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During this holiday, not only will you be exposed to the real authentic culture of central Italy through its food and drink, but you will also have the opportunity to learn how to cook real Italian food from real Italian masters. Enjoy a complete week, including trips to local authentic producers, undiscovered beauties of the area, and a total of six cooking lessons in the hotel's professional kitchen, each with its own theme on an aspect of Italian cuisine.
The family-run La Vignola Country Hotel was renovated from a restaurant and sports club in 2016, and it is located just across the river Liri from the historical center of Ceprano in lush parkland. Nestled exactly between the cities of Rome and Naples and positioned on the A1 motorway, La Vignola Country Hotel is designed along a single floor, with an ample sun terrace and large swimming pool situated above. The complex has 4 double rooms with a king-size bed and en-suite bathroom, 3 of the rooms being deluxe and 1 standard. There are also two twin single rooms as well as a suite. Each room has a private terrace with a view of the gardens, the sleepy River Liri, and the historical center of Ceprano. Services include autonomous air conditioning, satellite TV, free Wi-Fi access, and an in-room safe. The hotel itself contains private parking, a clay tennis courts, and a wellness center with sauna, hammam steam room, Scottish Shower, and relaxation zone, in addition to the swimming pool and sun terrace.
You will be picked up from Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO), Ciampino-G. B. Pastine International Airport (CIA), Naples International Airport (NAP), or Ceprano-Falvaterra Train Station, and taken to La Vignola Country Hotel. Once at the hotel, you will be greeted by the staff and given time to unpack and unwind. Depending upon the time of arrival of all the guests, lunch will be offered either in the restaurant, in your room, or even as a buffet on the sun terrace.
In the late afternoon, you will all get together for a lesson on the making of local liqueurs, such as limoncello, ratafià, amaro, and more, followed by a short hands-on session on pizza dough; after which, it is off for a relaxing dinner prepared by the hotel chef and the choice of an after dinner drink or an early night.
After a leisurely continental breakfast at the hotel, go for the first culinary visit of the week. You will be heading inland towards Ciociaria’s hills and valleys that lead to the Appenine Mountains and the Abruzzo National Park. Your first stop is a traditional mill, where you will see the making of flour, and have a quick chat with the staff; after which, you will head to Casamari Abbey to see the classic monastery that was founded in the 9th century. A walk around the lovely gardens and elegant buildings is coupled with the chance to buy mementos and products made by the monks themselves. Get back on the road towards the medieval town of Alatri to visit one of central Italy’s most renowned olive oil producers. You will have a chance to taste the freshly squeezed oil, together with other local products, whilst chatting with the owner about authentic olive oil. Maybe he will let you in to a secret or two.
After lunch, you will go up to the mountains for a guided tour of Certosa di Trisulti, another ancient monastery with a quaint church and a perfectly preserved medieval pharmacy, and upon returning to La Vignola, you will have some free time. You can play tennis, swim in the large outdoor pool, have a sauna in the hotel’s wellness center, take a stroll, or even relax on your own private terrace or in your air-conditioned room.
Around 19:00, it is time to take out the dough prepared earlier and make your own pizza with Chef Luca. Here, you will learn how to make the perfect Neapolitan pizza and cook it in an authentic wood fired oven. What you cook will be the main course of your dinner this evening. Your pizza will be served with accompanying dishes, water, and a bottle of wine recommended by the sommelier.
After breakfast, get ready for a tourist adventure which changes according to the time of year and weather conditions. It could be a walk in the mountains, a boat trip to one of the zone’s many islands, a guided tour of Naples, or one of the many amazing activities that this land can offer.
Your day begins at 9:00 with a visit to Ceprano’s Archaeological Museum, where you will learn about Argil, the oldest man in Europe. Afterwards, you will go to Fregellae, the archaeological site of an ancient town that dates back to at least 330 B.C. Then, get back on the road to visit a local cheesemaker, where you will taste cheeses, such as ricotta and the world-renowned Mozzarella di Bufala, and learn about the process of making them and what makes them good.
Go back to Ceprano for some lunch in the central square and a chance to live life at the locals’ pace; Cepranese people are very friendly and not even a simple barrier, such as the language, will dissuade them from striking up a conversation and making friends. Returning to the hotel is entirely up to you; you can be taken back in the bus or you can take a stroll and get back when you want.
Later in the afternoon, there will be a cooking lesson using the most typical dishes of the region of Ciociaria, a land known for its simple yet tasty recipes made from local high quality ingredients. Dinner will be the fruits of your wares accompanied with local wines, traditional music from Ciociaria, and various customs from the province.
Tale another relaxing stroll after breakfast, as you visit Ceprano’s food market to buy some locally grown fruit and vegetables, before you head back into the kitchen for another lesson. Here, you will tackle the famous gnocchi and accompany them with some vegetable starters followed by fresh seasonal fruit. Later it is time for some real relaxation; you are welcome to use any of the hotel’s facilities, such as the swimming pool, the tennis courts, the wellness center, and more, for a free afternoon at leisure. At around 19:00, Regina, Luca’s mother, will hand down some of her 60 years of experience as a pasticciera, before heading back, off for dinner either in the central square or at the hotel itself.
You will be glad you relaxed the day before, as you head off to the Monastery at Montecassino, a Benedictine structure that also played a fundamental part in World War II, with a famous battle that lasted for many months. Then, go inland for a visit to the town of Atina, known for its cannellini beans and its excellent Cabernet wine. You will have lunch in an authentic cantina, where you will be able to try a glass or two. Go back to La Vignola for some free time before Luca takes you through how to cook great fish, which of course, you can savor at dinner.
The morning is completely free for you to spend it at leisure. The streets of Ceprano become a huge market, bustling with people and sounds; Luca will meet you at lunchtime in the central square, where he will prepare your meal. After an espresso, you will take the 15 minute journey to visit the Caves of Pastena and Falvaterra, a network of karst caves that provide beautiful and mesmerizing structures. Some more free time in the afternoon is followed by the farewell dinner. Here, Chef Luca really pulls out the stops to make a meal that is fit for a King. The evening includes music, dancing, and relaxing; the ideal way to celebrate a holiday to remember!
It is time to say goodbye and go back to your everyday life. Just remember though, that arrivederci literally translated means “until we see each other again!”
Ceprano sits among rolling hills in the valley of Liri. The Mediterranean Sea lies 45 minutes away, through renowned resorts such as Sperlonga and Gaeta, and the National Park of Abruzzo, as the Apennine Mountains watch imposingly to the North. The town is easily reachable by car, bus, or train, and is perfectly suited for exploring the many beautiful sights and towns in the surrounding area.
Italian cuisine has been envied and imitated all over the world for many years. With roots as far back as the Ancient Roman Empire, Italian cooking is based on simplicity, authenticity, and the development of tasty recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. CookinItalia offers a very relaxed and friendly environment, where experienced and qualified Italian chefs take you through the real traditions in practical and easy to follow lessons.
The course includes six lessons, each with a specific theme, with the aim to prepare a complete meal. The approach is centered around plenty of demonstrations, hands-on experiences, and food appreciation tips in very small groups. At the end of each class, there is the chance to sit down with your fellow students and enjoy your creations along with an assortment of fine wine from the Federici family’s commercial wine cellar.
Book a spa treatment or massage
Relax within the hotel complex
Arrive at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO), Ciampino-G. B. Pastine International Airport (CIA), Naples International Airport (NAP). CookinItalia will pick you up from the airport. The pick-up is included in the price.
Arrive at Ceprano-Falvaterra Train Station. CookinItalia will pick you up from the train station. The pick-up is included in the price.