Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'

Contests and

Dream Vacation Sweepstakes

10 weeks. 10 amazing trips. Seize your chance to win!
See official rules. 


most popular



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. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

Norwegian Cruise Lines

Norwegian Cruise Line offers 5% off on select cruises, plus other special offers.

Tanger Outlets

Members receive a free Tanger Coupon Book including up to 20% discount offers.

Life insurance: you are covered rain or shine

Members can convert their assets into guaranteed income for life with AARP Lifetime Income Program from New York Life.

Member Benefits

Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change. Join Today


5 Weeks to a New Life

How do you resolve differences in a relationship — without fighting? Share your tips in our online community and be eligible to win prizes. Discuss

The Reinvention Group

The Reinvention Group

Ask questions, find support and share information about changing gears in your 50+ years. Discuss


The Coffee Shop

Kick back and enjoy lighthearted conversation among Online Community locals. Discuss