Each day you can revel in the beauty of Italy’s best-kept secret, Abruzzo, whose lush Apennine Mountains and national parks are home to bears, wolves and lynx. Its rolling hills boast some of Italy’s most beautiful hill towns as well as award-winning vineyards, its Adriatic coastline plenty of Blue Flag beaches and a marine park.
Price €1,700, JANUARY SALE €1,550, €250 deposit, balance payable 4 weeks before the start of the tour, JANUARY SALE
Includes 4 Nights Accommodation, 5 Full Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners, 4 Excursions, 2 Tastings, 2 Cooking Lessons, and Return Shuttle from Rome’s airports
SUMMER 2023 DATES
June: Saturday 24th – Wednesday 28th June, July: Saturday 15th – Wednesday 19th July,
From pick up at Rome’s Leonardo airport, you’ll be swept away from the crowds to the restored Benedictine Monastery of Grancia dei Celestini, where George Clooney stayed whilst filming The American.
It’s set in the middle of the stunning medieval town of Sulmona, the birthplace of Ovid and the world’s favourite sugared almonds known as confetti. This lively mountain town sits in the heart of the Peligna Valley were 3000 years ago the name Italia was first given to the Italian peninsula in 90 bc.
We will meet up late afternoon for a short guided tour of the Sulmona that explores its sacred sites, cultural quarters and a tangle of interesting cobbled alleys and provides an opportunity to go shopping.
For aperitivo and dinner, we are invited for a light 4-course tasting menu of the best from each of Abruzzo’s 4 provinces recreated by Chef Claudio of Grancia dei Celestini.
Pack your beach gear as after breakfast we will depart for the Adriatic and the Trabocchi Coast. For lunch you will be wined and dined aboard a trabocco for 3.5 hours, delighting in a 10-course fish feast in what we guarantee will become your most memorable beach dining experience! Expect a succession of fish and shellfish served sushi-style, drizzled with local olive oil, mixed into salads, served with fresh kinds of pasta, grilled, baked whole fish and crunchy breaded fillets.
Since 1887, these sustainable fishing machines positioned on stilts above a sparkling sea have been used by the local population to catch fish, and some now enjoy a double role as Abruzzo’s most novel restaurants.
After our traditional passegiato (mid-afternoon walk) on the beach, we’ll make our way back to Sulmona for a wine tasting in the original room where Monks used to make wine for medicinal use and to serve pilgrims at our monastery base. We’ll sample Abruzzo’s 5 most established grapes whose wines are glorious enough for US wine dealers stock and have a light dinner.
We will follow breakfast with a gentle canoe excursion down the turquoise Il Tirino river from Bussi which sits within the Gran Sasso National Park. This is an incredible, colourful trip to relax both your mind and body whilst discovering the heritage of the mountains and sampling water celery.
We will make our way up to the spectacular high basin shaped plateau Campo Imperatore (Little Tibet), for a traditional Abruzzese picnic at the mountain refuge, Ristoro Mucciante. Picnics in Abruzzo always include arrosticini, the delectable grilled skewers of lamb that the shepherds used to eat and which has now become one of Europe’s most popular street foods.
After our long lunch, we will make our way back to Sulmona for a cooking lesson and dinner!
After breakfast, we will go to the market to buy our ingredients for our morning’s cooking lesson where you will learn how to make great pasta by hand dressed with sauces that touch on the local province of L’Aquila. Dishes created will be paired with local red and white wines.
We’ll spend an afternoon olive oil tasting with accompanying snacks and then it is on for our truffle hunt. Abruzzo is famous for its plentiful musky truffles and supplies almost 80% of Italy’s truffles that are consumed across the world. We’ll join Franco and Lara the dog in the olive grove, who will be waiting to take us on our guided summer black truffle hunt in the local woods. You’ll be able to find out how dogs have replaced pigs in Italy to find truffles, the areas for white truffles in Abruzzo and discover the treats which are given to dogs in reward for finding truffles. Those that we find will be used for our dinner!
We’ll be hosted by local agriturismo for a deliciously robust and traditional dinner. Before we experience the varied and enticing array of dishes that shows how healthy and varied the food of the countryside of Abruzzo is, Chef Cosimo and his wife will demonstrate the preparation of several ancient Abruzzese recipes and how to work with the black summer truffles we found earlier. In between courses, we’ll have the chance to listen to local folk music played and if you are feeling brave you can try and dance the Salterella!
After an early breakfast and packing our bags, we will depart for Rome.