Taking a Cooking Class in Italy

Florence Italy Pizza

Guest post from my sister, Jenny, about her cooking class in Italy that she took while studying abroad in Florence. I was fascinated by all the things she cooked and learned there, so I’m excited for her to share that here!

Hello! My name is Jenny and I’m really excited to be sharing a little bit about my experience taking a cooking class in Italy! When I went to Florence, I knew I was going to study science and travel writing, but there was no way I was passing up the opportunity to take some type of culinary class. The class I picked was Italian Regional Foods in the Cultural Perspective at the Lorenzo de’ Medici Institute. I chose this one because we got to learn about the cuisine of each region of Italy as well as learn about the history and culture of that region. It was awesome!

cooking class italy

One of the coolest aspects of my cooking class was getting to cook in the Il Mercato Centrale, or the Central Market. We were able to use state-of-the-art equipment in one of the most bustling places in Florence, and visitors could watch us prepare dishes through the glass windows while we paid attention to our chef and his sous-chef describing what to do next. 

LdM Cooking Classroom

Like I mentioned, the class was all about regional cuisine. Each week, we tackled a new region by cooking a famous and popular dish from that region and discussed the historical significance of it. We started in the North with Liguria and moved through Italy, ending with Sardegna.

Some other dishes we made were tiramisu from Veneto, cannolis from Sicily, and of course, pizza from Campania e Puglia….

Below, left: My favorite pasta dish we made was from Sardegna called Malloreddus sardi al sugo di maiale e frutta secca, aka pasta made with pork, saffron-infused dough, and dried fruit. The island Sardegna has been a crossroads for many cultural influences over the ages due to its central location in the Mediterranean, and you can see that legacy in their cuisine. So in malloreddus, for example, the pork would come from Spain to the west while the saffron came from regions further east.

We made the malloreddus from scratch, and used a small ridged board to make the little pasta pieces. It was super fun and super delicious!

Above, right: At the end of the semester for our final, we had to pick a dish to make and present it to our chefs, describing to them the techniques we used and the history of the region it came from. My group chose Tortino alla gianduia con crema di pere, a mini chocolate cake with pear sauce. It was adorable and delicious and our chefs said we baked it perfectly! (Success!)

La Scuola Di Cucina for Cooking Class Italy

It was so enjoyable to be able to take a cooking class in Italy and really learn about the culture through the cuisine. I was able to take the recipes home with me as well, so I would always be able to recreate those dishes again. Thanks for reading through, and thanks to Kate for letting me guest post!

Buona Giornata!

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Capri, Italy

The Island of Capri is a ferry ride away from the seaside town of Sorrento on the Southern side of Italy where we stayed. We headed to the island bright and early on Monday with the sun just starting to warm the waters…

capri italycapri italy

We took a boat tour around the island and into the Blue Grotto, or Grotta Azzurra, a cave that shines bright blue due to the way the sunlight refracts up and through the water:

Capri Italy Blue Grotto

After seeing the island from around the edges, we headed up to the highest point via chair lift… my favorite part of the day!

chairlift capri italy

As you float up, you can take in views of the whole of Capri, the Bay of Naples with Mt. Vesuvius in the distance, and the bright sparkling Mediterranean water…

capri italy

From the top of Mt. Solaro, we hiked a meandering path all the way back down to the harbor. It took a few hours longer than we expected (bring lots of water if you give this a try), but the views were amazing the whole time.

hiking capri italy

See more from our trip to the Amalfi Coast in this post about Positano.

If you are in the Naples area and have time for an extra day trip, Capri is a beautiful stop. 🙂

capri italy

I think Capri, Italy is one of my favorite day trips in the Mediterranean!



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Positano, Italy


Positano, Italy is full of breathtaking views, Mediterranean sea breezes, and stairs. Lots and lots of stairs.

The bus that rides along the Amalfi coast can drops you off along the main road near the top of the town. Here you can see some amazing views from the high vantage point:

Views in Positano Italy

I walked down and down and down on my way to grab lunch by the beach….

Walking through Positano

And then enjoyed the beach all afternoon…

Positano Italy

Beach in Positano, Italy

Before beginning the walk back up stairs and street stairs and alley stairs all the way to the bus.

