Cooking vacations in Italy

Italian dishes laid on a table

When you think of Italy, what’s the first thing that springs to mind? If it’s the amazing food, you’re not alone. Italian food is some of the most famous and well-loved in the world. More and more people are going on cooking vacations in Italy to really get to grips with this beautiful cuisine. From pasta making in the Tuscan hills to pizza baking in the heart of Naples, here are some delicious food adventures for your Italy cooking vacation.

Rediscover that vacation feeling in Europe

Make pizza on cooking vacations in Naples

Pizza is as iconic to Naples as the Eiffel Towers is to Paris, which is to say, it’s very iconic. You simply cannot have one without the other. Naples is in fact the birthplace of pizza. The oldest pizza joint in the city, Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, is a great place to sample a slice that is as authentic as it gets. The best pizza in Naples is always fresh, with uncomplicated ingredients and a thin, crispy base. Do you want to find out the secrets of making proper Naples-style pizza? Then you’re in luck because Italy cooking vacations can include not just eating pizza in Naples, but making it too, on one of these fantastic experiences.

Pizza making

NaplesTogether; Small Group Pizza Making Experience

Try your hand at making a classic Margherita pizza in one of Naples’ oldest pizzerias. Participants are guided through the whole process by expert staff. Get involved all the way through, from making the dough to layering on fresh local ingredients. When it’s stretched and topped, your creation is baked in the restaurant’s pizza oven. After all your hard work, you get to try your own Naples pizza. This experience lasts for around 1 hour, and vegetarian options are available.

Eat&Walk Italy; Pizza Workshop in Naples

If you want a more in-depth experience, this 2-hour pizza-making class is a great way to get hands-on experience in the kitchen. Make yourself a delicious Margherita pizza in one of the most beautiful restaurants in Naples, overlooking the glittering Bay of Napoli and the towering Mount Vesuvius. Eat&Walk Italy runs awesome cooking classes in Naples and Rome.

Rome pizza making experiences

Roman-style pizza is a bit different from the classic Naples-style one. It’s fiercely contested between the two Italian cities which is the better slice. We think that the best way to decide is to try both of them, just to be thorough. The best pizza in Rome is all about the crust. The secret is in the dough, which is left to rise for two whole days in a refrigerator. This is where it forms large air bubbles, resulting in a light, airy base. Roman-style pizza is also different because it is served in a large rectangular or square pan, rather than a circular dish. Fancy a spot of pizza making in Rome, Italy’s historic capital? Here are a few places you can get stuck in.

Roman pizza

Insideat; Last Lap! 1-hour Pizza Class in Rome

Just outside of the Vatican, this small-group experience takes you behind the scenes of a typical Roman restaurant. You wear the apron, as you learn the trade secrets involved in making an authentic Roman pizza. The 1-hour experience is limited to 12 people, so you’ll get plenty of attention and assistance from the expert staff.

Eat&Walk Italy; Italian Pizza Lovers – Private Class in Pizzeria

If you’d like more variety in your pizza-making experience, this 1-hour class is for you. You can choose from four types of pizza; classic Margherita, Marinara, Diavola, and Napoli. You’ll be guided through the process by experts, and learn plenty of tips and tricks you can use to wow friends and family back home with your pizza-making skills.

Create authentic ragu in Bologna on cooking vacations in Italy

Bologna is the home of one of the most well-known pasta dishes in the world; spaghetti bolognese. Except, that’s not its name in Bologna. For starters, the pasta in the dish is not spaghetti, but tagliatelle, which is thick ribbons that the sauce can cling to easier than thin noodles. The sauce also goes by a different name; Ragu. It is a thick, rich, meaty sauce, made with only the freshest local ingredients. There is no better place than Bologna to learn about the history and making of Ragu, and maybe even try your hand at creating it yourself.

A pasta making class

Grazia Azzarroni; From My Kitchen: Home Cooking Lessons at Grazia’s House

Join your host Grazia Azzarroni in her home kitchen, and learn how to make traditional Italian pasta by hand. You’ll learn to make two shapes of pasta, and two sauces, one of which will be the traditional local ragu. During this in-depth 3.5 hour experience, you’ll also learn all about Bologna’s fascinated culinary history. 

Travelling Spoon Inc; Learn to Cook Regional Italian Cuisine with a Local in a Rural Estate Home

Practice your chef skills as you make the best pasta in Bologna! This 4-hour private cooking class in a local Bologna home gives you the opportunity to learn from the best and try your hand at making 2-3 traditional dishes, such as tagliatelle and gnocchi with ragu. Travelling Spoon is a fantastic site where you can organize cooking classes with locals not only in Italy but all over the world!

Use local produce to create dishes in Florence

Beautiful Florence is the jewel in Tuscany’s heavy, glittering crown. The popular destination is an eternal star of arts, culture, and cuisine, and is the perfect place for an Italian cooking vacation. There are plenty of cooking classes in Florence, where Italy’s beautiful local produce is at the heart of the experience. 

A food market in Florence

FlorenceTown; Wanna Be Italiano

Get your foodie fix in this all-encompassing Florence cooking class, starting off in one of the city’s fantastic fresh produce markets. You will have the opportunity to meet local vendors, learn about Florentine cuisine, and stock up on everything that you need to create your own Italian meal, under the watchful eye of your expert guide. Once the shopping is done and the goods are bagged, head into a traditional Florence kitchen and don your apron as you put your newfound knowledge into practice. With the help of expert chefs, you and your fellow attendees will cook up a storm of traditional ITalian dishes, such as bruschetta, ravioli, and a dessert. The 5-hour experience finishes with a grand feast where you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. FlorenceTown runs several fantastic cooking classes, market tours and food tasting experiences in Florence and the region of Tuscany.

CAF Tour and Travel’s Florence Cooking Course and Local Market Visit

Enjoy a personal Florence cooking experience under the guidance of a local, knowledgeable chef in this market tour and cooking class. The class will split into 2 small groups, giving each person more focus and attention. Start off by enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of one of Florence’s most bustling markets, where you will pick up fresh ingredients for your lesson in making a 4-course Tuscan feast in the heart of the city. This 5-hour experience includes time to sit with your new friends and enjoy the wonderful food you’ve made, and classic Tuscan recipes to take home with you.

Make traditional tiramisu in Treviso on Italian cooking vacations

Italian tiramisu is one of the country’s most beloved sweet dishes. Ingredients including mascarpone, Marsala wine, ladyfingers, and, of course, good coffee are all found in classic Italian tiramisu recipes. As with most delicacies, tiramisu is at its best in the place that was invented. In this case, that is the stunning city of Treviso in the Veneto region of northeast Italy. If simply digging into an irresistible slice of this famous dessert is not enough, why not learn how to make an Italian tiramisu cake?

A slice of homemade tiramisu

Italy Tours and More; Tiramisu Cooking and Tasting Class

Get yourself a taste of the real Treviso on this combination tour involving a fun tiramisu cooking class and an educational and inspiring walking tour of the city. You will learn all about the history and local importance of the famous dessert. The 4-hour experience culminates at a beautiful hotel. Once there, you will get to taste your creation while enjoying the finest Italian prosecco as a sparkling accompaniment. Italy Tours and More is a fantastic place to find authentic cooking experiences in Venice and Veneto, including this tiramisu class and artisanal gelato workshops.

Hunt for Italian truffles on cooking vacations in Tuscany

White truffles, which grow on the rolling hills and woodlands of Tuscany, are one of the most exclusive ingredients in the world. Their unique, earthy flavor, rarity, and short shelf-life make them extremely sought-after. Getting the chance to see firsthand how they are hunted and used is a uniquely Italian experience. Truffle hunting in Italy is a great vacation activity to get out and about in the Italian countryside and enjoy some top-class local produce.

A truffle hunting dog

Italy and Tour Sas truffle hunting in Tuscany with lunch

Get a full day’s insight into the wonderful world of white truffles as you embark on a Tuscan adventure from Florence. The 7-hour experience includes the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take to the hills and root around in the woodlands with an expert truffle hunter and their canine companion. Italian truffle dogs are famed for their apex sniffing abilities, and you’ll have the pleasure of witnessing how they work firsthand on this tour. After a hard morning’s hunting, chow down on a delicious meal featuring the star ingredient itself. An unforgettable lunch is followed by a visit to an authentic Chianti vineyard. 

Taste olive oil and Sorrento limoncello on the Amalfi Coast

Enjoy the traditional flavors of Sorrento on a cooking vacation on Italy’s exquisite Amalfi Coast. This region is famous for juicy lemons and fragrant olive groves. It is one of the world’s top producers of fine olive oil and irresistible limoncello.

A lemon tree on the Amalifi Coast

La Masseria Farm; Sorrento Farm and Food Experience

Rustic local flavors are the anime of the game on this engrossing 3-hour tour of a Sorrento farm. Although you won’t be cooking anything on this particular experience, you will have the unique opportunity to see behind the scenes of an olive oil and limoncello producer. You can also sample some of their finest produce and learn about the tradition, skill, and passion that goes into making them. La Masseria Farm is a fantastic place to visit for an authentic look at farming life on the Amalfi Coast.

Make some authentic Italian gelato on cooking vacations in Italy

We’ve saved perhaps the most iconic Italian cooking vacation experience until last. Traditional Italian gelato is coveted worldwide for its unique texture, creaminess, and fresh flavors. It’s a given that you’ll probably be indulging in a fair few scoops of gelato while on your Italian vacation. So why not take your foodie experience one step further, and learn how to make your own on an awesome gelato-making adventure?

Fresh Italian gelato

Ways Tours; Gelato Making Class in Verona

Described as ‘fair Verona’ by none other than William Shakespeare himself, this Northern Italian city is certainly one of the most beautiful destinations in the country. With wondrous architecture, easy access to some of Italy’s finest lakes and mountains, and incredible history, a Verona vacation is sure to be a busy one. So why not take a little break from all that exploring, and learn all about the noble art of gelato making?

In this fun, hands-on workshop, you’ll learn the secrets of making gelato and sorbetto from a renowned chef. You’ll even get to try your hand at creating your own delightful dessert. Learn about different methods and flavors, and find out what the real difference is between ice cream and gelato. When you’re done, you’ll be able to sample some of the finest scoops around. You’ll also get a recipe book to take away with you, to continue your gelato-making journey at home.

Eat&Walk Italy; Gelato Lover’s Workshop in Rome

We end in Italy’s capital, the Eternal City. Rome is full of fabulous gelato shops, and you can get a glimpse behind the curtain in this fun and interactive 1-hour experience in the heart of the city. You’ll get to work helping make three popular gelato flavors. You’ll also learn about how the sweet treat has been traditionally made over the years, and even sample some for yourself. Gelato in Rome never tastes better than when it’s fresh, and it doesn’t get fresher than making it yourself!

Find and book beautiful Italian villas for unforgettable cooking vacations

If you want to try out your newfound skills on vacation, book one of our fabulous Italian villas with authentic kitchens, beautiful family dining areas, and other fantastic facilities. We have luxurious, traditional vacation homes in Italy’s most popular spots. These include Lazio, within easy reach of Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Como, and Tuscany. For help planning your vacation, check out our guide to The Best Time To Visit Italy.