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10 Day Treasures of the South Culinary Tour in Italy

Civitella del Tronto, Italy

Magical Southern Italy Cooking, Truffle Hunt, Olive Oil, Culture Tour

Touring Abruzzo presents an extraordinary culinary tour in South Italy! Travel and enjoy the stunning scenery of the Abruzzo, Puglia, and Basilicata region as you travel from the Apennines in Abruzzo to Italy’s magnificent south. Travelling through these regions, indulge in exquisite and mouth watering food and wines and dine in amazing restaurants serving local and traditional specialties. Experience the art of living the dolce vita as you immerse yourself in traditional Italian village life and embrace the warmth of the Italian people!

Meet the instructors

Luciana, Guido, & Fabio
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Highlights

  • 1 private cooking class
  • Private truffle hunt with dogs in the Abruzzo countryside
  • Travel through villages within Abruzzo, Puglia, and Basilicata regions
  • Visits to local extra virgin olive oil producers with accompanying tastings
  • Meet local artisans and learn about unique Italian treasures
  • Daily breakfast, nine lunches and two dinners with drinks
  • English-speaking guides and Abruzzo specialists
  • 9 nights accommodation

Styles


10 days with instruction
Group size: Maximum of 12 participants
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Accommodation

You will be staying in quality boutique hotels in Abruzzo, Basilicata, and Puglia. You will spend three nights in each region in single or twin share capacity.

Program

Travel Italy with Touring Abruzzo and enjoy 10 days of magic.

Day 1: Rome to Abruzzo - Civitella del Tronto

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 village of Castelli, famous for maiolica ware ceramics since the 9th century. The tsars of Russia collected these valuable pieces and now the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg has a priceless collection there. You will see the “Sistine Chapel of Maiolica ceramics and will visit some artisans working with ceramics today using traditional techniques.

After lunch you arrive at the fortified hilltop village of Civitella del Tronto, which will be your base for the next 3 nights. 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 centuries. There is time to stroll through the village exploring the romantic narrow alleys before a magnificent welcome dinner.

Day 2: Campli - truffle hunting - Ascoli Piceno

Civitella del Tronto has been inhabited since pre Roman times and its first historical records as a fortified village dating back to the 11th century. You will discover more of this beautiful village each day you are here. A real treat is in store today when you visit Campli. Here you'll learn all about Abruzzo’s secret - prized truffles. Surprisingly, over 80% of Italy’s truffles come from the region of Abruzzo. Enjoy a private truffle hunt with local hunters and their amazing dogs. A superb truffle degustation lunch awaits where you will indulge in an amazing array of seasonal truffles used in most of the dishes from antipasti, pasta and meat courses. A feast for the senses …squisito!

Later in the afternoon, you'll explore the delightful town of Ascoli Piceno which is in the Le Marche region. 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. A truly unforgettable day. Then return to your accommodation.

Day 3: Civitella del Tronto - 19th century olive oil mill and tasting - private cooking class - Offida

This morning you have an easy start and you will meet a local olive oil producer; and learn all about the amazing differences between extra virgin, virgin and olive oils and taste his prized extra virgin olive oil.

You will continue on the back roads of Abruzzo and travel alongside the ancient Roman salt route with a visit to a private olive oil producer whose family has been producing olives for centuries. Graziano will show you his original 200-year old olive mill!

Lunch is in the countryside and we will be welcomed by bellissima Clementina who will show you how to make some local specialties such as gnocchi, timballo and fried cheese before you sit down and eat together. Ah.. life in Italy does not get much better than this!

Later in the day you will visit a wonderful village, Offida, in Le Marche, whose landscape is covered by fabulous vineyards. See medieval gems in a Benedictine church with amazing frescoes, the local opera house from 1820 and local ladies making beautiful bobbin lace in the streets and in their shops.

