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This is a culinary vacation entitling a complete four-course menu created with the chef of Casa Gregorio to further the gourmet culinary experience of being in the Roman countryside. The guests will have the opportunity to savor the best of local Italian food and wine tradition that the area has to offer. An authentic Italian holiday with its culinary tours, cooking classes, delicious meals at home and in local restaurants will have you immersed in a traditional Italian cultural experience.
You will be accommodated at Villa Marcello and Casa Sofia, in Castro dei Volsci. Casa Gregorio occupies a 1797 structure in the heart of the historic center of Castro dei Volsci. The date is still visible on the keystone of the arch framing the original entrance door. The three story high structure belonged to the nobility of the town, and today still preserves coffered wooden ceilings, antique wooden beams, and some original tile flooring. The interior décor reflects the ancient look while giving visitors modern facilities.
Thanks to the altitude of the town, 385 meters above sea level, Casa Gregorio offers the tourist a spectacular panoramic view in a relaxed green environment, away from the deafening noises of crowded cities while surrounded by the atmosphere of the old residence. Walking on the old brick and cobblestone pavements of the winding narrow streets, the guests of Casa Gregorio can make contacts and establish friendly relationships with the welcoming natives of Castro dei Volsci who are willing and proud to share their customs and traditions.
The residences are a quiet oasis, both day and night. Each home is an ideal spot to relax and unwind, overlooking mountain tops, valleys, and surrounding towns, all to be enjoyed during your free time or during the cooking programs which take place in the fabulous kitchen that awaits you.
Keeping with tradition and history, Villa Marcello was once the historical summer residence of Pope Innocenzo III and from its terraces you can appreciate the amazing views of the surrounding valleys of Castro Dei Volsci, the main square of the village, and the piazza which is the hearth of local life.
The four bedroom villa has been renovated and reappointed with elegant touches to render it a Casa Gregorio property and will include a common living room area with fireplace and its own kitchen with a spectacular view. Each guest suite will have its own private bath with shower, flat screen tv, air-condition and all guests will be able to remain connected with the free Wi-Fi. At Villa Marcello you can take part in the la dolce vita cooking classes
Casa Sofia is a charming residence in the heart of Castro dei Volsci. This historical residence of nobility is located in the main square of the village. From its balcony you can appreciate a taste of authentic Roman countryside life looking the piazza, the main square which is the hearth of local life. At Casa Sofia you can take part in the la dolce vita cooking classes.
Casa Gregorio immerses its guests into cooking in a Ciociara Italian family environment and offers hands-on cooking classes taught by local chefs and women from the village in the Roman countryside, short distance from Rome. Small group cooking classes are conducted by the chefs. They will prepare with you authentic Italian dishes following the traditions passed down to them from their great grandmothers, grandmas, and mothers.
During the cooking classes, Gregory, Valerio, and Dayana will share with you all the secrets to cook authentic Italian recipes using all the key ingredients of Italian cooking tradition. You will learn how to make a perfect Italian sauce, home made pasta, gnocchi, and many other Italian delicacies. Anna, the pizza maker specialist, will teach you how to make a great real Italian pizza in the Palazzo Gregorio gourmet kitchen facility with a authentic wood burning pizza oven.
The full equipped kitchen with an amazing view of the surrounding hill-top will be the unique setting of the informal and friendly Italian cooking classes, where you will learn how to make a perfect Italian menu while enjoying a glass of great regional wine, listening to background music, and experiencing many a laugh or two.
On Casa Gregorio's culinary tours, they bring you to discover local farmers, who are at the heart of the delicacies on your table. The real taste is in the products that are still meticulously handmade and without being industrially produced and processed. Cooking in the tranquility of the Roman Countryside, you can expect to be away from the chaos of the city, nightclubs, and crowds of tourists.
Here in Ciociaria, you will experience fresh local food markets rather than overwhelming souvenir shops, and excellent local restaurants frequented by people from the surrounding area. In the cooking school, roll up your sleeves and get involved. Don’t expect too many opportunities to wear your best clothes, but opt instead for comfortable attire. Above all, expect plenty of good food and many stories to tell.
