Quick Facts

  • Location:  Riomaggiore, Italy (Cinque Terre)
  • Type of Experience:  pesto making class

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Cinque Terre Cooking Class Overview

Are you looking for a Cinque Terre cooking class to add to your Italy itinerary? If you’re short on time, but still want to connect with traditional Ligurian cuisine, I have the perfect experience for you: a Cinque Terre cooking class that is all about making PESTO!

Getting to Riomaggiore

colorful buildings are built tightly together along a small harbor in Riomaggiore Italy

The Great Pesto Experience takes place in Riomaggiore, Italy in a 16th century private home. Riomaggiore is one of the five quaint villages that make up Cinque Terre, nestled on the Italian Riviera. It is the southernmost village and is easily accessible by train.

I’ve been using the Trainline app since 2021, and it has made navigating the Italian trains so much easier. I highly recommend using it on your trip.

For in-depth information on transportation to, from, and between towns, read my blog post all about Cinque Terre.

Cinque Terre Cooking Class Experience

a mortar and pestle sit on a checkered table cloth with sea salt and garlic in the mortar.  A basil plant sits next to it along with a glass of prosecco and glass of water.

What makes this Cinque Terre cooking class so special is that you’re not only participating in creating one of the most popular dishes of the Ligurian region, but you also get to do it in an authentic setting and connect with a local and other travelers. 

The class begins with a warm welcome from Luca (and his adorable dog, Ettore/Hector) as well as a glass of Prosecco. The table is set for each person with a mortar and pestle, garlic and sea salt inside of it, pine nuts, parmigiano and a small basil plant. The extra virgin olive is added later. 

*Please note: this class uses pine nuts. If there are nut allergies in your party, please know that this will not be a nut-friendly experience; traditional pesto contains pine nuts.*

a plate has testaroli and pesto on top of it.  A glass of prosecco is next to the dish.

Once you’re all settled in, Luca goes over the history and traditions of Ligurian cuisine, but the main event is learning to make Genoese Pesto. Following a recipe that has been passed down through generations, a mortar and pestle is used along with fresh ingredients. It felt so much more authentic to use the mortar and pestle and really put some effort into it. 

After preparing the pesto, you get to taste your creation. Luca introduced us to a new type of pasta I had never heard of before: testaroli. This is also a pasta from Lunigiana; it’s very soft and almost doesn’t feel like you’re eating pasta. The pesto was poured over a generous helping of testaroli and it was delicious.

The class is about 90 minutes long, so you can still plan other activities during your day.


If you’re planning to take a Cinque Terre cooking class, I definitely suggest booking one that involves making traditional pesto. If you’re a solo traveler like me, you’ll definitely enjoy getting to meet other travelers while you’re there. This experience with Luca is perfect for anybody, but especially those who are visiting Cinque Terre just for the day and want to make the most of their time.

More Experiences in Cinque Terre

Looking for More Cinque Terre Information?

Are you looking for a Cinque Terre cooking class to add to your Italy itinerary? If you’re short on time but still want to connect with traditional Ligurian cuisine, I have the perfect experience for you: a Cinque Terre cooking class that is all about making pesto!

A Cinque Terre Cooking Class: The Great Pesto Experience

Cinque Terre translates to “five lands” in Italian. This group of five picturesque villages is located in northwestern Italy along the Italian Riviera in the region of Liguria.

Visit the Heart of the Italian Riviera: The Cinque Terre Villages

Are you on the hunt for a fantastic place to stay in the Cinque Terre with free parking, easy access to the train and a prime location? If so, you’ll love this cozy two bedroom apartment in Monterosso just steps away from the beach. It’s the perfect spot to make yourself at home and enjoy everything the Cinque Terre has to offer.

Beachside 2 Bedroom Apartment in Monterosso al Mare

Do you want to capture beautiful memories on your upcoming visit to Italy? There’s no better way to do this than by hiring a professional photographer. Whether you’re planning to propose, visiting with family, or on a solo trip, I highly recommend that you book a destination photo shoot in Cinque Terre.

Book a Destination Photo Shoot in Cinque Terre

Find a Place to Stay in Cinque Terre

About the Author

Hi! My name is Terry and I'm a former elementary school teacher. After 13 years in the classroom, I decided to take my side hustle of creating educational resources full-time.

Now, I work remotely and have the time and flexibility to do what I've always wanted to do more of: TRAVELING. I've created an online space where I can share my adventures along with tips for anyone who has had the desire to seek adventure, but may have things holding them back. Whether it's financial reasons, or you simply don't have anyone to go with - I'm here to help you get inspired to just go for it and book the trip!

If you're looking for that push/motivation, follow along with me! Make sure you check me out on TikTok and Instagram, too!