Join Italia Sweet Italia 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 culinary and wine skills and discover the region’s off-the-beaten-track secrets and atmosphere during Easter time. The highlight of this tour is the chance to experience traditional Easter celebrations, religious events, festivals and food of Abruzzo.
Hotel San Marco is a three-star hotel that has been recently renovated. It 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.
You will get picked up at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) at 2:30 p.m. and transfer to the ancient Roman town of Vasto on the Adriatic Coast after crossing beautiful Abruzzo mountains looking at amazing landscapes. After checking at charming and family run Hotel San Marco (or a similar accommodation) in the historical downtown, get to know your guide and learn more about the seven-day Italian cookery holiday and enjoy a welcome dinner in a traditional restaurant in the heart of Vasto.
Enjoy the “sepolcri night” atmosphere. One of the most interesting traditions about Holy Week in Italy is the custom of visiting the sacramental altars, called “sepolcri - sepulchers” in Italian, of three, five, seven, or more different churches on the evening of Holy Thursday. The custom entails a plenary indulgence and it usually consists of putting many lights around the church altars. Historically, these lights included torches and lanterns.
After breakfast, you will explore the Abruzzo coast line and meet Rinaldo, a fisherman that will show you how to fish from the trabocco (the symbol of the area). He will reveal the secrets and history behind Abruzzo’s unique fishing platforms that have been featured on the BBC TV show: Escape to the Continent. Before leaving for your next adventure, you will have a seafood aperitif.
Next, make your way to the farm where Pina and Berardino will reveal the secrets of sheep and cows farming and guide those that would like to learn how to milk a sheep or a cow. After a snack of cheese, you will learn how to prepare ricotta cheese in their creamery. You will also learn how to make a special bread called “pizza scima - stupid pizza”. A delicious traditional lunch will be prepared and served. This will be the time to savor just made warm ricotta cheese.
In the afternoon, you will explore Loggia Amblingh in Vasto, a promenade overlooking the fascinating crescent-shaped coastline. Vasto is an 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.
Enjoy The Venerdì Santo (Holy Friday) atmosphere by partaking in the procession of “Cristo Morto - Dead Christ” in Vasto city center. Tonight, you may experience dinner on your own in one of the many restaurants of Vasto.
You will visit Vasto’s colorful market to get seasonal products. Next, you will have an exclusive cooking class with a housewife in her house and learn how easy fresh pasta is to make and be introduced to her favorite seasonal sauces. An example menu includes bread with meat sauce, pasta alla chitarra with meat sauce and polpette (meatballs), Cavatelli with vegetables and Tarallucci (typical biscuits from Abruzzo). Naturally, this depends on seasonal availability.
Lunch will consist of the scrumptious dishes that have been prepared in the morning. Free afternoon for your own activities could be: to go to one of the many beaches, visit a nature reserve, Easter shopping, or whatever you prefer. Tonight, you may experience dinner or on your own in one of the many restaurants of Vasto. You can also partake the Holy Saturday service in one of the many churches in Vasto city center.
After breakfast, you will drive through the beautiful Abruzzo mountains and get to Sulmona, the town of the Roman poet Ovid, the most illustrious son of Sulmona. Discover Sulmona and see the Roman aqueduct on Piazza Garibaldi. But this is a special day in which you can assist to the Madonna the scappa in piazza (Running Madonna), a narrative and very emotional evocation of the encounter between Mary and the risen Christ. This is the most famous Easter event of the region with more than 10,000 people observing this tradition every year.
You will have traditional Easter lunch in Sulmona followed by free time to explore Sulmona and to taste confetti for which Sulmona is famous for all over the world. Tonight, you may experience dinner on your own in one of the many restaurants of Vasto.
After breakfast, make your way to the village of Roccascalegna where you will explore the enchanting Abruzzo castle in the sky and enjoy a festival with the demonstration of medieval fights, demonstration of hunting with falconry, and theatrical performances that will bring you directly into the magical atmospheres of the Middle Ages. You will have street food lunch with typical arrosticini (sheep kebaps from Abruzzo), focacce, and pastries.
In the afternoon, 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 news, “The Telegraph”. Dinner will be served in a traditional restaurant in the heart of Vasto.
After breakfast, the group will make its way to the village of Orsogna to experience the “Talami”, one of the most popular events of Easter time in Abruzzo. The feast, a breathtaking parade of seven floats carrying sacred images inspired from the Bible, takes place every year on the Tuesday after Easter and thousands of people are drawn by this show combining theatre with folk traditions. From 2011, the Talami is “Heritage of Italy for Tradition”. You will enjoy a collective lunch in the main square with a traditional dish: “Gnuccune aristufate”(a special kind of pasta).
After a short break at the hotel, you will drive to the little hilltop village of Lentella at Ettore’s “Fattoria d’Arte”(art farm). Surrounded by an amazing landscape with mountains, hills, small towns, and sea views, you will have an artistic experience with Ettore and his wife Barbara, where you may create your personal postcards or a little sculpture. In the evening, Ettore and Barbara will host you to an aperitif and dinner.
After breakfast, depart (normally at 9:00 a.m.) for Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) or your next destination.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Abruzzo and her people the Abruzzese will reawaken your senses and provide an unforgettable Italian holiday you will never forget!
The price of this culinary holiday includes daily buffet breakfasts and eight meals (food, water, and house wine) in selected restaurants and farmhouses based on traditional regional dishes.
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.
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