Your culinary vacation begins with transfers from the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) to Casa Gregorio’s Villa Marcello, where a welcome aperitivo is followed by a benvenuto lunch. Following lunch, you will enjoy a short guided tour of the medieval town of Castro dei Volsci. In the evening, “La Dolce Vita” begins with a special welcome dinner served at Taverna Casa Gregorio!
Your second day at Casa Gregorio begins with a perfect Italian coffee and a visit to the local farm market. Back to Casa Gregorio you will enjoy your first breakfast at the newly renovated bar of Casa Gregorio.
With the chef, you will create a perfect antipasto, a sumptuous primo piatto, a delicious secondo with the proper contorni and a fabulous dessert. You will enjoy the food prepared with the chef at one of the Casa Gregorio dining facilities with some of the best local wines selected to enhance and highlight the quality of the food.
After a perfect espresso or cappuccino to close your lunch, the afternoon continues with a visit to the “Abbey of Fossanova” on the journey to the Tyrrhenian seaside. Today you dine by the beach at the local Trattoria Centosedici, located in the seaside town of Terracina.
La dolce vita continues with a traditional Italian breakfast at Casa Gregorio's bar. After breakfast, it is time to start preparing your second menu together with the chef and enjoying a special selection of wines in one the charming Casa Gregorio’s dining rooms.
Today’s afternoon begins with a stop to Nero Caffè for a coffee bean and tasting experience, followed by a visit at Prosciuttificio (Prosciutto factory) Erzinio in the town of Guarcino, “The Parma of Ciociaria”, and have a sample of authentic Amaretti cookies.
After a walking tour of the hystorical town of Alatri, a special dinner is waiting for you at the local “ristorante” to introduce you to an authentic “cucina Italiana” and the wines that compliment.
Today after breakfast at Casa Gregorio you have a free morning to enjoy a walk in the hills around or just relax. You continue your Dolce Vita experience at Casa Gregorio’s kitchen where with the chef you will prepare yet another 4-course meal and enjoy the dining ambiance of the 16th century Frantoio, savoring your culinary delights accompanied by yet another selection of local wines.
In the afternoon, the experience begins at Nero Caffé, a coffee bean toasting and tasting, and continues with visiting one of the best wineries of Ciociaria, “Villa La Ferriera” in Atina, where you visit the cantina and your host will introduce you to the making and testing of wine. Your dinner tonight is at the “Old Cantina Visocchi” now totally restored with antique winery relics into a sophisticated restaurant called Le Cannardizie. Your host Patrizia Patini, a sommelier, gives you a taste and sampling of yet another fantastic wine of the region, followed by dinner.
Breakfast today is served at Casa Gregorio. Soon after breakfast, your chef Valerio will show you the secret art of Limoncello making. It is now time for you to discover how to make a perfect pizza dough. You will than enjoy making and topping your pizza, cooking it in the pizza oven and savoring it at lunch.
After lunch you have a couple of hours to relax or have a walk on the hills surrounding the medieval town. In the afternoon you visit “Meringo’s” where you will enjoy the best gelato in Ciociaria!
You complete the program with a multi-course farewell dinner at “Ristorante Setteventi” in the historical town of Pofi.
After breakfast at Casa Gregorio, you set off to the town of Ceprano for the local farms market and a stop to Nero Caffè for a coffee bean tasting experience. The day continues with an olive oil tour in the town of Arpino, birthplace of Cicero and land of the olives. You visit a traditional olive oil mill and will be explained the process of how to make extra virgin olive oil.
You then proceed to a local estate and taste the fresh olive oil. You will have a light lunch with flavors of the oil and a sample of some of the owner’s organic wine to accompany your visit.
After lunch it is time to go back to Castro dei Volsci with some time to relax. Your final night's farewell dinner is in your town's local restaurant, Il Ditirambo, where a special menu, created by the chef to mix up local traditions and new suggestions is a way Casa Gregrio thinks is best to conclude your “La Dolce Vita” dining experience and to extend to you their “Arrivederci!”.
