Subject: Tips for Italy Itinerary
Hello everyone,

I'm planning 2 week trip to Italy and would welcome your assistance in putting overall trip together. Don't need hotel or restaurant recommendations at this point.

Timeframe: either March-April or end of September/early Oct. Primary interests: food and wine, people and interesting places, learning rather than sightseeing. Travel style: solo travel with structure. Don't like to drive and navigate by myself, but am willing to consider for short period.

1. Want to take cooking class ( typically 6 or 7 nights) in Tuscany or Umbria,- one with hands-on cooking and excursions into surrounding area. I've found many offerings on the internet -- but would like to hear from folks who have actually taken cooking class-

2. Remaining 8 days -- Am considering staying in another area (either Umbria or tuscany, alternate area to where cooking class is given) + 3 nights in Rome. Any suggestions for centrally located place in Umbria and tuscany to serve as base of operations-- not out in the country??

3. Day trips -- when outside a major city, these have been problem for me. They are either too expensive for 1 person, or canned bus itineraries. Ideally, would like to find someone who can take me to places where I can sample top quality Italian wines and food, or give me insights into people and places. Any recommendations for such guides? Any custom food/wine excursions? Has anyone had experiences with Scala Reale or Inforoma in Rome?

Look forward to hearing from you.