Many of these schools are involved in the increasingly popular Slow Foods movement, which supports locally raised and prepared foods using traditional methods as opposed to mass produced food products. Of course, the best part of this experience is that you get to eat everything you make. Here are just a few of the most popular Italian Culinary Schools found on the Internet.
These are more designed for tourists and short-term visitors to Italy. The classes last from one day to a few weeks and have a fun and casual atmosphere. These schools, some of them held in countryside villas are enjoyable for any level of cook, from amateur to professional.
Cook Italy offers regional cooking lessons, specializing in the foods of Tuscany and Bologna. This is done in a relaxing, family-style manner in some excellent locations such as Bologna, Cortona, Lucca and even Siracusa in Sicily. Cook Italy offers day classes, three or six day Tuscan cooking courses, food market tours and custom "Italian Culinary Vacations" among other options.
Mama Margaret & Friends
Mama Margaret offers numerous tours and cooking vacations in several regions of Italy and can even custom tailor a cooking tour of Italy. The tours are offered in three tiers - from Premier (all top-quality) to Hearth and Home (more affordable) to Wander-Free tours (on your own to arrive at the cooking classes). Besides cooking, Mama Margaret itineraries include visits to vineyards, country farms, and the kitchens of local chefs.
Chef Paolo Monti's Cucina Italiana
Cucina Italiana is offered by Chef Paolo Monti at the Grand Hotel Portovenere, on the Italian Riviera. Six and seven day cooking packages include four practical courses that include the basics of Italian cooking, pasta, risotto, fish as well as some regional favorites. Cucina Italiana also offers Cinque Terre cooking and hiking vacations as well as a Flavors of Sicily package.
These are run more like an Academy and are more for professional or aspiring cooks and usually not for beginners. The courses at these institutes are much more intensive than those designed for tourists and can last up to a full semester. Italian culinary institutes are for those who would like to master every aspect of Italian cuisine from regional and national specialties to pastries and desserts. Some of these institutes now offer shorter classes for all levels of cooks.
Scuola di Arte Culinaria Cordon Bleu Perugia
The Cordon Bleu School of Perugia offers both intensive courses in gourmet cooking for aspiring chefs as well as day classes for visitors who just want the basics. There are also shorter courses for more experienced visitors who would like to master one or two specific dishes. Cordon Bleu Perugia offers cooking packages in the Umbrian countryside at medieval villas.
Apicius - Culinary Institute of Florence
The Culinary Institute of Florence, located in the heart of the city, is targeted to culinary students just starting out, but does offer a Master in Italian Cuisine program for experienced chefs. Offering both yearlong and summer programs, Apicius offers programs in wine expertise, hospitality, Italian language and culture besides their culinary classes.
The Higher Institute of Gastronomy and School of Regional Cooking
The Institute offers courses designed for both non-professionals and chefs. Located in the town of Jesi in Le Marche the Institute adheres to the Slow Food guidelines and offers a Master of Italian Cooking program for chefs working outside of Italy to become experts in Italian cooking or to specialize in a specific Italian region. Shorter certificate programs are also offered as well as visits to traditional cheese and balsamic vinegar making facilities.