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Tuscan Way offers early-booking discounts for 2006 cooking vacations in Italy

COCONUT GROVE, FL, September, 2005 -- Travelers booking a Tuscan Way four-day or seven-day cooking course vacation by December 31, 2005 will save 10% off the normal rate.

Discounts at “Casa Innocenti”, a picturesque medieval five-story home in the small village of Arcidosso, are $179 for four days, $299 for seven days; at “Villa Gaia”, a charming country estate outside the town of Seggiano, $179 and $289, and at “Villa Castelletti”, a noble estate outside Florence, $199 and $339, respectively.

Guests sit around the kitchen table and head out to the markets to learn how to plan the meal, choose the best ingredients from the right shops, prepare those ingredients, choose which plates and wine glasses help accentuate the meal, decide on the proper wines, and cook the meal. The relaxed, informal style of cooking, a glass of local wine always within arm's reach, the small group and personal attention given by the host, produces a member-of-the-family atmosphere not found in more formal schools.

The five-story "Casa Innocenti," sits at the highest point in the village and is next door to the village's castle. Villa Gaia borders an ancient monastery founded by San Bernardino and is just a few miles from the spectacular Val d’Orcia region. The 15th-century Villa Castelletti is set within a lush 17-acre park in the Carmignano wine region – where Leonardo da Vinci’s was born and spent much of his life.

All courses include accommodations, meals, wine, transfers and local transportation for scheduled excursions. There are five hands-on cooking courses during the seven-day package, three during the four-day package, a wine-tasting session and escorted visits through the local markets, restaurants and vineyards. The dishes taught vary with the specialties of the season: soups, game meats and traditional holiday cakes in the winter; fresh vegetables and seafood in the spring and summer; and freshly pressed olive oil, sauces with mushrooms and truffles, chestnuts and game meats in the fall.

Tuscan Way is a specialized provider of packaged and custom tours to Tuscan destinations and villa rentals.

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