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Discover the famous culinary treasures, the exquisite cuisine and amazing culture of the picturesque Italian towns. Experience the fun of authentic hands-on cooking classes as well as guided sightseeing, shopping tours, great accommodation, and meals in celebrated restaurants. You will have the unique chance to really get to know the land, the people, and the secrets of the authentic Tuscan and Umbrian cooking, wile you enjoy the feeling of the real Italian Dolce Vita.
Villa La Rogaia is an outstanding old Umbrian country house, surrounded by a big garden decorated with sculptures, olive orchards and lavender fields. It is situated near Lake Trasimeno - between Rome and Florence - and it is the perfect spot for those who seek absolute silence. The surrounding landscape is a tapestry of olive groves, sheep pastures, woods, sunflower fields, punctuated with cypress and ancient stone oaks, the hills are laced with golden hues in the mild autumn, warmed by the scent of chestnut fires throughout the valleys.
Master craftsmen known for their artistic flair within an ancient tradition have restored all buildings at Villa La Rogaia. Outstanding art works in marble and other stoneworks by the sculptor Wolfgang Sandt give this holiday home a very special touch. A large flower garden and sculpture park surround the buildings and a pool close to the house offers refreshment on hot summer days. All apartments have private terraces and tranquil gardens to enjoy. You will stay in individually crafted double or single rooms or in holiday apartments. Three holiday apartments are situated in the main house and there are two more apartments in a small house. Single rooms for 2 or 3 persons are available, they have a shared bathroom, kitchen, and a living room. Double rooms for 3 to 4 persons are also available, they have a shared bathroom, kitchen and a living room. Those who want privacy can stay in a private apartment, for 1 or 2 persons, with a bathroom, kitchenette, and a terrace.
You will start the culinary week with a dinner at a typical Umbrian restaurant, where you will get to know each other and Mamma Ornella, during a lush meal with local wine. You will get a first impression of the culinary delicacies and the Italian Dolce Vita awaiting you during the week to come.
Enjoy a full day guided tour to southern Tuscany. You will drive through the famous Crete landscape and the picturesque Val d'Orcia, where you will visit Bagno Vignoni and Pienza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will have lunch and dinner in traditional Tuscan restaurants.
In the morning, you will discover the beauty of Lake Trasimeno, the biggest Italian lake. You will also visit a renowned winery at Magione and enjoy a rustic lunch or picnic. In the afternoon, you will have your first cooking class with Mamma Ornella.
After breakfast, you will explore Assisi, Umbria's spiritual capital, enjoying the special atmosphere of the hometown of Saint Francis. You will have the possibility to visit the hermitage of Saint Francis nestled in the slopes of Mount Subasio overlooking the town, a truly magical place. In the afternoon, you will have your second cooking class with Ornella.
You will enjoy a full day trip to the Upper Tiber Valley, one of Italy's most important truffle regions. In the morning, you will accompany a truffle hunter and his dog for a truffle hunt. After the truffle hunt, you will be part of a truffle tasting lunch. In the afternoon, you will see some of the finest works of art in Città di Castello and its surroundings. In the evening, on the way back to Villa La Rogaia, you will have dinner at a traditional restaurant.
In the morning you will go to Perugia, Umbria's capital, for a guided shopping tour. According to the group's preferences, you will either go for food and wine or for fashion accessories and interior design. In the afternoon, Mamma Ornella will surprise you with more of her delicious recipes.
If you choose to visit Villa la Rogaia in spring, you will go for a little walk around La Rogaia to find herbs, wild vegetables, and asparagus. You will learn how to use them in the kitchen, the way people in the Italian countryside have done for centuries. If you choose to visit Villa la Rogaia in the autumn culinary week, you will participate in the olive harvest and an olive oil tasting. In the afternoon, you will have your last cooking lesson with Ornella.
After breakfast, it will be time for departure.
La Rogaia is situated amidst woods and meadows. It lies only four kilometers away from the quaint village of Castel Rigone, reached on a country road by car, mountain bike or foot. La Rogaia is situated in the hills above Lake Trasimeno, surrounded by olive groves, pastures and woods, far away from traffic noise and pollution. The cities and hill towns of Umbria are landmarks of European culture. Towns such as Perugia, Assisi, Panicale or Citta di Castello offer the flair of the Italian way of life, sightseeing and cultural highlights from the Etruscans to the Arte povera, from the renaissance painter Piero della Francesca to the contemporary art of Alberto Burri.
