7 Days Tuscany Wine Tours & Cooking Holidays in Italy

  • Palazzo del Duca, Via del Borgo, 77 Tavernelle, 54016 Licciana Nardi, Tuscany, Italy

Overview

Culinary Tours in Italy

The scents of wine, landscape, and wine growers' personal stories of the wine farmers are essential elements of this trip. You'll experience an emotional discovery, passing from curiosity to knowledge. Our goal is for you to have a myriad of unforgettable moments, fully immersing you in the Italian way of life. Your teachers will reveal the secrets of the Tuscan culinary world that only experts born and bred in Italy know. Learn how to prepare a simple sauce for your pasta, a Tuscan soup, how to match the right wine with the food, and more. All this in a magical atmosphere!

Highlights

  • 2 hands-on cooking classes
  • 2 wine tastings during cooking class
  • 2 winery tours, 2 wine tastings in 5 Terre
  • Pecorino cheese making tour in Tavernelle
  • 6 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • 4 days with instruction
  • German, Italian, English
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Palazzo del Duca, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

Palazzo del Duca was the residence of Este Family during the dukedom period of Modena and Reggio (1598 - 1796). The eagle in the coat of arms on the main door of the mansion is its evidence. Palazzo del Duca is situated in the lovely 13th century village of Tavernelle along the old Via del Sale (Salt Road). Recently restored and refurbished, the palace has its original features, like spacious living areas and terracotta floors, local sandstone portals and doors and stunning vaults.

At Palazzo del Ducas disposal is a large 800 square meter internal garden where an in ground 4 by 8 meter swimming pool has recently been realized. Palazzo del Duca consists of 5 apartments and 1 double bedroom. Each apartment is independent from each other with its own kitchen and heating. Each bedroom of Palazzo del Duca has its own bathroom. Each apartment has its own charming style.

For example the Templari apartment on the ground floor retains some of the original kitchen facilities while Luni apartment is reminiscent of a New York loft apartment. The apartments can be rented together allowing the stay of 8 - 12 - 18 persons. Also ideal location for weddings, family meetings and events in fact the whole palace may be rented to a maximum of 26 people. It also boasts a wonderful ancient staircase and in one bedroom there is even a fireplace, a 'must' for all the ancient Dukes of the past.

In addition to the rich history of the Palazzo are a few details that will make your stay even more interesting. Guests are welcome to use or share one of the kitchens on the floor that they are occupying. Every morning, the baker brings his freshly baked bread in the piazzetta, close to the garden entrance, which is very convenient. Every Monday afternoon, a foodie van visits the Palazzo with a variety of goods from vegtables and fruits to Parma ham and cheese. He stays as long as he has customers to serve.

During Wednesday mornings, a big van stops in front of the bar / restaurant with a wide selection of fresh fruits and vegetables that you can purchase for your personal cooking needs. Similarly, during Fridays, another van visits the Palazzo with fresh fish that guests will surely enjoy. Palazzo del Duca offers not only comfortable and luxurious accommodations but also provides guests with the opportunity to sample local products from local suppliers.

Day 1: Arrival, welcome dinner

  • Sunday
  • Check-in starts at 2:00 p.m.
  • If weather permits, you will be welcomed by a party at the pool with various tastes of traditional Tuscan dishes.

Day 2: Excursion, cheese tour, free time

  • Monday
  • In the morning, you will have a guided walk through the village and visit to the local cheese producer.
  • You will learn how to make fresh ricotta cheese or pecorino cheese from the producers themselves.
  • Your afternoon is free at your leisure.

