the enchanting combination of unique local products is used as seasoning for first Ligurian dishes or for tasty aperitifs. Niasca Portofinos pesto is made from the basil that they grow on their grounds, using the antique technique of the mortar. You will walk through the paths that lead to their grounds, with breathtaking view over Portofino from the location called "The Three Lakes".

Here, you will stop for a short break where their basil grows to tell you all about it. Every participant will then receive the necessary ingredients and a mortar, and your chef will guide you in the preparation of pesto. A tasting of pesto will follow from this unique corner over the village, together with either lemonade or a glass of local wine. The excursion lasts about one hour. You are suggested to wear sneakers and comfortable clothes.

Things to do (optional)

Cinque Terre National Park

The National Park of the Cinque Terre is a unique man made environment, shaped since the 10th century by the local farmers: steep terraces covered by vineyards, dry-stone walls, pastel colored buildings. You will walk through narrow lanes, along steep cliffs to enjoy the deep sea, enjoying a glass of local Cinque Terre DOC or Schiaccetr . The tour will last a full day (about 7 hours) to visit three or four of the towns, to enjoy the main view points or to enjoy a boat trip. The cost is 275 EUR.

Genoa, old shops and typical products

Walking tour in the heart of the old Genoa with its narrow lanes and hidden corners, to discover the small old shops making focaccia, bread, pesto, farinata, almond pastries, and many other simple but delicious local products! You will learn also about the local cuisine and the splendor of the ancient Genoa: its noble families use to import and cook with spices, cocoa, coffee from all over the world! The tour will last 3 hours and it will include small tastings of the local products. The cost is 154 EUR. In case guests like, it will be possible to visit also the "Mercato Orientale" (fruit, fish, meat and vegetables market). In this case the tour will last 4 hours. The cost will then be 165 EUR.

Genoa sightseeing

The tour will bring you to admire the main view points of the city, reachable by car or by elevator or funicular, and the main highlights of the medieval city: the cathedral, the doge palace, the house of Christopher Columbus, the ancient port. All these interesting locations will show how unique is this city, built between the high rolling hills and the Mediterranean by wise hands! The tour will last 3 hours. The cost is 154 EUR. For all tours in Genoa, shall you wish to take the elevator at some point of the excursion, the cost of the elevator ride is 1.80 EUR per person to be paid locally.

Genoa the Superb and its history

A walk through the centuries of the Genoese history: from the remains of the ancient city walls, built since the 9th century, to the many Gothic, Romanesque, and Baroque churches, to the facades of high painted buildings, to the cafs housed in old noble buildings. This will be a journey through the life of one of the four Republics of the Mediterranean Sea, Genoa the Superb. The tour will last 3 hours. The cost is154 EUR.

Palmaria and Portovenere Park

The Gulf of La Spezia, called the Poets' Gulf, hides beautiful medieval towns. Portovenere is the most well preserved, with a thick city wall and a fortified castle. It is well protected by an archipelago of three islands: Palmaria, Tino, and Tinetto. You can hike the Island Palmaria (2.5 hour hiking, moderate walk), visit Portovenere and do a boat tour of the islands. The tour will last a full day (about 7 hours) to visit Portovenere, do the optional hike of the island and do (suggested) the private boat trip (about 1 hour). The cost is 275 EUR. If you wish to reserve the boat tour lasting approximately one hour, there is an additional cost of 154 EUR.

Other suggested activities

  • Golf courses
  • Private yoga classes (cost per person is 66 EUR)
  • Suggested activities on days 3 and 4
  • Wine and olive oil tasting on the lands with wonderful view over Portofino (cost per person is 82 EUR)

What's included

  • 3 nights accommodation
  • Cooking classes
  • Guided activities as per itinerary
  • Meals and drinks as per the itinerary
  • VAT

What's not included

  • Airfare
  • Boat trips
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned above
  • Outside excursions
  • Private cars and train tickets
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