(Options: Day Cooking Classes, Customized Itineraries)
Cinque Terre, Italy - 5 nights
Available March to October
Immerse yourself in the delicious Cinque Terre cuisine with a chef who was born and grew up in this area and has formerly owned some restaurants in Liguria. Your hands-on lessons will feature typical Ligurian cuisine and simple, yet fresh and flavorful ingredients, most of which will be picked up from the garden of the 17th century estate where you will stay. You will also have a couple of guided walks in the area and if you'd like we can even add some other more challenging hikes. If you already have an accommodation but are in the Cinque Terre, we also offer an afternoon cooking class.
The Ligurian cuisine is known for its natural and pure ingredients composed of fresh products from the garden, the sea, and the woods. Most characteristic is the abundant use of wild herbs, such as the aromatic rosemary, thyme, sage and borage. Fresh basil is not only used for the famous Genovese pesto sauce but adds flavor to many Italian dishes.
Enjoy wonderful accommodations in a 17th century estate only a few minutes away from the most picturesque coastal villages of the Cinque Terre. The aristocratic family who owns the estate formerly spent their summer holidays there, in this ancient agricultural estate where tenacious farmers work hard to produce the particularly fragrant olive oil and the quality wine of the Ligurian Riviera. Today the estate opens its doors to its guests allowing them to experience the tradition and ambiance from long ago. You will find a peaceful atmosphere surrounded by 15 hectars of silver green olive groves and bright green vineyards, only a few minutes away from the beautiful Ligurian sea. The view from the estate is unique, in the distance one can see several small villages nestled in the valleys, a scene that becomes especially appealing by night when the ochre-colored church towers are bathed in a soft light . Today the farm maintains the agricultural traditions of the estate in spite of the rather harsh character of the Ligurian terrain. The work is still done manually because rarely machines are able to climb the steep hills. Olive groves and vineyards are skillfully cultivated thanks to the experience of the old farmers and the enthusiasm of the youngest descendent of the noble family. Olives, grapes, vegetables and fruit (which are used to prepare the delicious jams and preserves) are cultivated without the use of pesticide or chemicals, thus the guests will be able to taste 100% natural products. Fresh herbs are grown in the gardens for the guests to pick and use in their meals to get a true taste of Italy.
The estate offers accommodations in the elegantly furnished Baron’s Villa and in the charmingly restored historic stone farmhouse. All the junior suites have private terraces or gardens with panoramic view as well as private bathroom, air conditioning, satellite TV, mini bar, in room safe and telephone.
DAY ONE - LEVANTO
Arrival on your own after 4pm at Levanto train station. Private transfer to the farmhouse and accommodation.
You will meet the owner of the farmhouse who will lead you to discover the estate and its organic products, the olive groves and vineyards. A welcome cocktail and tasting of typical Ligurian gastronomic products (anchovies, “focaccia” with cheese and olives , pesto), local extra virgin olive oil and wines will follow.
DAY TWO - COOKING LESSON AND LEVANTO
Enjoy your breakfast on the enchanting flower filled terraces tasting organic and local products.
Then a private car will transfer you to Levanto where you will meet your private guide. Levanto is a small village called “the northern door of the Cinque Terre“, famous for its 20th century Villas overlooking the sea, for the typical colorful houses, narrow roads and the small vineyards on the mountains behind the village, producing the famous “Sciacchetrà wine“ (a dessert wine).
You will visit the village, the ancient church of Sant’Andrea (the symbol of the village with its black and white stripes façade) and a local food shop, where the owners will prepare some typical dishes for you that you might not taste at the restaurants, truly local dishes such as “gattafin” (fried ravioli filled with vegetables) as well as pesto. Light lunch.
In the afternoon, you will attend your first hands-on cooking class with the chef of your relais. He will teach you how to prepare the most typical Ligurian recipes: focaccia in Genovese style, vegetable quiches, the renowned pesto etc. Then an Aperitivo will be served on the panoramic terrace and a candlelight dinner will follow.
DAY THREE - CINQUE TERRE VILLAGES
Meet your guide for a full day tour of the Cinque Terre : you will visit the villages of Monterosso, Riomaggiore, Corniglia and Manarola make up this stunning area of shoreline dotted with villages and rocky cliffs.
First you will reach Riomaggiore. In Manarola enjoy a lunch in the most typical restaurant of the Cinque Terre.
Dinner on your own (return transfers by private car to Levanto included).
DAY FOUR - CINQUE TERRE PATH - COOKING LESSON
Meeting with your guide at the hotel for a private hike through the Cinque Terre Paths, you will decide together with your guide which path you will take. Our guide will lead you to a typical “Osteria“ in Vernazza where you will enjoy a delicious light lunch tasting typical Ligurian food and wine. Back to Levanto by train.
In the afternoon you will attend your second hands-on cooking class with the chef of your relais. He will teach you how to prepare the most typical Ligurian recipes: “pansoti” and pesce alla ligure (local fish, Ligurian recipe)
Dinner will follow.
