Here are three spots you can jet off to to learn how to make Italian pasta from the masters:
1. Belmond Villa San Michele
Built on a steep terraced hill among citrus and cypress trees, this 45-room villa began as a Franciscan monastery in the early fifteenth century. Today, it features a facade attributed to none other than Michelangelo, views that stretch to Florence, and a cooking school offering thrice-weekly classes focusing on Tuscan staples, including pasta, with special half-day gnocchi classes for children ages 6 through 14.
For those wanting a deeper experience, it also runs an extraordinary three-day course of luncheons, wine-pairing sessions with the sommelier, and hands-on classes with the resort’s executive chef as well as chefs from sister properties in Venice, Ravello, and Portofino. (Seasonal closure November through April.)
2. Villa La Massa
Twenty-two acres of gardens and plenty of olive and lemon trees surround this sixteenth-century villa, located just a few miles outside Florence on the banks of the Arno. Guests at the 37-room estate learn the fundamentals of pasta-making from the restaurant’s experienced and enthusiastic executive chef, Andrea Quagliarella, during a morning-long lesson, followed by a leisurely lunch.
3. Castiglion del Bosco
This vast estate comprises some 4,000 acres in the rolling hills outside Siena, complete with a crumbling medieval castle and an ancient church containing painter Pietro Lorenzetti’s fourteenth-century frescoes. Its heart is the manor house, winery, stables, a collection of outbuildings that make up the restored village—and, of course, the orto (kitchen garden). Chefs-to-be at the 23-suite, nine-villa resort learn to prepare fresh pasta, iconic regional sauces, and, as every good Italian meal should finish with a sweet indulgence, a traditional dessert.
Originally appeared in Virtuoso Life magazine, September 2014.
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