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The Abruzzo, Puglia & Matera Experience 2023

From £2712 pp

Abruzzo, Italy , Abruzzo

10 Nights / 11 Days

Join a group of up to 8

The Abruzzo, Puglia & Matera Experience 2023

From £2712 pp

What You'll Do

The absolute essence of this holiday is the chance to discover and experience the wonderful Italian countryside, local crafts and traditions, the warm hospitality of the local people and great food and wine - the Italian way!

This holiday is available on the following dates:

2023:

18-28 April 2023
16-26 May 2023
13-23 June 2023
4-14 July 2023
12-22 September 2023
10-20 October 2023
7-17 November 2023

An 11-day unique Italian cultural and culinary experience visiting 3 of the most stunning Italian regions: Abruzzo with its charming mountain villages, 3 National Parks, and the fascinating trabocchi (special wooden fishing structures, a unique symbol of the area), Puglia with its UNESCO sites, castles, beautiful medieval towns and coastal villages, and Basilicata with the enchanting Matera, elected European capital of Culture for 2019.

In a small group you will be able to embrace a deep cultural history of food, wine, art and living la vita dolce in a balanced mix of relaxation, adventure and learning, all with your local host and his welcoming family, friends, and producers. This is an Italian cooking holiday like no other – you will be embraced into the village life and traditions, and return home as part of the Italian family!

Your Local Host:

Fabrizio and friends

Fabrizio is your tour guide and host extraordinaire on his Italian gastronomy holidays. Native to the region of Abruzzo in central Italy, he is immensely proud of its history and heritage. Fabrizio’s passion for keeping everything local also means that guests on his holidays will be joining his family for cooking lessons, meeting local pro Read More

Experience Itinerary

Pick up from Rome airport, transfer to Castelli, check in and a welcome to Abruzzo

You’ll be picked up from Rome Fiumicino airport at 2:30 pm and then start your transfer to the charming medieval village of Castelli  via the beautiful Abruzzo mountains with its amazing landscapes, hilltop villages and castles.

Check in at the Agriturismo in the countryside of Castelli and relax, then get to know your local guide and learn more about your 10 day  Italian cultural immersion over a welcome dinner.

Confetti museum, explore Sulmona's historic centre, and a wine tasting

AM

Visit of 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 confectionery.

After a confetti tasting you’ll discover Sulmona and see the Medieval aqueduct on Piazza Garibaldi and the Church of Santa Maria Annunziata with its majestic bell tower.

Next, enjoy a wine tasting in the centre of Sulmona and learn all about Abruzzo wines. You’ll taste 3 different wines from local vineyards, with pairings of local cheeses, salami and other specialties.

PM

Today you’ll have a free afternoon to explore: visit Sulmona’s museums and art galleries, relax in the Hotel wellness center (treatments can  be booked in advance)  visit local artisans in the town or enjoy a walk in the “piazza” soaking up the relaxing Sulmona atmosphere.

In the evening, enjoy dinner at a restaurant of your choice. 

Amazing Abruzzo mountain landscapes, Scanno and Vasto on the Adriatic coast

AM

After breakfast you will check out of the hotel and 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) in the mountains.

PM

Enjoy lunch in a traditional restaurant in Scanno.

Next, you’ll head to Vasto and check in to the hotel in  historical centre.

After a short break, you’ll go on a guided visit of Vasto’s historic centre exploring 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.

Tonight our dinner will be in a traditional local restaurant in the heart of Vasto.

Overnight in Vasto

A visit to the market, homemade pasta making with Mamma, and free time

AM

Walk and visit Vasto’s colorful market to get fresh, seasonal products. Here you’ll have the opportunity to practice a little bit of Italian even if you don’t yet speak any – Fabrizio is there to help!

Next you’ll drive to the beautiful countryside of Vasto and meet Fabrizio’s family to have an exclusive cooking class with them and we’ll learn how easy it is to make fresh pasta and traditional Abruzzo pasta sauces.

An example menu based on Fabrizio’s family recipes includes bread with meat sauce, Pasta alla chitarra with meat sauce, polpette (meatballs)  and a dessert.

PM

You’ll enjoy the sumptuous lunch you prepared in a  family atmosphere, then head off to explore on your own for the afternoon. Of course the family is on hand for any recommendations.

Dinner isn’t included tonight and will be of your own choice out on the town.

Overnight in Vasto

Discover the fascinating Trabocchi coast, fish lunch in a fishing hut, and make your own souvenir with a local artist

AM

After breakfast you’re off to  explore the famous Trabocchi coast. You’ll start with a short and easy walk inside Punta Aderci Nature Reserve, one of the 10 most beautiful Italian beaches according to The Telegraph, from where you can even admire the snow-capped mountains in the distance.

Next you’ll visit a trabocco (the traditional fishing structure and symbol of the area), mostly built with acacia wood and railway iron sleepers.

Weather permitting, Rinaldo, your fishing host, will show you how to fish from it and the secrets and history behind Abruzzo’s unique fishing platforms. His wife Maria will prepare fish from the Adriatic Sea for our exclusive lunch on the ocean.

PM

After a short break at the hotel, 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 villages, you can enjoy a creative art experience with Ettore, making your own Abruzzo souvenir – Ettore is an artisan who creates art projects from nature – leaves , flowers and plants picked from the garden.  Afterwards, enjoy a local aperitif and a traditional dinner with Ettore and his wife Barbara. If you’re lucky you may even be able to learn the recipe for Barbaras delicious risotto made with truffles that grow on Ettore’s land.