Breakfast and departure. Casa Gregorio hopes you enjoy your culinary vacation in the Roman countryside, an area which has turned out to be the best kept secret of Italy!
Casa Gegorio adheres to the programs listed above but may make slight adjustments due to the seasonality.
Visit to family-run mozzarella factory
Visit to local town's farmers' market
Journey to the Abbey of Fossanova and the Tyrrhenian seaside town of Sperlonga
Visit to cheese factory
My name is Gregory Aulensi and I was born and raised in Michigan. In my mid twenties, I moved to sunny South Florida where I established and carried on my interior design business for several years. Upon a family trip to the Roman Countryside of Italy called Ciociaria, I took a leap of fate and now find myself living the under the Tuscan sun dream in Lazio, Italy.
This vacation will take place in Castro dei Volsci, Italy. Castro dei Volsci is a town in the heart of the Ciociaria, 100 kilometers from Rome, on the Rome-Cassino-Naples railway line. In 1964, the Ministry of Education proclaimed it an area of particular interest to the public for its panoramas of extraordinary beauty and for the considerable significance, both aesthetic and traditional, of the heights of the town.
On foggy days, one might be on the deck of a ship setting sail on a gray and stormy sea. What seem to be sunny islets are the peaks of nearby hills. When the sky is clear, one stands upon the stage of a gigantic theater. From Palestrina to Cassino, the towns and villages of the valley sit atop the distant mountains as on steps built by the cyclopes.
On summer nights, the landscape becomes enchanting and one has the impression that the broad starry sky seems to spread itself at one’s feet like a carpet. The inhabited area on the Southern slope of the hill still maintains intact, with arches, towers, and bare stone walls, the appearance of a medieval hamlet. The countryside, which extends to the right bank of the river Sacco, is densely populated and studded with charming houses.
The curious visitor, on entering the village, has the impression that here time stands still. He sees little houses of gray stone, dose together to lend support to and take warmth from one another, narrow, winding streets with tiled pavements, and a piazza so small as to seem a living room and most of all, a silence and calm that nothing can disturb.
Ciociaria is the name of a traditional region of Central Italy without a defined border, nor historical identity. In the Middle Ages, this region was referred to as Campagna. The local dialect, now known as ciociaro, was earlier referred to as campanino. In more recent times, the term Campagna Romana, or Roman Campagna, a favorite subject of countless painters from all over Europe, has referred to the adjoining region to the North of Ciociaria, but part of the Province of Rome.
The name Ciociaria comes from the primitive footwear of its inhabitants called ciocie. These sandals were put on by the Latins who will be identified with the name of ciociari in the following centuries. Now those types of shoes are not used in everyday life, but remain as a traditional symbol. They are worn by folk group members of the province of Frosinone or on the historical feasts.
During this holiday, you will be offered daily delicious meals and wine included in the price. Choosing Italy’s Roman countryside as a destination for your cooking holiday will give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the true culture of Bel Paese. Only by sitting down at the table with a real Italian family can you truly understand the history and passion. Locally produced vegetables and meat will remind you of forgotten flavors. At Casa Gregorio you will savor not only the food, but also the culture that lies behind each recipe.
During this vacation, you can relax in the living room with its comprehensive collection of pictures and guide books to help you plan your sightseeing excursions or just a place to converse with fellow guests. You can also take a walk in the hills around if you feel like it.
Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport
Please book you flight to arrive at Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport (FCO). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Casa Gregorio will pick you up from the airport. For those guests arriving at the Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport (FCO) the day your culinary program begins, please choose a flight that arrives prior to 11 a.m. as the drivers are at the airport to greet and transfer you to Casa Gregorio from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
For those returning to the Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport (FCO) with a departing flight when your culinary holiday ends, please choose a flight that departs after 11 a.m. so that the drivers can get you to the airport two hours prior to your flight departure.
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