After our long weekend in Amsterdam, we hopped on our flight to Italy and began that segment of the trip in the Loro Ciuffenna region. Located about an hour south of Florence, Loro Ciuffenna is a nice Tuscany getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Our group rented out a giant villa via AirBnB near the small town of Arezzo, which is easily accessible by train from Florence. The villa itself however requires a car, so if you want to stay there, renting one is a must.
Here’s the link to the villa we stayed in.
There’s not a whole lot to do in Loro Ciuffenna, which is perfect if you’re looking to just relax and enjoy the rolling hills and vineyards. However, with your car you’re within driving distance of Siena, Florence and several other Italian cities that make for good day trips.
We spent only a few days in Loro Ciuffenna, and most of it consisted of getting good and drunk off of delicious Chianti wine. Our group also hired a chef to come to the villa a couple times and cook us some Italian meals (they clean up too). But here are some other highlights from Loro Ciuffenna before I get into the ins and outs of Florence in the next post.
Toscana Mia Cooking School
Località Poggio S. Polo, 2, 53013 Gaiole In Chianti SI, Italy
This was A LOT of fun. I would highly recommend this cooking class, especially if you’re in a group and want to experience Italian cooking in a local’s home. It’s a bit far outside of Florence, so you’ll really need to either be in the Loro Ciuffenna area or in Italy for a while and can afford to spend a whole day doing this activity. The standard menu that they’ll teach consists of Bruschetta, Mushroom Tagliatelle, Tuscan Chicken, and Panna Cotta (and of course plenty of Chianti is provided throughout). Though when booking the class you can request any particular Italian fare you want to learn how to make.
The family run cooking school isn’t as “individual” as I had hoped; I thought that each person would have a station and everyone would be able to make their own individual meals. However, there was plenty of food to be made for the whole group, so everyone had ample opportunities to help cook each segment of the meal. This class is great fun for any group, family, or couple looking to get a little messy and enjoy a fantastic meal that you can say you helped create.
Ristorante La Cantinella
70/G, 52028 Terranuova Bracciolini AR, Italy
This is one of the best meals I had the entire trip (if not the best). Ristorante La Cantinella is a fantastic restaurant to go to if you end up staying in that villa. I’ll be honest, the food was amazing, but not amazing enough to travel far to try, so if you’re staying in Florence, I’ll have recommendations in the city for you in a few posts. But regardless, the meal was truly wonderful, and the ambiance was classy, but relaxing at the same time. If you’re able to get a table on the patio, you can watch the sunset over the Tuscan hills. And this place was very affordable – for the type of food we were getting, the price was probably half of what you would pay at a nice Italian restaurant in the States. Even the good bottle of wine we had was only about 16 euros. My recommendations: try the Pici with Duck Ragu and the Rabbit with Spinach.
Antica Macelleria Falorni
Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, 71, 50022 Greve FI, Italy
If you do go to the cooking school, stop by the nearby town of Greve. Within the main piazza is Italy’s oldest butcher shop. Packed with wall to wall meats, this place is every vegan’s nightmare, but certainly is a sight to see. Be sure not to miss the cheese cellar downstairs as well.