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Cooking Vacation Italy

Join Italia Sweet Italia on a 7-day Italian cultural and food vacation in Abruzzo, one of the most stunning and culturally rich regions in Italy. 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 & 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. This is a fully escorted tour that will give you the insights to daily life, food and wine, culture and production in Abruzzo and will let you discover authentic Italy in a balanced mix of experiences, relax, adventure and learning. The highlight of this tour is the chance to “live” in two historic town centers (Sulmona, the capital of confetti on the mountains and Vasto on the Adriatic Sea) among the most beautiful in the region so that you can experience the Abruzzo “double soul”: the coastal and mountainous areas, with their unique geographical, cultural and enogastronomic peculiarities.


  • Prepare homemade pasta and bread with local women
  • Enjoy a visit to an ancient confetti (sugar-coated almonds) factory
  • Opportunity to enjoy amazing landscapes in the Abruzzo national parks
  • Be amazed at the fascinating lake and village of Scanno
  • Make your own souvenir with a local artist
  • Discover the fascinating trabocchi
  • Explore enchanted castles
  • 6 nights accommodation


5 days with instruction
Group size: 2-16 participants
Airport transfer included: Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport
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During this tour, you will stay at the centrally located 4-star Hotel Ovidius in Sulmona and 3-star Hotel dei 7 in Vasto. All of them provide a high standard of service, are meticulously clean and equipped with modern conveniences.

The amenities include air conditioning, elevator, free wi-fi and they are at walking distance to the main attractions and squares of their respective towns. At Hotel Ovidius you have the opportunity to enjoy a SPA experience in their wellness center to be booked in advance.

Regarding your staying in Vasto, you can also choose to upgrade to a lovely boutique residence located in the heart of Vasto. Originally an 18th-century mansion, it has been renovated into an upscale B&B with 5 bedrooms, located on the Amblingh promenade overlooking the Adriatic Sea. If you are interested in this upgrade, please send an inquiry for the quote.


Day 1: Rome Fiumicino airport pick up, Sulmona and welcome to Abruzzo dinner

  • Rome Fiumicino airport pick up at 2:30 p.m., transfer to Sulmona, the town of the Roman poet Ovid, the most illustrious son of Sulmona
  • Get to know your local guide and learn more about this Italian cultural vacation
  • Check-in, relax and welcome dinner at Hotel Ovidius in the heart of Sulmona
  • Meal plan: Dinner

Day 2: Confetti Museum, walk to the ancient Hermitage of Sant'Onofrio and exploring Sulmona’s historic center

  • Visit the Confetti (sugar-coated almonds) Museum, where you can see a wide display of old-fashioned confectionery machines and equipment, memorabilia and precious, rare objects relating to the ancient Sulmonese art of confectionary
  • After a confetti tasting you’ll visit (for those who want to walk 40 minutes inside Majella National Park) the Hermitage of Sant’Onofrio, that was enlarged by order of Pietro from Morrone in the last decade of the XIII century; here the monk lived a hermit’s life from 1293 to the beginning of 1294, when he ascended the papal throne with the name of Celestino V
  • You’ll have lunch in a traditional restaurant of Sulmona
  • Next, you’ll discover Sulmona visiting the Roman aqueduct on Piazza Garibaldi and the Church of Santa Maria Annunziata with its majestic bell tower
  • In the evening, you may experience dinner on your own in one of the many restaurants of Sulmona. Obviously, Fabrizio will suggest you his favorite places
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, tasting, lunch

Day 3: Amazing Abruzzo mountains landscapes, Scanno and Vasto on the Adriatic Coast

  • After checking out, you’ll drive across the wonderful Abruzzo mountains and national parks to the ancient Roman town of Vasto on the Adriatic Coast, where you will be staying for the next 3 nights
  • On the way to Vasto, you’ll visit the enchanting Hermitage of San Domenico in Villalago and the village of Scanno (one of the most beautiful villages of Italy) on the mountains
  • Lunch in a traditional restaurant in Scanno
  • Transfer to Vasto, check-in at Hotel dei 7 in the historic downtown
  • After a short break, you’ll go on a guided visit of Vasto’s historic center. You’ll explore 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
  • Group dinner in a traditional restaurant in the heart of Vasto
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4: A visit to the market, make homemade pasta with Mamma and free time

  • You’ll walk and visit Vasto’s colorful market to get seasonal products. Here you’ll have the possibility to practice a little bit of Italian even if you don’t speak any of it
  • Next, you’ll drive to the beautiful countryside of Vasto where you’ll meet Fabrizio’s family to have an exclusive cooking class with them and you’ll learn how easy it is to make fresh pasta and you’ll 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
  • Lunch with the scrumptious dishes that you prepared in the morning while enjoying the relaxing family atmosphere
  • Free afternoon for your own activities, which could be: go to one of the many beaches, visit Vasto’s museums and art galleries, take part into some extra activities/excursions, or just do some shopping visiting artisans or have 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 the big family lunch, based on Italia Sweet Italia's many years of experience, 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 place
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, cooking, lunch

Day 5: Visit of a typical “agriturismo” to learn everything about Abruzzo farming, farm-to-table lunch and explore Roccascalegna Medieval Castle

  • After breakfast you’ll 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
  • You’ll milk a sheep or a cow
  • You’ll learn how to make a special bread called “pizza scima – stupid pizza”, a pizza without yeast
  • After picking some organic wine from their winery, you’ll have an aperitif including a taste of their production: cheeses, salami, and extra virgin olive oil
  • Next you’ll learn how to prepare ricotta cheese
  • Finally, you’ll collect the fresh vegetables from their garden that will be used for our farm-to-table lunch
  • A delicious traditional farm-to-table lunch will be prepared and served
  • Almost everything you’ll eat is produced in the farm (wheat to produce the organic flour to make different kinds of bread, 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 nature and surrounded by amazing sceneries, you’ll 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 dinner or aperitif on your own in one of the many restaurants and wine bars of Vasto
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, cooking, tasting, lunch

