posted in Travel

Tuscany and Verona, Italy with Insight Vacations

I’ve so enjoyed sharing my Italy adventure with you.  Today, I’m sharing a bit about my Tuscan cooking school experience and a quick stop in Verona.

Tuscany

Photo credit: Insight Vacations and photographer Simon Boucher-Harris.

For the last night in Tuscany, our Insight Vacation’s Luxury Gold Tour took us to a hands-on culinary master class and dinner in the Tuscan countryside.

Tuscany : Fattoria Dianella

Photo credit: Insight Vacations and photographer Simon Boucher-Harris.

The spot:  Fattoria Dianella- a bed and breakfast + winery located in the hills of Vinci (native town of Leonardo da Vinci).

Fattoria Dianella

Photo credit: Insight Vacations and photographer Simon Boucher-Harris.

Estate owner Francesco Passerin d’Entrèves entertained us with a tour of the underground cellars.

Fattoria Dianella

Photo credit: Insight Vacations and photographer Simon Boucher-Harris.

And then we were introduced to the kitchen staff- who would be guiding us through our Tuscan cooking class!

Fattoria Dianella

Photo credit: Insight Vacations and photographer Simon Boucher-Harris.

Fattoria Dianella

The bounty of fresh and beautiful vegetables was tremendous.

Fattoria Dianella

Photo credit: Insight Vacations and photographer Simon Boucher-Harris.

We started in on the wine and the fun.

Fattoria Dianella

Photo credit: Insight Vacations and photographer Simon Boucher-Harris.

The tasks at hand were to chop vegetables for the bolognese sauce, prepare a chocolate dessert and make HOMEMADE PASTA!  They taught us how to make pasta using semolina flour, egg and a little water.  We mixed it and kneaded it with our hands, and then rolled the pasta dough out thin, folded it over and cut it into strips.

Fattoria Dianella

I was so impressed.  I can’t wait to try this at home!!  After we completed our chores of chopping and making pasta, we left the rest of it to the kitchen staff to finish preparing our dinner.

Tuscan countryside

We wandered outside to take in the beauty of the Tuscan countryside.

Fattoria Dianella

Photo credit: Insight Vacations and photographer Simon Boucher-Harris.

Dinner at the winery began with a variety of things- but the fried squash blossoms were the absolute best.  It was my first time trying them!

Fattoria Dianella

Photo credit: Insight Vacations and photographer Simon Boucher-Harris.

The most fabulous part of dinner was eating the fruits of our labor- the pasta with bolognese sauce.  So amazing.

Fattoria Dianella

Photo credit: Insight Vacations and photographer Simon Boucher-Harris.

I wanted to remember every single detail of the chocolate dessert.  I believe it’s similar to this Chocolate Salami recipe from Giada– though we used biscuits instead of biscotti in the recipe.  It was very good.

The Tuscan cooking school experience was one of my favorite things on the Italy itinerary with Insight Vacations.  We all had such a great time in a beautiful setting- lots of laughter, great wine and fabulous food.

Verona, Italy

The next morning, we left beautiful Tuscany and road-tripped it in our luxury motor coach to Verona.  Here we met a local guide who walked us through town.  This is one of the “entrances” into Verona.

Verona, Italy

Verona is yet another quaint Italian town with colorful buildings, flower boxes and stone streets.  The shopping is really great in this town too!

Verona, Italy

There is an awesome square in the middle of town that is lined with restaurants, cafes and bars- with a fountain displayed in the middle, of course.

Casa Giulietta, Verona Italy

Verona is famous for having Juliet’s balcony- also known as Casa Giulietta.  While the Capulet family did indeed live in Verona, it is doubtful that they ever lived in Casa Giulietta (Juliet’s House), and the balcony was only erected in the 1920s to satisfy visitors.  Yes, you can go up on the balcony and have someone take photos!

Casa Giulietta, Verona Italy

The arches leading into Casa Giulietta have love messages written all over them…

Casa Giulietta, Verona Italy

Photo credit: Insight Vacations and photographer Simon Boucher-Harris.

… and there are lots and lots of love notes left on the walls nearby.

Arena in Verona, Italy

Given a bit of time on our own without the tour group, Sandy, Judi and I chose a bit of a touristy place for lunch- but it was perfect for sitting outdoors, eating pizza and drinking wine, and having the most fantastic view of the Arena.  The Arena in Verona is the largest Roman amphitheatre in northern Italy, with a capacity of 25,000 people. It was constructed early in the 1st century AD, and has been the site of gladiatorial combat, public executions and, more recently, concerts and opera performances. It also hosts the city’s famous opera festival every summer.

There is a fantastic food market in the square next to the arena with a million different choices of to-go food if you do not wish to eat at a restaurant.  There was a fun, festive vibe in the food market area with a rock band playing on a stage and all!

Gelato in Verona, Italy

And finally… we ended our time in Verona with our daily gelato!  This one was called, “Fin Del Mundo” (end of the world): vanilla with chocolate swirl, chocolate-covered hazelnuts and pizzelle.

My final post on our tour of Italy will be all about Venice (you know… the place with the gondolas).  I have much to share!

Disclosure:  Insight Vacations invited me on their Ultimate Italy tour to experience the tour and share my travels with RecipeGirl readers.  Photos shared are a mix of my own photos… and some from professional photographer Simon Boucher-Harris from Insight Vacations.

Comments

  1. postedJun 5, 2016 9:46 PM
    Recipegirl's Mom

    What a beautiful ending for this amazing trip that I;m sure have left you with a life time of precious
    memories.

  2. postedJun 6, 2016 11:59 AM
    Kathy P.

    What a beautiful trip.  Thanks for sharing. 

  3. postedJun 7, 2016 10:43 AM

    I love everything about this trip! Villa Dianella looks marvelous and their cooking lesson, so much fun! I love zucchini flowers as I grew up eating them every summer. I am just back from Italy, myself, but need to focus on Tuscany as I usually go more south (where my family is.) Great post!

  4. postedJun 13, 2016 7:01 PM

    Fried squash blossoms are one of my favorite Italian dishes. Yum! And I can’t wait to see what you have to say about Venice. I’ve called it home for the last 7 years. 

  5. postedJun 14, 2016 5:24 AM

    This is my DREAM trip! 🙂 I can’t even imagine how amazing it was to take a cooking class in Tuscany! That fresh pasta, and those squash blossoms- beautiful!

  6. postedJun 18, 2016 10:47 AM

    This was such an amazing part of the trip, so beautiful, and that cooking class. CLASSY and I learned a lot. Let’s go back to Tuscany!!

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