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Italy

Cooking in Tuscany

Program No. 19672RJ
Tuscany: The word conjures images of golden vineyards, nodding sunflowers and artfully prepared meals. Come learn the art of Tuscan cooking on this culinary adventure of a lifetime.
Length
10 days
Rating (5)
Activity Level
Starts at
2,999
Flights start at
900

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Mar 19 - Mar 28, 2023
Starting at
3,449
Apr 16 - Apr 25, 2023
Starting at
4,099
Apr 30 - May 9, 2023
Starting at
4,099
May 8 - May 17, 2023
Starting at
4,099
May 21 - May 30, 2023
Starting at
4,099
May 29 - Jun 7, 2023
Starting at
4,099
Sep 3 - Sep 12, 2023
Starting at
4,099
Sep 11 - Sep 20, 2023
Starting at
4,099
Sep 19 - Sep 28, 2023
Starting at
4,099
Oct 1 - Oct 10, 2023
Starting at
4,099
Oct 9 - Oct 18, 2023
Starting at
4,099
Oct 17 - Oct 26, 2023
Starting at
4,099
Nov 5 - Nov 14, 2023
Starting at
3,449
Nov 13 - Nov 22, 2023
Starting at
3,449
Nov 27 - Dec 6, 2023
Starting at
3,449
Dec 5 - Dec 14, 2023
Starting at
3,049
Jan 16 - Jan 25, 2024
Starting at
2,999
Feb 18 - Feb 27, 2024
Starting at
3,449
Mar 3 - Mar 12, 2024
Starting at
3,449
Mar 11 - Mar 20, 2024
Starting at
3,449
Apr 2 - Apr 11, 2024
Starting at
4,149
Apr 22 - May 1, 2024
Starting at
4,149
May 5 - May 14, 2024
Starting at
4,149
May 21 - May 30, 2024
Starting at
4,149
Sep 1 - Sep 10, 2024
Starting at
4,149
Sep 9 - Sep 18, 2024
Starting at
4,149
Sep 30 - Oct 9, 2024
Starting at
4,149
Oct 8 - Oct 17, 2024
Starting at
4,149
Oct 20 - Oct 29, 2024
Starting at
4,149
Nov 3 - Nov 12, 2024
Starting at
3,449
Nov 11 - Nov 20, 2024
Starting at
3,449
Nov 19 - Nov 28, 2024
Starting at
3,449
Dec 10 - Dec 19, 2024
Starting at
2,999
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Mar 19 - Mar 28, 2023
Starting at
3,989
Apr 16 - Apr 25, 2023
Starting at
4,899
Apr 30 - May 9, 2023
Starting at
4,899
May 8 - May 17, 2023
Starting at
4,899
May 21 - May 30, 2023
Starting at
4,899
May 29 - Jun 7, 2023
Starting at
4,899
Sep 3 - Sep 12, 2023
Starting at
4,899
Sep 11 - Sep 20, 2023
Starting at
4,899
Sep 19 - Sep 28, 2023
Starting at
4,899
Oct 1 - Oct 10, 2023
Starting at
4,899
Oct 9 - Oct 18, 2023
Starting at
4,899
Oct 17 - Oct 26, 2023
Starting at
4,899
Nov 5 - Nov 14, 2023
Starting at
3,989
Nov 13 - Nov 22, 2023
Starting at
3,989
Nov 27 - Dec 6, 2023
Starting at
3,989
Dec 5 - Dec 14, 2023
Starting at
3,559
Jan 16 - Jan 25, 2024
Starting at
3,499
Feb 18 - Feb 27, 2024
Starting at
3,999
Mar 3 - Mar 12, 2024
Starting at
3,999
Mar 11 - Mar 20, 2024
Starting at
3,999
Apr 2 - Apr 11, 2024
Starting at
4,959
Apr 22 - May 1, 2024
Starting at
4,959
May 5 - May 14, 2024
Starting at
4,959
May 21 - May 30, 2024
Starting at
4,959
Sep 1 - Sep 10, 2024
Starting at
4,959
Sep 9 - Sep 18, 2024
Starting at
4,959
Sep 30 - Oct 9, 2024
Starting at
4,959
Oct 8 - Oct 17, 2024
Starting at
4,959
Oct 20 - Oct 29, 2024
Starting at
4,959
Nov 3 - Nov 12, 2024
Starting at
3,999
Nov 11 - Nov 20, 2024
Starting at
3,999
Nov 19 - Nov 28, 2024
Starting at
3,999
Dec 10 - Dec 19, 2024
Starting at
3,499

At a Glance

Experience the best of Tuscan culinary traditions during intimate cooking classes at the International Academy of Italian Cuisine and visits to local markets where you gather ingredients for your lessons, then enjoy the results. Get a first-hand look at artisanal food production as you meet a farmer who makes both sheep- and cow’s-milk cheeses, learn the centuries-old traditions of Lardo di Colonnata and sample wines with a sommelier.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Some walking and standing on flat city sidewalks and even terrain.
Micro Group
Micro Group
These adventures feature our smallest group size, with 12 participants or fewer.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Participate in four hands-on cooking lessons featuring seasonal ingredients.
  • Visit local markets with your chef-instructor to shop for the freshest produce, meat and fish.
  • Travel the region to visit producers of traditional Tuscan staples; olive oil, pasta, wine and cheese.

