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8 Days Culinary and Wine Tours in Tuscany

Culinary Tours and Wine Tasting Tuscany

This holiday has very different walking tours in Italy, featuring the medieval towns of Siena, Pienza, and the ancient Etruscan heritage of the area. Escorted by your local Tuscan hosts, Ugo and Barbara Mariotti, you will wander along the marvelous forest paths and through the lush meadows, lovely vineyards, and amazing olive groves of Tuscany. Experience the fine food and wine of the region, visit a local market, and absorb the simple beauty of the land and its people.


  • Walking through picturesque Italian towns
  • Wine tastings in San Gimignano and Montalcino
  • Visit a traditional bakery and taste Sienese sweets
  • Hands-on pasta making lesson in a Tuscan farmhouse
  • Farm picnic lunch with wine and olive oil tastings
  • Join locals at their colorful market
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Daily breakfast


5 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: Italian, English
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You will be spending the two nights in Hotel Minerva in Siena, four nights in Pienza, and the last night will be spent in Cortona.


Day 1, Sunday

You will arrive independently at the Hotel Minerva in Siena. This ancient Gothic town is world heritage listed. The Sienese have proudly maintained old traditions including lo struscio, a leisurely evening walk through the winding streets down to the Campo, the beautiful rose-gold square where twice each year they run the palio, a medieval bareback horserace. You will join them for an enchanting stroll through the old streets to the original marketplace before dining on the Campo, the main square of Siena.

Meal plan: dinner.

Day 2, Monday

This morning, you visit San Gimignano, whose famous medieval towers still dominate the skyline. Stroll through the town and in the evocative Piazza della Cisterna, perhaps enjoy one of Sergio Dondoli's award-winning gelatos. You can explore the old fortress, climb one of the towers or view the famous frescoes in the Collegiata. Later, visit the 13th century fortress borgo of Monteriggioni and taste a glass of Vernaccia, the delicious San Gimignano white wine. In the afternoon, tour Siena on foot, stopping at a traditional bakery to try the Sienese cakes and biscuits such as panforte, cavalucci, ricciarelli. Dinner is on your own in Siena. Please ask you tour guide for suggestions.

Meal plan: breakfast.

Day 3, Tuesday

Today, take the back roads to the monastery of Monte Oliveto Maggiore where you will view the fresco cycle begun by Luca Signorelli and finished by Sodoma (Giovanni Bazzi), before doing a circuit walk among the crete, the dramatic clay hills of this area. Visit Buonconvento, a walled town once an important stopping place along the Via Francigena which led pilgrims from all parts of Europe to Rome and Jerusalem. Your home for the next four days will be in Pienza, which was created for Pope Pius II. It has an exquisite cathedral and the fine palazzi, which it is famous for its pecorino cheeses. This evening's dinner will feature dishes based on pecorino and other local specialties.

Meal plan: breakfast and dinner.

Day 4, Wednesday

Pack your swimsuit today for a visit to tiny Bagno Vignoni, and the ancient spa pool used by the Etruscans, the Romans, Santa Caterina, and Lorenzo il Magnifico. You will be doing a 4-hour circuit walk, which includes stop at Poggio al Vento, where the owner Roberto will introduce his Orcia wines and own olive oil. You will taste these during your delicious picnic lunch at the farm. After the walk, you can relax in spa waters before returning home to Pienza. Tonights dinner will be on your own in Pienza.

Meal plan: breakfast and lunch.

Day 5, Thursday

From Montefollonico, take the picturesque walk through the valley to Montepulciano where you join the locals at their colorful market as they buy pecorino cheese, porcini mushrooms, clothing, and tractors. After the walk, there will be time to explore this hilltop town that offers a wide range of handcrafted goods or you may wish to visit one of the many cantinas that offer tastings of the famous red wine of the region, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. You will gather with your group once more for a relaxing afternoon tea at the Art Deco caf Poliziano which has lovely views over the lakes of Montepulciano, Chiusi, and Trasimeno. This caf specializes in fine pastries. Tonights dinner will be on your own in Pienza.

Meal plan: breakfast.

Day 6, Friday

Today, you may wish to shop for a light picnic lunch before transferring to Montalcino, where you will walk through the surrounding countryside to the ancient monastery of SantAntimo. En-route pass by an ancient Etruscan fort recently excavated. The influence of the Etruscans on Tuscany and much of Italy is still felt today. You will find a quiet spot with beautiful views to have your picnic. From SantAntimo return by local bus to Montalcino, where you will explore the town with its impressive fortress La Rocca where you will have a traditional tasting of the famous Brunello wine accompanied by traditional snacks.

Meal plan: breakfast.

Day 7, Saturday

Travelling from Pienza to a local farmhouse, take the opportunity of visiting the ancient church of La Pieve di Corsignano and then SantAnna di Camprena, where the English Patient movie was filmed. Today, you will put on your apron and learn to make the local pasta pici and enjoy the results of your work at a traditional farm lunch. Transfer to Cortona where you might like to spend time at the new Etruscan Museum or do some last minute shopping before sharing a light farewell meal at one of Cortona's most interesting cafes.

Meal plan: breakfast, lunch, and light dinner.

Day 8, Sunday

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Terontola railway station (Cortona) which has direct connections to Rome and other major Italian cities.

Meal plan: breakfast.

Included excursions

  • Explore Montalcino town with its impressive fortress
  • Explore Montefollonico hilltop town
  • Stroll through the old streets of Siena
  • Take the picturesque walk through the valley to Montepulciano
  • Tour Siena on foot stopping at a traditional bakery
  • Visit Bagno Vignoni thermal pool
  • Visit Buonconvento town
  • Visit Cortona town
  • Visit Poggio al Vento farm
  • Visit San Gimignano
  • Visit the 13th century fortress Borgo of Monteriggioni
  • Visit the ancient church of La Pieve di Corsignano and Sant'Anna di Camprena
  • Visit the monastery of Monte Oliveto Maggiore
  • Walk among the hills surrounding Monte Oliveto Maggiore
  • Walk through the countryside of Sant'Antimo


This retreat will take place in Tuscany, Italy.


On this retreat, your palate will be delighted with daily breakfast, a picnic lunch, the meals prepared in your cooking class, and some dinners featuring in fine local specialties. On one day, you will taste the Orcia wine and in another one, you will taste the Brunello wine accompanied by traditional snacks.

Things to do (optional)

  • Explore the old fortress, climb one of the towers or admire famous frescoes in San Gimignano
  • Go shopping for handcrafted goods in Montefollonico
  • Go shopping in Cortona
  • Visit one of the many cantinas that offer wine tastings in Montefollonico
  • Visit the 13th century fortress Borgo of Monteriggioni and taste a glass of Vernaccia wine
  • Visit the new Etruscan Museum in Cortona

What's included

  • 1 cooking lesson in a 16th century Tuscan farmhouse
  • 2 lunches
  • 3 dinners
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Afternoon teas in Siena and Caf Poliziano
  • Aperitif in San Gimignano
  • Daily Italian continental breakfast
  • Fully guided tours
  • Indicated entries
  • Transportation in private vehicle
  • Wine tastings in Bagno Vignoni and Montalcino

What's not included

  • Additional transportation
  • Airfare
  • Extensions
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned above
  • Optional activities
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccinations

How to get there

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Siena - Ampugnano Airport (SAY) or at Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO).

Arrival by train

The nearest train station is Terontola railway station (Cortona).

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