Barga, Italy   (Holiday ref: AH150028)
4 nights/5 days, 650 Euros per person

What a fantastic experience this was. I stayed at La Mezza Luna to attend Rita's cookery course, the first time I had booked an activity holiday and was travelling alone. Rita and Alex could not be more welcoming and did everything possible to ensure all their guests had a great holiday


Welcome to this Gourmet break holiday at the La Mezzaluna!!  We offer self-catering apartments and hotel rooms in the historic Garfagnana area of Northern Tuscany. We are situated just 36 km north of Lucca and just 4 km from Barga , a pretty medieval village reknowned as one the most beautiful "borghi d'italia".

We are family run business and have  self contained apartments and  double rooms ensuite.  Situated just 250 yards from the local railway station La Mezzaluna makes a perfect base for those who wish to visit the nearby cities of Barga, Lucca, Florence, Pisa and the famous Versilia Coast. Our complex is ideal for families  and suitable for walkers, bikers.

We have a bar area plus a veranda with a spectacular panorama overlooking the Apuan Mountains. On request we are able to offer Breakfast Lunch and Dinner and also organize individual and group cookery lessons . Our restaurant which seats 70 inside and 50 outside is available for lunches ,dinners , parties only on booking.

A private car park is available and also have a covered are for motorbikes.

 gourmet break


Gourmet Break Itinerary


The course is for beginners and you will learn the basics sauces such as ragu, salsa di pomodoro, zuppa di farro (farro soup, a grain similar to spelt typical of the Garfagnana area ), home made pasta, cheese and spinach filled ravioli, bruschetta, pizza ,potato focaccia and vegetable focaccia ,pasta fritta , tiramisù torta di ricotta.


Gourmet Break Day 1

Welcoming drink , wine tasting and dinner at Alex's with local products.

Gourmet Break Day 2

After breakfast, a morning visit to the medieval village of Barga, where you can admire it’s ancient streets and xl centuary Cathedral. Barga offers picturesque views of the serchio valley.

A light lunch will be served at La Mezzaluna followed by our first cookery lesson. Which lasts about 3/4 hours. Time to relax and then we will  dine on our  prepared foods.

Gourmet Break Day 3

Let's spend the day in Lucca. Just wandering round the shops, admiring the various cathedrals and squares we will leave after breakfast, have lunch in lucca then return to La Mezzaluna mid afternoon.

We will then dine at La Mezzaluna and perhaps have an evening visit to Barga.

Gourmet Break Day 4

We will vist Castelnuovo Garfagnana and wander around the market. and have lunch in a local wine and grocery store.

Today's lesson is dedicated to making pizza and focaccia . We will savour our meal and Alex will entertain us with live music..

Gourmet Break Day 5  

After breakfast transfer to Pisa

The course is for beginners and we will learn the basics sauces such as ragu, salsa di pomodoro, zuppa di farro (farro soup, a grain similar to spelt typical of the garfagnana area ), home made pasta, cheese and spinach filled ravioli, gnocchi, antipasti made with farro, bruschetta, scaloppina, sformati (vegetable or potato pie) and cakes, tiramisù torta di ricotta.


If you prefer we also offer a 7 day cooking and wine holiday at the same venue, click here to read the details

Dates and Prices

Groumet Break Dates and Prices 2017


  • 6th June 2017
  • 10th June 2017
  • 20th June 2017
  • 27th June 2017
  • 4th July 2017
  • 15th July 2017
  • 25th July 2017
  • 8th August 2017
  • 5th September 2017
  • 19th September 2017
  • 26th September 2017


Included is accomodation

Breakfast lunch dinner (wine and soft drinks included at meals )

2 x 4 hour cookery sessions including wine

Trip to barga, Lucca, local market, live entertainment with Alex. Wine tasting at Alex’s winery “Per…Bacco! ”

Transfers to and from airport, and local transfers.


From La Mezzaluna hotel, you can easily reach the most beautiful and appealing Tuscan villages and towns in the surrounding area.

BARGA: at the border of the Garfagnana region, Barga, has been recognised as ‘One of the most beautiful villages in Italy’, and has been given recognition by both the ‘Bandiera Aranicone Touring Club’ (Orange Flag Touring Club) and by the ‘Città Slow’ (Slow City) movement. The adopted home of Giovanni Pascoli, Barga is a medieval village of rare beauty, from its Duomo, to the ancient aqueduct and the museum that was once home to Giovanni Pascoli.