Day 6: Olive oil, wine tasting, discover the fascinating Trabocchi Coast, fish-based lunch on a trabocco, art experience, party and farewell dinner with an artist

  • After breakfast, you’ll 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 we will finish with an olive oil tasting
  • Next you’ll visit an award-winning winery that sits between a marine park and the mountains. You’ll make a wine tasting with pairings of bread and their extra-virgin olive oil, and a tour of the vineyard and cellars organized by the winemakers Emanuele and Nicola
  • Next, you’ll explore the famous Trabocchi Coast with a visit of a trabocco (the symbol of the area), mostly built with acacia wood and railway iron sleepers
  • Your host Maria will prepare fish from the Adriatic Sea for your exclusive lunch on the ocean
  • After lunch and some free time to relax and pack or do last-minute shopping, you’ll 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 postcard made with natural colors produced at the moment mixing leaves and flowers that you can pick at Ettore’s property
  • You’ll have an aperitif and a traditional dinner including a farewell party with Ettore and his wife Barbara
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, tasting, lunch, dinner

Day 7: Goodbye and transfer to Rome airport

  • After breakfast, you will leave (usually at 09:00) 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
  • Meal plan: Breakfast

Note about the itinerary

Your Itinerary is a guide to your activities during the week. However, sometimes Italia Sweet Italia team modifies the final itinerary to take advantage of the season and the weather. Their 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 if any modifications are desired. Be assured that only enhanced experiences are ever considered.



What defines the perfect area to have an authentic Italian vacation? With the highest Apennine mountains in central Italy, an Adriatic coastline that boasts 8 blue flags and the highest number of a beautiful hill and mountain villages as listed by I Borghi più Belli d’Italia, Abruzzo is high on the list for an unforgettable Italian experience.

Abruzzo is just a short and beautiful drive (2-3 hours) from Rome and remains unknown and off-the-beaten to many non-Italians. Over here, life hasn't changed much during the years and Italia Sweet Italia team can make sure you experience it authentically.


Sulmona is a charming town located at the foot of the Majella, surrounded by mountains, where ancient history and a strong tradition for colorful sweets live together making it one of the most famous villages in Abruzzo.

Originating as Sulmo, a town of the Peligni (an ancient Italic people), it was later a Roman possession and was the birthplace of the 1st-century Roman poet Ovid.

Nowadays, it is famous for being the capital of sugared-coated almonds, known as “confetti” in Italian. Its streets are adorned with colorful confetti bouquets, which you can buy in any imaginable flavor – Nutella, tiramisu, ricotta and pear, fruits of the forest, hazelnut, and anything you can think about.


Vasto is a hilltop town overlooking the Adriatic Sea. The old center is a lovely medieval spot with Roman ruins and beautiful buildings such as the castle and Palazzo d'Avalos.

If you keep wandering through the narrow alleyways, you will find yourself speechless in front of the view over the gulf, from where you can also spot the charming Tremiti Islands and Gargano Promontory in Puglia. Vasto is also well known for the variety of its beaches and the nature reserve of Punta Aderci.


Meals, as outlined in the itinerary, are included in the price.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast

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

What's included

  • 2 nights in Sulmona at Hotel Ovidius, 4 nights in Vasto at Hotel dei 7 (or similar accommodation)
  • Daily breakfast buffet
  • 8 meals (food, water & house wine) in selected restaurants, a farmhouse, a private home, a winery based on traditional regional dishes (some evenings are free for you to explore the town by yourself)
  • Guided tastings of wines, confetti, olive oil, cheese and bread and visits to the producers
  • 1 hands-on authentic Abruzzo a cooking class and associated food costs
  • Personalized cooking booklet and apron
  • Daily trips, excursions and guided tours
  • All transports for daily trips and excursions will be in an air conditioned bus
  • Pick up and drop off in Rome Fiumicino airport or city center on request an air-conditioned vehicle
  • All entry fees for castles and museums
  • Art experience with a local artist
  • English-speaking tour manager throughout the vacation
  • All taxes

What's not included

  • Airfares
  • Money spent for personal interests
  • Snacks / 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 flight to arrive at Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (FCO). The transfers are included in the price. Italia Sweet Italia will pick you up from the airport.

For all the small group tours, the pick up at Rome Fiumicino airport is planned at 2:30 pm on day 1. Normally it takes 2 hours to reach Sulmona.

The duration of the trip depends on traffic (on Sunday, when most of the tours start, usually there is no traffic) and if you need to stop at the motor service along the way for a snack or to go to the toilet. It is a beautiful and relaxing driving crossing three National parks, from where you can see many hilltop villages and the Apennines.

A few weeks before the tour starts, the team will send you a pdf with the exact pick-up location and times. Please consider also this information:

If you want you can be picked up at a hotel in Rome, this service has an extra cost of 50 EUR that you can pay at your arrival. The staff will come earlier to pick you up at your accommodation (it depends on the exact location, but it is usually 1 hour before the pick-up at Rome F. Airport). Sometimes it could be also after the airport pick-up.

When the team will have all flights and arrival information from all the travelers, if everybody that is joining the tour is supposed to arrive before 2:30 pm, the team could anticipate the pick-up time.

You can also reach Vasto or other destinations in Italy by bus or train.

For the drop-off to Rome, guests usually leave the hotel after breakfast, at around 09:00 a.m.

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 October 16, 2022
Departure: Saturday October 22, 2022

Solo travelers

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

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