Casa Innocenti Cooking Course Vacations (One week & Half week)
*Note: the half-week itinerary is for the first half of the week including 2 hands-on cooking courses and 2 guided excursions.
The one-week trip includes:
¨ 6 nights in Arcidosso, near Siena, in a picturesque medieval home next to a 12th century castle. The house is beautifully furnished with antique furniture.
¨ All meals as indicated in the itinerary.
¨ Small groups: 4 to 8 people.
¨ 5 hands-on cooking courses in “La Cucina Povera Toscana” – Tuscan country cooking.
¨ Visit to winery with wine tasting in Montalcino.
¨ 5 guided excursions to the enchanting towns of Mount Amiata; Pitigliano, Sovana, Sorano (the Etruscan towns); Montalcino (famous for its grape vineyards that produce the celebrated Brunello wine), Pienza; Siena; and Castiglione della Pescaia (a fishing village on the seacoast).
¨ All transportation (to and from Rome or Florence).
WHERE YOU WILL STAY: Arcidosso (Province of Grosseto) – Small Medieval village on the slopes of Monte Amiata, the highest mountain in southern Tuscany that once was worshipped by the Etruscans. Located one hour away from the coast, 45 minutes from Siena, one and half hours from Florence, and two and a half hours north of Rome.
WHERE YOU WILL SLEEP: “Casa Innocenti”, a medieval house, the highest of the village, next to the village Castle (12th century AD). The house features 4 floors, 20 rooms, a wine cellar, and a garden.
COOKING COURSES: Carlo Innocenti, the owner of the house, teaches the cooking classes. Carlo is quite a celebrity in Arcidosso and the surrounding area for his entrepreneurial endeavors and creativity. He is an experienced cook. In the past, he managed and was the head chef of the 1st class cafe restaurant, Harry’s Bar in Punta Ala, an upscale beach resort in the south of Tuscany. He also owned a restaurant in his own house in Arcidosso, and has conducted cooking courses in Basilea, Switzerland. The guests can learn genuine Southern Tuscan dishes. All classes are hands-on and include local wine. The courses are taught in a large rustic kitchen and dinner is served in the newly renovated dining room.
EXCURSIONS: 5 excursions to the nearby villages of Mount Amiata and Pitigliano, Sovana, Sorano; Montalcino, Pienza; Siena; and the lovely seaside village of Castiglione della Pescaia. All trips include lunch in local restaurants that feature specialties of the region.
* We would like to emphasize that we are quite flexible with regard to the itinerary and the excursions. Carlo sometimes switches the days for different excursions and sometimes, based on local events and activities, new excursions (not mentioned above) can be added or even replace the normal schedule. The most important thing is to communicate your specific interests, which will be given priority if possible and in the best interest of the group.
Day 1 – Transfer from Rome or Florence and arrival to Arcidosso
Fly to Italy. Upon arrival at the airport of Rome or Florence, you will be accompanied by car or van to the village of Arcidosso and then welcomed to your vacation home next to the castle. After settling in, your host and chef, Carlo will show you his beautiful home, yours too for a whole week! Then you can either relax in the garden or take a walk through the enchanting streets of Arcidosso. For dinner you will enjoy a Tuscan meal prepared by Carlo.
Day 2 - Montalcino (wine country); Pienza
In the morning, you’ll set off for Montalcino, a town famous for its Sangiovese grape vineyards that produce the celebrated Brunello wine. You will visit the magnificent 14th century Rocca (a fortress) and enjoy yourself wandering around the village and exploring picturesque little shops. Then, your guide will bring you to visit a quaint family owned winery just outside Montalcino. The owners will show you their cellar and explain to you the procedures of how to make wine. You can then have a tasting of the Rosso & Brunello. You will then continue to Pienza, where you will have lunch in a local restaurant and then visit its main square, Piazza Pio II, which is a model of Renaissance planning. This main piazza is so attractive that it was recently used to shoot scenes for the film The English Patient. Evening dinner with cooking course at home.
Day 3 - The Etruscan villages: Pitigliano, Sorano, Sovana
You’ll start off the day by going to Pitigliano. This medieval town built on tufa stones features a fascinating ghetto with its own Synagogue and Jewish cemetery. Then, you’ll continue to Sorano, where you can visit the massive fortress (built by the Orsini family), the rest of the village and have lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch, you will go to Sovana, Pope Gregory VII’s birthplace, visit its country church and the old town square which is surrounded by cafes and little souvenir shops. Once home, you can prepare a healthy Tuscan dinner with Carlo (cooking lesson).
Day 4 - Siena
In the morning, after your breakfast, you’ll set off for Siena. You will visit the famous Piazza del Campo, the main square where the people from Siena (“i senesi”) organize, twice a year, a medieval horse race known as Il Palio. Facing the square there is the beautiful tour Torre del Mangia, where if you wish, you can climb up to the top to admire a marvelous view of the city. You can also visit the Duomo which is a gothic style cathedral. At the end of the morning, you will have lunch in a quaint restaurant in Piazza del Campo. Once home, and after having rested, you can prepare with Carlo a healthy Tuscan dinner (cooking lesson).
Day 5 - Castiglione della Pescaia
Today, you will enjoy a trip to the seacoast to the pretty seaside village of Castiglione della Pescaia. This old fishing village stands up high on a hill with its castle looking over the turquoise bay. You will enjoy a tasty lunch at a local restaurant. In the evening, you will have your cooking class and dinner at Casa Innocenti.
