Dreaming of Tuscany

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— Courtesy rayced/Flickr

It's always right around this time of year when I start longing for a vacation. True, most of us are just back from at least a few days off for Christmas and New Year's, but vacations are kind of like movie popcorn to me: a taste only makes me hungry for more.

So I was the perfect audience for the info I got today from a new program called Tuscany: A Journey for the Senses. I'm not crazy about the name (you can't get much more New Age-y than "journey" and "senses," and New Age-y I am not), but I love the concept: a week in Tuscany studying art, architecture, or cooking. There are four programs in all, and they last anywhere from seven to 10 days.

The best part? You stay at Fatttoria La Palazzina, a villa in the Val d'Orcia region. To be honest, I don't care if my pastel paintings turn out like my nephew's kindergarten art—if I get to bask by that pool and stare out at the rolling hills every day, I'll be happy.

The programs start at about $2,200 for a week, which sounds steep until you consider that it covers your room, classes, local transportation, admission to museums, and meals cooked by the villa's resident chef, Eliana Pasquini. I'm guessing she doesn't serve movie popcorn, but I'm sure I'll find something to tempt me.

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