 

Overnight in Vasto

Welcome to Puglia, explore Trani and the UNESCO site of Castel del Monte

AM

After breakfast and check out in the morning, you’ll move on to Puglia where you’ll meet the local guide for a visit to the beautiful town of Trani, a historic fishing port, between Bari and Barletta on the Adriatic coast a lovely place to explore, wander or relax. The town is reminiscent of 1950s films set in old-fashioned seaside Italy: historic buildings fading with casual charm, boats in the harbour and sleepy dogs lazing in the midday sun by the deserted waterfront.

PM

Enjoy a stroll and lunch at one of the local trattorias followed by a guided tour of Castel del Monte:

Mysterious and perfectly octagonal, it’s one of southern Italy’s most talked-about landmarks and a Unesco World Heritage Site. No one knows why Frederick II built it – there’s no nearby town or strategic crossroads. It was not built to defend anything, as it has no moat or drawbridge, no arrow slits some say that the castle was nothing less than a celebration of the relationship between humanity and God.

Next you’ll  drive to Conversano for check in at the hotel (with a opportunity to book a spa experience on check in). This will be followed by a guided walking tour in Conversano –  an ancient town with a medieval Castle and beautiful Romanesque cathedral.

Finish off a perfect day with an included dinner in a traditional restaurant in the heart of Conversano.

 

Cooking Class in Masseria, Exploring Monopoli

AM

After breakfast we’ll move to an ancient masseria (typical Apulian farmhouse) in Monopoli, to enjoy a cooking class with traditional recipes such as orecchiette pasta, melanzane alla parmigiana (eggplant parmigiana) and Bocconotti (a typical Apulian dessert).

PM

Lunch on the delicious local dishes that you have prepared in the morning. 

Next we’ll have a guided tour of Monopoli, an enchanting seaside town with a lot of history, surprising corners and fascinating alleys.

Dinner at your leisure in one of the many local restaurants of Conversano.

Overnight in Conversano

Explore Locorotodo, the UNESCO site Trulli of Alberobello and olive oil tasting

AM

After breakfast, we’ll drive to the charming village of Locorotondo, whose name derives from the Latin Locus Rotundus and literally means “round place”. This is due to its circular shape, which is repeated on several rings between alleys and streets.

Next we’ll move to the UNESCO site of Alberobello to have a guided tour and walk among the trulli, visit to the trullo “sovrano”and its museum.

In this unique town we’ll enjoy a traditional lunch.

PM

This evening, visit a small olive oil mill in the countryside of Gioia del Colle where you’ll have an extra virgin olive oil tasting to find your favourite one! Afterwards, enjoy some free time and dinner at your leisure in one of the many restaurants of Conversano.

Overnight in Conversano

Exploring Bari, Panzerotto Tasting, Wine-Tasting and Polignano a Mare

AM

After breakfast we’ll drive to Bari, the capital city of Puglia. We’ll have a guided tour to discover  San Nicola’s church, Frederick II’s castle and the city centre.

We’ll enjoy also a tasting of traditional panzerotti (a pocket of dough stuffed with tomato and vegetables or a meat sauce) in a bakery.

Next we’ll visit a family-run winery where we’ll have a wine tasting and lunch with pairings from local cheeses and salami and a tour of the vineyard and cellars organiSed by the winemakers.

PM

We’ll drive to Polignano a mare to discover its wonderful sea views and charming alleys .

Dinner at your leisure in one of the many restaurants of Conversano.

Matera and its UNESCO site, Focaccia Tasting, and Farewell Dinner

AM

After breakfast we’ll drive to spectacular Matera in the Basilicata Region. We’ll have a guided tour of the Unesco site of  “the Sassi”.

PM

Next we’ll have a Focaccia tasting in a very old bakery with a wood burning oven in Altamura, town famous for its DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) bread.

After some free time to relax and pack or do last minute shopping, we’ll have a farewell dinner at Hotel Corte Altavilla.

Overnight in Conversano

In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel.

Departure and Goodbye

AM

After breakfast departure (normally at 09:00) for Bari airport or your next destination (45 minutes driving from Hotel to Bari airport and 40 minutes to Bari train station).

Abruzzo

Location Information

If you’re ready for great food, wine, cultural heritage and the warmth of joining Italian families – this is perfect for you! Get ready for the 3 stunning Italian regions of Abruzza, Puglia and Matera, where you will get to spend time in each place with local families and producers over ten memorable days. See how the locals live and tread where many tourists miss, and, of course, be treated like family.

Nearest airports:
Roma Fiumicino Airport (around 3 hours away)

Return airport transfers:
Free airport transfers to and from Roma Fiumicino are included in the price.

  • Pick up from Rome Fiumicino airport or city centre on request and drop off in Bari airport in an air conditioned vehicle
  • 10 Nights Accommodation; 2 nights in Sulmona at Hotel Ovidius, 3 nights in Vasto at Hotel dei 7 (or similar accommodation) and 5 nights in Conversano at Hotel Corte Altavilla
  • Daily breakfast buffet
  • 13 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. Some evenings are free for you to explore the town by yourself
  • Guided tastings of wines, confetti, olive oil, mozzarella cheese and bread during visits to the local artisan producers
  • 2 Hands-on authentic Abruzzo and Puglia cooking classes
  • Personalised recipe booklet and apron
  • Daily trips excursions and visits as per the itinerary
  • Art experience with a local artist
  • English-speaking professional local guides throughout your stay
  • All entry fees for castles and museums
  • All transports for daily trips and excursions will be in an air conditioned minibus or car

FAQs

The minimum age is 14 (14-18 accompanied by an adult).

Your local host is a fluent English speaker, some of the artisans will speak in both Italian and English, so you’ll have the opportunity to learn and practice a little bit of Italian.