Worth it. 🙂



You can read all posts about Italy here.

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A Roman Holiday

Forum Romanum

I got to spend 11 days in Rome, and enjoyed exploring around the vast city that has been home to so much civilization and culture.

Rome has everything from quiet gardens around the Villa Borghese…

borghese gardens.

…and ancient ruins from the Roman Empire…

Forum Romanum

…to modern iconic Italian vespas, political flags, accordions, music….


There are so many facets of Rome, an ancient place where so much history and so many influences have left their mark. I can’t wait to share more photos of some different aspects of the city. : )

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Hiking along the Italian Coast

Cinque Terre

*edit* – you can check out a new video all about sketching and hiking Cinque Terre on my Youtube channel here: Hiking & Sketching Cinque Terre

I shared a few photos from our hike through Cinque Terre, Italy here. The seaside, the views – it’s lovely. : )

Cinque terre

We started out early in the day by grabbing some fruit at one of the small streetside markets….

Italian coast
Our hike wound along the coast of the Mediterranean through 5 towns, some vineyards, and natural cliffs. In the middle of one orchard, we came across an Italian man selling fresh lemonade to hikers….


fresh lemonade.

For lunch, we stopped in the harbor of one of the towns with some grab-and-go pizza….

Lunch while hiking Cinque Terre

Throughout the hike, we overheard people talking in all different languages – Italian, English, German, French, and more. It was an interesting mélange of people from all different places – all come to enjoy the Italian coast….


Everyone we passed would say “excuse me” in a different language. Scusi, permesso, entschuldigung, pardon…

Hiking cinque terre

Cinque Terre is famous for its beautiful scenery and seaside hikes, but its mixture of different visitors makes for a really unique atmosphere, too. : )

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One Tuesday at Cinque Terre, Italy

In April, I got to spend my spring break – 11 days – in Italy. The trip was rich with history, culture, and especially food. : ) We spent most of our time in Rome, but made this day trip out to hike Cinque Terre where there are some beautiful hiking routes along the Italian coast.


This hiking area is full of sweeping views, crisp and salty Mediterranean air, seaside life…

The main hiking trail also takes you through 5 small coastal Italian towns, where you find your way through small, winding, complex Italian alleys….


Watch my Hiking & Sketching Cinque Terre travel vlog here.
Read all posts about Italy here.

Interesting architecture and inspiring personal touches accent the walls and streets throughout each of the towns…

mixed media.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting about some of the food we came across as well as the atmosphere of our hike Cinque Terre! See you then. : )

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This Week In Pictures


This week I’m in Rome, Italy enjoying la dolce vita, or the good life. : ) Here are a few photos from the past few days….

Cappuccinos are a must-try in Rome. Italians make some of the best, and my fave is when they sprinkle chocolate on the top….

due cappuccini

Back in Germany, I almost never see any national flags. But here in Italy there are flags everywhere! Italian flags, European Union flags, Rome flags – this place has them all.

Tuesday, I went for a long and great hike along the Italian coast through Cinque Terre….

cinque terre

The Mediterranean is the clearest, bluest, most beautiful water I’ve seen. I loooved getting the chance to step back into it again….


I’m heading back to Germany tomorrow night, and I can’t wait to share more photos and impressions of Italy later!

Arrivederci! : )

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Spring Break: Viva Italia!

Spring Break has officially started, and I’m excited to be spending it in Italy!

I’m staying in Rome for 11 days, and making two day trips: Florence and Cinque Terre.

It’s been crazy busy at school lately with projects and papers and presentations and research, and I am mega excited to relax and sightsee in Italy. Today, my friend Emily and I visited the Vatican and saw St. Peter’s Basilica (including visiting the very top of the cupola on the roof for a great view of the whole city!), the Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel.

Here we are in the square of St. Peter’s Basilica….

And for lunch we got our first real, authentic Italian pizza! Yummm….

The Vatican + gelato + authentic Italian pizza…. our first full day in Rome was so exciting!

AND! Today, April 21st is Rome’s birthday – celebrating Rome since 753 BC. I love being around so much history. : )

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