Day 3: Winery visits, wine tasting, excursion

  • Tuesday
  • You will have a one day wine tour in Cinque Terre.
  • Ground transportation by company's car for up to 3 people.
  • Visit of the 2 wineries with wine tasting of the first winery on the spot.
  • The history of the towns, territory, and products will be discussed on your way to the wineries.
  • Proceed for a Walk through Manarola, one of the fishing villages.
  • Light lunch in a local seafood restaurant with a set menu and wine tasting of the second winery.
  • Proceed for a walk through the Marina of Manarola to appreciate the best view of the town and the coastline.
  • Back to the palazzo

Day 4: Cooking class, wine tasting

  • Wednesday
  • Hands on cooking class with final meal prepared for all students and friends.
  • Just before the meal, the sommelier will give you some information about wine and wine tasting.

Day 5: Free day

  • Thursday
  • Free day - or on request, if the beekeeper living in the village is available, visit of the beehives and learn how to make honey - the local honey has a DOP certification, meaning of top quality food.

Day 6: Cooking class, wine tasting

  • Friday
  • Hands on cooking class with final meal prepared for all students and friends.
  • Just before the meal the sommelier will give you some information about wine and wine tasting.
  • Farewell dinner.

Day 7: Departure

  • Saturday
  • Departure in the morning

Lunigiana derives its name from the Roman colony of Luni, founded by the Romans in 177 BC at the mouth of the river Magra, so rich and dazzling marble to mislead the Normans, who mistook it for Rome. Lunigiana is a small region rich in history, which looks like a veritable kaleidoscope of lights, colors, pictures and lush scenery.

Today, along the territory of Lunigiana, you can find the trace of the Via Francigena, a major road travelled by pilgrims and merchants who were pushed from northern Europe to Rome. In the ninth century, the street took its current name to mark the domination of the Franks. Along the way, over the centuries were founded monasteries and abbeys, to emphasize the nature of spiritual in that path. It was declared in 1994 Cultural Route of the Council of Europe.

Lunigiana is a land still untouched and waiting to be discovered. It offers the tourists a gentle and relaxing environment with hills covered with lush green forests and fish-filled streams in clear waters. Each of the 14 towns of the land has its own attractions: museums, hot springs, sports facilities, large complex underground limestone, ski, places for hiking, and horseback. Add to that the folklore, traditions, gastronomy and local crafts, which never cease to amaze.

Even the culinary traditions of Lunigiana have its importance. A remarkable variety of elaborate dishes from a few simple ingredients and for the demanding fragrant mushrooms picked in the woods of Lunigiana. There are vegetables that become delicious pies and chestnut flour can even show up in a whole menu. This is Lunigiana, the land of the moon.

This Italian cookery and wine holiday is perfectly located to explore this beautiful part of undiscovered northern Tuscany. You are a within 1.5 hours of many Italian major cities; Florence, Genova, Pisa, and Milan. Beaches and the coast are just 30 minutes away by car, or you can take a train from nearby La Spezia along the coast or Aulla (15 km from the property), to visit the 5 villages that make up Cinque Terre.

The nearest shops and grocery stores are about 6 kilometers away. The hamlet of Tavernelle is very small but there is a good family run restaurant a short walk from the palazzo. Your hosts will give you lots of information on what activities are on offer in the local area such as the local markets, restaurants, walking, and more. It is recommended to have a car to fully explore the area and there are many scenic drives throughout the region.

You will not run out of things to do and places to visit in Tavernelle. Some of the attractions include a pecorino cheese and fresh ricotta cheese producer, a beekeeper where you can buy the quite known Lunigiana Honey the first DOP Honey in Italy, a butcher with local meat (availability: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday at 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Friday, Saturday in the morning and in the afternoon at 4:00 - 7:30 p.m.), and there are numerous amazing restaurants and bars in the area with lunch and dinner at 12:00 - 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 - 9:00 p.m respectively.