General Notes

This is a Micro Group program, with 12 or fewer participants. Please note, the schedule of the cooking classes may vary by date.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Gianluca Pardini
Gianluca was born in Italy and began his culinary career at a very young age. By the time he turned 21, he was working in the only Italian restaurant in Orléans, France. Gianluca worked as a gastronomic consultant in Japan before returning to Italy to open his own restaurant in Lucca. Since 1998 Pardini has dedicated himself to teaching the art of Italian cooking at his "International Academy of Italian Cuisine." In 2004, the Italian Cooking Federation awarded Gianluca "Master of Cooking and Executive Chef."

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Gianluca Pardini
Gianluca Pardini View biography
Gianluca was born in Italy and began his culinary career at a very young age. By the time he turned 21, he was working in the only Italian restaurant in Orléans, France. Gianluca worked as a gastronomic consultant in Japan before returning to Italy to open his own restaurant in Lucca. Since 1998 Pardini has dedicated himself to teaching the art of Italian cooking at his "International Academy of Italian Cuisine." In 2004, the Italian Cooking Federation awarded Gianluca "Master of Cooking and Executive Chef."
Profile Image of Belinda Marcucci
Belinda Marcucci View biography
Belinda Marcucci got a diploma as “Tourist Operator and Tour Leader” and she’s been working in the travel industry all her life. Since she worked as travel agent and group organizer for a long time. She has had opportunities to travel both for business and leisure, getting in touch with different cultures and improving her problem-solving skills. Belinda is a licensed tour leader and guide of Lucca, her hometown, and its province. She provides customized expert-led explorations in Italian, English, and Spanish.
Profile Image of Cristina Viti
Cristina Viti View biography
Cristina Viti earned a degree in Modern Literature and Foreign Languages from the University of Pisa. She has been a group leader for Road Scholar programs since 2010. Previously, she served as an event organizer, a travel agent, a professional conference organizer, a press agent, an enograstronomic (wine and food) program manager, and a teacher of marketing. Cristina’s passions include art and history, reading and theater, traveling, meeting people, and cooking.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Most Beautiful Country Towns of Tuscany (Most Beautiful Villages Series)
by James Bentley and Alex Ramsay
In Tuscany
by Frances Mayes
Tuscany: The beautiful cookbook
by Lorenza De'Medici
Cinque Terre
by George Henke
Blue Guide Tuscany (5th edition)
by Alta Macadam
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10 days
9 nights
19 meals
8 B 6 L 5 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Lucca, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Lucca
D
Hotel Palazzo Alexander

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After checking-in at the hotel and getting your room, take some time to freshen up and relax before our Orientation session. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Accommodations will be in the pedestrian-only historical center of Lucca. Pick-ups and drop-offs will be at the bus stop, a 5-minute walk from the hotel. Streets are mostly cobblestones. The cooking school is in Vicopelago, about 2.5 miles (10 minutes by bus) from Lucca. Transportation will be provided primarily by motorcoach, unless specified otherwise. Typical Italian food courses include l’antipasto — literally “before the meal” — a hot or cold appetizer; il primo piatto, the first course, often soup or pasta; il secondo piatto, the second course or main dish; il contorno piatto, a side dish such as vegetables or salad; and il dolce, dessert. Breakfasts will be at the hotel; most lunches and some other meals will be two courses featuring local dishes. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We will gather before dinner for a welcome drink together.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow road scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Lucca, Cooking Class, Academy of Italian Cuisine
Lucca
B,L,D
Hotel Palazzo Alexander

Activity note: Walking about 1 mile throughout the day; cobblestone streets.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will begin our learning adventure with an expert-led walking field trip through Lucca, taking in the atmosphere and seeing architectural legacies predating the Roman Empire all the way to the Renaissance at the Domus Romana, an archaeological site in the center of Lucca. We’ll delve into the lengthy history of this area through informative museum exhibits and excavation sites.

Lunch: At the Domus Romana, we’ll experience a Roman-style “convivium.”

Afternoon: We will walk from the Domus Romana to the cooking school for our first cooking class with a professional chef at the International Academy of Italian Cuisine. The comprehensive, hands-on curriculum is designed to teach us how to make four-course lunches through cooking techniques applicable to pasta, pastries, and everything in between.

Dinner: At the cooking school, we will enjoy the results of our cooking lesson along with other dishes prepared by the chef.

Evening: Returning to the hotel, the rest of the evening is at leisure.

DAY
4
Lucca, Cooking Class
Lucca
B,L,D
Hotel Palazzo Alexander

Activity note: Walking about 1 mile throughout the day; cobblestone streets.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll set out on an expert-led walking field trip in Lucca with emphasis on the progression from the Renaissance to the Modern Age.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll walk from the restaurant to the Cooking School for our hands-on cooking class.

Dinner: At the Cooking School, we will enjoy the meal we helped to prepare.

Evening: Returning to the hotel, the rest of the evening is at leisure.

DAY
5
Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Free Time
Lucca
B,L
Hotel Palazzo Alexander

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 50 miles throughout the day, approximately 1.5 hours riding time. Walking about 1.5 miles throughout the day; uneven terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will board a motorcoach and ride to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. There, we’ll go on a field trip with our Group Leader to the Caseificio Bertagni, a small family-run “caseificio” — creamery — that produces both sheep’s and cow’s cheeses exclusively from Tuscan milk.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Returning to Lucca, the remainder of the afternoon is free. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Please note that the period scheduled for free time is subject to change depending on local circumstances and opportunities for independent exploration.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to have what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Pietrasanta, Colonnata, Carrara
Lucca
B,L
Hotel Palazzo Alexander

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 50 miles throughout the day, approximately 2 hours riding time. Walking about 2 miles; cobblestone streets, uneven terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll board a motorcoach and ride to Pietrasanta with our Group Leader for a walking field trip in this medieval town. A place renowned for its connection with marble, artists and sculptors from all over the world have been drawn to live and work here. It has been described as “the little Athens” for its sculpting studios, artistic foundries, ancient and modern monuments. Its historic center is considered a precious jewel of the Middle Ages. From Pietrasanta, we will ride to Colonnata in Carrara, where we will visit a factory producing lardo, a type of pork salumi seasoned with herbs and cured for about 8 months in handmade baskets made from local marble. Lardo was a traditional dietary staple of marble quarry workers for generations.

Lunch: At a local lardo producer.

Afternoon: On our way back to the hotel, we will stop at a private marble quarry where staff will tell us about its history and work.

Dinner: On your own to have what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Cooking Class, Free Time
Lucca
B,L
Hotel Palazzo Alexander

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 2.5 miles, 1/4 hour riding time. Walking about 1.5 miles; cobblestone streets.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will board a motorcoach and ride to a local market with our Group Leader for an authentic experience of how people from Lucca go food shopping in preparation for cooking. We’ll then ride to the Cooking School for our hands-on cooking class.

Lunch: At the cooking school.

Afternoon: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is free. Take this opportunity to see and do what interests you most.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Fabbrica San Martino, Cooking Class
Lucca
B,D
Hotel Palazzo Alexander

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 12 miles throughout the day, approximately 1/2 hour riding time. Walking about 1.5 miles; cobblestone streets, uneven terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: In the late morning, we will board the motorcoach for a short ride to Fabbrica di San Martino, a farm producing “biodynamic” wine and oil. The owner will give us a presentation on what “biodynamic” farming means and how it works, through a holistic view of nature as an interconnected whole where every element plays its specific role. Next, we will walk to nearby Villa Sardi in Fabbrica di San Martino. This historical noble residence datds from the 17th century, and is now a winery. We will learn more about the production of wine, cheese, and olive oil including tastings.

Lunch: On your own to have what you like at Villa Sardi.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll ride to the International Academy of Italian Cuisine for our hands-on cooking class.

Dinner: At the cooking school, we’ll enjoy the meal we helped prepare.

Evening: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the evening is free.

DAY
9
Montecarlo-Lucca, Borgo Antico, Winery, Free Time
Lucca
B,L,D
Hotel Palazzo Alexander

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 25 miles throughout the day, approximately 1 hour riding time. Walking about 1.5 miles; cobblestone streets, uneven terrain, hilly sections.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will board the motorcoach and ride to the medieval town of Montecarlo where a local expert will lead our exploration of the “borgo antico” — old village. From Montecarlo, we’ll ride to a local winery.

Lunch: At the winery.

Afternoon: Returning to Lucca, the remainder of the afternoon is free for independent exploration.

Dinner: At a local restaurant. Share favorite experiences with fellow Road Scholars during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
10
Program Concludes, In Transit From Program
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 11:00 a.m. See your program’s “Travel Information” regarding transfers.

Breakfast: At the hotel depending on departure times. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.