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All reviews magical place cooking class food and wine other guests every morning separate apartments large group cinque terre small town wonderful hosts pasta francesco cookery kindness history pictures classes
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Reviewed 16 October 2016 via mobile

We have been on a number of wine tasting and vineyard tours throughout the Uk, Europe and the US and have also attended several cookery courses in England. This was our first "cooking" holiday abroad and we were a little concerned at one of the reviews posted only a month before we were due to travel. There was absolutely NO reason to be! Francesco and Mirella were incredibly friendly and welcoming hosts. The Palazzo was stunning but a hire car is essential. The cookery lessons used only locally sourced ingredients (primarily organic) or fruit and vegetables from Mirellas parents substantial garden. Unlike mentioned in a previous review, none of the ingredients we used came in a packet. The hosts attention to detail was such that, rather than use the butcher 2 minutes from their door, they would travel 20 minutes to a butcher they knew raised their own animals and could therefore be sure of its quality. The welcome drink was indeed Francescos own wine, but he is not a "home brewer" he is a wine maker and the wine was an excellent Chianti Classico. The wine tastings which accompanied our meals were three or four bottles of wine from Tuscany and the surrounding area and Francesco was happy to indulge all of our questions which often continued to nearly midnight. We can definitely recommend staying here whether it be for the wine and food experience or merely as a Tuscan get away.

Stayed: October 2016, travelled as a couple
Thank Lyndiloola107
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 October 2016

We stayed at Palazzo del Duca as a part of the cooking and wine touring option. We traveled with friends and shared the Malaspina apartment, which was spacious and comfortable. The kitchen was well equipped, bathrooms nice and beds comfortable. It had a huge dining table that could seat 12, if we wanted to throw a big party, and a large living room! Both cooking classes were good and loved getting our hands all floured up with making the pasta and other local dishes, such as torta d'erbe and chestnut flour cakes. Our host Francesco took us touring to a couple of wineries in the Cinque Terre with a wonderful lunch at a restaurant in Manarola. We also enjoyed an informative visit with the local beekeeper and happened upon the annual horse festival in Comano, which was a great slice of local, rural culture. The village is very small with only a bar/restaurant, but loved getting away from the hustle of larger Italian cities. And it was great that we could walk out the door and go three or four different directions on well marked trails thru the hills and tiny villages. Meals at Casa Turchetti and Montagna Verde were also very good, especially Montagna Verde! The local winery, Casteldelpiano is also a gem to visit.

  • Stayed: September 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank mobie0309
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 October 2016

Italy is our preferred vacation destination - this was our seventh visit in nine years. This was our first stay at the Palazzo but definitely not the last. Our group consisted of two couples and our accommodations could not have been better. We had a full kitchen with everything needed to prepare a meal, 2 bathrooms, large common area. There were several other groups staying at the Palazzo and we enjoyed getting to know some of the other guests.

The location is in an undiscovered part of Tuscany. The village was small but we were within 30 minutes or so of the ocean, 45 minutes from Cinque Terre, perhaps a little over an hour from Parma. You can walk out the doors of the Palazzo and hike throughout the countryside on very well-marked trails. The surrounding mountains were beautiful.

Our food and wine events were great fun. The cooking class was very hands-on and delicious. We were satiated after consuming our creations. The sommelier was quite knowledgeable and his passion for wine was contagious. He educated us on many facets of wine making and helped us pick out various flavor profiles within the wine. We tasted a number of local wines and gained an understanding of the many varietals of Italy.

I would recommend traveling by car to the Palazzo for the most flexibility. We traveled to other hiking sites and needed the car to explore these areas.

  • Stayed: September 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank dnchambe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 September 2016 via mobile

We visited for a wine and food holiday week and had a marvelous time.
Though in a small hamlet there is plenty to do in the area (cinque d'terra, hiking, wineries, restaurants, etc)
The rooms are well done and the hospitality excellent.

Stayed: September 2016, travelled as a couple
Thank Rob A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 September 2016

A friend and I stayed in an apartment which is part of the Palazzo. It is self contained and ideal for a couple - cheery and well equipped with plenty of hot water and a good shower.

The area is the true attraction. One has the feeling of being in a place apart or at least off the beaten track. In September traffic was minimal - blessedly, as the roads would not take much (very narrow and damaged). But on an old salt route (for the ham in Parma) and part of the Canterbury to Rome pilgrimage (i was told). Wonderful walks everywhere and especially at the Paso de Lagostrello, just a few km up the mountain.

It was mushrooming season and the air of secrecy that surrounds this activity was palpable. However we saw some amazing results when the men in their Papageno-type attire returned from the woods.

There is one pub in Tavernelle with a dining room attached. The food is just marvellous - real, substantial and tasty always, the ordinary (pork chop, ragu, risotto) transformed by great ingredients and really good cooking and the unusual (goat, guinea fowl, vitello tonato), for us, utterly delicious.

In short we loved this place in the Toscano/ Appenino/ Emiliano highlands. I know it is the wrong country and the wrong mountains but I shall definitely "remember an inn, Miranda"

  • Stayed: September 2016, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
Thank marianf95
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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