Rome is known as the Eternal City, watching the world change over thousands of years and letting its local flavor evolve with the cultures. St. Peter’s Basilica adds dimension to the skyline. The Colosseum is a constant reminder of the city’s history wrapped in elliptical grandeur. Cobbled lanes line the Tiber River creating more walkable charm to the already majestic streets. Boats dock against the walkways and linger in the gentle current, opening bars and restaurants to passersby.
Your private transfer meets you at the airport ready to escort you into the ineffable charm of Rome’s antiquity and indelible flavor. The remainder of the day is yours to get acquainted with the Eternal City. In the neighborhood of Trastevere, you find the small gems of a bygone era strung together with washing line. New cafes set out umbrellas and tables along the ancient cobblestones near Piazza Santa Maria. Mothers push around baby strollers, and artists display their paintings underneath the lingering Roman sunlight. In the evening, you smell the scent of freshly made pasta sweeping through the city. The nearby traditional trattoria, Da Felice, will give you a true sampling of Roman cuisine. Exposed brick burst from the wall and an impressive wine list accompany the succulent flavors of the bucatini all’amatriciana, spaghetti with a hollow center served in a red sauce with pancetta and pecorino cheese.
In the morning, the sunrise casts layers of color across Rome’s rooftops. The light glints off of the white stone of the Roman Forum and showcases the grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica on the opposite side of the city. You can indulge in the flavors of the city with a decadent cappuccino topped with creamy foam. Your guide meets you after breakfast ready to take you out into the majestic city and show you the heritage that belongs to the city, the country, and much of the Western World.
The Pantheon is a true marvel of construction. The temple dates back 2,000 years, constructed in 125 AD. You pass through the bronze doors and cast your eyes on the grandest unreinforced concrete dome ever erected. The structure has a history of reutilization, from having been constructed over Marcus Agrippa’s original base to being appropriated as a church in the Middle Ages. The dome rises to a height of 142 feet above the temple floor. Religious statues fill niches around the ocular gallery. The marbled floors add to the elegant atmosphere. Corinthian columns decorate the open space between statues. The building’s symmetry makes for an inspiring, noticeable harmony.
In the evening, you will revel in the tastes of a restaurant renowned for its pasta, such as Flavio al Velavevodetto. The Cacio e Pepe is a perfect balance of salt and spice, with hot tonarrelli pasta tossed in a paste of Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano Reggiano, before being dashed with coarse black pepper.
The morning washes over Rome with bright light and brilliant blue sky. At breakfast, you sip a freshly brewed espresso and indulge in the earthy bitterness of the dark roast. You make your way to the train station and board a luxury car to the town of Trevi, located in the soulful region of Umbria. Umbria maintains the heart of Italy, historically removed from outside influences such as the coastline or the country borders. Medieval towns continue to stand untouched atop rolling hills. Wildflowers grow in gentle meadows at the base of the foothills around Monti Sibillini National Park.
You find the ancient town of Trevi on the lower foothills of Mount Serano with a wide view of the plains and meandering waters of the Clitunno River. The city rises against the foothill slopes to create an enchanting atmosphere. Narrow streets wind around buildings both dating back to the Middle Ages. The cathedral of Saint Emiliano has a Romanesque edifice and a glowing interior dating back to the 18th century. Corbels jut out from the walls with detailed artistry and aplomb resembling lions. The doors are elegantly carved and adorned with a statue of the Saint Emiliano gracing those that enter. Enjoy the comforts of your hotel located in a charming piazza and nestled in a lavish historic building, giving you a taste of medieval luxury in modern Italy.
The church bells peal in morning light. You can look out your window and see the draping greenery surrounding the city built on the hill. Church towers rise off of the cobbled streets and sink with the terrain. The aroma of ferns lingers around the verdant trees. Enjoy a lavish breakfast buffet filled with the traditional flavors of Umbria before starting your day.
After breakfast, you meet your guide who takes you to your cooking course inside the remarkable city. The anticipation makes your mouth water. You are ready to make a classic Umbrian dish and see which wine your sommelier pairs with the flavors to come. Your chef guides you through the ingredients, showcasing the eggs and flour to make the handmade pasta, along with a bushel of asparagus. Strangozzi is thick pasta served with wild asparagus and bursting with seasonal flavor. The past is a perfect start to your classic lunch. The kitchen blossoms with the aromatics of cooked asparagus and boiled chestnuts. You taste the luscious dish paired with a glass of Friulano, a medium-bodied wine with pear notes with a zesty finish and slight almond edge. Following your meal, you make your way to the Olive Oil Mill for a unique and tasty sampling of bruschetta.
The lush greenery surrounding Trevi turns emerald in the morning light. The main square of Piazza Mazzini fills with locals grabbing an espresso and a brioche or just reading the paper underneath the blue sky. The city walls brace the upper levels of the city and offer a view of the mountains at the far end of the valley.
After breakfast, you return to the kitchen for your second cooking class eager to meet the vendors and food purveyors around town. Your guide takes you through the harmonious morning routine, visiting the baker for loaves of bread, the cheese monger for specific cheese such as Pecorino. The vendors greet you with a wide smile. The bakery has an enticing aroma of fresh brioche emanating from the display case. The cheese monger delights in explaining the various flavors and textures of the cheeses he keeps in his shop. At the butcher shop, you can sample the fennel-rich sausage for which Umbria is known.