: a medieval centre beside the River Serchio, Castelnuovo Garfagnana’s historical heart is encircled by an ancient fortress. It’s rich in local artisans and restorers and a place where you can taste the true traditional dishes of Garfagnana. Not to be missed is the path of Ariosto: a beautiful walk leading to the Fortezza di Montalfonso where the views are spectacular.

LUCCA: a must-see is the beautiful historic town of Lucca. The large circular wall which borders the town is still accessible today, and you can walk or cycle there. Once inside the walls you can visit innumerable churches, surrounded by piazzas, courts, medieval towers, buildings and gardens. Among them is La cattedrale di S.Martino which is particularly worth a visit. At the heart of the town is via Fillungo, offering numerous shops and small boutiques rich with typical produce from the area, ‘il Buccellato’ (a sweet Tuscan bread), cured meats and honey, for example. Finally there’s the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, a famous circular piazza which in ancient times was the marketplace.

PISA: about an hour’s drive from the hotel, Pisa is famous the world over for its Leaning Tower, and the magnificent Piazza dei Miracoli.

During the year, in the Serchio Valley and Garfagnana area there are many concerts, traditional and medieval celebrations, countryside festivals, theatre festivals and shows like the Barga Jazz.

Hiking and excursions

cooking and wine

In the surrounding area you will find the Riserve Naturali dell’Orecchiella (the Orecchiella Nature Reserve) a park noted for its outstanding fauna; the Parco Avventura Selva del Buffardello (an adventure park) with picnic areas and games for children; the Parco del Levigliese, a park surrounded by the Apuan Alps, great for hiking, climbing, caving and canyoning course for the little ones and the Grotta del Vento (Cave of Winds), an underground karst landscape made up of stalactites and stalagmites, lakes and watercourses.

For those who love sport, there is the Garfagnana Golf Club and the ‘Il Ciocco’ Sports Village, both providing excellent sporting facilities. You can also go Quad biking with Lucca Quad, a chance to cross the streams and paths on four wheels!

If you want to relax, the Terme di Bagni (thermal baths) in Lucca are ideal for purifying thermal spa treatments, tried by those suffering from arthritic conditions since Paolina Bonaparte as early as the nineteenth century!

Great experience and super host Rita. We loved learning how to cook real Tuscan food – huge pizza oven is an experience not to be missed. Rita has ensured that we saw many interesting places nearby and the advantage was a wine tasting event on the coast with Alex followed by the tastiest ice cream ever!

What a great experience it was. I stayed at The Half Moon to attend the cooking class of Rita, the first time I had booked a holiday of traveling alone. Rita and Alex could not be more welcoming and did everything possible to ensure all their guests have a great holiday. The kitchen was fun and informative and added excursions were much better to have a local guide. I met some nice people on the course that I feel that it was not really on vacation alone I would love to return one day and I highly recommend the cooking class of La Crescent and Rita to anyone.
Thanks Rita and Alex,
Shirley x

We went to The Half Moon on a whim, to see some of the North of Tuscany, above all, to enjoy the Tuscan cooking learning. Since the Rita greeted us at the airport when she and her partner Alex brought us back a week after we felt like we were being looked after by friends.

For our first night we visited the winery Alex over the road and other guests spent an evening of delicious local hams and revived and wonderful (non-ache!) Wines.

Day after cooking has begun and we loved it! During the week we became adept at making so many types of pasta and delicious sauces, sandwiches, pies, pizzas, desserts – and the wild boar stew! Rita does not just show us, we had to do it too. A practical, check-in and real hands, experience! The preparation of pizza in a wood oven for great pizza, was a highlight.

Everything has been taken care of, with Rita us on excursions and tours and keeping us very well fed in the morning, noon and night. We visited places we would never have seen on our own and local knowledge of Rita and personal touch made the difference.

Our accommodation was good, not a five star super modern impersonal hotel, we did not want, but perfectly clean, comfortable accommodation with everything we needed.

A short walk away is the railway station and took ourselves out on our own one day to explore the medieval town of Lucca. Near Rita’s is a beautiful hill town

of Barga. Either we’re almost expected the Montague and Capulet boys to emerge from the narrow streets.

We really enjoyed our time at La Mezza Luna and I am very happy to have met Rita and Alex, the warm hosts and useful. We loved the food, the company, the wine and the food wonderful.

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