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Experience the art of living, the dolce vita as you immerse yourself in traditional Italian village life and embrace the warmth of the Abruzzese people. Travel through northern, central, and southern Abruzzo, indulge in exquisite food and wines and dine in amazing restaurants with its traditional specialties. Enjoy a private truffle hunt amongst hazelnut and oak woods followed by a truffle degustation menu. The extraordinary beauty of this Italian region awaits you on this special Grand Tour of Abruzzo! Tour Italy today with Touring Abruzzo as they are now celebrating 15 years in Abruzzo and are the original tour operators in the region.
You will be staying in boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts with charm in the Abruzzo region in either single, twin shared or double occupancy capacity. You will be staying three nights each in San Vito, Pescocostanzo, and Civitella del Tronto.
Over the 10 days, enjoy the stunning scenery of the Apennines as you travel through the three National Parks of Abruzzo and visit wonderful hilltop villages.
You will be met this morning by Luciana, your Abruzzo specialist, at Rome Termini station with an air conditioned private minibus to transfer you to Abruzzo. Crossing the Apennines, you will stop for morning tea at the tiny hilltop village of Cocullo, where you experience a typical Sunday morning in Abruzzo.
Driving through stunning scenery of fertile vineyards and olive groves, you arrive at the southern seaside town of San Vito which will be your base for the next three nights. Inhabited since pre -Roman times, this ancient town has many layers of history and architecture worth exploring.
This morning, you make your way inland to the small hilltop village of Tufillo in southern Abruzzo, near the Molise border. Admire the village’s panorama and churches and generally soak up the local village atmosphere. Meet Dino, the local baker, who along with his wife Antonella will delight you with their passion for making specialty breads and pizzas and pastries.
Lunch today will be an alfresco picnic style lunch outside the village bakery, an opportunity to enjoy local food while immersing yourself in true village Italy with the locals. Later in the day you will have a private visit to an artisan goldsmith, she is known for creating fine jewelry using traditional motifs.
Admire the delightful panorama to the Adriatic sea over your evening sunset drinks on the terrace of the hotel in San Vito. This will be followed by a light supper at a local enoteca bar that has a fabulous selection of regional wines.
Today, you travel inland to Fara San Martino, nestled in the Maiella National Park. These mountains have been known since ancient times as the Montagna Madre - the grand protectress of shepherds, hermits, and monks and it is also a place of worship of ancient cults by the pre-Roman tribes, the Italics.
Enjoy a short walk into the gorge and see recently completed archaeological excavations come to light - a ninth century Benedictine monastery. Stunning views to Luciana’s village of Palombaro where you stay for lunch in the local trattoria. Leonardo will serve you a three-course lunch including the pasta specialty vraghe de mule accompanied by the perfect Montepulciano D’Abruzzo wine. After lunch, Luciana’s family and friends welcome you to the village as you stroll through the quiet streets and share stories of times gone by.
You leave your accommodation and make your way to the southern most area of National Park in Abruzzo where you will be based for the next three nights. The Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo lies on the border of the Italian regions of Lazio and Molise. Stunning views of the Apennines are a perfect backdrop while you explore the medieval castle of Roccascalegna, perched on a rocky outcrop above the Rio Secco.
A leisurely lunch awaits at a nearby country restaurant where your hosts Amalia and Antonio serve you an amazing array of traditional Abruzzese dishes. The degustation lunch includes cheese and egg balls in a fresh tomato sauce, wild greens with maize meal followed by many other courses.
Be sure to leave room for dessert. All ingredients are sourced within two kilometers and feature seasonal home grown produce, showcasing that slow food at its best! Settle into your accommodation in Pescocostanzo. This untouched ancient medieval village is truly a step back in time with wonderful locals and traditions. In the evening, enjoy aperitif and drinks in the hotel right in the center of the old town.
Wake up to the most peaceful setting in this national park area. Today, you travel to Villetta Barrea for lunch where your host Alessandra has prepared an exquisite authentic Abruzzese lunch including home made gnocchi with wild spinach and other specialties of this area.
The nearby lakeside village of Civitella Alfedena is home to two sanctuaries dedicated to the preservation of the local wolves and lynxes, both rare and under threat. This National Park of Abruzzo is also home to wild deer and the small brown Mariscan bear under protection by the WWF.
Today's dinner will be in a local trattoria in Pescocostanzo - enjoy the very special ‘wedding soup’, grilled local lamb, and sponge cake filled with Italian custard cream.
Local guide Antonella will meet you today as you take a stunning scenic drive through the center of the Maiella National Park. Stop for morning coffee in an alpine village, known for its ski resorts and a great place to unwind away from the crowds. An easy walk in the woods is an experience to behold with its ancient beech, maples and oak trees as well as wild cherry trees and the autumn flora of wild cyclamens and mushrooms.
These woods cover 550 hectares and are situated at high altitude of 1300 - 1400 meters and also is home to rare woodpeckers. A delightful picnic there is the perfect thing to do, enjoy your lunch in the woods today. Luciana has prepared a gourmet feast to savor in this magical setting.
At Pettorano sul Gizio, perched at nearly 700 meters above sea level it was voted one of Italy’s prettiest villages. Stroll the narrow winding alleys with its churches, balconies, and medieval castle. Relax by the planted herb garden and nearby cool stream which used to run the village’s flour mills and coppersmiths workshops. Enjoy an afternoon caffe in the magnificent 16th century main piazza.