DAY FIVE - PORTOFINO AND SAN FRUTTUOSO
Today you will have a private guided excursion to Portofino and San Fruttuoso. You will meet your private guide in Levanto, then you will reach Santa Margherita Ligure by train (45 minutes by train). You will walk to the ancient city center of Santa Margherita and along the elegant seaside “promenade “ and you will learn more about this beautiful village (one of the most elegant seaside resorts in Italy). Reach Portofino by public bus or public boat and enjoy a walk in this wonderful small village. From Portofino you can reach by public boat San Fruttuoso, a small fishing village in a deep inlet along the coastline of the Portofino promontory, one of the most beautiful places in the Italian Riviera.
Back to the farmhouse. Private transfer to Levanto (it takes ten minutes by car).
Dinner in a gourmet restaurant and transfer back to the farmhouse.
DAY SIX - DEPARTURE
Private transfer to Levanto train station
*The content or order of the itinerary may change depending on dates, availability of services or activities, local festivals/holidays, weather constraints, etc. Menus are samples and may vary according to the season
NON RESIDENTIAL DAY COOKING CLASS
The Ligurian Kitchen is traditionally known for its natural and pure ingredients composed of fresh products from the garden, the sea, and the woods. Most characteristic is the abundant use of wild herbs, such as the aromatic rosmarin, thyme, sage and borage. Fresh basil is not only used for the famous Genovese pesto sauce but adds flavor to many Italian dishes.
The chef and your teacher for the cooking lessons was born and grew up in this area and he formerly owned some restaurants in Liguria. Your hands-on lessons will feature typical Ligurian cuisine and simple, yet fresh and flavorful ingredients, most of them will be picked up from the garden of the farmhouse.
Cooking lessons take place in the afternoon, starting at 3.00 pm in the charming “cantina” (the cellar) of the 18th century villa. Guests will prepare a typical Ligurian menu, with an introduction to the menu and a hand-out of the recipes and continues with the preparation of the dishes together with the chef. Participants will have hands-on experience creating a delicious 3 course meal.
At 6.30pm an aperitivo will be served on the panoramic terrace and a candlelight dinner will follow.
A minimum of 2 participants is required to run this tour and the tour is limited to a maximum of 12 participants.
(The number of participants refers to how many persons are required to run the tour, not to how many persons you must have in your party. Please inquire.)
HOW TO ARRIVE
Closest train station is Levanto - about 1 mile/1.5 km from accommodation
Closest airports are Genova (about 1 hour and 15 minutes), Pisa (about 1 hour and 15 minutes) and Florence (about 2 hours)
*Private transfers by car or minibus can also be arranged from the airport to the accommodation - please inquire about pricing
*These details are provided as additional information. Please check below to see if transfers are included in this tour.
*Please inquire about lower pricing based on four or more persons
NON RESIDENTIAL COOKING CLASS
Based on 2 or 3 participants/US$275 per person
*Please inquire about pricing for 4 or more participants
Prices include : lesson and recipe cards, an aperitif and a 3 course meal with wine.
*Pricing may vary depending on market fluctuation
After availability is confirmed, a 30% per person deposit and the completed and submitted registration form will secure your reservation. Final payment is due in full 75 days before your arrival date.
Available March to October - please inquire regarding dates.
FIVE NIGHT PROGRAM
*Five (5) nights accommodation in junior suite at the Farmhouse
*Two (2) hands – on cooking lesson followed by dinners
*Full day guide for the Cinque Terre villages excursion ( Day 3)
*Half day guide in Levanto ( Day 2 )
*Half day guide on Day 4
*Full day guide on Day 5
*Private transfers by car and English speaking driver as per program
*Light lunch on Day 2 and on Day 4 ( drinks included )
*Lunch in Manarola ( Day 3 )
*Dinner in Levanto ( Day 5 )
Airfare, personal expenses, train and boat tickets, drinks for lunch on Day Three and for dinner on Day Five are not included.
NON RESIDENTIAL COOKING CLASS
*Three course meal with wine
For further inquiries or to register, click here.
Please contact us for cancellation policy information. Travel insurance is highly recommended.
Suzanne and James P., Portland, Oregon"This trip exceeded our expectations! Everything was taken care of by the nicest and most professional guide, hosts and drivers. We loved it and cannot wait to go on another trip with AGH"
Tina M., Ontario, Canada"Great experience overall. Accurate descriptions on website."
Fran and Daniel U., Torrance, California"Believe me we were impressed...very impressed...I don't know how we could possibly top this vacation...any suggestions? Active gourmet did good. Everyone we came in contact with was superb. Friendly, professional, efficient, accommodating,fantastic. What a pleasure having them assist us with our vacation....it was the best vacation I ever had. Thank you."
Deanna L., Cedar Rapids, Iowa"Everything was very professional, from the upfront planning to the trip itself to the follow up afterwards. The lodging was perfect and allowed us to feel as if we were experiencing a part of Italy that not everyone is able to. The hosts and instructors were charming and accommodating and seemed to really care about as as people (friends now)."