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Friendly Cooking Vacations Italy

This gay travel culinary tour of Italy was designed to give guests a truly authentic taste of the Italian region of Puglia. Every meal will feature local specialties, whether sampled at an agriturismo farmhouse, or cooked with guests help at Villa Cappelli. With each day bringing a tour of charming local villages and interaction with the locals, guests will truly immerse themselves in la dolce vita. No Italy tour would be trustworthy without a taste of the magnificent Italian wines: this vacation also offers you unforgettable experiences with regional wines.


  • Wine class and tastings
  • Pasta and pizza making lessons
  • Visit a local artisan cheese maker
  • Visits medieval towns and beautiful villages
  • Course in olive oil production and olive oil tasting
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Airport transfers
  • 3 daily meals


7 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
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Villa Cappellis history goes back to the 14th century. It has been restored to its ancient splendor by a gay American and his partner, both of them with deep family roots in the soil of Puglia. Walk along the ancient Appian Way and walk or bike along lightly traveled roads, through a countryside that reflects centuries of pilgrims, soldiers, and other travelers, including Crusaders on their way to Jerusalem. You will spend seven nights at this comfortable villa, where you can relax by the private pool in the villa's courtyard and enjoy a complementary cocktail hour every evening.


Day 1: Bongiorno, welcome to Puglia!

Today, all travelers should plan to arrive at Bari. Upon arrival at Bari Karol Wojtya Airport (BRI), Terlizzi or Molfetta train stations, a transfer will be provided to Villa Cappelli, located 20 minutes away, on a quiet portion of the ancient Appian Way, a few kilometers inland from the Adriatic Sea. After settling into your room, a light lunch will be available for those who arrive early enough. The afternoon will be free to explore the grounds, and later, to enjoy some snacks and local wines. You will enjoy your welcome dinner tonight at the villa, sampling olive oil and other delicacies of the region.

Day 2: Formaggio

This morning, you will take a trip up to the Murgia National Park, where you will visit a local artisan cheese maker and watch mozzarella being made before your eyes, while you sample some right then and there. Pick up cheeses to enjoy for lunch and throughout the week. From here, you will head over to nearby Ruvo di Puglia and the Jatta Museum, famous for its Grecian urns. Afterwards, you will return to the villa for lunch. Anyone is welcome to join the cooking of lunch or to simply lounge by the pool until it is ready.

The afternoon can be spent exploring some of the sites nearby the Villa. Puglia is famous for its trulli and there is a double trulli just down the road. These are stone houses made without mortar, used by farmers in past centuries, when they were away from their homes and families in the villages. There is also an ancient church (dating from 1000 A.D.) nearby, which is always a favorite for guests. This evening you will travel into Terlizzi, the nearest town, for a delicious group dinner, enjoying some local dishes of the region.

Day 3: Pasta - The Holy Grail

In the morning, make fresh pasta in the villa's kitchen. You will crack some eggs, knead some dough, and roll out specialties, just like they have been doing it in Italy for hundreds of years. You will set the pasta out to dry for dinner and then take off exploring. Head off to visit Castel del Monte, a UNESCO world heritage site that is featured on the back of the Italian version of the Euro penny. Built in the 13th century by the Swabian Emperor, Frederick II, Castel del Monte is perched atop a hill, overlooking all of Puglia and the Adriatic Sea.

The castle is featured in many myths and legends, including the Holy Grail. After a tour of the castle, head back to the villa for a light lunch. Afterwards, guests can enjoy some down time at the villa. Later in the afternoon, an olive oil expert will visit the villa for a course in olive oil production and olive oil tasting. Then, you will enjoy a delicious pasta dinner with the fresh pasta that you made earlier in the day.

Day 4: A meal to remember

On this morning, travel the sea-side town of Trani. This charming town features a beautiful port and a giant cathedral that sits right on the sea. A beautiful gem city. Next, travel back in time to 216 B.C. and the site of the Battle of Cannae (a major battle of the Second Punic War, near the town of Cannae). Here, Hannibal decisively defeated a numerically superior army of the Roman Republic; it is regarded as one of the greatest tactical feats in military history.

From Cannae, you will travel to the famous agriturismo Antichi Sapori, to enjoy a truly special lunch in a remote restaurant, whose chef has won wide recognition. Explore the restaurants huge garden to see just where all the fresh ingredients come from. It is a meal you will never forget. After a long lunch, head back to the villa to relax. Dinner tonight will be something light at the villa.

Day 5: Matera and pizza

Today, drive through the mountainous Murgia region to Matera, another amazing UNESCO world heritage site. This area dates back centuries, but is still occupied today by residents, shops, restaurants, and even hotels, that are built into the soft tufa rock. You will walk the ancient winding streets that are so well preserved and have been used in many movies, including Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ and the recent Ben Hur.