Today you make your way to northern Abruzzo in the Teramo province where you will be based for the next three nights. You climb to 1,000 meters above sea level towards Scanno and visit the small church of San Domenico and hermitage by a lake, then onto the largest natural lake in Abruzzo, Lago di Scanno.
Wonderful photographic stops will create memories forever, from hilltop villages to stunning national parks. Stroll the medieval backstreets and walk past composer Henry Mancini’s family home. This village is also famous for its master goldsmiths working in traditional filigree gold jewelry.
Learn all about the presentosa gold pendants and gold earrings given by the men to their betrothed. Lunch is a delightful slow food experience indulging in traditional Abruzzese dishes. Meet your hosts Bianca and Gino who have prepared exquisite gnocchi with pecorino sheep cheese ricotta and fig and walnut cake. Welcome drinks at your accommodation in Civitella del Tronto followed by a wonderful dinner.
Meet Graziano an olive oil producer whose family has been growing, gathering and harvesting olives for centuries. Learn all about the amazing differences between extra virgin, virgin, and olive oils and taste these exquisite extra virgin olive oils. Explore the nearby fortified hilltop village of Civitella del Tronto - inhabited since pre - Roman times and its first historical records as a fortified village date back to the 11th century.
A private visit of the fortress has been arranged where you will have commanding views over what was once the border of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the Papal States to its north. You will also visit a real treasure in the village where your host Guido will take you through his fabulous textile and clothing museum with fragile pieces from the 18 -19th century. There is time to stroll through the village exploring the romantic narrow alleys and watch the world go by and enjoy a gelato or caffe in the local bar.
You head to the nearby village and learn all about Abruzzo’s secret - prized truffles. Surprisingly, over 80% of Italy’s truffles come from Abruzzo. Understand how truffle dogs are used to find these precious gourmet delights and enjoy delicious tastings of truffle pastes and cheeses infused with truffle, squisito!
Meet local truffle hunter Ginesio who will share his passion for truffle hunting and truffle dog training with you. Your own private cooking class awaits, set in the lovely Abruzzo countryside. Local ladies will share with you their passion for traditional cooking.
You will prepare a four-course lunch together using fresh and seasonal local ingredients as well as luxury local truffles! Learn the secrets of slow food as you create wonderful antipasti, traditional home made pasta, deboned leg of turkey filled with parsley, garlic and truffle, and delicious desserts.
This evening you take time out to visit the town of Ascoli Piceno, in the nearby region of Le Marche. There is time for shopping Italian style, time to sit and sip your aperitivo and taste those delectable “olive ascolane” - fabulous local delicacy of stuffed green olives. Marvel at the wonderful churches and spectacular piazza. This will be a truly unforgettable day.
Travel through stunning scenery in the Gran Sasso National Park with amazing views of the Apennines and the largest peak in this mountain chain. Visit the small medieval village of Castelli, famous for maiolica ware ceramics since the 14th century. The tsars of Russia collected these valuable pieces and now the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg has a priceless collection there.
You see the “Sistine Chapel of Maiolica ceramics and are invited to see the Institute of Art with fabulous modern pieces using traditional techniques. Finally, end your journey by transferring to Pescara or Rome Termini Station by mid afternoon. Buon Viaggio!
Born in Australia, Luciana's Abruzzese heritage and cultural ties have remained strong. Her parents migrated to Australia from Abruzzo in the 1950s; however, the extended family, still in Abruzzo, welcomed her back over the years. A long rewarding career in physiotherapy in Australia led the way for Luciana to follow her next dream: to return to her ancestral home and create special itineraries in Abruzzo to share with like-minded travelers.
Guido is from Civitella Del Tronto in northern Abruzzo and hails from an old noble family in the area. He is dedicated and passionate about his village and his native region of Abruzzo that he has become one of the few English guides at the fortress complex in Civitella del Tronto. In 2013, Guido and his colleagues established a private museum in the village, featuring one of the largest collections of textiles and clothing from the 1800’s from his family and from the locals. Guido loves Abruzzo with its food, culture and traditions and above all to share his passion with other guests.
Antonella is from Villetta Barrea in southern Abruzzo where she lives and works in the Abruzzo, Lazio, and Molise National Park. She is a full time environmental / nature guide and interpreter and shares her passion and love for the mountains of Abruzzo with her husband and two children. Antonella attended the prestigious La Sapienza University of Rome where she graduated with an arts degree majoring in philosophy and anthropology. However her love for nature won her over and she continued to study to be a national park guide.
This tour will take place in villages in northern, central, and southern part of Abruzzo region of Italy. You will begin and end your journey at Rome Termini railway station. You will be visiting Roseto degli Abruzzi, Civitella del Tronto, Campli, Campovalano, Ascoli Piceno, Offida, Controguerra, Sant'Egidio alla Vibrata, Castelli, San Vito, Vasto, Tufillo, Agnone, Roccascalegna, Pescocostanzo, Via S.G.Bosco, Barrea, Villetta Barrea, Civitella Alfedena, Scanno, and Rome.
Abruzzo is still off the main tourist radar and has so much to offer from the Adriatic coastline to the rugged Apennine Mountains. You will meet local artisans who are passionate to share with you their work with bobbin lace, ceramics, wrought iron, and gold filigree work. Uncrowded and silent you can explore timeless treasures, hidden monasteries, fortresses, and castles. The real Italy is right here.
This grand food tour includes all meals along with drinks.
Please note that Luciana, your Abruzzo specialist, will pick up from the Rome Termini railway station with an air conditioned private minibus to transfer you to Abruzzo. On your final day, you can be dropped either at Rome Termini railway station or Pescara.
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