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Gastronomy 101: Italian Food & Wine

Engorge yourself on our Gastronomy 101 series and discover the most delectable, most fragrant and most mouthwatering treats that Europe has to offer. Read about some Italian delights below...

When you think Italy, you think food. From pasta to tiramisu, Italian food is loved the world over for its timeless simplicity and delicious flavours. Eating in Italy is truly a social pursuit, with long hours whiling away between the many courses from the aperitivo all the way to the digestivo. And no meal is complete without an accompaniment of local wines, from the rich, fruity Chianti to the light-bodied, pale Pinot Grigio.

To ensure that you get the very best out of your Italian escape, at Tempo Holidays we have compiled a number of tours, itineraries and day activities that will delight all your senses. You will be surrounded by delectable aromas and even more delicious tastes as you create, sample and graze your way across Italy.

Italian Food Escapades

Discover how the magic happens with an Italian cooking lesson. On your trip to Rome, we offer a Cooking Lesson in the Roman Countryside where you can learn some of the classics of Roman fare. Roman food is typically seasonal and prepared in simple ways, with bold flavours taking centre stage. Common vegetables include peas, globe artichokes and fava beans, meat is traditionally lamb or goat and both Pecorino romano and ricotta cheese feature prominently.  Nestled in the Roman hills, your farmhouse school is in the quaint town of Mazzano Romano where you will prepare an appetiser, first course, second course and dessert. Then all there is left to do is to eat, perhaps with a glass of Castelli Romani!

Tuscany is also famous for its delicious food and wine. Tuscan fare tends to feature legumes, cheese, mushrooms, truffles and fresh fruit. Florence is famous for its enormous steaks, while the regional dishes are frequently made with game such as wild board, deer or pheasant often combined with pappardelle pasta. The gelato in Florence is also delicious, coming in a huge array of different flavours with many gelaterias claiming to be the absolute best in the city. While in Florence, why not book yourself in for a Pizza and Gelato Making Class? Who knows, after your lesson maybe you'll be the one creating the BEST gelato in Florence!

Incorporate these classes into your Taste of Rome or Taste of Florence & Tuscany short break itineraries - or let us build them into your very own tailor-made holiday.

Veritable Vino Delights

grapes_wine_tourItaly is the world's biggest producer of wine, followed closely by France so while you are there, you simply must sample the local drop. This small country's wine output actually represents a third of the world's wine production - so there is ample opportunity to try a huge variety of grapes. Perhaps the most famous region for wine in Italy is Tuscany, home of the delicious Chianti. But with so many different wines and methods of production, it can be hard to figure out exactly which wine is the best for your taste.

And that's where our local experts come in, guiding you on a Tuscany Wine Trail small group tour from Florence. Discover Chianti wines with a visit to a selection of special wineries set amongst the olive trees and cypresses over a whole day. With expert sommeliers on hand, you will learn about the history, traditions and different characteristics of the wine as well as food-pairings.

For those feeling a little more active, we also offer a Tuscany Wine Tour by Bike out of Florence.

 The Whole Package

To really immerse yourself in Tuscan gastronomy, the Highlights of Chianti or Highlights of San Gimignano independent tours (each four days from Florence) combine Medieval and Etruscan towns with country escapes, cooking classes and wine tastings.  Lose yourself in the undulating hills of Tuscany, a patchwork of gold and green fields, punctuated by mountain settlements and beautiful old farmhouses set amongst the vineyards.

Alternatively, the Gastronomic Tuscany package over five days focuses solely on food and wine. Over the course of three cooking classes with a professional chef learn Tuscan secrets to making the best food out of the simplest ingredients. Also enjoy a private wine lesson and tastings accompanied by cheese samples plus a half day tour of the Chianti Classico region.

Moving further north to Bologna, the Motors and Food four day independent itinerary is foodie and petrol-head heaven. The Emilia-Romagna region is known for its soft wheat pastas and balsamic vinegar, as well as hard cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano. On this tour you will visit a balsamic vinegar farm, enjoy various farmhouse lunches, sample wine at a winery in the Bologna hills and visit Ferruccio Lamborghini, Casa Enzo Ferrari and the Maranello Ferrari Museum.


Is your mouth watering yet? I know mine is, just thinking about all these delectable Italian flavours! If you are interested in any of these food adventures or want to craft your very own tailor-made gastronomical tour of Italy, contact one of our agents today.