Take your time touring, including a compact cave house museum, and then have lunch in a local restaurant before heading back to the villa. You will return to Villa Cappelli, where tonight, each of you will get to be a master pizza chef. You will gather in the cozy kitchen so that you can roll your own crust (made from scratch). Then, you will select toppings from the numerous bowls laid out on the table and put your creation on a long-handled tray, to be cooked in the villas own ancient wood-burning pizza oven.

Day 6: Alberobello, Polignano, and a meal with view

Head out this morning to Alberobello - famous for its trulli -, a town of stone buildings made without any mortar. If you have ever seen a Puglian guidebook, these structures are often featured on the cover. After a quick tour of the town, you will head over to the seaside town of Polignano a Mare. Walk the winding ancient streets and enjoy the views from this amazing city, which literally juts out into the sea. Lunch at Grotta Palazzese, named as one of the top ten restaurants with a view. The dining area is literally carved out of the rocks sitting right on the sea. Tonight, there will be either a light dinner at the villa or a trip into town.

Day 7: Ancient staples of fish and wine

Wake up early today to head to the Adriatic port of Bisceglie and its busy fish market, picking out some of the freshest seafood you will ever find: right off the boats minutes before. After choosing what you like for dinner, stop by Giovinazzo, a cute fishing village with a magnificently restored medieval town center. Once back at the villa, you will have a wine tasting and lunch. A sommelier will visit the villa for a wine lesson. Sample local specialties and learn what to look for in a good wine.

After you pick up few delicious new tips, you will share the wine over light local treats. After lunch, head to a nearby ceramics center with a kiln that dates back to before 1 A.D. You can watch as Italian artisans craft beautiful items by hand and pick up some amazing souvenirs. Finally, share an amazing farewell fish dinner at the villa.

Day 8: Homeward bound

Today you will bid farewell to your friends and to Puglia. A morning group transfer will be offered to Bari Karol Wojtya Airport (BRI), for flights back to Rome and beyond. Please note that for some flight routings, an overnight stay in Rome will offer the widest choice of flights heading home.

Included excursions

  • Drive through the Murgia region
  • Explore Bisceglies fish market, Giovinazzo fishing village, Trani sea-side town and Cannae
  • Tour around Matera, Alberobello and Polignano a Mare towns
  • Visit a ceramics center with Italian artisans, a local artisan cheese maker, and Castel del Monte
  • Walk along Murgia National Park, Ruvo di Puglia and the Jatta Museum


This culinary holiday will take place in Puglia, Italy, and its surroundings towns.


Puglia was isolated enough from Rome and Florence that the Renaissance barely affected life in the region, so many churches and homes pre-date the Renaissance, and some are over 1000 years old. From local fishing villages, ancient Roman bridges, and conical trulli structures, to the UNESCO world heritage site of Castel del Monte, you will experience all that Puglia has to offer.



  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Mountain walking / trekking
  • Outdoor swimming pool
  • Shopping nearby
  • Wine tasting / tour


  • Dining area
  • Garden
  • Kitchen
  • Restaurant nearby
  • Smoke-free property
  • Special menu request


  • Bicycle rental
  • Local market


During this gay culinary vacation, you will be delighted with daily breakfast, lunch, and dinners. These meals include local traditional dishes. Each day, the food will be freshly prepared in the kitchen at Villa Cappelli, or at restaurants in Terlizzi and around the area. You will sample local delicacies prepared with olive oil, produced at the villa and exported to gourmet shops. Heavenly dinners will be completed with wine or homemade liquors, such as the local specialty limoncello. Wine tastings will include wine produced at the villa and a sample of the vintage nearby vineyards.


  • One dinner in Terlizzi village.

Things to do (optional)

  • Explore Puglia's surroundings and sites in your free time
  • Rest and relax at Villa Cappelli's facilities

What's included

  • 1 olive oil tasting and course
  • 1 wine lesson
  • 2 hands-on cooking sessions
  • 3 daily meals
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Airport transfers
  • Guided excursions
  • Local transportation
  • Local wine or soft drinks with meals
  • Transfers from Terlizzi or Molfetta train stations to Villa Cappelli

What's not included

  • Airfare
  • Alcohol beverages other than at included dinners
  • Fee entrances not described as included in the itinerary
  • Gratuities for guides
  • Personal items such as souvenirs, snacks, faxes, and telephone calls
  • Transfers from Villa Cappelli to Terlizzi or Molfetta train stations
  • Transportation to and from Bari, Italy

How to get there

Arrival by airplane

Please arrive at Bari Karol Wojtya Airport (BRI). He Travel will pick you up. The pick-up is included in the price.

Arrival by train

Please arrive at Molfetta or Terlizzi train stations. He Travel will pick you up. The pick-up is included in the price.


  • Bari Karol Wojtya Airport (BRI) - 20 minutes
  • Molfetta train station - 20 minutes
  • Terlizzi train station - 20 minutes
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