We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Wonderful Day in Cortona”

Alessandra Federici's Cucina Cooking School
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Cooking and experiencing an Italian home, chatting and making lifetime friends ofìver a plate of pasta. Laughing and discussing the worlds problems while indulging on a freshly made dessert, Italian life, Italian kitchen, hands on, heart on.
Reviewed September 17, 2013

My husband and I were hoping for a day of cooking lessons that would improve our Italian cooking skills in a practical way, and provide both delicious food and a window into real life in a Tuscan hill town. Our experience with Alessandra met and exceeded all of our expectations.

Our day started out in a cafe on the piazza. Our companions for the day were a wonderful family of 5 from Australia. We got to know our cucina-mates a bit over cappuccino. We studied the menu for the day, and discussed were we would be shopping. Alessandra provided us with a folder which included our menu for the day, a collection of good common sense from Alessandra's "Real" Italian kitchen (much of which she dispensed to us in person through the day), and all of the recipes for the food we would be preparing and eating.

We walked from the piazza to the butcher shop, which was quite an interesting visit. Coming from the U.S., we are used to having a lot of nutrition information posted on our food containers...But a whole different set of information is posted in the Italian butcher shops (at least, it was in this one....Like, where the cow was born.) I was impressed by Alessandra's commentary on the freshness of the meat in Italy. It explained a lot about why it's hard to get a bad meal here.

Alessandra's husband then picked us up in a small van, and we headed down the hill to their home. We stopped nearly there at a beautiful market, where they had the most colorful vegetables and fruit. While we were there, Alessandra took us in the back to see the virgin olive oil cold-press facility, and explained that process to us, which I found very interesting. Then, on to their home.

We really had the feel of a day spent with friends, fixing a fine meal (although we kind of ate the meal as we went along). Everyone helped--we all made pasta, made espresso, stirred the ragu, whipped the egg whites, etc. Alessandra of course did the directing and a good bit of the work, but this was not a class where you just watched someone else cook. You helped! I really like the hand-on aspect.

Alessandra's family came and went throughout the afternoon (it was a normal school day for the kids, with everything that entails); while Alessandra spoke perfect English and that was the language we conversed in, I enjoyed very much the back and forth of the family in Italian. There were dogs and cats around but never bothering anything or anyone (the dogs were penned up in the far back yard). Their home was charming but unpretentious. We ate on the back patio. The house lot is narrow (houses touching on both sides) but deep, and there were flower pots and other decorations around. The weather was lovely.

The food was delicious, fresh, and plenty without being overfilling (it would have been a lot for one meal, but stretched out over 6 hours, it didn't seem too much). Alessandra is a great storyteller, and along with the food we got generous servings of conversation with her and the other guests.

When we return to Cortona, we will do this again!

2  Thank NTXTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (230)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
All reviews
"italian cooking"
in 34 reviews
in 29 reviews
"cooking class"
in 68 reviews
"cooking school"
in 17 reviews
"at home"
in 21 reviews
"fresh eggs"
in 5 reviews
"delicious meal"
in 13 reviews
in 16 reviews
"italian family"
in 9 reviews
"great conversation"
in 9 reviews
"family life"
in 4 reviews
"local butcher"
in 9 reviews
"cultural experience"
in 3 reviews
"an experience we will never forget"
in 3 reviews
"produce market"
in 7 reviews
"her son"
in 3 reviews
"highlight of our trip"
in 12 reviews

139 - 143 of 230 reviews

Reviewed August 30, 2013

My wife and I traveled to Italy in the middle of August and we decided to take a cooking class. Reading all of the reviews on TA, we decided to go with Allesandra. It takes someone special to invite stangers into your home, but after about 20 minutes of meeting her, you were not a stranger anymore.
I'll make this short and sweet. She is a very sweet woman, her home is very charming and I loved the food and her cooking style. When it was time to leave, I felt like I've known her for years. We talked about everything from cooking to Italian politics and drank lots of wine. If you want a generic cooking class, I would suggest looking somewhere else. If your looking for an authentic Tuscan experience, great food and converstaion, look no further. Call Allesandra.
Thank you again, Allesandra. I made the Ragu Bianco the day after we got home and it got rave reviews from my son. Now I have to make it for the neighbors. This weekend is the chocolate volcano cake (Tortino Cuore Fondente). By the way, you really need to write a cookbook.

Thank asihi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2013

Cooking school it's not. Unless you want to learn how to chop an onion, set a table and drink as a typical Italian family does out of a box of table wine. Great expectations as we left our cottage in Umbria and hurtled through the beautiful countryside into Tuscany and onto the town of Cortona to meet our host at 9.30am who was promptly late.From then on like the short journey back to Alessandra's it was all downhill. My advise is if you want a bit of a social, meet new people, drink cheap wine and have a mediocre Italian meal pay the 50Euros, but don't spend the extra 100Euros to cut an onion and kneed some pasta let someone else do that. So in summary Italy, a wonderful, beautiful sensual country, great food, wine and wonderful people, however our experience on this day fell well short of the real Eataly.

Thank Mark H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AleFederici, Proprietario at Alessandra Federici's Cucina Cooking School, responded to this reviewResponded December 11, 2013

I have been giving some thoughts about how to answer to this, and I am going with the simple thruth.

Right after the class, that Mr Mark and his wife obviously didn't like (which is a legitimate thing) I received an e-mail from Mr Mark's wife that was tellig me that if I didn't refund the money of the class they would have written a bad review on TA. They accused me of several things and I don't want to go through all of them. But only through a couple of them. I didn't serve wine from a box. I asked all if we wanted to try this wine that was given to me, but we all agreed that it wasn't good (I later threw ut away) and opened other MUCH BETTER bottles. And the rest is what I do, a day in an Italian family. Everybody participated in everything and they didn't just chopped an onion.
My feeling is that Mark and family were looking for another kind of experience that is not what I publicize nor what I offer and they just mistakingly booked the wrong class.
There are cordon bleu kind of classes offered in the area, but that is not what I do.
And I like how my time is really considered like nothing. 50 € for a meal is only if you go to a restaurant and pay for a meal, not for a 8 hours + in a cooking class in someone else's home.

I had emails going back and forth with this customers, but theyr only point was give me back the money or... well, I didn't give them back the money.

Hope your next visit in Italy goes better.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2013

This was my second visit with Alessandra - this time with my daughter and grandson. It was a wonderful day lasting 11 hours - planning, shopping, preparing, eating and all in all a great day! My granddaughter and her new husband also went to Alessandra's in May and had a wonderful experience.

Highly recommend!

Thank JudyPIllinois
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
See more reviews
Reviewed July 12, 2013

Alessandra's cooking class was just as the other positive reviewers have described. It was not just a cooking class, but a full day's experience in a Tuscan home. Alessandra taught us a lot about cooking techniques and dispelled many of the misconceptions about Italian cuisine. Her outspoken sense of humor made the day even more fun. Our group consisted of my husband and me (a fan of genuine Italian cooking), my son (an accomplished cook) and his wife, and our granchildren, ages 11 and 13, who already are discriminating foodies. Alessandra was great t involving the children in all phases of the preparation, especially the pasta making. And yes, the food and wine were fabulous!

1  Thank dmnickel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Alessandra Federici's Cucina Cooking School also viewed

Cortona, Province of Arezzo
Cortona, Province of Arezzo

Been to Alessandra Federici's Cucina Cooking School? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing