Let's discover the Lucca region together!
Lucca never fell. Protected by mountains to the East and blessed with wide access to the western coast, this city state and its territories were never subjugated by outside rulers. Through the centuries, the Lucchesi held their fort against outside attacks, weaving a rich and unique cultural identity.
In this stunning landscape, the severe Apuane Alps with their marble caves guard slopes of hilly, busy olive groves, eventually devolving into a coastline of charming towns and lively beaches. The area is dotted with hill towns, seemingly impenetrable until their affable people let you in and you understand what it is that they fought so hard to preserve. Each town had its nobles and each noble family had a summer residence, interspersed between the hills and towns are hundreds of villas and palazzos, each more beautiful than the next and all complete with gardens built to upstage neighbors and amaze guests.
The varying character of the land and the desire of its wealthy inhabitants to outdo each other forged a distinctive food culture that imaginatively relies on pristine ingredients. From the olive oil to the wine and cheese, going through chestnut and chickpea flour, local breeds and unusual pastas all the way to indigenous fishes and shells, the gastronomic landscape of Lucca is unique and inimitable.
Some portion of my family-most recently my youngest sister-have lived in this area for decades. Through them, I have discovered hidden gardens and private docks, roadside produce stands and locals only restaurants and have gotten to know the secrets of generations of local families.
For 8 days during the early or late summer, a local foundation will generously open the door of a newly restored villa-complete with a professional teaching kitchen-to allow my sister and I to host a small group of 12 and guide their immersion into the local food, life and culture.
Throughout the stay there will be 6 to 7 morning lessons in the airy kitchen, to learn how to cook to the tune of what the soil of Lucchesia has to offer and become familiar with both its coastal and inland cuisines.
After lunches in the walled garden to enjoy the fruits of our labors, we will be chasing the sun while visiting producers, markets and restaurants, we will explore gardens with princesses, enjoy aperitivi by the swimming pool at sunset and explore the history, life and nature of Lucchesia.