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Join this Italian cultural and culinary vacation in Abruzzo, one of the most stunning and culturally rich regions in Italy! This is a fully escorted tour that will give you the insights to daily life, food and wine, culture, and production in Abruzzo. This will let you discover the authentic Italy in a balanced mix of experiences, relax, adventure, and learning. The peak of this tour is the chance to experience and have fun picking olives and to visit the olive oil mill while it is working and transforming olives to awards winning extra virgin olive oils.
Recently renovated, Hotel dei 7 is the perfect setting for your stay in Vasto. In their practical and elegant ambiance, you can relax with all the modern comforts and in absolute tranquility nearby the Villa Comunale (municipal park) and Belvedere San Michele, one of the most fascinating viewpoints of the town. Most of the rooms have also a small kitchen and an amazing view of the Adriatic Sea and Vasto bay. It is five minutes' walking from Piazza Rossetti, Vasto main square.
For anyone eager to live an immersive adventure in the Italian culture and traditions, where you really get to know the food, region and people, your host and local guide Fabrizio, together with his family and friends, has put together amazing experiences that combine passion, beautiful places, and locals to show you the best of the region’s off-the-beaten-track secrets.
You will be picked up at the Rome Fiumicino airport at 2:30 p.m. and transferred to the ancient Roman town of Vasto on the Adriatic Coast after crossing beautiful Abruzzo mountains looking at amazing landscapes.
Check in at the charming and family-run Hotel dei 7 (or a similar accommodation) in the historical downtown. Get to know your guide and learn more about this seven-day cultural and culinary vacation. Then, walk to a traditional restaurant to enjoy a welcome group dinner in the heart of Vasto.
After breakfast, you will visit an award-winning olive grove that has been farmed by Giovanni’s family for three generations to produce DOP olive oils. He will unfurl the secrets of what Homer described as “liquid gold”.
You will walk through the olive trees to help to pick olives for a short time (if you prefer to relax, you can enjoy some good wines). Next, you will enjoy an olive oil tasting and a traditional picnic lunch in the olive grove with pairings from local cheeses, salami, and other specialties surrounded by a magical atmosphere.
Visit to the olive oil mill to learn the transformation process from olives to extra virgin olive oil and to bottle your own by making extra virgin olive oil with the olives you picked in the morning.
After a short break to relax, in the afternoon, you will explore Vasto historic center: Loggia Amblingh, a promenade overlooking the fascinating crescent-shaped coastline, the old town with its medieval castle, charming lanes, a tower, the cathedral and Piazza Rossetti, dedicated to Gabriele Rossetti, a poet from the town and father of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Before dinner, you will meet some local artisans or artists. Enjoy a group dinner in a traditional restaurant in the heart of Vasto tonight.
After a leisurely traditional breakfast made of freshly baked bread, whole fruit country-style preserves, cake, pastries, coffee, tea and freshly squeezed juice:
You will walk and visit Vasto’s colorful market to get seasonal products. Here, you will have the possibility to practice a little bit of Italian even if you do not speak any of it.
Next, you will drive to the beautiful countryside of Vasto where you will meet Fabrizio’s family to have an exclusive cooking class with them. You will learn how easy it is to make fresh pasta and you will be introduced to Abruzzo sauces.
An example menu based on Fabrizio’s family recipes, includes bread with meat sauce, pasta alla chitarra with meat sauce and polpette (meatballs), cavatelli with vegetables and tarallucci (typical biscuits from Abruzzo) - of course this depends on seasonal availability.
Enjoy lunch with the scrumptious dishes that you prepared in the morning, while enjoying the relaxing family atmosphere.
In the afternoon, you will explore the Abruzzo coastline. You will have a short and easy walk inside Punta Aderci Nature Reserve, one of the 10 most beautiful Italian beaches according to the British daily The Telegraph, from where you can also admire snow-capped mountains.
In the evening, you may experience dinner on your own in one of the many restaurants of Vasto. After the big lunch, based on Italia Sweet Italia’s many years of experience, they know that nobody is looking for a rich dinner, so travelers usually enjoy spending time like a local trying a simple aperitif, a gelato, or a pizza. Obviously, Fabrizio will suggest you his favorite places.
After breakfast, you will drive to the little hilltop village of Lentella at Ettore’s “Fattoria d’Arte” (art farm).
Surrounded by an amazing landscape with a stunning view of the sea, mountains, hills, and small towns, you can enjoy an artistic experience with Ettore, which will let you create your own Christmas gift (a little sculpture or a postcard made with natural colors produced at the moment mixing leaves and flowers that you can pick at Ettore’s property). You will have an aperitif and a traditional lunch with Ettore and his wife Barbara.
Italia Sweet Italia knows that not every minute of your time must be packed with organized events, this way you will be able to explore on your own and actually live like an Italian.
So today, you will have a free afternoon for your own activities, which could be: going to one of the many beaches, visiting Vasto’s museums and art galleries, taking part into some extra activities / excursions, or just doing some Easter shopping visiting artisans or having a walk in the “piazza” to enjoy the relaxing Vasto atmosphere.
In the evening, you may experience dinner on your own in one of the many restaurants of Vasto.
