Autumn Arts Festival-Tuscan Cuisine

DATES: 10/19/2021 - 10/27/2021
PRICE: $3,850.00

Linda Mironti is a graduate of The Art Institute of New York formerly The New York Restaurant School. Linda was chef and co-owner of 2 Diva’s catering company and has been working as a professional chef for various companies and as a private chef for the last 25 years.

Linda’s real passion and experience, however, first began in her grandma’s kitchen when she was a little girl. Then at age 11, she traveled to Italy for the first time – to her parent`s birthplace Morolo, a small mountain town about 1 hour south of Rome. There she was like an Italian Heidi. She loved the idea of living off the land. She constantly followed her aunt around, watching and helping her make fresh pasta, gnocchi and polenta. She foraged for chestnuts and mushrooms with her cousins and picked and prepared treasures from her grandfather`s garden. The abundance of fruit and nut trees, some of which she had never seen before gave her an appreciation for what the Italian soil had to offer, not to mention her first love affair – figs!

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Linda learned that taking the time to make food a loving and special experience can bring joy and warmth to peoples lives. “Some of the best times in my life have been in a kitchen or around a table sharing good food with friends.” As the Executive Chef at Il Chiostro for the last 25 years she has had the opportunity to be in Italy and take advantage of the finest fresh seasonal ingredients. This, combined with a creative sense of adventure has made cooking an art form for her, second only to her love of singing.

Il Chiostro celebrates the harvest time of the year in Tuscany with The Autumn Arts Festival. We offer 4 separate workshops that all overlap throughout this week-long celebration of the arts, the harvest, the wine and this wonderful region of Italy.  The workshops are:

In addition to your workshop we offer Italian Opera Appreciation lectures with Prof. Patricia Pease each evening before dinner.  This is open to all participants.

Program Description Tuscan Cuisine [class is limited to 8 participants]:

When people come to Italy they always remark about the food and how flavorful and fresh everything tastes. This course will focus on defining the Italian food philosophy and how we can bring that to our own kitchens.

Italy has a strict natural and organic tradition for producing food. Tuscan cuisine is called cucina povera – “poor man’s kitchen”.  It is simple and flavorful with great attention to combining ingredients that will compliment and enhance each other making every dish a marriage of flavors.

As the executive chef of Il Chiostro, I remember telling participants In the early years that it was impossible to get the same fresh seasonal ingredients at home as they experienced in Italy, but that is no longer true.  In the last few years the US has experienced a new food philosophy movement, we are learning what has been the heart and soul of Italian cuisine forever; fresh, local and seasonal ingredients are important not only to our taste buds, but also to the environment and to our health and well being.

Autumn brings the harvest – a time of so many treasures and delicacies.  My Grandmother used to say, “food is love”; come share the love in Tuscany!

Here are some highlights of the class:

  • We will have 2 hands on cooking classes in the kitchen
  • Learn about what makes Chianti unique.  We’ll learn how to taste wine, including many “super Tuscan” wines!
  • Explore local food artisans: goat cheese, sausage and fresh pasta
  • Shop for fresh ingredients at local outdoor markets and supermarkets, and, weather permitting, forage for wild mushrooms right in our own backyard
  • Discuss the glory of olive oil
  • Excursions to nearby hill towns where we will learn about their specialties: prosciutto, salumi, pecorino as well as the local wines. We will learn how to tell the quality and freshness of these products and how best to use them in our cooking.
  • Visit Siena and taste the local delicacies like ricciarelli, panforte and, of course, the best gelato in town

Every day we will discuss how we can incorporate what we learn into our daily lives at home

Cooks with LindaPrice: $3,850 p/p

  • Single supplement – $695 (limited number available)
  • Suite supplement  – $450 p/p (limited number available)


  • Room (double or suite) with full bathroom
  • 2 meals per day (dinner with wine and full Tuscan breakfast)
  • Workshop tuition and fees (except where noted)
  • General activities (except where noted)
  • Transfers between Siena train or bus station and Dievole

General Activities Open to All Participants (in addition to workshop):
Most activities take place in and around the 900 year old Dievole estate & vineyard.

  • Winery tour and tasting, featuring Dievole’s Chianti Classico
  • Italian Opera Appreciation classes every evening before dinner
  • Excursion to Siena
  • Dinner in the old cantina
  • Various topical excursions with your class
  • Special evening concerts and surprise entertainment, TBA
  • Pig Roast celebrating the harvest and the arts

Price does not include:

  • Airfare
  • Museum admissions
  • Gratuities

Contact us for more information: or speak to us live at 800-990-3506.

