Umbria Culinary Experience


Cook, eat and experience your way through the unspoiled beauty of Umbria – the green heart of Italy – a region that boasts a staggering variety of delicious foods. From ancient Etruscan dishes to inventive, modern menus, the meals and culinary experiences on our Umbria Culinary Adventure are based on fresh, hand-selected, seasonal ingredients (a must in every Umbrian kitchen) and are paired with top-notch wines from small-production wineries that harvest by hand.

Each day brings insider tours, private visits and delightful hands-on activities that are truly off the beaten path. From pasta lessons to truffle hunts, our local friends provide you with unprecedented access, while treating you like part of the family. Of course we also leave room for unscheduled events. If Mario calls to tell us they’re pressing his olives, you can bet we’ll make time to taste his freshly pressed oil!

ETRUSCANS and Olive Oil

A culinary adventure in Umbria is an immersive experience into exceptional foods and wines – based on generations of artisan methods, local traditions and organic practices.

And there’s expression here: “ We might be poor, but we wash our hands in olive oil.” 

Although the region’s varied cuisine certainly began with the Etruscans and Romans, most of its traditional dishes were born on peasant farms. Yet the cuisine is surprisingly rich in exceptional ingredients, like olive oil (arguably Italy’s finest), a stunning variety of vegetables (from gardens that ring virtually every village) and an abundance of wild game, truffles and mushrooms from its dense forests. 

BASED off the Beaten Path

Situated halfway between Rome and Florence, the unspoiled hill town of Città della Pieve becomes your home for this extraordinary journey into Umbrian food and culture. Surrounded by spectacular panoramas, the town maintains its medieval roots with centuries-old houses built of handmade red brick – an ancient tradition of the area. Along winding avenues and alleyways you’ll discover family-run trattorie, wood-fired pizzerie, and cozy, inviting coffee bars, along with fabulous clothing boutiques and artiginale shops. Plus the local residents are nothing less than proud to welcome you into their community.


  • 7 days/6 nights stay at Boutique Hotel Vannucci
  • Group transportation by private transport service to/from Rome Fiumicino Airport on arrival and departure dates
  • Private transport service to/from all towns and sites included in the itinerary
  • All breakfasts
  • 4 lunches
  • All dinners, served with regional wines
  • Hands-on cooking experiences
  • Daily culinary adventures
  • Historic menus
  • Caffè mini-lesson
  • Wine and cheese pairing
  • Saffron lesson and tasting
  • Truffle hunt
  • Pasta-making class
  • Antipasto lesson
  • Olive oil tasting
  • Traditional coccio cookware demonstration
  • Pizza night
  • Aperitivo and spritz lesson
  • Evening aperitivo hour for chatting, sharing and relaxing
  • and so much more!

Not included: Airfare, meals, alcoholic drinks, buses, trains or boat transportation outside of that which is specifically listed in the trip package, gratuities for villa staff and drivers

The Unexpected is Part of the Journey: At Strada Toscana we weave amazing, authentic experiences into every trip, but sometimes unexpected things come up. If a site has an unscheduled closing, we improvise to include something equally as wonderful and interesting. The quality of the trip is never at risk, as our team is committed to excellence, along with our vast, local, Italian connections.


Trip Itinerary

Day 1, Sunday ~ Arrival

  • Highlights: Welcome and trip overview, village walking tour, aperitivo lesson
  • Dinner

Benvenuti in Italia! Upon arrival at Rome Fiumicino Airport, sit back and relax as you are transported by our private drivers to your beautiful accommodations in Città della Pieve, Umbria – your home base for the fabulous days ahead! After check-in you’ll have the opportunity to explore your surroundings with your trip host, and learn some of the fascinating history of the area. Then it’s time for a light-hearted aperitivo lesson, with our friend, and sommelier, Paola, before sitting down for a delicious, regional-style dinner to kick off the tour.

Day 2, Monday ~ Truffles and Pizza

  • Highlights: Truffle hunt, pizza night
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning, after a light breakfast and an early start, you’ll be heading to the medieval hill town of Monteleone. Here you’ll be walking a trail through a beautiful holm-oak and pine forest as you take part in an oh-so-fun truffle hunt with brothers Andrea and Michele – and their amazing truffle dogs. Afterwards we continue to the brothers’ charming cafe for a special truffle tasting and lunch – served with local olive oil and wine, of course.

In the afternoon you’ll enjoy some free time. Then it’s off to a local pizzeria for thin-crust pizza (typical of the area), baked in a tradition, wood-fired brick oven.

