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T+L Reports: The Toast of Italy

Kick your cooking skills up a notch at Tuscany's newly opened "wine resort," Badia a Coltibuono (Gaiole in Chianti; 39-0577/ 74481; www.coltibuono.com; doubles from $150, including breakfast). The 1,000-year-old abbey in the woods beside olive groves outside Florence has 10 surprisingly spacious guest rooms (eight are actually former monks' cells), with furniture from the 16th century, granite bathrooms, and views over the classically landscaped garden. In the rustic kitchen, local chef Francesco Torre teaches aspiring cooks how to prepare a four-course Tuscan meal, then sends them off for olive-oil tastings or wine-appreciation courses at Monti, the estate's nearby vineyard.—VALERIE WATERHOUSE

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