SixTop in Italy – The Villa Rosa dei Venti connection

Looking back now, one of the best things about our trip to Italy was our lack of planning. Sure there were short to-do lists, but we all agreed early on that running around like the Griswalds was not what any of us wanted. Aside of a manic day and a half of sight-seeing in Rome, I think we pulled it off. Personally, I only had a few must-dos, most of which were food related. I wanted to sample a variety of local dishes, attempt to maintain a wine buzz the whole trip and most importantly, take a cooking class while in food heaven.

After some searching online I found a class at Villa Rosa dei Venti, owned and operated by the Micheli family in Creti di Cortona. They’ve been there for over three generations and it shows. They grow apples, vegetables and sunflowers, raise chickens, rabbits and ducks and make their own family branded olive oil. As you would expect, they also have superb family red and white wines. There is pride, love and hard work in everything on their property. Villa Rosa dei Venti is sublime.

Class started at 10 am at their brand new facility for cooking courses where I was joined by a very sweet family from Calgary. Our instructors were daughter Barbara and mother Ornella who were so incredibly welcoming and friendly. They both made the course move along while still being fun. After introductions we all got right to work cutting, chopping and mixing ingredients for our eventual meal.

And what a menu! It followed the classic Italian food form of serving an antipasto, a pasta, then roast meat and veg followed by dessert. We started making the three antipastos we would eventually pile on bread. First was a Cannelloni bean and onion mix marinated in olive oil, then a bruschetta of tomato, finely chopped onion and basil. Third was chicken breast sautéed in butter, which after being cooled down, was processed with pickled vegetables and mixed with mayonnaise. Fantastic! The second course was a Tagliatelli pasta with a three meat sauce.

Homemade Tagliatelle (our first video recipe!)

While this happened we prepared the main course; roast rabbit, roast duck stuffed with olives and a huge tray of roasted vegetables. Dessert was a gorgeous lemon/olive oil cake. I asked Barbara when the 27 people other were showing up to eat all this, which she translated for her mom and got a big laugh. But I kind of wasn’t kidding, this was an insane amount of food!

After a break and a wonderful tour of the property with Barbara’s brother Stefano, the rest of the family showed up to join our gigantic Italian feast. We ate and drank, talked, translated, shared stories and connected. Surprisingly there were leftovers!

Villa Rosa die Venti epitomizes what I loved so much about Tuscany. There’s a real sense of connection between the land, food and people who live there. Much like the connection made during that meal with the generous Micheli family. It’s an afternoon I won’t forget.

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5 Comments on “SixTop in Italy – The Villa Rosa dei Venti connection”

  1. Rosa dei Venti has been a home-away-from-home for many years and completely agree with this outstanding review. Quiet, scenic and central to the entire country, Rosa dei Venti has more to offer than accommodations, their [Micheli Family] hospitality can only be described as “above and beyond”. We look forward to our annual visits!

    • Tom C says:

      Happy you enjoyed the post Scott. Thanks for the comment. I couldn’t agree more about Rosa dei Venti and we’re hoping to make return visits there soon. Feel free to subscribe to SixTop, we love having new readers! Ciao…

  2. Hello, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your blog. We have a friend who lives in Tuscany. She has taken us on tours of small vineyards and farms that produce small batches of olive oil and wines. Some of them have invited us into their homes for meals and to exchange recipes. They were wonderful and this blog brought back those memorable times. The duck stuffed with olives sounds wonderful.

    • Tom C says:

      Hi Karen, nice to hear from you! And thanks, I’m really glad you like SixTop. I left a part of myself in Tuscany a few months ago, that how much of an effect it had on me. We had such a fantastic time there and the people we met we’re so friendly and generous. Glad to know the post brought back good memories. And the duck was fantastic! Please subscribe to SixTop! We’re planning some big changes soon with the look and to increase the number of posts. Ciao…

  3. […] in Italy last May I took a cooking class in a small Tuscan town called Creti. It was a beautiful sunny day spent cooking, eating and […]


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