Day 4: Pexcara - covered markets - San Vito - Matera

Leaving the Teramo province you head to the bustling port city of Pescara. Stroll through the lively covered farmers market and taste the local specialty porchetta - roast pork with rosemary and garlic. Visit the fascinating Museum of the Abruzzo people after your morning coffee and pastry.

At the seaside town of San Vito Chietino you can admire the Adriatic coastline with its famous trabocchi or ancient fishing structures unique to Abruzzo. Travelling first class, you will board the train to Bari and will be met by your wonderful tour guide, Fabio, who will transfer you to Matera, Basilicata. You will be able to explore Matera as you will be based here for the next 3 nights. Settle in to a welcome dinner with Fabio.

Day 5: Matera - Basilicata

Matera has a population of 55,000 people and is now a unique World Heritage Site as well as Europe’s capital of culture for 2019. This morning there is time to really explore the beauty of Matera, which has been inhabited continuously since prehistoric times. Understand its rich history from Greek and Roman to the Christian era and to Normans and Renaissance times.

Lunch is in a delightful restaurant in the historic center of Matera. Indulge in a many-course lunch tasting the local specialties from antipasti to pasta and meat dishes, all accompanied by local wines from the region. Enjoy a little of the dolce vita in the vibrant piazza with an aperitivo or gelato.

Day 6: Bernalda - Metaponto

An exciting day as you head south firstly via the small town of Bernalda, perfect for a coffee stop. It is the birthplace of film director, Francis Ford Coppola, who has returned to his origins and restored a fabulous palazzo, Palazzo Margherita. At Metaponto you can explore an important archaeological site of the Greek colony - the 6th century BC Temple of Hera, dedicated to the Greek Goddess wife of Zeus. This site is also famous where the Greek philosopher and mathematician, Pythagorus had a school and spent his final days. The archaeological museum is astounding with the local artifacts - with no crowds and hardly any tourists!

Lunch is in a delightful local restaurant in the area where you savor specialties such as handmade pasta with wild boar sauce. This afternoon you will explore more of Matera. The 13th century medieval Cathedral sits on the highest point of Matera and is also worth exploring. There is time for some shopping and passeggiata in these ancient alleyways.

Day 7: Basilicata - Lecce - Puglia

This morning you will visit a small, isolated church from the 8th century with fabulous frescoes to admire. You arrive at another fabulous hilltop village to unwind over a morning coffee then walk through the ancient quarter with interesting architectural styles. Life here goes back to the 5th century when the Goths constructed a castle, followed by the Saracens who sacked the village.

Lunch is in a quaint restaurant in the old Arab quarter of the village, featuring wonderful dishes from Basilicata. This afternoon you head onto southern Puglia, where you will stay in a boutique hotel Lecce for the next 3 nights. Rest of evening at leisure.

Day 8: Lecce - Puglia

Waking up in lovely Lecce, the baroque capital of the south you will have time to explore the area and some quiet time to shop and stroll before lunch. A surprise awaits you on the strike of 12 noon in a lovely piazza in Lecce! Your local guide, Fabio, will share the baroque splendor of his hometown of Lecce with you.

Indulge in traditional dishes such as pasta, ceci e tria and primitivo wine, Puglia’s local red wine. Meet wonderful artisans working magic with paper mache’, an ancient tradition in Lecce hailing back to the 1600’s. Visit Lecce’s oldest chocolatier creating magnificent chocolate since the 1800’s and their famous sweetened almond milk specialty. Take time to browse the Italian fashion shops or find that fabulous piece of local ceramic.

Day 9: Otranto - local weavers - local ceramics

Today Fabio will accompany you into the countryside where you will visit a fascinating group of local ladies who are dedicated to continuing on the ancient craft of weaving. Admire their restored olive wood looms and share their passion in teaching and passing on the skills to the young women today. Fall in love with their exquisite handmade rugs, runners, handbags and cashmere scarves all made there to traditional Puglia designs and colors.