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Umbrian cuisine has its roots in ancient Roman times and has kept its fine simplicity through the centuries. From every restaurant you can enjoy a panoramic view of the green hills of Umbria, with its endless woods and pastures. Whether roasted, cooked or grilled, the original flavor of every food is always complimented by Mediterranean herbs, but never dominated. Vegetables like artichokes, spinach or mushrooms are always present and used fresh, without adding flavors. You cannot miss the famous black truffles from Norcia and Spoleto. This precious delicacy grows in the Umbrian oak woods from November to March. You will also enjoy the touch olive oil in every dish and taste some of the best wines produced by local wineries.
There are a lot of things to do in Umbria. You can get a massage, hike, swim, go shopping, explore the surroundings, learn more about the Italian culture and artists, enjoy the amazing landscapes, taste cheese, wine, and olive oil, visit the local farms and wineries or simply relax by the pool. You will have ample time to take part of any activity that you want. Some of the activities Villa la Rogaia suggests are:
Please let Villa la Rogaia know if you are interested in booking a massage.
You can arrive at Perugia San Francesco d'Assisi - Umbria international airport (PEG).
You can arrive to the train stations of Perugia, Terontola, or Passignano sul Trasimeno and then arrange your transfer to Villa la Rogaia
"We booked and expected a cooking class in nice surroundings. But what we experienced then was much more a treasure chest of culinary highlights from Ornellas repertoire of Umbrian cuisine, accompanied by excellent wines from the region. Also the excursion to the truffle hunt with a tasting of truffle specialties was a great experience. Yet, La Rogaia doesnt mean cooking only. Annette and Wolfgang created, in tedious legwork, an oasis of rest in the idyllic Umbrian landscape. All apartments are generously designed and furnished lovingly. Everywhere you can admire Wolfgangs sculptures that fit harmoniously into the garden. Conclusion: a vacation exceeding all our expectations that makes you wish to come another time."
Villa la Rogaia website, edited
"Annette and her team created a highly relaxed atmosphere in the Umbrian countryside. We were in La Rogaia for a cooking class with Mamma Ornella, a spectacular experience that we can highly recommend. In our free time we explored the surroundings by foot and found many hiking trails. The rest of the time we chilled on the pool, enjoying the clear fresh water. Overall, we can really recommend this holiday; it was a marvelous week."
Villa la Rogaia website, edited
"If you have to cook for your family day in day out, you may ask yourself: is there something like gaining pleasure from cooking? Yes, it is possible. Where? At Villa La Rogaia, the house of Annette and Wolfgang, with Ornella in the kitchen. No, not the Italian film star Ornella Muti but Mamma Ornella. An upbeat, international crew of cooking enthusiasts meets in a picturesque country estate in the hills overlooking Lake Trasimeno and spends an exciting week between culture, Mediterranean cooking, and botany. With Ornellas help, we collected wild asparagus on the meadows surrounding the house. Pleasure with wine, pasta and truffle is guaranteed. Our motley crew quickly forms into a team. The common striving for the ideal menu creates connections across language and generation borders. Ornella becomes the queen of the kitchen and Franco, her husband, becomes the maestro of tagliatelle. Fortunately, Annette directs everything masterfully; translates simultaneously and gives us at any moment advice and assistance. No question remains unanswered. On Thursday, Wolfgang drives us to Citerna, where we meet for a truffle hunt with a truffle hunter and his dog. After the truffle hunt we are inaugurated into the secrets of the truffles and how to prepare them, followed by another highlight, the tasting of different products made of the noble tuber. The farewell dinner with lots of pasta is accompanied by excellent local wines. We really enjoyed this week!"
Villa la Rogaia website, edited
"Being an enthusiastic weekend hobby chef and fan of Italian cuisine, I wanted to get a more profound idea of Italian cooking. The really well created menus and valuable instructions and tips of Ornella and Annette, were very good and exceeded my expectations. I was particularly happy that my wish was fulfilled to make profiteroles and parmigiana. The cooking class, apart of being very instructive, was also a lot of fun. In combination with the Umbrian spring and the interesting truffle hunting and tasting day, this week remains for me an unforgettable memory. Many thanks to Ornella, Annette, Wolfgang and everybody in our group!"
Villa la Rogaia website, edited