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This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

Learning Vacation

It was only a matter of time before America's first family of wine arrived in Italy's premier winemaking region. Robert Mondavi Jr. has just signed on to create a wine curriculum at the Rhode School of Cuisine at the Villa Lucia, near Lucca. His wife, Lydia, has joined him to share her expertise: producing custom-designed spa programs. Participants in the school's weeklong courses will get to know the area's terroirs as well as the flavors and styles of their wines, from classic Chiantis to Super-Tuscans. Mondavi also brings in local vintners—say, a Frescobaldi—to speak, in addition to introducing a few American labels. Lydia's domain, meanwhile, is just across the garden of the 15th-century villa, where she designs treatments around the property's bounty. One original therapy involves a grape-seed antioxidant soak in a 200-year-old stone bathtub. The spa is open year-round; the fall cooking classes run from September 3 to November 5. $ Classes, $2,800-$3,800 a person per week, including accommodations; treatments, from $125; 888-254-1070;

$ Establishment accepts no charge/credit cards or accepts cards other than the American Express Card.


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