Cooking Holidays to Italy – Al Vecchio

Contact us for all Cooking Holidays to Italy – this is one of our favourites! Al Vecchio Convento in Emilia Romagna. 

Call us on 01728 748209, use the live chat or complete the enquiry form.

Situated in a small village of only around 400 people, called Portico di Romagna in the Apennine hills between Romagna and Tuscany is Al Vecchio Convento – one of the finest places in Italy to go for authentic food and cookery courses.  

A gorgeous, family owned and run small hotel with one of the best restaurants in Romagna.  Amazing food is cooked from the heart using local produce in particular truffles, mushrooms, game and home made pasta. The building, retaining many original features, is an attractive 19th century palazzo with antique furniture and fittings, made by local craftsmen. The main hotel has 9 rooms and there is an annex across the street which has 6 rooms, apartments available on request. All rooms are en-suite. The hotel is very much part of the local village living alongside the local residents.

Italians come from all regions to taste this amazing traditional restaurant.  Dishes are complemented by a huge range of Italian wine including local specialities such as Sangiovese, Pingnoletto, Cabernet Sauvignon and Albana Passito. Breakfast is served at a time to suit and is a huge buffet choice of home made cheeses, meats, cakes, bread and jams.

There is no pool but it’s not needed as there is a natural pool at the river with clear water and a waterfall just five minutes walk away and used by tourists and locals alike!

What sets this apart from other hotels and restaurants is that guests here can immerse themselves into learning skills from the owners on cooking courses, there are also painting lessons.  Water Colour painting can take place in different places around the village, with an english speaking artist, usually based on 10 lessons (2 hours per day). Italian language lessons can also be booked on a 7 day stay.


There are a variety of cooking and wine tasting programmes, on a 7 day programme, there are cookery classes each morning and excursions in the afternoon such as visiting wineries, agritourismos, olive oil sampling or visits to local markets. Another unique experience is the Truffle Adventure, a 3 day program where guests go hunting for truffles with a truffle dog and it’s owner. This also includes some cooking and tastings.

Holidays to Al Vecchio Convento can be tailored to suit, for as many nights as you like to include any combination of courses and tastings. Ask us about a bespoke holiday to Italy to include this amazing foodie heaven!

Emilia Romagna has huge variety of excellent world famous products such as the Parmisan, Parma Ham, Modena balsamic vinegar, Fossa pecorino cheese. At Al Vecchio Convento, Massimiliano, chef and sommelier, will guide you through an introduction to all of these products and take you on wine and gastronomy tours, in the area such as wine cellars, olive oil producers, artisan dairies, and an introduction in the hotel to the regions best products and a wine tasting with the possibility of purchasing at favourable prices.

The travel and private meet and greet transfer on arrival went smoothly (even though it was bank holiday weekend!). The hotel was lovely (Palazzo Giovanelli) and had great views - very close to the Rialto Bridge. Venice has so much to offer and plenty of restaurant choices, but as expected very expensive. The guided tours are necessary to get a real understanding of the city.
Louis & Dawn – Venice (August 2017)
September 13, 2017

We spent a week in Sicily this July all organised by Travel by Jules. This is our 4th holiday with them and as always everything has been great. Sicily is a beautiful island, everything was well organised by Jules and Mags as expected. We received some information about Sicily before hand (thank you so much for the map) and once there it felt stress free the resort chosen was very good and we took advantage of the free bus trip to Taormina. Thank you Jules and Mags it was a great holiday.
Anna Alcalde-Mills – Sicily (July 2017)
August 27, 2017

Everything was truly amazing. I've never had a holiday like it and it felt great to be honouring my parent's legacy and their last wishes which was "Go somewhere special together - hang the expense! I loved the TWJ travel wallet and luggage tags - we never felt like we were 'just a customer" or that something couldn't be done or that they were trying to hard sell me at any time. I certainly enjoyed a very special holiday indeed.
Phil & Karen Vatter – Italian Lakes (June-July 2017)
July 7, 2017

Thank you for your organisation of our holiday to Rome and Sorrento. All ran very smoothly ! Locations of both hotels was good. Too many highlights to mention here but we saw such amazing sites in Rome and then loved visiting Pompeii via the local train . We were happy we took your advice and only stayed in Rome for four nights, more would have wiped us out!
Sarah & John – Italy Rome & Sorrento (April-May 2017)
May 3, 2017

Is there anything that could be done better? Can't think of one thing… All went seamlessly – no hitches just a great short break at a brilliant location. The choice of hotel was spot on (quiet in its environment) and our hosts were fab to boot… Choice of hotel, the advice given in terms of when to travel – it was VERY early but that meant more time in Venice! And Venice itself. Glorious. Simply Glorious.
Steve & Annya – Venice (March 2017)
April 4, 2017

