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The Abruzzo, Puglia & Matera Experience

From £2141 pp

Abruzzo, Italy, Matera, Puglia , Abruzzo

9 nights/ 10 days

Join a group of up to 8

The Abruzzo, Puglia & Matera Experience

(4)

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:
5-14 October 2021
9-18 November 2021
5-14 April 2022
17-26 May 2022
14-23 June 2022
5-14 July 2022
13-22 September 2022
4-13 October 2022
8-17 November 2022

A 10-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.

 

Explore Polignano a mare, cooking class in Masseria and the UNESCO site Trulli of Alberobello

AM

This morning starts after breakfast with a guided tour of Polignano a Mare, a shining gem on the coast, perched atop a 20 metre-high limestone cliff above the crystal clear turquoise waters of the Adriatic, Polignano a Mare truly lives up to its name and literally could not be any more ‘at sea’.

Then it is time to visit an ancient masseria (typical Apulian farmhouse) in Monopoli for a  cooking class with traditional Puglian recipes.

PM

Lunch on the scrumptious local dishes that you have prepared in the morning and you will then visit the UNESCO site of Alberobello: walk among the trulli, traditional dry stone buildings with a conical roof, unique to the Itria valley in Puglia you will visit  trullo “sovrano”and its museum.

Wind down with some free time and dinner at your leisure in one of the many local restaurants of Conversano.

Overnight in Conversano

Explore Bari and olive oil, wine, and mozzarella tasting

AM

This morning there is a guided tour of Bari, including San Nicola’s church, Frederick II’s castle and the city centre, followed with a tour of a family-run winery and a delicious lunch with wine tasting and the famous mozzarella cheese of Gioia del Colle.

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

Artisan focaccia tasting, Spectacular Matera and a farewell dinner

AM

You’re off for a delicious focaccia tasting in a very old bakery with a wood burning oven in Altamura, a town famous for its DOP bread. Then a  guided tour of spectacular Matera one of the most unique and spectacular places to visit in Italy or anywhere in the world.

The ancient neighbourhoods, known as sassi, are a UNESCO world heritage site and are a series of grottoes carved out of limestone, teetering on the edge of a ravine.

PM

Take the afternoon to explore on your own. Hunt down the perfect lunch spot of your choice  and take some breath-taking pictures of the city;  explore this amazing site with a stroll through the warren of pale limestone churches, monasteries, palaces and houses.

 

Overnight in Conversano

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

Breakfast and farewell

Get ready to depart after breakfast (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).

Reviews (4)

K Faustin

Saturday 30th May, 2020

So good that we came back! Thanks to a recommendation, we first took a tour of Abruzzo with Fabrizio in Spring 2019. It was our first time to Abruzzo after many years of coming to Italy. Fabrizio custom planned our 4 day trip and he did not disappoi...

So good that we came back! Thanks to a recommendation, we first took a tour of Abruzzo with Fabrizio in Spring 2019. It was our first time to Abruzzo after many years of coming to Italy. Fabrizio custom planned our 4 day trip and he did not disappoint in the least. We learned so much about the region, the food and how lovely the people are. We had wine/oil/cheese tastings, a cooking class, a boat trip to the Tremiti islands and an excursion to Sulmona. Fabrizio handled all details for us and was VERY responsive and flexible, focusing on what we wanted to do and making changes for the weather and for our energy levels. Was truly one of the best experiences we have had in many years. And we will be back!!! UPDATE: We did come back to Abruzzo in September 2019 and took another tour with Fabrizio to Roccascalegna castle, a tour of Vasto, a wonderful lunch on a trabocco (look those up..amazing) and a stop by Fonte Fico for another wine tasting. It was a wonderful couple of days and his love of Vasto and Abruzzo has caused us to decide we want to buy property around Vasto. He's that good. So good that we came back!

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Jan P

Thursday 21st May, 2020

If you travel to Abruzzo you must spend time with Fabrizio! Not like your typical large group tourist groups that I cannot imagine enjoying. Fabrizio and his family and friends make this small group trip beyond memorable. There is not much English s...

If you travel to Abruzzo you must spend time with Fabrizio! Not like your typical large group tourist groups that I cannot imagine enjoying. Fabrizio and his family and friends make this small group trip beyond memorable. There is not much English spoken in this part of Italy so if you don’t speak Italian you will be especially glad of Fabrizio’s help. My grandparents are from Vasto and he also tracked down information on them — and great and great great grandparents. My friend said it was one of the absolute best travel experiences of her life and she had no connection to Abruzzo or Italy. We did the hiking and cooking tour and it was amazing. I am sure all the options with Italia Sweet Italia are equally amazing. A high light for me was swimming in the beautiful blue green Adriatic and then lunch on a Trabeccho family fishing pier. Really words do not describe how happy I am to have had this experience and look forward to going again in the future!!!

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Nick A

Tuesday 14th April, 2020

How Sweet It Is! Fabrizio consistently goes above and beyond to address every whim, need and desire of every member of his tours. You will find new experiences regardless of how many times you've been to Italy, and the food and accommodations will a...

How Sweet It Is! Fabrizio consistently goes above and beyond to address every whim, need and desire of every member of his tours. You will find new experiences regardless of how many times you've been to Italy, and the food and accommodations will always be excellent. This was my second tour with Fabrizio, I visited the city of Vasto for the second time, and I will certainly return. Abruzzo is the most beautiful region I have ever been to, and the region of Puglia offers magnificent ancient town and coastal views. Our activities were highly interesting and diverse; we visited a mountaintop artist's home, and had two cooking classes, one at a masseria, another in a family home, where we feasted on homemade pastas, wines, deserts and more. We also had two wine tastings where we ate more than abundantly. These tours are truly amazing experiences.

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Katie C

Sunday 5th April, 2020

An absolute must! Fabrizio’s tour was fantastic. Having travelled to many places, often as part of an organised group, this one certainly didn’t disappoint. One of the attractions for me personally was that whilst it included food and drink, it ...

An absolute must! Fabrizio’s tour was fantastic. Having travelled to many places, often as part of an organised group, this one certainly didn’t disappoint. One of the attractions for me personally was that whilst it included food and drink, it wasn’t a ‘sterile’ cooking holiday, in fact as far from that as you could wish for, and that is exactly what I wanted. The holiday was an experience of life in Abruzzo region. Meeting Fabrizio’s family, friends and business partners and enjoying their welcome, hospitality and company was truly delightful. The area itself is beautiful and there are not many places where one can enjoy mountains and sea together but here, it’s possible. The tour encompassed visits to local markets, to the amazing old fishing platforms called trabuccos, to olive groves, vineyards, cheese-making agriturismo, castles, great restaurants and more! Fabrizio is an excellent host. He is passionate about his home town of Vasto, its traditions and those of the wider area. He takes real pleasure in introducing the wonderful regional food and exceptional wines to his guests. Everywhere we visited we were met with a very warm welcome and the generosity of each host was outstanding. Fabrizio has a small, independent company that really does go to amazing places!

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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.

  • 9 nights accommodation; 2 nights in Sulmona at Hotel Ovidius, 3 nights in Vasto at Hotel dei 7 (or similar accommodation) and 4 nights in Conversano at Hotel Corte Altavilla
  • Daily breakfast buffet
  • 12 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
  • Art experience with a local artist
  • Daily trips excursions and visits as per the itinerary
  • English-speaking professional local guides throughout your stay
  • All entry fees for castles and museums
  • Pick up from Rome Fiumicino airport or city centre on request and drop off in Bari airport in an air conditioned vehicle

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.