In the Mountains, By the Sea, In Italy’s Most Famous City
ABRUZZO and ROME with CHEF EZIO
From the serene landscapes of Abruzzo, known for its rustic charm and picturesque scenery to the bustling streets of Rome, with its rich history and iconic landmarks, this tour offers an enriching blend of city life and countryside exploration and of course, incredible food and wine.
€2,400 (7 Days, 6 Nights), with a €250 deposit, balance payable 4 weeks before the start of the tour
SULMONA, TOUR AND DINNER
GENTLE RAMBLE TO ROCCA CALASCIO IN THE GRAN SASSO NATIONAL PARK, BARBECUE ON CAMPO IMPERATORE, GUIDED CANOE RIDE ON THE IL TIRINO RIVER, DINNER IN PETTORANO SUL GIZIO
A MORNING AT THE BEACH & TRABOCCO LUNCH, VISIT TO SAN GIOVANNI VENERE ABBEY, WINE TASTING AND LIGHT SUPPER IN SULMONA
HIGHLIGHTS – EXPLORE ROCCASCLAGENA CASTLE, TRUFFLE HUNTING & SPUMANTE TASTING, PIZZA DINNER
HIGHLIGHTS – PREZZA MURAL WALK, WINE TASTING, PORCHETTA IN THE PIAZZA, DEPARTURE ROME
LATE AFTERNOON ROMAN COOKERY LESSON, DINNER
HIGHLIGHTS – FREE DAY TO EXPLORE ROME, GROUP EVENING DINNER TOGETHER
From Day 1 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 and yet only just over an hour away!
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.
From pick up at Rome’s Fiumicino 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 where 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 Sulmona that explores its sacred sites, cultural quarters and a tangle of interesting cobbled alleys and provides an opportunity to go shopping.
Then it’s on to a leisurely aperitivo overlooked by a statue of Ovid and dinner. We’ll have a light 4-course dinner that reflects summer and the superb high-quality artisan ingredients produced locally at our favourite family-run restaurant.
After a leisurely combined local breakfast, we will travel to nearby Calascio, one of Italy’s most beautiful villages that is listed as a Borghi Piu Belli for an easy ramble to Rocca Calascio
We will have an extraordinary Abruzzese barbecue lunch on Campo Imperatore at the mountain refuge, Ristoro Mucciante. Picnics in Abruzzo always include arrosticini, the delectable grilled skewers of meat that the shepherds used to eat and which now becoming one of Europe’s most popular street foods.
We will follow lunch 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.
Pack your beach gear as after breakfast we will depart for the Adriatic and the Trabocchi Coast.
You will be quirkily 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 a visit to the nearby fabled San Giovanni a Venere Abbey with its exquisite sculptures and views down the coast, we’ll make our way back to Sulmona. We’ll have a cheese and wine soiree in the hotel and sample Abruzzo’s 5 most established grapes.
After breakfast, we will go to Sulmona’s legendary market which many consider Abruzzo’s best to see and sample the local best of summer, then it’s on our way to Roccascalegna! Here we will not only explore the local castle but go on a truffle hunt that will be used for our lunch back at the agriturismo.
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 as a reward for finding truffles. Those that we find will be used for our lunch!
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 ancient Abruzzese pasta and how to work with the black summer truffles we found earlier.
On our way back to Sulmona we will stop at Abruzzo’s new Spumante winery, built to counter the long journey for grapes up to Veneto. The new Trabocco Spumante collective uses four of Abruzzo’s indigenous grapes to create stunning sparkling wines. We love their heritage, the reduced carbon footprint to make them and of course because who doesn’t love a few bubbles early evening?
On our return to Sulmona we’ll have a light dinner at our favourite pizzeria in Sulmona.
We will travel up to the nearby small mural town of Prezza, where Ezio was born and which is described as the balcony of Abruzzo.
Prezza’s passionate history buff Luigi, a fluent English speaker will be our escort on a cultural tour around Prezza’s cobbled streets that will culminate in a wine tasting at the local family-run boutique winery, Praesidium. Here you’ll get to sample Enzo Pasquale’s award-winning organic wines which are fulsome and lingering. For those enamoured with Italy’s liqueurs, you’ll get to sample their fabulous Ratafia (Amarena Cherry Liqueur) too!
Afterwards, we will head back to the piazza for a quick Panino Porchetta lunch, before we drive to Rome.
Savour the essence of Roman culture with a late afternoon cooking lesson, where you’ll master the art of crafting traditional dishes like pasta carbonara and Roman-style pizza. As the sun sets over this ancient city, relish the fruits of your labour over the delicious homemade dinner you helped to prepare, creating lasting memories of Roman flavours and expanding your culinary expertise.
From your quiet hotel in a backstreet close to the Trevi fountain, spend a free day in Rome immersed in the city’s timeless charm, wandering through cobbled streets that lead to historic treasures like the Colosseum, Borghese Gallery and The Vatican. We are happy to recommend a guide for those who would prefer tickets to be booked and then guided around Rome’s eternal city. Indulge in mouthwatering Italian cuisine at quaint trattorias, savouring the perfect blend of culture and culinary delights under the warm Mediterranean sun.
We will join up together for our last night for a special dinner in Rome’s best secret restaurant
Reserve your place by paying a €250 deposit pp or pay in full now