Explore the traditional hill towns of Tuscany on our sumptuous 5-day Italy culinary tour. Based in the charming village of Cortona, walking distance from the lively piazza, we’ll explore the region through its cuisine, and of course, through some of the best wines in Tuscany. You’ll learn to cook an authentic Italian meal, visit local food producers, sip wine at lush, rolling vineyards, and nibble on treats as you explore the delightful hill towns of Montepulciano, Pienza, Siena, and of course, Cortona. Culminating with a traditional truffle hunt and dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant, our Italian culinary vacation is a relaxing getaway on its own, or explore more of Italy by combining it with visits to Florence and Venice.
Your Tuscany Culinary Tour Begins
Welcome to Tuscany, Italy’s rustic, tranquil and historic heartland and home to world class wine and cuisine, lush rolling landscapes, and medieval hill towns. Your culinary tour of Tuscany begins at Florence airport, where our driver will be waiting for you. Our destination today is Cortona, the stunning setting for the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun.”
On our way to Cortona, we’ll visit Siena, arguably Italy’s most beautiful medieval city, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Set on three hills in the Chianti region, Siena is a must-see on any visit to Tuscany. Siena’s heart is its central piazza called Il Campo, which is best known worldwide for the famous Palio di Siena, a horse race run around the piazza twice each summer. We’ll tour the ancient town on foot, stopping at its most renowned bakery to taste the local “Ricciarelli,” a traditional Sienese cookie made from almonds, sugar, and egg whites.
We’ll then transfer to our lovely boutique hotel, walking distance to Cortona’s central piazza. Dinner tonight is at your leisure.
Cooking Class in Tuscany
This morning we’ll walk to the historic center of Cortona for one of the most interesting and traditional cooking classes in Tuscany. We’ll meet Antonella, an eclectic and talented chef who is also a journalist and expert on local culture. Her charming kitchen has a massive fireplace and a view of the ancient alleys and roofs of Cortona. Working with the best seasonal ingredients, Chef Antonella will guide you in the hands-on preparation of an unforgettable meal, from antipasto to dessert, including the local pici pasta with ragù. We’ll then sit down at the large kitchen table for our hearty lunch, paired with the perfect wine. Saluti!
This afternoon we’ll tour local food producers, visiting a greengrocer, a butcher, and a beekeeper. We’ll also visit a family-owned farm in the Chiana Valley, set on over 37 acres of grain, fields of sunflowers, alfalfa and beautiful vineyards. The farm house has been in the same family for four generations. All of their products are made traditionally without preservatives or dyes, including cheese that is made from raw milk and aged from from 15 days to 12 months. Learning the customs and traditions of rural life, we’ll relax at the farm and taste their various products, such as raviggiolo, ricotta and pecorino cheeses paired with Vin Santo (dessert wine), artisan jam, fresh vegetables and fruits, and extra virgin olive oil.
In the late afternoon, just in time for an aperitivo, we’ll head back to Cortona for an ice cream cocktail class. The drinks we prepare will incorporate what is available at the local artisan gelato shop that day. Examples might include a White Lady using gin, triple sec and lemon sorbet, or a strawberry daiquiri using rum, lime juice and strawberry ice cream. Perfect for a late summer afternoon!
Dinner tonight is at your leisure, assuming you still have room!
Visit the Wineries of Tuscany
We’ll spend today exploring the Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and world-famous wine region. We’ll start the day at Braccesca Winery, one of the best wineries in Tuscany, for a tour, tasting and lunch. We’ll explore the vineyards and cellar of this luscious wine estate and then enjoy an exclusive, private tasting of their excellent wines including Syrah and Vino de Nobile, one of the most popular Tuscan wines. We’ll then sit down for a delicious lunch paired with Braccesca wines.
After lunch we’ll stroll the beautiful hill towns of Pienza and Montepulciano, famous for their excellent cheese and wine production. We’ll visit an artisanal cheese workshop in Pienza where you will have the opportunity to taste pecorino di Pienza cheese at different ages. And we’ll end the day at Talosa winery, where we’ll tour the cellar and taste several of their award-winning wines accompanied by local pecorino cheese and bruschetta.
Truffle Hunt & Michelin-Rated Dinner
Our truffle hunt takes place in a “tartufaia” (woodlands where truffles are found) on a family farm and vineyard. Together with our truffle expert and his trained dogs, we stroll through the woods as the dogs sniff out the precious truffles. You’ll even have the chance to handle the truffle dogs directly if you are interested. During the walk, our guide will give you an introduction to the world of Italian truffles, particularly the species of truffles in Tuscany. We’ll learn where and how the truffles are found, how to preserve them properly at home, how they are used in cooking, and what recipes complement them the most. After the hunt, we will head to the farmhouse with our new-found treasure, just in time for lunch al fresco that is paired with the lovely wines that are produced on-site. Our farm-to-table meal includes truffles and other local and seasonal ingredients, such as handmade pasta from flour milled on the premises, local meats and cheeses, and herbs from the garden.
As if you haven’t eaten enough phenomenal Tuscan food this week, our farewell dinner is at the Michelin-starred Il Falconiere, run by award-winning executive chef Silvia Regi Baracchi. This is a meal you may never forget!
Our Tuscany Food & Wine Tour Ends
Our culinary tour of Tuscany is over today, but if you want more, we can deliver! Ask us about our 3-day/2-night Florence extension, which you can enjoy either before or after your Tuscany food and wine tour.
DetailsContact us about this itinerary
- 4 nights boutique hotel in Cortona
- Daily breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 1 dinner (including the lunch prepared in your cooking class)
- Private cooking class with lunch and wine
- Ice cream & sorbet cocktail class
- Winery visit and tasting, with lunch and wine
- Half-day tour of local producers and farms
- Private truffle hunt with lunch and wine
- Siena, Pienza and Montepulciano walking tours and cheese/wine tastings
- Tasting menu at Michelin-starred restaurant (wine not included)
- Sightseeing entrance fees
- Local, bilingual guides
- All private transportation mentioned in the itinerary
- Airport transfers on first/last days of the tour (to/from Florence)
- International airfare
- Mandatory travel medical insurance, including emergency medical evacuation
- Drinks, snacks and remaining meals unless specified