Experience the Magic of our Medieval Festival & Harvest Season!
It is one of our biggest celebrations of the year, and this week ALWAYS sells out. If you are considering this week, please do not hesitate. Not only does it sell out, but we sadly end up turning away three to four times more than our capacity each year.
This week-long vacation will consist of a very small and intimate group of around 16 people. It is an 8 day, 7 night all-inclusive experience that embraces Italian Festival life, Italian cooking, culinary and artistic tradition while exploring some of the most incredible off-the-beaten-path treasures that are unique to Tuscany, Umbria and Alto Lazio. This week of discovery will integrate you into Italian village life, living among the villagers, shopping with them, and getting to know them. Most of all, it is a week of fun, family and laughter as we share what makes Italy so special in a very personal way.
Each year, the town of Soriano nel Cimino, where we base our cooking vacations, holds a huge festival. It is counted among the top festivals in Italy. For the first two weeks of October, during the Chestnut and Wine Harvest, the town transforms into a medieval wonderland. The town divides into four "Contradas" (Best described as "clans") - San Giorgio, Trinita, Papacqua, and Rocca. Each contrada is represented by a district of the town. During the festival they fiercely compete for a series of prizes, the most significant of which is called the "PALIO"; a coveted banner awarded to the contrada that wins the yearly jousting & archery competition.
On Saturday and Sunday, the entire village swells with Romans, Tuscans, and Umbrians (and us!) to watch all kinds of performances, eat in medieval taverns, and shop the fair. You may find an amazing flag throwing performance, sword fighting in the town square, elaborate reenactments of medieval life and events, parades of breathtaking costumes, trumpets, drummers, and so much more. It all happens for just two weekends in October.
The Cooking Classes
We'll have three half-day completely hands-on cooking classes this week. While most of our weeks feature 4 cooking classes, this week we make room for the wonderful festivities! Our cooking classes are not demonstrations. They are 100% hands-on. We structure them so that you can be as involved as you wish in every stage of every course we prepare. So, if you are up for it, we will get wrist-deep as we make pasta from scratch, risotto, Tuscan Roasted Chicken, homemade Pappardelle Pasta, Country Wood-fired Pizza, and much more. You will learn to make exciting desserts such as the best Tiramisu you will ever taste , Chestnut-Ceci Soup, sausage and cheese bruschetta, and much more.
For those would rather eat than cook, our classes take place at our beautiful 18th century country villa. Take control of our 90-bottle wine rack, relax, take a stroll, or just enjoy the wonderful Italian countryside. Whether you are cooking or not, the time we spend at the villa is always a highlight.
When we are not cooking, we are heading out on some truly incredible excursions. We'll visit amazing wineries, including small family-run places where we will meet the owners and dine with them, and the most beautiful wine cellar in the world. We'll visit a small home-based olive mill that still uses the antique methods to produce some of the most incredible extra virgin olive oil. We'll visit a factory that produces Italy's exclusive Deruta Ceramics, and we'll spend an afternoon in St. Francis' hometown of Assisi.
The Food & Wine
We are all about food & wine, and if there is one comment we hear more than any other from our guests throughout the week, it is "I can't eat another bite".
You will never be hungry, and you will never want for more wine, period. All of the restaurant meals are in small, local restaurants that are considered the best of the best for their area. These are the places the locals rave about, not the touristy places. Furthermore, we don't do "tourist food". We insist on the highest quality at all times, and always pull out all of the stops.
The wine is always flowing at lunch and dinner. We always focus on local wines from the area we are in, and it is always fantastic!
Additionally, the meals at our cooking classes are not little 'learn to make pasta' classes like many others. Instead, the classes are traditional Italian 'Sunday Family Meals'... 5 courses, done to the max.
In a nutshell..
When the week is over, you will have experienced the real Italy that few tourists have ever experienced. You will have made new friends, and you will have learned why Italian culture is so amazing... because you will have lived it.
Cities we'll visit...
What we'll be cooking...
Factories, Wineries & Mills we will visit...
Our guests in Soriano stay in their own private village homes, rather than a hotel. All of our homes are beautiful places that date back to medieval times or the renaissance. Each one of them is unique, and has been completely restored with modern conveniences, while maintaining their original beauty.
Immersed in Local Tradition
Most of our village homes are not clustered together. They are peppered here and there in the village, such that your neighbors are not other travelers. Instead, they are locals. You will find yourself getting to know them with that daily 'good morning' wave, smile and Buon Giorno. You will see them here and there in town, and really get a sense of belonging as you weave yourself into the fabric of Italian village life.
While our homes are not clustered together, they are all close. Soriano is a small town that is built around a central square, "The Piazza". It is in the piazza that we meet each morning for breakfast before our day starts, and end each evening after dinner. All of the homes are within several hundred feet of the Piazza, so getting to and from is very quick, and incredibly pleasant each day.
All of our village homes are actual homes that were private residences at one time. As such, they all have private bathrooms, kitchens, refrigerators, etc. All of our homes are also air conditioned and heated. We also have television in each home with satellite service, allowing you English Language programming. Nearly all of our homes also offer free wireless Internet.
How Homes Are Assigned to Guests
Since each home is unique, so is the floor plan and the decor. Some are larger than others, some have valley views, some have castle views, and some have village views. Some offer balconies, while others do not. Some have two bedrooms, and some are one bedroom homes.
We don't charge different prices for different homes, so we do our best to assign homes based on what we know about guests that are booking. For example, if we know that you would rather not walk up a few flight of stairs or uphill, we will give you one of the lower-lying homes if available. If you are a married couple booking, we will give you a one bedroom home if available. In addition, we take requests. If you have seen photo of our village homes, and there is one in particular that you would like, we will try to make sure you get that one when we confirm your booking. In such cases, it is part first come, first served. But we also take other factors into consideration. For example, if a married couple requests a large 2 bedroom home that sleeps 4 people, we will happily give you a temporary assignment of that home, but if a group of three books later, and all we have left are one bedroom homes, we may need to move you.
See All Of Our Village Homes
Photographs of all of our village homes can be viewed by clicking here. Besides the photographs, you will also find a clickable map of Soriano that indicates the locations of all of our home.
Extend Your Trip
Many of our guests make their week with us part of a larger trip to Italy or Europe in general. Often, they will simply spend a few days before or after in places such as Rome, Florence, Venice, or the Amalfi Coast, and need some help planning.
We are always happy to help, and will gladly do as little or as much as you like. If you simply need to find a good place to stay for a night, or if you would like for us to completely plan everything from airline tickets, to extended stays, hotels, rail tickets, tours in other cities, etc. just let us know and we will be happy to oblige.
Our experience in this area is unmatched, and we would love to put everything together to help make your trip as smooth and carefree as can be.
Info About Our Soriano Vacations
- Imagine a Day as Our Guest
- About Soriano Nel Cimino
- Accommodations in Soriano
- The Cooking Class Location
- Is This Vacation Right For You?
- Frequent Questions and Answers
- What to Expect
- Info About the Destinations
- Info About the Cultural Experiences
- Compare us to Other Italy Cooking Vacations
- Guest Testimonials & Reviews
- Photo Gallery for Soriano Vacations
- Soriano Cooking Class Menus
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- Wine, Cooking, & The Olive Oil Harvest
- Medieval Chestnut Festival & Wine Harvest Season
- The Best of Both Worlds : Soriano and Norcia
- Cities Lost in Time