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This culinary vacation will give you the chance to have an extraordinary cooking and cultural experience in a traditional Italian family environment. A savouring of Italian flavors, local lifestyles, and traditions transcends you to capture a piece of the magic that this Roman countryside area instills upon you. 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 in Palazzo Gregorio and its guest’s cottage, at Casa Gregorio 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.
The seven bedrooms of Palazzo Gregorio have been renovated paying close attention to details in order to provide each of them with its own character. Every room is tastefully decorated with wrought-iron beds and antique furniture. All guest rooms are equipped with heating and air conditioning, beautifully tiled in-suite bathrooms (soap and shampoo for guests), Jacuzzi bathtubs or showers, heated towel bars, and hair dryers, beauty mirror, flat-screen TV, and free Wi-Fi.
You will enjoy meals in the large dining room. Although there are no self-catering facilities, a small refrigerator is available with many beverages to choose from all at no charge to guests.
Palazzo Gregorio's cottage is a charming cottage in the heart of Castro dei Volsci. This two-bedroom cottage located nearby Palazzo Gregorio offers a private entrance, a common area equipped with a small kitchen, and a living room. At Palazzo Gregorio’s cottage you can take part in the Roman countryside cooking classes.
An old traditional olive oil mill is located on the ground floor and is attached to the old three story high residence. Even though it is no longer operable, the frantoio with its stone press and various components is a fascinating sight for the curious visitors interested in learning how olive oil was extracted from the hand picked olives by the natives in the surrounding olive groves.
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 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.
The culinary experience begins with transfers from Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) to Casa Gregorio. Benvenuti and check-in, followed by a welcome aperitivo. After check-in you set off for a guided walk and acquainting you with the medieval historical village of Castro Dei Volsci. Following your walking tour, Casa Gregorio welcomes its guests to an early dinner in one of the dining rooms, concluding with an after-dinner liqueur.
After a typical Italian breakfast in the Casa Gregorio’s new cappuccino bar, you set off to the town of Arpino, birthplace of Cicero and land of the olives. This morning you visit a traditional olive oil mill (Frantoio) and are explained the process of making extra virgin olive oil. You then proceed to a local estate and taste the fresh olive oil. A light lunch with flavors of the oil and a sample of some of the owner’s organic wine accompany your visit.
Prior to leaving olive country, you may just decide to bring home a bottle of Terra di Cicerone extra virgin oil. You then return back to Casa Gregorio. At around 4 p.m., it's time to meet the chef and start baking. Dinner is served at the villa's dining room.
After breakfast at Casa Gregorio, you set off for a visit to the local town’s farmers’ market to gather what’s needed for tonight’s antipasto extravaganza and get a feel of how the locals live. Next, visit a local cheese caseiﬁcio and sample fresh ricotta, buffalo mozzarella, and provolone. The morning continues with a visit to the Abbey of Fossanova on your journey to the Tyrrhenian seaside town of Terracina.
After a view of the sea and a stroll by a few shops, enjoy your lunch at the local Trattoria Centosedici. Upon return and a short time for relaxation, you begin your second cooking class by preparing a variety of antipasti. Bruschette, crostini, crocchette, arancini, frittate, frittelle di zucchine, grilled peppers and eggplant, stuffed zucchini are a few examples, accompanied by the sampling of various Formagi and olives are enjoyed at dinner with wine in Casa Gregorio’s dining room.
Breakfast at Casa Gregorio’s bar. Today’s journey begins at Pastorella. You will watch the process of fresh sausage, followed by a visit at prosciuttificio in the town of Guarcino (the Parma of Ciociaria), and there you will have a picnic lunch of fresh hand-cut prosciutto or porchetta.
Upon your return to Casa Gregorio, with a short time to relax, you begin your hands-on cooking lesson number three with the chef Valerio.
Fantasia of primi piatti, you will learn how to prepare a variety of homemade pasta shapes with the proper seasonal sauce that you will then enjoy tonight at dinner with a great bottle of wine in Casa Gregorio’s dining room.
After breakfast at Casa Gregorio you head off to visit the Abbey of Montecassino, which has a significant part of the history here in Ciociaria. Afterwards you visit a winery in Val Comino, a region in Italy famous for its Cabernet wines. You will have the opportunity to see one of their vineyards, visit the cellar and bottling plant, and learn the vinification process ending with a wine tasting.
Afterwards, you continue your journey to the nearby town of Atina, famous in Italy for its annual “Jazz Festival” and have lunch 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.
In the afternoon you will begin to prepare a list of “secondi piatti” such as Involtini, Salsiccia con Patate e Peperuola, and Scaloppini alla Mela, and the proper “Contorno” to accompany the main course. Dinner with wine is in the dining room.
Breakfast today is served at Casa Gregorio. Soon after breakfast, your chef Valerio will show you the secret art of limoncello making. Then it is now time for you to discover how to make a perfect pizza dough. You will then 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.
Your final day comes too soon, but it is time to have breakfast, gather up your newly-acquired cooking skills, pack your bags, and travel back to the airport. Casa Gregorio hopes you will be leaving with wonderful memories!
The earliest flight scheduled for departure will determine the time you leave Casa Gregorio.
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.
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. The organizer 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.
For this organizer you can guarantee your booking through BookCulinaryVacations.com. All major credit cards supported.
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