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Christmas Cooking Vacation in Italy

Italia Sweet Italia is happy to welcome you on this Italian cookery tour in Abruzzo, central Italy. You will be part of a small group of people and will be able to develop your cooking skills, expand your wine knowledge, and discover the region’s off-the-beaten-track secrets. The highlight of this tour is the chance to learn how to make traditional Christmas dishes and to create your own Christmas gift with a local artist.


  • Award-winning winery tour and wine tasting
  • Art experience to make your own Christmas gift
  • Olive oil tasting, cheese making, and cheese tasting
  • Hands-on cooking classes: pasta, Christmas dishes, and pizza
  • Trabocco demonstration, visiting artisans, farm, and castle, as well as Christmas markets
  • 6 breakfasts and 8 meals in selected restaurants, farmhouses, or wineries
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Airport transfers


5 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: Italian
Group size: 2-16 participants
Airport transfer included: Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport
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  • Gym
  • Air-conditioned public areas
  • Bar
  • Concierge desk
  • Multilingual staff
  • Restaurant
  • Baby sitting
  • Currency exchange
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Laundry
  • Newspapers
  • Tour assistance

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.


Day 1: Rome airport pickup and welcome to Abruzzo dinner (dinner)


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, hilltop villages and castles

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.

Day 2: A visit to the market, make homemade pasta with Mamma, explore Vasto (breakfast, cooking lesson, lunch)

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 also 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.

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 free time, you will meet some local artisans or artists.

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.

Day 3: Make your own Christmas gift with an artist, discover the fascinating Trabocchi coast, fish-based aperitif on a trabocco hut (breakfast, lunch, tasting)


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.


Next, 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. In the evening, you may experience dinner on your own in one of the many restaurants of Vasto.

Day 4: Christmas traditional dishes cooking class and free afternoon (breakfast, cooking lesson, lunch)


After a leisurely breakfast, you will drive to the beautiful countryside of Vasto where you will meet again Fabrizio’s family to learn how to prepare traditional Christmas dishes at Mama’s. An example menu includes pallotte casce e ove (cheese and egg balls), cannelloni with ricotta cheese and spinach, baccalà (salt cod) and scrippelle (a typical Christmas dessert from Abruzzo) which you will enjoy for lunch immersed in the relaxing family and Christmas atmosphere.


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 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.

Day 5: Visit a typical “agriturismo” to learn everything about Abruzzo farming, farm-to-table lunch, and explore Roccascalegna Medieval Castle (breakfast, cooking lesson, tasting, lunch)


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.

Day 6: Olive oil and wine tasting, pizza and tiramisù family party and farewell dinner (breakfast, tasting, lunch, cooking lesson, dinner)


After breakfast, you will visit an 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” and you will finish with an olive oil tasting.

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 lunch and 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.

Day 7: Goodbye and transfer to Rome airport (breakfast)

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.

Note about your itinerary

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.

Included excursions

  • Drive to the little hilltop village of Lentella at Ettore’s “Fattoria d’Arte”(Art farm) for an artistic experience
  • Explore Loggia Amblingh, the Cathedral and Piazza Rossetti
  • Explore the enchanting Abruzzo’s castle in the sky in Roccascalegna
  • Visit a sheep and cows farm to learn how to milk a sheep or a cow
  • Visit Fontefico, an award winning winery that sits between a marine park and the mountains
  • Visit the La Selvotta Olive Grove for olive oil tasting
  • Visit Vasto’s colorful market to get seasonal products


This wine tasting and cooking holiday will take place in Vasto, a city in Abruzzo region, Italy.


In Vasto, a Roman coastal town in Abruzzo, 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 d’Avalos, the Rossetti Theater, the cafes, restaurants, the food, wine and gelato, vineyards, cheese factories, and olive oil mills.

You will also find many natural sites such as 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. Vasto is a perfect base for cooking, painting, Italian language and pottery holidays in Abruzzo.


Green and just a short drive from Rome

Abruzzo is just 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.

Mountains and a coastline

Abruzzo spreads from the Apennine mountains to the Adriatic sea so that you can admire the highest mountains of the Apennines, the Corno Grande directly from its coast. It is this huge variety of landscapes and seascapes that make it an ideal place to have a painting holiday.

A different approach

Trabocchi: Charming old fishing huts created in the eighteenth century that protrude "into the sea" and provide a safer way to fish in the Adriatic. They make a perfect traditional base for fishing experiences, cooking, painting, and pottery classes and are unique to Abruzzo.

A gastronomic heritage

Abruzzo and her four provinces: Teramo, L’Aquila, Pescara, and Chieti have a very diverse gastronomic heritage that includes wine, pasta alla chitarra (homemade pasta worked with a particular instrument called guitar), extra-virgin olive oil, cheeses, salami, truffle, saffron, and fish soups. Explore it through this cooking holiday.

Natural hospitality

You can see an authenticity and natural hospitality of the people, the value and warmth of human relationships, tranquility, and slow pace of life.


Abruzzo remains unknown and off the beaten to many non-Italians.

Reawaken and remember

Abruzzo and her people the Abruzzese will reawaken your senses and provide an unforgettable Italian holiday you will never forget!

Nearby places

  • Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) - 3.5 hours



  • Cooking classes
  • Gym
  • Wine tasting


  • Air-conditioned public areas
  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Bar
  • Beach
  • Concierge desk
  • Mini bar
  • Multilingual staff
  • Restaurant


  • Baby sitting
  • Currency exchange
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Hair dryer
  • Laundry
  • Newspapers
  • Room cleaning
  • Tour assistance


The price of this culinary holiday includes daily buffet breakfasts and eight meals (food, water, and house wine) in selected restaurants, farmhouses, private homes, and wineries based on traditional regional dishes.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Alcoholic beverages

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • Biking
  • Going to one of the many beaches
  • Taking part in some extra activities and excursions
  • Visiting a natural reserve

What's included

  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Daily breakfast buffet
  • 8 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
  • 3 hands-on authentic Abruzzo cooking classes and associated food costs
  • Art experience with a local artist
  • Daily trips, experiences, and excursions
  • Pick up and drop-off at Rome Fiumicino airport or city center on request
  • Personalized cooking booklet and apron
  • All transports for daily trips and excursions
  • All entry fees for excursions, tours and wine, olive oil, and cheese tastings
  • English-speaking tour manager throughout the vacation
  • All taxes

What's not included

  • Airfares
  • Money spent for personal interests
  • Snacks or drinks between meals, or any meals not listed on the itinerary
  • Personal expenses like phone calls, visa costs, laundry, or tips
  • Travel insurance (not obligatory, but recommended)
  • Drinks not listed in the itinerary (an extra bottle of wine, for example)
  • The cost of additional excursions or activities

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

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.

Airport: Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport Airport transfer included: Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 25% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Quality of activity
7 days / 6 nights
from --
Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 2 participants


Arrival: Sunday December 4, 2022
Departure: Saturday December 10, 2022

Solo travelers

This tour can accommodate solo travelers on certain dates. Please inquire for availability.

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For this organizer you can guarantee your booking through BookCulinaryVacations.com. All major credit cards supported.

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