Day 3, Tuesday ~ Pasta, Pecorino and Vino

  • Highlights: Renaissance masterpieces, pasta-making class, wine and cheese tasting
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning, after an optional second cappuccino or caffè at a local coffee bar (a fun way to learn the tradition of enjoying Italian coffee!), we’re off to visit the town’s 15th century duomo, with its unique and beautiful interior, along with a peek at one of the region’s greatest masterpieces by Renaissance artist, Perugino. All this as we make our way to our friend, Cristian’s organic bistro, where you’ll take a private tour of his amazing cantina, followed by a delightful pasta-making class. You’ll also learn about the surprising culinary traditions of this area, including how to make pici all’aglione – a local specialty. Lunch features your handmade pasta, of course.

After some free time in the afternoon to relax or explore on your own, our drivers will be transporting us to a small production winery that produces a variety of exceptional wines. Here you’ll enjoy a private tour of the vineyards and production facility, followed by light dinner with wine tasting that includes a tasting of local pecorino cheeses.

Day 4, Wednesday ~ Zafferano and Traditional Recipes

  • Highlights: Saffron gathering, saffron tasting, traditional recipes
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning we’ll take an early breakfast before our drivers transport us to our friend, Alessandro’s, saffron field for a once-in-a-lifetime experience of hand-picking crocus, as you learn how to harvest saffron from these delicate flowers. Afterwards we continue to Alessandro’s “saffron house”, in his cozy, former wine cantina, for a private saffron tasting and light lunch. Fascinating and delicious!

In the afternoon we’ll walk the winding avenues of Città della Pieve – including the narrowest street in Italy – as we make our way to a chic restaurant on the outskirts of the village, housed in a former olive press, and a dinner inspired by local, traditional recipes.

Day 5, Thursday ~ Coccio and Spritz

  • Highlights: Terracotta cookware demonstration, Spritz lesson
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning, after breakfast, our drivers will transport us to the medieval village of Ficulle, perched on a spectacular ridge line overlooking the rolling hills of Umbria. Here we’ll take a brisk walk around town – including a climb up the fabulous, medieval town – before meeting up with our friend, Fabio, for a fascinating demonstration of his hand-thrown cookware called coccio. For centuries the town of Ficulle was a center of pottery used specifically for cooking, and Fabio is the last remaining ceramist of this unique, rustic cookware. Afterwards, you’re in for a treat as we head to Fabio’s restored wine cantina for a special lunch, cooked and served in Ficulle’s “coccio”. Plus he and his wife, Pina, will be teaching you how to make an easy antipasto for virtually any meal.

In the afternoon you’ll have a chance to rest and recharge, and perhaps enjoy a traditional passeggiata (stroll) before joining sommelier, Paola, at a private home for an oh-so-fun Spritz lesson. Dinner follows, at an exceptional local trattoria, and features local Chianina beef grilled over goals.

Day 6, Friday ~ Olive Oil and Farewell Dinner    

  • Highlights: Visit to Montecchio, tour of olive grove and museum, olive oil tasting
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning, after breakfast, we’re off to the village of Montecchio, situated in one of the most beautiful and unspoiled areas of Umbria where much of the region’s coveted olive oil is produced. Here you’ll enjoy a walk through the village, followed by a visit in our friends’ extraordinary olive grove – plus a tour in a fascinating olive oil museum. You’ll learn why Umbria’s olive oil is some of the world’s finest and how it is harvested, followed by a delectable lunch of regional specialities, featuring the estate’s exceptional extra virgin olive oil.

After lunch it’s back to to Città della Pieve for some free time to rest, recharge and perhaps get in some final shopping. This evening you’re in for a treat as we gather together for a final aperitivo, followed by an exceptional farewell dinner prepared by Chef Vito.

Day 7, Saturday ~ Departure

Early morning departure for Rome Fiumicino Airport

ACCOMMODATIONS Boutique Hotel Vannucci

Hotel Vannucci began as a project of Vittoria Spinola, daughter of King Vittorio Emanuele II, who fled Pisa (and an arranged marriage with her elderly husband) to start a new life with her lover in Città della Pieve. Here, she and her soon-to-be new husband, Paolo, built two villas that became luxurious holiday accommodations for wealthy Romans vacationing in the countryside. In 1903 one of the villas became Hotel Vannucci, and today it maintains the elegance and refinement of its inception, with luxurious sleeping rooms, marble bathrooms and inviting gardens. A stay here is truly special, nestled just outside the medieval walls of the historic, and unspoiled, village of Città della Pieve. 

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  • Dates:
    • October 22-28, 2023 – SOLD OUT
  • Trip Price from $3,295-$3,795 USD (select room type upon booking)
  • Room Descriptions:
    • Single: Single occupancy, single bed, private ensuite bathroom
    • Classic: Single occupancy, double bed, private ensuite bathroom with walk-in shower
    • Superior: Single occupancy, double bed, private ensuite bathroom with tub/shower combination
    • Deluxe: Double occupancy, double bed or two singles, private ensuite bathroom with tub and shower (specifically for couples or friends traveling together)
  • $700 deposit per person is required to secure your space on this tour
  • Terms and Conditions