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A Cooking School in Tuscany

A couple from Texas turns their love of Italy and its cuisine into a thriving business

Bill and Patty Sutherland love everything about Italy — especially the food.

Their love affair started years ago when they began vacationing in Montefollonico, a Tuscan village located a few hours north of Rome. Bill had been traveling to Italy since the late '60s and fell in love with the people and culture. Montefollonico, known for its restaurants, caught their eye because of its small-town charm and the fact that it remained off the tourist track.

See also: Presto! Jane Pauley makes Tuscan pasta from scratch

The Sutherlands began making local friends and found it harder to leave, so in 2000 they decided to give up their day jobs, sell everything and move there for good.

"We had too much wine one day at lunch," Bill Sutherland recalls. "We just made this wonderful, earthshaking decision and within 90 days we sold everything and moved here."

In order to make their move abroad work, the Sutherlands needed a plan and a source of income.

Bill, who was in real estate at the time, had owned a gourmet shop and studied with several chefs, including Julia Childs. His passion for food led the couple to start a cooking school, which draws American students to Montefollonico to get hands-on cooking instruction — and a taste of the local culture. They named their school Tuscan Women Cook, inspired by the local women who teach the classes.

We asked the Sutherlands, now in their mid-60s, a few questions about their new life in Italy.

Next: Experience Tuscan culture. >>

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