There is no shortage of websites advertising cooking vacations in Italy, and they certainly all look wonderful. How to choose? This guide will help you decide if ours is the best for you.
1Our vacations are TRULY All-Inclusive
All the Food & Wine is Included
In all cases, it is an experience unlike any other that really gives you the feeling of living like an Italian, not a tourist. All of the accommodations are beautiful and extremely comfortable. All accommodations have air conditioning, beautiful decor, and most have wireless Internet, etc.
Airport & Train Station Transfers
Like others, it is not easy or inexpensive for us. After all, Soriano in 90 minutes from the airport, Norcia is two hours away, and our base in Sicily is two hours by van and boat... but it is always included in our base price. Because the distances are great, our pick up and drop off service is at scheduled times. If you cannot make our scheduled time, you may have to use other forms of transportation, which would be at your own expense. We schedule our transfers differently for each itinerary based on times that will work for the majority of people, so please check the itinerary for more info.
What Is NOT Included
2100% Hands On, Full immersion classes
3Balance: Cooking, Major sightseeing & Off the Beaten Path
4True Cultural Experiences You Will NEVER Forget
The point is that we go to great lengths to weave amazing lifetime experiences into all of our vacations. We choose wineries, olive mills, etc. that are personal to the extent that you get to know the artisans. We introduce you to amazing local people that share their hospitality and life experience with you, and we go to great lengths to involve you, hand on, in the culture of the place. If the locals are harvesting, you will harvest. If the locals are fishing, you will fish with them. If the locals make an amazing cheese, you will make the amazing cheese. While others have you seeing things, we have you doing them. While others are merely taking pictures of the sights, we have you doing the things they are taking pictures of.
All of this gives you an amazing sense of belonging that cannot be fully described, and it is the key reason so many of our guests say that they had no idea how amazing the trip would be. In fact, the most common comments are that we far exceeded expectations, and that they truly felt like they had acquired a new family.
5Home Cooking vs. High Cuisine
6You are Family
As a result, a week with us just doesn't feel like a tour at all. We are VERY different from others. You will honestly feel like you are visiting extended family, and we will feel like extended family is visiting. It is all because of that little nuance: We see you as visiting friends, not customers. This isn't part of some formula to make your trip special, it is just the way it all works out. We have a very casual attitude toward it... this is fun for us, and we love sharing this wonderful place with others. You will go home having had the most amazing vacation of your life, having made amazing new friends, having learned to make incredible Italian home cooking, having seen remarkable things few tourists have seen, and having felt an uncanny sense belonging in a place so far away. Long before you get home, you will have started planning your return.
7We Are Well-Established and Solid
Most others have very simplistic websites that leave much to the imagination. Instead, we want you to know as much as you can about us before you make your choice, so we have worked tirelessly to make our website as comprehensive as it can be. As you have a look around, every one of the countless pictures you see on our website is taken from one of our vacations. We never use stock photography. Every person you see in the photos is one of our guests. Better yet, have a look at our comprehensive video gallery, and know that 100% of our video footage was taken during our vacations, and those are all actual guests.
We want you to know that you can feel completely confident, so we have a comprehensive list of letters our guests have written us on our website. Visit our Guest Testimonials page, where you will see excerpts of these letters, and be sure to click on the names of the people below each excerpt to be taken to a page that has not only the complete text of their letter to us, but a scan of the actual letter they wrote us.
To take it a step further, our past guests would be happy to speak with you. Just visit our Facebook page and ask a question. Someone will be sure to answer, as we are friends with hundreds of our past guests. Or just ask us, and we will be glad to put you in touch with other past guests via e-mail that would be happy to tell you what our vacations are like from their perspective.
8We Are Owner-Operators
9Our locations cannot be matched
Our location in Sicily was chosen because it still offers true Sicilian culture, and it is close to Palermo, Trapani and Marsala. Add that to the fact that we have the most beautiful water in Sicily, and we had a winner! Most tourists that visit Sicily stay around Messina and Taormina. This area has become very touristy, and has lost a great deal of its original charm. So we were certain to avoid it.