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>>>"Best time ever - already making plans to go ba...

Casa Ombuto | "Best time ever - already making plans to go back..."

Posted on november 14, 2010 by
Excellent

“Best time ever - already making plans to go back...”

5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2010

I knew I wanted to go to Italy, but I wasn’t really looking forward to a trip by myself. A friend told me about this cooking school in Tuscany at a villa and it sounded like the perfect thing for a solo traveler. The only thing that could have made it better is if it were longer than a week – although my pants wouldn’t have fit if it were any longer.

Casa Ombuto is about 50 km (31 miles) outside of Florence, but it takes about 90 minutes because of the beautiful and curvy Tuscan roads. There are a couple ways to get there. You can take local trains from Florence into Poppi (the town just 5 minutes from the villa) and they will pick you up or you can rent a car at the Florence airport. I did the latter and was very happy, as long as I had my GPS. Yes, the roads of Tuscany are curvy and the roundabouts are scary at first, but there is nothing better than taking a “Sunday” drive any day of the week in Tuscany.

The grounds of Casa Ombuto and the buildings themselves are impossibly fabulous. You are on a hill overlooking some of the Tuscan valley. The owners did a marvelous job of renovating the place. It is modern on the inside, but still decorated in an authentic way. The outside is just what you would want a Tuscan villa to look like.

The kitchen and the cooking school were incredible. For four of the six days you have your morning free, then lunch is served at 13:00 and class starts at 15:00. Our chef was Paola Baccetti. She grew up just a town away and used to have a local restaurant. The menu is all her recipes. Even if you aren’t a “foodie” you can’t help but absorb some of her passion for excellent food. You get a beautiful cookbook to take home with many more recipes that you didn’t have time to prepare that week. The classes are a little hectic, but a lot of fun. You eat all the food that you and the other folks at the villa cook. It’s usually a bit late, after 20:00, when you sit down to eat but it’s simply incredible food and a great time.

Like I said, I was travelling alone. We had a big class (13 total) but it was like being in a big family. Just to show you it’s a small world, of the 13 people, 7 of us were from Texas – and one woman lives about 20 minutes from me! It’s a perfect trip for a couple, friends or even a single.

I can’t say enough about the people, the place and the overall experience. I’m already checking flights and am likely going to plan a return trip in the late spring. Going in different seasons will be good for the cooking portion, because Paola cooks locally what is in season so I can learn some different recipes in spring than in fall. One thing that will be the same is the pasta though! I’ll be practicing rolling my pasta until the next time…

Photos of Casa Ombuto - Cooking Vacations Tuscany, Poppi
This photo of Casa Ombuto - Cooking Vacations Tuscany is courtesy of TripAdvisor Photos of Casa Ombuto - Cooking Vacations Tuscany, Poppi
This photo of Casa Ombuto - Cooking Vacations Tuscany is courtesy of TripAdvisor Photos of Casa Ombuto - Cooking Vacations Tuscany, Poppi
This photo of Casa Ombuto - Cooking Vacations Tuscany is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Stayed November 2010, traveled solo
5 of 5 stars Value
5 of 5 stars Location
5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
5 of 5 stars Rooms
5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
5 of 5 stars Service