The sweet roses of Isabella d'Este: "Torta delle Rose"

A bouquet made with soft roses of pastry and buttercream, known as "Torta delle Rose" ("Cake of Roses") is one of the signature-dishes in the Mantuan gastronomy.
A story goes about the origins of this delicious dessert: it is said that the cake was first created on the occasion of the marriage of Isabella d'Este and Francesco II Gonzaga.
Although we have not any document, which validates this legend, every pastry-chef in Mantua will tell you that this cake is connected with the Renaissance.

Click here for the recipe (s
croll the page down for the English version), or follow this video-recipe:

Leonardo's Swans Tour: ten days in Italy, on the footsteps of Isabella and Beatrice d'Este. Following the Genius of Leonardo da Vinci

Set your clock back to the fifteenth century, and let us guide you into the Renaissance. Please, forget all your Italian guidebooks, as we are going to use another kind of book to set our itinerary: the international bestselling novel “Leonardo’s Swans”, by Karen Essex, will literally take you back to the Italian Golden Age. 
Word by word, step by step, we will walk in the footsteps of Isabella and Beatrice d’Este, following the genius of Leonardo da Vinci.
Our extended tour will include: Milan, Mantua, Ferrara, Lake Garda, Lake Iseo, Cremona, Pavia and Lake Como.
Spending ten days between the finest art cities of northern Italy and the lake district, we’ll proudly offer to our customers the opportunity of some exclusive experiences: a privileged view of to the “Last Supper”, a private dinner in the Castello Sforzesco, an unforgettable show at “La Scala” theatre, six nights in a magnificent Palace with golf court located on the hills of Lake Garda, a Stradivari concert, a farewell night in one the most luxurious locations on the Lake Como. And much more.
The tour will be guided by Italian art historians and scholars, and - of course - the novelist Karen Essex will be travelling with us.

"Come with me to Renaissance Italy and walk in the footsteps of Leonardo da Vinci and his patrons and muses.  The fabulously wealthy and powerful Este sisters of Ferrara highlight our tour of the artists, aristocrats, knights, and ladies of ‘Leonardo’s Swans’.  I will share with friends and readers an intimate experience of the Italy that I love.  We will explore the towns and countryside of Northern Italy including a cultural tour of Milan, which was truly the Athens of the Renaissance.  We’ll be housed in luxurious surroundings overlooking beautiful Lake Garda, where we can relax after meticulously planned day trips, personally guided by Italian historians who will deepen our experience of the art, culture, and times.  Of course, we will make time for the best wines and cuisine as well!  This will be a unique, exciting, nuanced experience of Italy to cherish for a lifetime" - Karen Essex 


Discover the itinerary of "Leonardo's Swans Tour".
Click here for pricing and availability.

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