Thank you for your organising our last minute city break to Palermo we thoroughly enjoyed the holiday. The junior suite at Hotel Quintocanto was worth the extra and you couldn't ask for a better location. We understand that the reason for the cancellation for our return flight was indeed strike action in Italy. We commend yourselves and the operator for how you handled the change to plan.
Carol & Chris – Sicily (Feb 2017)
February 26, 2017

Service from Travel with Jules was first class! You guys were great and helpful and patient…. All very good on the organisation side of things. The chef at the villa produced lovely food and the weather was great. The couple of trips into Rome itself went really well, the guide was a real star! The swimming pool at the villa was lovely and it was nice that they kept it open for us.
Italy – villa and Rome tours – Angus family (Oct 2016)
October 13, 2016

If you’re considering seeing the Palio in Sienna (and you should) you must go for a few days before, and at least one day after. It is an extraordinary event that has its feet firmly placed in the Middle Ages, The Palio is actually about tradition, pageantry, corruption and thuggery. But all of those things make for an amazing experience. Jules got really good seats for us – the terraces is where it’s at. Then there’s the drums, the flags, the roaring oxen, the colour, the noise – an incredible time WILL be had! ..... But get stuck in – because they haven’t arranged it for you, and they won’t wait for you to join them!
The Palio in Siena, Italy – Howlett Family (Aug 2016)
August 26, 2016

From casually wondering the beaches, the little stall filled streets stocked high with beautiful goods, to eating delicious pasta and seafood along the seafront... it was pure heaven. Once again, it was an absolute pleasure to book through Jules- she sorted everything so quickly that our plans of a very last minute break were made possible - Thank you!
Naomi Delorme – Amalfi Coast, Italy (March 2016)
January 25, 2017

In my view life is too short NOT to use Julie's experience and contacts when booking a holiday! I couldn't recommend Travel With Jules more highly.
Nicky Fussell – several destinations (July 2015)
July 3, 2015

We have used ‘Travel with Jules’ twice now over the last 2 years (last time to South Africa) and have been absolutely delighted with the very friendly, personal and efficient service which Jules has provided. On both occasions she has been able to distil our rather sketchy ideas into more coherent plans which she has […]
Wright family – Italy,Tuscany (September 2014)
November 2, 2014

Just to let you know we had a brilliant holiday and all the excursions/tours were excellent, especially the cooking one, we are now inspired to recreate at home! Thanks again for your help, will be in touch for next year and that long awaited safari!
Chris & Laura – Italy, Tuscany (Sept 13)
November 24, 2013

Hi Julie we are back from Italy I just wanted to say that was the best holiday we have ever had! I cannot rate Villa la Massa (Florence) highly enough and your help with setting it all up was invaluable. I have sent in the post holiday questionnaire to the operator and included your name […]
Rowena & William – Italy Tuscany (September 2013)
October 1, 2013

Our holiday was quite simply superb. Al Vecchio was fantastic and the cooking lessons were terrific. Thank you so much for organising such a memorable trip for us. Everything went incredibly smoothly and most importantly it was just what we wanted and needed!
James & Anna – Italy (August 2013)
September 19, 2013

Lets start by saying a big thank-you for all your help. Our idea of having a Europen adventure in the car (as an alternative to our usual sailing holidays) came last year after watching Micheal Portillo on the mountain trains in Switzerland and our desire to encorage our daughters interest in  history by visiting Rome. […]
Young Family – Road trip to Italy (August 2013)
August 27, 2013

The Journey of a Lifetime on the Venice Simplon Orient Express! The whole holiday was a great success. Thank you very much for all your planning, booking and checking the finer details. We have many happy memories that will last for a long time! The Goring Hotel in London, the Pullman/Orient Express trains and Hotel Cipriani in Venice were all brilliant. Staff looked after us extremely well and were very patient.
Roger & Pat Fern – Orient Express to Venice (April 2013)
May 2, 2013

Jules took the stress out of finding a hotel at Lake Garda that was not full in September and was perfect for our requirements. It was lovely to have a friendly voice on the end of the phone. Thank you for all your knowledge and advice.
Gill Nunn – Italy (Sept 2011)
October 14, 2011

One of the things I have come to love about you, Jules, is that you listen and take on board what makes me tick, and then tailor the holiday to fit me, not just try to convince me to fit a holiday in a brochure!
Ian Furbank
June 30, 2011

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