Day 6 - The small towns of Monte Amiata
For your last day, you will have a cooking class starting in the morning: an extraordinary lesson & lunch awaits you! You will learn how to prepare home-made pasta, and the traditional meat sauce (ragu’ toscano) or for vegetarians a fresh and tasty tomato sauce. After lunch, you will have the opportunity to visit the small towns of Monte Amiata: Santa Fiora with its historic center and ancient Parish Church which contains fine terracotta bas-reliefs by Andrea della Robbia (15th century), and La Peschiera, the private gardens and swimming pool of the Sforza family (16th century). You will then go to Abbadia San Salvatore, where you will visit its famous abbey and the crypt built by the Longobards, and finally, on your way home, you’ll take a ride through the enchanting forest of Monte Amiata. In the evening, you will enjoy your farewell dinner at a local restaurant near Arcidosso.
Day 7 - Departure
You can choose to have a final breakfast at the house or at your favorite cafe in Arcidosso before heading back to Rome or Florence.
* On Tuesday or Wednesday you may visit the local market of Arcidosso or that of the nearby village of Castel del Piano.
* During the spring and fall, you may participate to local “Sagre” – food festivals which take place in medieval villages and towns of southern Tuscany.
La Via dei Sensi
TUSCAN WAY'S SEVEN-DAY COOKING COURSE
IMMERSES PARTICIPANTS IN FOODS
AND CULTURE OF SOUTHERN TUSCANY
COCONUT GROVE, FL -- A seven-day cooking course offered by Tuscan Way, a provider of packaged and custom tours to Italian destinations, immerses its participants in the foods and culture of southern Tuscany. One may also purchase a 5 night, 4 night, or 3 night package, or, you may come and visit us for a custom cooking class and dinner on your way to Rome, Florence, or Venice.
Staying at "Casa Innocenti", the picturesque medieval home of the chef and host, Carlo Innocenti, in the small village of Arcidosso, guests are taught "La Cucina Povera", the simple and flavorful style of southern Tuscan dishes. This was the peasant's cuisine -- limited availability of imported food stuffs and an astounding abundance of locally grown organic vegetables, herbs and beef, led to the creativity of Tuscan cooking, which relies on freshness, flavor, and simplicity. The relaxed, informal style of cooking, a glass of local Tuscan wine always within arm's reach, the small group (maximum of eight guests), and the personal attention given by the host, produces a member-of-the-family atmosphere not found in more formal cooking schools.
Carlo Innocenti teaches five hands-on cooking courses throughout the week, hosts a wine-tasting session and leads his guests through local markets, restaurants and vineyards. Four excursions are planned to nearby villages that include Montalcino, known for the Brunello vineyards that produce the celebrated Brunello wine; the pretty seaside village of Castiglione della Pescaia; and Sovana and Pitigliano, with their ancient Jewish ghettos and Etruscan tombs.
Carlo is a man of many resources -- an experienced wrought-iron artisan (many of his works are showcased in the home); past owner of two discotheques and the exclusive Harry's Bar in Punta Ala, southern Tuscany's famous beach resort; teacher of Tuscan cuisine to elite clientele in Switzerland; and photographer and cinematographer for his own documentary production company.
The five-story "Casa Innocenti" dates back to 1100 A.D., is the highest house in the village, and is next door to the village's castle. "La Cantina", the elaborate wine cellar and one of several dining areas, is on the bottom floor; the first floor has a living room, dining room, a large rustic kitchen where the classes are held, patio and garden; floors two through four have bedrooms, bathrooms, living room, private kitchens and a library. Views from the windows take in an entire piazza, the village, castle and Monte Amiata, Tuscany's highest mountain. Ancient terra-cotta floors and wooden beams give rooms traditional Tuscan warmth and furnishings are Italian antiques, artifacts and paintings.
TUSCAN WAY'S ORIGINAL SEVEN-DAY COOKING COURSE
IMMERSES PARTICIPANTS IN FOODS & CULTURE OF SOUTHERN TUSCANY
COCONUT GROVE, FL -- A seven-day cooking course offered by Tuscan Way, a provider of culinary & wine tours to Italian destinations, immerses its participants in the foods and culture of southern Tuscany. A four-day package is also available.
Staying at "Casa Innocenti", the picturesque medieval home of the chef and host, Carlo Innocenti, in the small village of Arcidosso, guests are taught "La Cucina Povera", the simple and flavorful style of southern Tuscan dishes. This was the peasant's cuisine -- centuries of creativity, a love of flavors and herbs, and an abundance of locally produced, organically grown foods led southern Tuscans to explore every imaginable ingredient and recipe combination available. The relaxed, informal style of cooking class, a glass of local Tuscan wine always within arm's reach, the small group (maximum of eight guests), and the personal attention given by the host, produces a member-of-the-family atmosphere not found in more formal schools.
Carlo Innocenti teaches five hands-on cooking courses throughout the week, hosts a wine-tasting session and leads his guests through local markets, restaurants and Tuscan vineyards. Four excursions are planned to nearby villages that include Montalcino, known for the vineyards that produce the celebrated Brunello wine; the pretty seaside village of Castiglione della Pescaia; and Sovana and Pitigliano, with their ancient ghettos and Estrucan tombs.
Reservations, brochures and additional information can be obtained from Tuscan Way, 2829 Bird Avenue, PMB 242, Coconut Grove, FL, 33133; telephone (800) 766-2390 or (305) 598-8368, fax (305) 598-8369, website: <www.tuscanway.com>.