Culinary Training & Culture

Fall in love with the flavors of Italy as you take in the historic sites of Rome, learn to cook in Asti, and live with a family in the southern part of the country. Receive language and culinary training from renowned institutions.

  • Art

  • Culinary

  • Language

  • Sustainability


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. Return to Rome to close out the program and reflect on your experience and learnings as a group.  


The Experiment’s programs are designed to build skills that will help you succeed. In Italy, you will learn:

Technical Skills

  • Italian language
  • Italian cooking
  • Culinary safety and knife skills

Interpersonal Skills

  • Intercultural communication and understanding
  • Problem-solving
  • Adaptability
  • Relationship-building and empathy
  • Team-building and collaboration


  • With global climate change, weather is becoming difficult to predict; summers are very hot, though patterns can vary.
  • Students will explore urban life on foot (lots of walking!) and learn to navigate the public transit system.
  • The variety of foods and the depth of gastronomic tradition makes it possible to meet the needs of most diets in Italy. Be aware, however, that your homestay family will be very keen to share many traditional foods including cheeses, cured meats, and a range of local and regional delicacies with you, and their preparation and your enjoyment of these will be a source of pride for your hosts.
  • Access to the internet is limited and internet speeds and connectivity vary.
  • The diverse personal and social identities of participants may, in part, shape their experience abroad. In-country partners will discuss cultural norms and the local context during orientation. Please read our approach to Diverity, Equity, and Inclusion for further information. All students will have a safe space within the program spaces and with the local staff and group leaders.
  • The Experiment program structure is rooted in experiential learning and cohort-based learning. The participant group experience is a major source of learning for Experimenters and is facilitated by trained Experiment group leaders.


Program Availability

No Longer Enrolling

Program Date

Jul 2 - Jul 31



Program Fee*


(does not include airfare)
Group Airfare Cost


Departure City

New York, NY

*Program fees may increase by
$500 -$1000 to account for changes
to lodging accommodations.

  • Lodging
  • Meals
  • All program activities
  • In-country transportation
  • Health insurance
  • Experienced group leaders

Families or partner organizations are also responsible for arranging and paying for participants' domestic travel to the international departure/return airport in the U.S., whether flying, driving or by other means. By its nature, domestic airfare varies by airline, timing, destination, and availability.

The culture is so vibrant and 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.

Sample Itinerary

This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, your experience — including sites visited and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented below.

View Itinerary Details

Days 1-3

Orientation in Rome

  • Learn about the history and culture of Italy by visiting important sites in the capital including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, and Trevi Fountain.
  • Explore Vatican City where you will have a guided tour of the Vatican museum and St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • Begin to practice your Italian language skills at local shops and ordering at gelaterias and coffee bars.
  • Explore diverse neighborhoods, navigate the bus system, and sample local Italian cuisine
  • Get to know other members of your group during activities and group discussions

During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Days 4-8

Thematic Focus in Cortona

  • Take interactive, small group Italian language classes at a language and cultural center.
  • Take a day trip to Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, to visit sites of significance and see famous works of art, such as the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, and the art at the Galleria dell’Academia, including Michelangelo’s David.
  • Visit the Etruscan Musuem, and take part in an Etruscan writing workshop.

During this period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Days 9-18


  • Become fully immersed in the daily life of an Italian family and community and practice your Italian by sharing meals and joining their typical activities and outings.
  • Explore your host community and the surrounding area with your group, such as visiting local museum and visiting a nearby beach with your group and Italian host siblings.

During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample host communities: Cosenza, Ascoli Piceno, San Sebastiano al Vesuvio.

Days 19-26

Thematic Focus in Asti

  • Attend small-group interactive Italian cooking classes at a renowned local cooking school that centers its philosophy in Slow Food, focused on using locally sourced and quality ingredients.
  • Work extensively in the kitchen with local chefs and experts learning local cooking traditions and using only the best slow food ingredients.
  • Learn about Slow Foods at the vocational training center in Agliano Termi and explore the principles and philosophy on biodiversity and other projects related.
  • Go on excursions to the famous University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, created by Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food Organisation, take a guided tour of the town of Pollenzo, participate in seminars with university professors, and visit the on-site vegetable gardens.
  • Attend a workshop on the sensory analysis of local products, followed by a visit to the wine bank.
  • Visit “Agrigelateria San Pe” in Poirino and taste artisanal gelato produced with organic milk and fruits.
  • Visit the town of Torino, explore the town center, and visit and have lunch at Eataly, a market dedicated to fine foods and traditional agricultural practices.
  • Attend a grand lunch and graduation ceremony, with local government officials, with your group to celebrate the completion of your cooking course.

During this period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Day 27-29

Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Rome

  • Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program and prepare for your return home. 
  • Celebrate with a final closing dinner with your group. 

During the reflection period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Day 29


Past Group Leader

The Experiment’s group leaders go through a rigorous selection process and have extensive experience with youth education, local expertise in the country or region of their program, language abilities, knowledge in their program theme, travel logistics and management know-how, and experience with health, safety and risk management.

Jen Fowler

Jen Fowler is an Enginist (engineer + artist) and humble foodie, committed to using her formal training as a writer to raise the volume on global voices. A graduate of the New School and a proud New Yorker, Jen began her career working with adolescents as an ESL teacher in Buenos Aires, where she tutored elementary and high school students. Following her time in Argentina, Jen served in AmeriCorps in Woodbridge, Virginia, teaching U.S. citizenship classes and financial education for high school and adult students. Her time working with youth made her passionate about improving mental health services for adolescents, and she is currently completing her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. She is thrilled to return to the Experiment as a group leader this summer, having also supported Admissions and Programs coordination for EIL since 2020. Jen has previously led programs to Japan (2019), the United Kingdom (2018), Argentina (2017), and Italy (2022).

Program experts

The Experiment's programs are led by accomplished and experienced faculty and staff who typically live in the country of study. Program leaders are responsible for instructional content, classroom and field experiences, and daily program operations.

Carlo Petrini

Carlo Petrini is an Italian journalist and founder of the international Slow Food movement, which has grown globally and today includes millions of people in 160 countries working to ensure that everyone has access to good, clean, fairly raised food.

Signor Carlo, as his colleagues call him, was born in the Piedmont region of Italy, where Slow Food International is headquartered. In 2004, he founded the University of Gastronomic Science, which promotes biodiversity and permaculture. The university is housed in a castle that formerly belonged to the Italian royal family and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The university follows the mission of the Slow Food movement and has students from all over the world.