Driving directions from Milan

  • Take Highway A1 towards Parma
  • Take the exit A15 to Parma ovest / La Spezia / E31
  • Take the exit to Aulla.
  • Follow signs to Licciana Nardi
  • In Licciana Nardi, follow signs towards Passo del Lagastrello
  • After approximately 7 kilometers you will find the village of Tavernelle
  • Turn left at the bar Il Capriolo and park the car.
  • Directly ahead you will see the sign Via del Borgo
  • Turn left into Via del Borgo and Palazzo del Duca is located a short step away on the left at n.77

Driving directions from Rome

  • Take Highway A1/E35/E45 in the direction of Florence
  • At Firenze Nord take the exit for Pisa Nord/Genova A12/E80
  • Continue in the direction of Parma and after 8 kilometers take the exit for Aulla.
  • Proceed toward the centre of Aulla and follow the signs to Licciana Nardi
  • In Licciana Nardi follow signs towards Passo del Lagastrello
  • After approximately 7 kilometers you will find the village of Tavernelle
  • Turn left at the bar Il Capriolo and park the car.
  • Directly ahead you will see the sign Via del Borgo
  • Turn left into Via del Borgo and Palazzo del Duca is located a short step away on the left at n.77
For information about the booking conditions, please send Palazzo del Duca an inquiry.

Testimonials

  • Review by a traveler from California, USA

    "We stayed at Palazzo del Duca as a part of the cooking and wine touring option. We traveled with friends and shared the Malaspina apartment, which was spacious and comfortable. The kitchen was well equipped, bathrooms nice and beds comfortable. It had a huge dining table that could seat 12, if we wanted to throw a big party, and a large living room! Both cooking classes were good and loved getting our hands all floured up with making the pasta and other local dishes, such as torta d'erbe and chestnut flour cakes. Our host Francesco took us touring to a couple of wineries in the Cinque Terre with a wonderful lunch at a restaurant in Manarola. We also enjoyed an informative visit with the local beekeeper and happened upon the annual horse festival in Comano, which was a great slice of local, rural culture. The village is very small with only a bar/restaurant, but loved getting away from the hustle of larger Italian cities. And it was great that we could walk out the door and go three or four different directions on well marked trails thru the hills and tiny villages. Meals at Casa Turchetti and Montagna Verde were also very good, especially Montagna Verde! The local winery, Casteldelpiano is also a gem to visit."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from Reading, United Kingdom

    "Here once more, this time in the Depandance apartment which is ideal for two, especially as it has its own seating area with table and chairs overlooking the pool and gardens. People have written elsewhere about the background and history and so all I can add here is to reinforce the positive views about the location, apartments and most importantly, the owners, Mirella and Francesco, plus Pat. They are so genuine and helpful and want to help you enjoy your stay more so tap them for information. Both Francesco and Pat are very knowledgeable in all wine matters! Ideal for an informal stay in the area. Will be returning. Each time we visit we find somewhere new to explore. This area has so much to offer, sea, walks, mountains, wine, food, medieval villages, and others. It is underrated area and difficult to find information in standard guidebooks. Try Pontremoli, Filetto, Bagnone, Villafranca, Equi-terme, the lakes, Cinque Terre, Viareggio, Lerici! Will again be recommending to all I know!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Kacy F.

    "I've been fortunate to spend many summers of my life in different areas of Tuscany and being at the Palazzo in Tavernelle offers something I have yet to experience anywhere else in Italy. The Palazzo itself is an incredible restored palace, beautifully furnished and very comfortable. When you leave the palace you find yourself in a village with winding stone streets that take you back to a different time. Every morning you can get up and see the sheep being walked up the mountain to graze and a lady in town makes cheese from their milk which you can try(highly recommend). From Tavernelle, you can hike or drive to other villages with more castles, places for food, and views than you can possible see on one trip. If you want to experience real Italy where you aren't surrounded by a sea of tourists this is a great area to be. The Palazzo and the surrounding areas are enough of a reason to come visit but what really makes staying at the Palazzo a truly incredible experience are the wonderful hosts, Mirella and Francesco. The last time I visited I was able to do a cooking class and a wine tasting with Mirella and Francesco. Mirella is an incredible cook and taught us to make bruschetta, homemade ravioli(no pasta machine necessary- the best ravioli I've ever had), sgabei and so many different foods that were perfectly accompaniments to the wines Francesco expertly introduced. You truly get the farm to table experience, all of their food is locally sourced and the fresh, local ingredients as well as the love they put into making the food really make the difference, some of the best meals I've ever had were at the Palazzo! They are hosts that will go to great ends to ensure that you are having a great Italian experience, they also took us on a tour of the Cinque Terre wine coop as well as a seafood lunch with wine tasting at one of Francesco's friends Cinque Terre vineyard and restaurant, it was one of my best days in Italy. I really cannot say enough about my time at the Palazzo, I cannot wait for a time to go back! Once you go there, it's the only place you'll want to go back to in Italy!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from Virginia, USA

    "Stayed here with a large group of friends. It was wonderful. Divided into separate apartments means private baths for all and several well-appointed kitchens. One large room on the second floor served as a sitting and dining room for our large group. Outdoors was lovely, too. The hosts were very kind and friendly. We had the hostess prepare two evening meals for us which were just superb. The best bruschetta I have ever eaten, as an example. There is a pub and restaurant less than a block away that was very good and very reasonable in price. It is in an isolated location but it worked out well."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from USA

    "I stayed here with a large group of friends. It was wonderful. Divided into separate apartments, means private baths for all and several well-appointed kitchens. One large room on the second floor served as a sitting and dining room for our large group. Outdoors was lovely, too. The hosts were very kind and friendly. We had the hostess prepare two evening meals for us which were just superb. The best bruschetta I have ever eaten, as an example. There is a pub and restaurant less than a block away that was very good and very reasonable in price. It is in an isolated location but it worked out well."

    Trip Advisor website, edited

  • Review by Federico from Massachusetts, USA

    "As we arrived at the small "Borgo" which is home to the Palazzo, we were magically transported back to the Middle Ages. An old woman came down the small cobblestone road with a huge hay stack balanced on her head. It was the start of a very wonderful experience in a magical place.Mirella and Francesco were incredibly gracious hosts and the apartments were comfortable and spotless. Francesco's passion is wine and he shared some vintages with us that I still remember very fondly to this day. The food, location, views and hospitality are all first rate. We will definitely return for another stay."

    Trip Advisor website, edited

  • Review by Gerard from Zurich, Switzerland

    "We had a super time! The owners are super friendly. Rooms are huge, clean, and have lots of space. Library has WiFi too! Cooking class was great fun. Pool is clean. Only 30 minutes away from the beach. Porto Venere was awesome. We will try to go back next year again. The towns will make you feel like going back in time. Hotel walls are like 6 feet thick, fire place burning while having dinner, it is just beautiful. Like in a castle."

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  • Review by Wendy from Reading, United Kingdom

    "This is our third time here (staying for a week each time over the past 4/5 yrs) and our first as a couple. This is a beautiful location and ideal for walking and travelling around. The Palazzo has many apartments and our first time was when it was just opened so we have seen all the apartments - our favorite is Luni, a contemporary apartment on the second floor with lots of space and a huge kitchen which is quite well equipped. The best about the Palazzo though are the owners, Mirella and Francesco. They make you feel very welcome and special.They always seem on hand to offer advice from where to go to restaurants and food. Often Mirella will cook for the guests which make it seem like one big house party. We have never been disappointed with the food, wine, or the company. It's great how language barriers fade away with good wine and company. This is a very special place and whilst we love to try and visit different places we somehow manage to spend some time in Tavernelle. Highly recommended wine tasting in Cinque Terre with Francesco and Mirella's cookery lessons. Bravo!"

    Trip Advisor website, edited

We offer rental accommodations in Tuscany, cooking and wine weeks including day tours in the most beautiful and known places in Tuscany.

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7 days / 6 nights

Special discount

Pupils can bring a non-participating partner sharing the bedroom free of charge. They are eligible for a special discount of 20% if their partner participated on the wine course during the stay.

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