After your exploration of the city, you follow your chef to the kitchen to create a number of new treats. Chef pours half a bottle of wine over a chicken and begins to slow cook the meat. The aromas emanating from the stove are vibrant and intoxicating, filled with herbaceous rosemary and earthy mushrooms. When the chicken is ready, you can hardly wait to dig into the sumptuous dish.
Just after sunrise, a layer of mist blankets the countryside around Trevi. The sun rises and burns away the sheet of moisture leaving a mild blanket of dew across the verdant fields. The scent of lush greenery encompasses the city. After breakfast, your private chef and guide meet you at the hotel for your final course in Umbrian style cuisine. So far you have sampled the light and decadent flavors involved in classic Italian dishes.
Once in the kitchen, you find the delightful scent of simmering garlic already in the air. Your chef pulls out a small mass you recognize, a black truffle. Your chef explains that black truffles are common around the town of Norcia, near Perugia, often growing near oak and hazelnut trees. It is impossible not to bet excited at the prospect of using the decadent and rare ingredient that could amplify flavors when both raw and heated. Before mixing the ingredients, the chef whips up an easy frittata, whisking eggs and milk together before pouring it into a pan with minced garlic. The eggs fluff up quickly. The chef places the eggs onto a plate and gently shaves the black truffle over the dish for you to try, bringing elegance and a superior earthy flavor to something so simple.
The Tuscan countryside offers a tranquil morning, filled with lush rolling hills around your charming historic villa. Enjoy the delightful offerings of a buffet breakfast before venturing into the majestic Renaissance city of Florence. Locals and visitors pour through the city along the ancient cobbled streets. The Ponte Vecchio arches over the Arno River line with gold and silversmiths. The river gently rushes underneath the last remaining Roman-built bridge in the city.
Walk along the water and reach the long, thin square connecting the Uffizi Gallery to Piazza Signoria. The gallery was constructed in the 16th century for Cosimo de’Medici, who wished to bring the official city offices under a single roof. Today the museum houses some of the most famous art of the Italian Renaissance. Marble lines the lengthy halls and galleries. Gold trim brings an extra shimmer to the naturally light rooms. You can find Botticelli’s the Allegory of Spring displayed in rooms 10-14. Botticelli painted the work in the 15th century and depicts mythological figures in a blossoming orange grove. Venus stands at the center in an arch made from a composition of sky and leaves. She stands out as the most colorful with a red cloak draping over her shoulder to around her waist.
For an afternoon snack, you can wander down the quieter Via dei Tavolini for the creamy and bright gelato at Perché No.
The morning light spreads across the Tuscan hillside and brings a golden sheen to the landscape. In Florence, the light encompasses the brick red hues of the Duomo’s dome, constructed by Brunelleschi in the 15th century. At breakfast, you revel in the aroma of a fresh espresso letting the slightly bitter flavor coat your tongue. A buffet breakfast offers a collection of Tuscan delights, from brioche baked earlier that morning to savory prosciutto cured nearby.
After your meal, your private transfer meets you at the hotel ready to escort you to the airport. You have explored the culinary expertise of Italy and found the beautiful flavors in simple and elaborate dishes, showcasing the value of each ingredient no matter the size.
When you think of Italy, you can’t help but think of fresh pasta and mouthwatering sauce. On this 8-day Italy tour of private cooking courses, wine, and olive oil tasting tour, you will spend time in the traditional region of Umbria to explore more than just the medieval towns. The majesty of the countryside and the culture of the people lie as much in the museums as in the food they eat. Savor the aroma of garlic and rosemary. Indulge in a taste of black truffle. Follow in the footsteps of a chef and learn the treasured art of eating in Italy.
Your culinary discovery tour begins with your arrival in Rome, the enigmatic capital of Italy. The historic streets have seen Roman warriors and gladiators, Renaissance artists and popular 1960s movie stars. Your private transfer meets you at the airport and escorts you to a marvelous hotel located near the city center. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore the piazzas and streets at your own pace.
The next day, your guide meets you at the hotel and takes you on a private walking tour of the city to see the marvelous artwork and culture scattered around Rome. That evening you revel in a local restaurant celebrated for its indulgent pasta. The following day, you make your way to Trevi, a small medieval town located in the region of Umbria, the known heart of Italy. Spend time with a chef learning the intricacies of Umbrian and Italian cuisine. Each dish you prepare comes with a local wine chosen by a sommelier. After your cooking course, you make your way to an olive mill for a delightful sampling of bruschetta.
Once again, your chef meets you at the hotel. This time, you travel around the city to meet with the local purveyors from whom he gets ingredients. Soon after, you are in the kitchen preparing delectable Umbrian dishes paired with select local wines. For your final cooking course, take in the bold and coveted flavors of black truffle and see how the single ingredient can be both delicate and bold.
Next, board the luxury train car and travel northbound to Florence in Tuscany. The following morning, you venture into the city for a vibrant exploration of the Renaissance city, enjoying the open-air museum of the city streets and the actual museums such as the Uffizi Gallery and The Accademia. On your final morning, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to the Florence Airport for your flight home.
$4795 per person (excluding international flights)
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