Receive formal culinary training as you fall in love with the flavors of Italy. Wander along the enchanting canals of Venice, learn to cook in Turin, and take in the historic sites of Rome and Florence.
Prepare for bold flavors and aromas as you embark on an Italian culinary adventure and learn about the communities, traditions, and cultures that produce the country’s legendary cuisine. This culinary Experiment explores the importance of seasonal, organic, and locally grown foods in different regions. Explore the food cultures of the different regions of Italy as you make your way from Rome, to Florence, to Asti. Whether you’re making pasta, tasting olive oil, or sampling homemade desserts, you will deepen your understanding of the intimate connections between food, culture, and sustainability within the context of Italy and beyond.
Begin with an orientation in Rome where you will receive basic language training and visit ancient sites such as the Colosseum. Next, travel to gorgeous Tuscany, where you will take an introductory Italian class, explore medieval towns. In Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, you can see the many famous works of art and historic landmarks throughout the city. Continue practicing your Italian as you share daily life with a local family during your homestay and buy fresh food in outdoor markets.
Travel to Asti and spend eight days at Agenzia di Formazione Professionale delle Colline Astigiane, the prestigious cooking school, where you will learn to prepare traditional Italian dishes including risotto, focaccia, and tiramisu, as well as regional Piedmont specialties like taglierini, agnolotti del plin, and baci di dama cookies, under the guidance of a professional chef. The program’s culinary excursions include a visit to the famous University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, agritourism visits to local farms, and an agrigelateria to see how real artisanal gelato is made.
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Orientation in Rome
During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.
Thematic Focus in Cortona
During this period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel
During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample host communities: Cosenza, Ascoli Piceno, San Sebastiano al Vesuvio
Thematic Focus in Asti
During this period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.
Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Venice
During the reflection period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.
Please note: This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change from year to year. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, engagement with specific organizations, and availability of local professionals, your experience — including sites visited, activities, and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented above.
Eilis Kierans resided in Drogheda, Ireland, for the first eight years of her life before relocating to Massachusetts with her family. Later in life, her dear Uncle Sonny, a Christian Brother in Rome, inspired her to explore Italian culture. During her summers as an undergraduate student, Eilis ventured to Italy to teach English as a Second Language in various vibrant cities. In 2009, she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor of arts in communication from the University of Massachusetts. Thereafter, she worked for over a year as an ESL teacher in Daegu, South Korea. In 2011, she returned to Italy to teach and study as part of the Study, Intercultural Training, and Experience program in the serene Camonica Valley, where she lived with an array of ebullient Italian families. Eilis is now a graduate student in the Italian Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she teaches Italian to undergraduate students. In the summers of 2013 and 2014, Eilis had the distinct pleasure of leading an Experiment program in Italy, where — alongside her students — she finally learned how to cook scrumptious Italian dishes.
Rebecca was born and raised in Circleville, Ohio, the pumpkin capital of the world, before moving away to attend Ohio University where she studied telecommunications, business, and Italian. Rebecca’s love for Italy began during her college semester abroad, studying Italian language, cooking, and culture in a small central-Italian village. After graduation, Rebecca returned to Italy for an internship in Rome, where for two years she worked with Italian university students and refugees from North Africa and the Middle East. This gave her a unique opportunity to explore Italy extensively and tour a large part of Europe.
Rebecca recently completed her master’s degree in international education at SIT Graduate Institute. She is currently working with study abroad students in Rome through RomeSAE, helping to introduce American students to the city and country she loves so much. In 2013 and 2014, Rebecca led Experiment programs to Italy and had an amazing time with both her groups. When she isn’t buried in a good book or cooking delicious treats, Rebecca can be found spending as much time as possible outside, playing tennis, hiking, running, and exploring new places.
The culture is so vibrant and nearly everything in Italy is gorgeous. However, Italy wasn’t about its aesthetic, but rather what it allowed me to learn. For the first time in my life, I was taught, that even with a language barrier, people are all interconnected.--Estefania
I was able to learn so much about Italian culture and their language, especially during my homestay. One of my greatest memories from this trip was actually the first night of my homestay. My homestay sister and her cousin brought me to a festival in the center of a town called Cetraro. It was such a beautiful night. The streets were decorated with purple, blue, and white lights from above and crowded with vendors selling snacks and trinkets. In the center of the festival, people were swaying to the music a band was playing and children gaped at amateur acrobats performing tricks from a dangling hoop.--Michelle
After Rome and my homestay, I did not expect anything else; I thought I found out everything I needed to know about myself. However, I soon realized there was more, once I met with the famous Chef Sergio, alongside the Italian students and my other fellow experimenters. Things were hectic because we were trying to cook each of our individual parts for the meal. The individual was only part of the whole, the bigger picture. Each of us cooking a different part of the meal for the day and bringing it all together to enjoy in the end was beautiful because we were a Famiglia. There was nothing more special than that. While in the kitchen, or cucina in Italian, I thought about considering a career as a chef. The most important part was working over the stove, sweating, trying to create the meal that was unique, concise, and perfecto.Tristan, High School for Health Professionals