I'm looking for a few locations to travel to with my mother (60), me (34), and sisters (32 & 29) in Italy this October. Specifically, we're interested in taking some cooking classes, experiencing the agri-tourism we've heard about, and catching a few of the more scenic areas. We'll be in Italy from Oct 8 - 29th. We'd like to pick no more than 4 locations and rent a location with a kitchen while there. Our budget is $-$$ with $$$ on occasion. Any tips or advice would be most excellent!
What a fun trip you have outlined!
I lived in Florence for 4 months and recommend it fully to spend some time experiencing Italy. It is within the Tuscan region and a smaller town than Rome, which makes it less overwhelming, but equally as beautiful. So much culture, exquisite food, leather and jewelry. It is also an easy train ride to any of the other Tuscan cities such as Assisi, Lucca, Pisa, San Gimignano, Arezzo .. etc.
While I was there I did take a cooking class, which was wonderfully fun and delicious, through In Tavola Corsi di Cucina (they do have a website: http://www.intavola.org/ which is easy to navigate, and tells you their exact location). If you do end up going - I also recommend the Boboli Gardens in the Pitti Palace.
I can also share that throughout the Tuscany region there are multiple wineries and vineyards that offer cooking classes, wine tastings, lunches, and views that aren't comparable to a city.
There is also the Amalfi Coast. It is a fantastic, absolutely beautiful southern city. Since you in the country long enough, you will have ample time to make your way south and I HIGHLY recommend Positano (Amalfi Area) as a stop. If you are going to spend time south - I would also look into Capri, Italy
If you wanted to stay north, but also see beaches and mountains - Bellagio in Lake Como (which is near Milan) is fabulous. It is a bit hectic to travel to (many people take a train to a ferry, or just take a cab/driver), but once you are there you have a perfect view of the Swiss Alps and Italy's finest silk shops. They also offer cooking classes within the city.
Hope that helps some. Happy travels!
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Nothing better than doing it in Tuscany. For cooking classes check out iluss italiano online - they have cooking classes. I would stay in the Campagna and rent a car. Very easy to drive around and explore lot of cities. San Gimignano, Siena, etc. You can also check out how they make Parmesan cheese and prosciutto in Parma.
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Unfortunately, I haven't taken any cooking classes in Italy yet (it's on my list), but a good friend did one and loved it.
She booked the Tutti A Tavola class through Epiculinary and raved! (http://epiculinary.com/italy/tutti-a-tavola)
Agritour is another helpful site that she's used that promotes farm stays and cooking courses. (http://www.agritour.net/en/cooking-courses/)
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