Dievole Chianti Classico Winery, Tuscany

Participants in the Autumn Arts Festival will stay in Dievole’s 16th century inn and guest houses floating in the magnificent Tuscan hills. We take over the whole winery so it will begin to feel like home after a few days.  The entire facility recently underwent a major facelift transforming all rooms into spacious, luxury lodgings.  Rooms are doubles or suites with modern bathrooms and heating.

A limited number of single rooms and suites are available for a supplement.

Dievole will seem more like a family inn rather than an impersonal chain hotel.  Dievole is located in the town of Vagliagli, about 12km northeast of Siena and 40km south of Florence. If you wish to explore the area independently during your stay we recommend renting a car. The link below will give you a glimpse of the winery:

Click here to visit Dievole’s web site…

Visit them on Facebook:


Die vole vineyards, photo by Jim Palmer

Dievole wine bottles-GRios

Dievole wine bottles, photo by Gilbert Rios

Gianni pouring-2014

Gianni pouring for a tasting, photo by Andy Holtzman


Dinner in the old wine cellar, photo by J Michael Sullivan


Dino ready to carve at the harvest pig roast


Early morning at Dievole, photo by Gabriella Pascoe


Orientation in the vintners’ room, photo by J Michael Sullivan

We will pick you up in Siena anytime between 1 and 5pm on the first day of the program. The recommended arrival airports are Florence or Rome from where you can take a bus or train to Siena. Florence is closer, but there are no direct flights from the US. You would have to change in another European city. Rome provides more flight options.

The bus/train from Rome to Siena is about 3 hours.

We can also arrange for a car to pick you up from Florence or Rome. You pay the driver directly. Just let us know a few days in advance so we can make the arrangemenst for you.

If you are departing from Rome on the last day, remember it is 3 hours by car or bus from Siena so try to book an afternoon flight.

If you have time, you might consider lingering in Italy for a few days extra on either end of the festival. Allow the Italian rhythms to seduce you. A few days in Rome or Florence upon arrival is a wonderful way to get over jet-lag. For other travel help check our Travel to Italy web page.

  • If you like dealing with a person, try our travel consultant, Nancy Schaffer with Travel Solutions, Inc. in Westborough, MA.  You can reach her at or 508-836-0143.  Mention that you are traveling with Il Chiostro.
  • For this trip and whenever you travel, we strongly recommend personal travel insurance. It protects you against penalties should you need to cancel your trip at the last minute. If you don’t have a policy, contact Travelex (800) 5047883 or [Note: Travelex requires that you take out a policy within 21 days of registering for a travel program.]

Specific Travel information to get to Dievole:

By Train: There are regularly scheduled trains from all major towns and cities in Italy. Head towards Siena. From Rome there are several trains daily from the main station (Termini). You don`t need a reservation. Although you purchase a through ticket, it is necessary to change trains at Chiusi. The ride takes about 3.5 hours (approximately 240 km.) and the cost is around $20.
NOTE: in Italy it is the law to stamp your train ticket in the little yellow meter near each train platform. Failure to do so can result in heavy fines, even if you plead ignorance.
By Bus: There are also buses from almost anywhere in Italy to Siena. These are modern and comfortable coaches.

From Florence: buses leave the SITA terminal (next door to the train station) nearly every hour. If you take Siena Rapida, the ride is direct on the highway and should take 1 hour.

From Rome: the ride takes 3 hours (non-stop). If you plan to arrive at the Rome airport and plan to come directly to Siena, this is the quickest method. From the airport, take the train on the left-hand track to the Tiburtina station (NOT Termini). From there, go outside into the parking lot.
If you are already in Rome you can take the Metro to the Tiburtina station. Take the B (blue) line towards Rebibbia. Follow signs to Pzle. Stazione Tiburtina.
With the long side of the station at your back, cross under the overpass into the parking lot. Buy your ticket from the building marked Biglietteria C (17.50 Euros, approx. $20); the bus usually leaves from Gate 8. These buses leave every day at regular intervals. To get current fares and schedules for the SENA bus you can check their web site:

Once in Siena, get off at the Siena train station (Ferrovia). Don’t get off in the center of Siena.

Tuscany in autumn is a sensual feast. Russet and golden hills. Crisp air. Trees weighted with olives. Woods rich with mushrooms and chestnuts. The scent of grapes hangs over the valleys like mist. The harvest is the soul of the Tuscans. In autumn the hilltowns revert to the locals. Their art is to prepare the bounty: prosciutto, nuts, olive oil and especially Chianti. Traditional festivals celebrate every phase from the vendemmia (harvesting of grapes for wine) to the wild boar. Music, folklore, dancing in the piazza.And there, in the heart of Tuscany, is Siena. The legendary medieval town packed with history and art. In autumn, her museums and churches relax, uncrowded. The streets echo her architecture, art and heroes.

IC pix 07-425

Surrounding Vineyards, photo by Linda Mironti