Upcoming Workshops with Mark
Umbria is a place for walking. It is many different landscapes; a series of pleasant, harmonious changes of scenery. Infinite shades of green dress the heights of the Appennines foothills above, and the Valle Spoletina (Valley of Spoleto) below. Fields enclosed by hedges and stone walls alternate with woods and restful olive groves. The countryside offers silence and sound, light and shade. The Sentiero degli Ulivi (Path of Olives) will take us through hills and vales, and medieval towns. Everywhere, there are lazy rivers and impetuous streams, limpid pools, and quiet springs.
The rolling hills are host to an exceptional series of beautiful villages. We will leave the valley below to climb the terraces and enjoy the breathtaking views from quiet town piazzi.
St. Francis, patron saint of Italy, was born in Assisi around 1181. Looking south from Assisi, the horizon is cut off by the steep stony slopes of Mt. Subasio where the saint found refuge from the pressures of his own modern life. That will be the high point (literally) of our journey. Francis, a saint of contemplation and solitude, travelled more than many men of his times, sharing his revolutionary message of peace. Our journey will take us along parts of the Via Francegena di Francisco (Way of St. Francis), where we can think on his extraordinary human and spiritual life.
Our intention is to create an itinerary that has the spirit of wandering and discovery, not of exertion and fatigue. You will climb hard, but the thrilling vistas will be worth every step. We will follow trails that are well-marked but less-travelled. We may get lost occasionally, but who cares about the map when you are looking at such beauty. Our trail goes from the south (Monteluco above Spoleto), heading toward the north (Assisi). This offers interesting panoramas, and by walking in this direction the sun is always at our backs; perfect for taking photos.
Our itenerary includes four days of moderately-stenuous hiking, 4-6 hours each day. A fifth day is spent in Assisi at the end of our trek. The $2500 package includes 6 nights of lodging in 3-star accomondations and all meals. Double-occupancy and/or group discounts can be arranged. Participants will receive detailed information about all aspects of their trip, including airline, train connections, and general travel tips.
View Hiking the Umbrian Countryside in a larger map
Imagine a place where the tempo of life is more relaxed, the air is filled with inspiration, and the food is incredible. Feel the warm Tuscan sun as it fills the olive trees, the fields of poppies, even the paving stones of the piazzi with life. Smell the fresh fruits and vegetables as you linger at the corner market. Taste how good life can be.
This workshop is the perfect opportunity for people who love to cook to sharpen their technique, expand their repertoire of Italian cuisine and wine, and to discover a few of the secrets that bring joy to the Italian dinner table.
You will wake each day, swing open the shutters of your room in a beautiful stone farmhouse set on a Tuscan hillside, and look across the valley to the ancient town of Montepulciano glowing in the morning light.
The workshop will include hands-on instructional sessions that focus on particular techniques, and the preparation of complete meals (some simple/some elaborate). The class will visit the local shops to take advantage of fresh ingredients and to learn about Tuscan specialties.
Beginning with escorted group travel from Rome to Cortona, your week will also include seven nights accommodations in Cortona, all meals (prepared in-house and at local restaurants), daily wine tasting opportunities, a wine tour, a trip to Assisi, and all local transfers for programmed workshop events.
Cortona is a beautiful hill-town, off the tourist route, overlooking the Valdichiana. Narrow alleyways wind between medieval stone buildings stand atop Roman foundations, resting on Etruscan ruins.
Mark Putnam is an accomplished chef and cooking instructor who specializes in classical cuisine featuring fresh ingredients, remarkable flavors, and beautiful presentation. He has studied with, and worked beside, chefs from many parts of the world to build a truly exciting repertoire of techniques and recipes.
Putnam enjoys teaching people with many different levels of experience in the kitchen. He listens to each student to evaluate what they hope to learn, and finds a path of instruction which promises success... and satisfaction.
The cuisine of Tuscany holds a special place in his heart because it typifies how beautiful ingredients can be combined simply to evoke the history and culture of that wonderful country. In true Italian fashion, Putnam cooks authentic Tuscan foods as a celebration of la vita bella.
This workshop is limited to 8 participants. Register early. Click here to visit the Toscana Americana website and view an Enrollment and Reservation form for this workshop.
Picture yourself in beautiful and romantic Tuscany: olive groves, vineyards, centuries-old buildings, winding streets, vibrant sunlight, experiencing the joy of learning Italian cooking techniques in a relaxed and inspiring atmosphere with expert instruction and the camaraderie of a small group of new friends.