Driving onto the coastline to Otranto is another jewel of the Adriatic and the easternmost town on the Italian peninsula. Learn all about the invasion of the Turks in 1480 and power of the ruling Ottoman Empire. Admire a rare and well preserved medieval mosaic flooring from the 12th century.

Lunch is overlooking the Adriatic sea with a delightful seafood lunch. Later meet a "simpatico" local ceramic artist who creates wonderful traditional Pugliese ceramics.

Day 10: Galatina - departure

This morning after checking out of your Lecce accommodation, you will visit the small town of Galatina. It is a little gem of a village complete with medieval basilica church of Santa Caterina with fabulous frescoes. There is time to relax with a coffee in the piazza and also visit the oldest pastry shop or pasticcieria serving a local Lecce specialty called pasticciotto, pastry filled with Italian custard cream. Learn about the tarantella dance and its origins in Galatina.

After a light lunch you will be transferred to Lecce station or to Brindisi airport for your onward journey. End of tour. Buon Viaggio!

What to bring

  • Non slip and comfortable shoes for walking in national parks (woodlands, shepherds tracks)
  • Scarf or light jacket for the evenings
  • Small foldable umbrella

Instructors

Luciana Masci

Guido

Fabio

Location

Southern Italy is still off the main tourist radar and has so much to offer from the Adriatic coastline to the rugged mountains and ancient villages of the south. You will meet local artisans who are passionate to share with you their produce such as exquisite extra virgin olive oils, full bodied dry wines and award winning cheeses. Uncrowded and silent you can explore timeless treasures, hidden monasteries, fortresses and castles. The real Italy is right here. You will visit the villages/towns of Castelli, Civitella del Tronto, Campli, Ascoli Piceno, Offida, Pescara, San Vito Chietino, Matera, Bernalda, Tursi, Lecce, Otranto, and Galatina.

Features

Activities

  • Cooking classes
  • Shopping

General

  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Balcony
  • Bar
  • Concierge desk
  • Dining area
  • Lounge
  • Luggage room / storage
  • Restaurant
  • Smoke-free property

Services

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Local market
  • Room cleaning
  • Toiletries

Food

This culinary tour includes daily breakfast, nine lunches, and two dinners. All meals which are included in the itinerary include wines, water, as well as coffee or tea, and occasionally liqueurs. Morning coffee will be included most of the days. This tour also includes one private cooking class. Most dietary requirements can be catered for.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • 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

What's included

  • Private cooking class
  • Private escorted visits to local extra virgin olive oil producers with tasting
  • Private visit to truffle merchants with tastings
  • Private truffle hunt with dogs in the Abruzzo countryside
  • All activities and travel mentioned in the itinerary
  • Fully escorted and personalized travel with local guides
  • Services of English-speaking guides and Abruzzo specialists
  • Daily breakfast, nine lunches, and two dinners
  • Wines, water, coffee or tea, and occasionally liqueurs included in meals
  • Morning coffee on most of the days
  • Welcome drinks in Abruzzo
  • Private transfers and transport in Abruzzo, Basilicata, and Puglia
  • Land travel and transfers with an air-conditioned private minivan with driver in Abruzzo
  • Land travel and transfers with a private minivan in Basilicata and Puglia
  • All entry fees and activities included throughout
  • First class rail travel between Pescara and Bari
  • 9 nights accommodation

What's not included

  • Airfares
  • Items of personal nature, including spa treatments, phone calls, passport and visas (if applicable), laundry or tips
  • Personal transport, excess baggage, security and government taxes, travel insurance
  • Beverages unless specifically described
  • Meals not specifically mentioned in itinerary
  • Entry fees to places other than those specifically mentioned in itinerary
  • Optional excursions or activities that may be offered but not included in the tour price

How to get there

Arrival by train

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 will be transferred to Lecce station for your onward journey.

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.
10 days / 9 nights
from --

All guests travelling on a Touring Abruzzo tour need to have travel insurance to cover for medical emergencies or issues.

Thursday April 15, 2021
(10 days / 9 nights)

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