After breakfast, you will make your way to a farmhouse where Pina and Berardino will reveal the secrets of farming letting you immerse in an authentic slow food experience. You could relax in the beautiful Abruzzo countryside or take part into some or all of these experiences.
Today, you will be able to milk a sheep or a cow. You will also learn how to make a special bread called “pizza scima - stupid pizza”, a pizza without yeast.
After collecting some organic wine from their winery, you will have an aperitif including a taste of their production: cheeses, salami, and extra virgin olive oil. Next, you will learn how to prepare ricotta cheese. Finally, you will collect the fresh vegetables from their garden that will be used for your farm-to-table lunch.
A delicious traditional farm-to-table lunch will be prepared and served. Almost everything you will eat is produced in the farm (wheat to produce the organic flour to make different kinds of breads, cookies, and fresh pasta together with eggs from their hens, organic extra virgin olive oil, wines, liquors, juices, jams, cheeses, many varieties of salami, meats, and vegetables).
In the afternoon, immersed in the nature and surrounded by amazing sceneries, you will drive in the inland to explore the enchanting Abruzzo’s castle in the sky in the charming village of Roccascalegna, ranked by Condé Naste Traveler as one of the 9 Most Beautiful Hilltop Towns in Italy.
After the big lunch at the farm, in the evening you may enjoy a dinner or aperitif on your own in one of the many restaurants and wine bars of Vasto.
After breakfast, you will drive along the famous Trabocchi coast. You will visit a trabocco (the symbol of the area), mostly built with acacia wood and railway iron sleepers.
Weather permitting, Rinaldo your host will show you how to fish from it and the secrets and history behind Abruzzo’s unique fishing platforms that have been featured in the BBC TV show: Escape to the Continent.
During a seafood aperitif, you will be able to relax breathing the sea breeze and taking some photos of the many beautiful marine landscape.
Next, you will visit an award-winning winery that sits between a marine park and the mountains. You will make a wine tasting and lunch with pairings from local cheeses and salami and a tour of the vineyard and cellars organized by the winemakers Emanuele and Nicola.
After some free time to relax and pack or do a last minute shopping, you will have a farewell party with Fabrizio’s family. You will enjoy the Abruzzo wines and food in a very relaxed atmosphere or help Adele and Mamma Anna Maria to make tiramisù and many kinds of pizza including the world-famous Margherita or local ones with typical toppings such as the renowned “ventricina” salami.
In the evening, you will have the last dinner together as an Italian family immersed in the Abruzzo’s countryside.
After breakfast, you will leave (usually at 9:00 a.m.) for Rome Fiumicino airport or your next destination (Rome Fiumicino is about 3.5 hours’ driving from Vasto) so make sure to get an afternoon flight.
Your itinerary is a guide to your activities during the week. However, sometimes the final itinerary is modified to take advantage of the season and the weather. The goal is to ensure that everyone has a fabulous time, and that sometimes means tweaking the schedule even after your arrival. Your guide will provide suggestions during the week, and the group will decide whether to make any change. Be assured that only enhanced experiences are ever considered.
Enjoy your excursions and visits around Abruzzo and Vasto as part of the program.
Abruzzo is located a short drive from Rome and considered the greenest region in Europe with three National Parks and many protected areas and species such as bears, wolves, lynx, and Golden Eagles. Abruzzo spreads from the Apennine mountains to the Adriatic sea which means that you can admire the highest mountains of the Apennines, the Corno Grande, directly from its coast.
It has a huge variety of landscapes and seascapes that make it an ideal place to have a relaxing holiday. Abruzzo and her four provinces: Teramo, L'Aquila, Pescara, and Chieti have a very diverse gastronomic heritage that includes wine, pasta alla chitarra, extra-virgin olive oil, cheeses, salami, truffle, saffron, and fish soups.
Abruzzo remains unknown and off the beaten track to many non-Italians. Abruzzo and their people, the Abruzzese, will reawaken your senses and provide an unforgettable Italian holiday you will never forget!
Vasto is a Roman coastal town (population: over 40,000), just three hours from Rome, which flourished again in the 15th and 16th Century. You will enjoy exploring the Centro Storico, its cathedrals and churches, the 15th Century Palazzo dAvalos, the Rossetti Theater, the cafes, and restaurants. Enjoy the food, wine and gelato, vineyards, cheese factories and olive oil mills, as well as the many natural sites: a selection of beaches, from sandy shores to pebbly coves, from the populous marina to the natural reserve, from dunes to trabocchi, the unique fishing huts you will marvel at, all within a short distance.
During this vacation, you will be served daily Italian breakfast, as well as eight meals (food, water, house wine) in selected restaurants, a farmhouse, a private home, a winery, and a trabocco fishing hut based on traditional regional dishes. Some evenings are free for you to explore the town by yourself.
Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport
Please book your flights to arrive at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO). Transfer from and to this airport is included. Italia Sweet Italia will pick you up at the airport.
You can travel by bus to Pescara or Vasto. The bus journey from Rome to Pescara takes between two and three hours, depending on the bus you catch and one hour more to get to Vasto.
You can travel by train to Pescara or Vasto. The train journey from Rome takes around four hours to Pescara and around five hours to Vasto.
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