ABRUZZO LAB TOUR 2024
Hosted by Michelle of Abruzzo Lab in partnership with Italian Provincial Tours
Overview of activities
- small group tour of Abruzzo Italy
- travel off the beaten path
- meet the local people and artisans
- roam untouched villages
- scenic routes
- authentic dining
- charming accommodation
- cooking classes with local produce
- ancient olive oil mill oil tasting
- wineries & wine tasting
- seafood lunch on Trabocco
- leisurely pace
- alfresco lunch in alpine plateau
- farmer’s market
- hidden hermitages
- follow the shepherds
- farm visit
- national parks
- castels & forts
Let’s go! Get ready the first ever Abruzzo Lab Tour!
At 10:30am Michelle and Mara along with Marco and Katri of Italian Provincial Tours will pick you up from outside of Termini Train Station in Roma. Enjoy the stunning scenery along Italy’s most picturesque motorway.
We will begin our Abruzzo tour at a very special bio organic winery which prides itself on leaving things to nature and risking everything each year in order to produce the highest quality wines possible.
This afternoon we will reach our lovely agriturismo accommodation within the Majella National Park which will be home to us for the next 5 nights. Agriturismi are a popular type of accommodation in Italy. They are family-run farm stays which also provide breakfast and dinner. Everything served must be from the farm itself of from within only a few kilometres of the property. This is the epitome if regional cooking!
During our stay at the agriturismo, an Italian-style breakfast will be served each morning in the dining room. Please make your way to breakfast when you are ready, taking note of the departure times.
9:30 am – Board the van out the front of our accommodation.
Today, we will venture into the “Golden Triangle” known for producing the best quality extra virgin olive oil in Abruzzo. We will visit Loreto Aprutino, a charming hilltop village surrounded by olive groves where Marco and Katri have their home.
We will have a guided tour of Abruzzo’s most extensive collection of Castelli Ceramics, which provide us with stories of the past. Then, we will visit the town’s ancient frantoio (olive oil factory) with a distinct gothic facade.
Afterwards, we will take a stroll to visit our neighbour’s microbirrificio (micro brewery) in the historical centre and enjoy a few drinks with lunch while taking in the views of the Majella Mountain.
Late this afternoon, we will meet in the dining room of our accommodation where we will join Donatella, for a fun and hands-on cooking class. Donatella will teach us how to cook some regional specialty dishes using seasonal produce, while sipping on a glass of Montepulciano of course!
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9:00 am – Board the van out the front of our accommodation.
Today, will be spent on the coast of Abruzzo. With the glittering Adriatic Sea on our left, rolling hills lined with olive groves and vineyards and the Majella Mountain on our right, the drive is simply stunning! There is a possibility to swim today so make sure to bring your bathers and towel along.
We will travel along the 15 km of pebbled coastline, known as the Costa dei Trabocchi (Trabocchi Coast). All along the coastline are the traditional fishing houses which sit out over the water, called Trabocco, or Trabocchi (plural). Most are over 200 years old and they are unique to Abruzzo.
Lunch today will be a truly unique experience. We will enjoy a leisurely lunch on our favourite Trabocco restaurant and enjoy a seafood feast on the trabocco itself, surrounded by water. After a chat about how the trabocchi are used to catch seafood, we will enjoy traditional seafood dishes.
Dinner tonight will be at our agriturismo accomodation… but we’re guessing you won’t need it!
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Late this morning, we will make a very special visit to Michelle’s aunty’s house for an intimate lesson on how to make a regional specialty ‘cace e ove’ cheese balls in sugo.
Afterwards we will visit a jewel in Abruzzo, the village of Guardiagrele. We will taste the renown sweet from this village called Sise delle Monache and visit the artisan iron work stores.
This afternoon we will make our way the hilltop village of Bucchianico.
In Bucchianico, we will meet with Francesca, a producer of fine extra virgin olive oil. In her ancient olive oil mill that has been in her family for generations, she will teach us all about extra virgin olive oil, with tastings.
A little way down the narrow lane and around the corner, we will descend the stairs into an ancient cellar that has been turned into an enoteca (wine bar). Here, we will enjoy an educational wine tasting with the enoteca’s own charismatic host, and a grazing-style dinner.
We will return to our accommodation late this evening.
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9:30 am this morning we head to the town of Sulmona.
In Piazza Garibaldi, overlooked by mountains, we will enjoy the theatrics of the farmer’s market and check out the local produce, such the renowned platted garlic, called Aglio Rosso di Sulmona.
Enjoy time to yourself to wander through the main streets of Sulmona. You could try the Pelini Confetti (sugared almonds which feature at Royal weddings) check out the honey store, or refill your water bottle with the fresh mountain water from the renaissance fountain, supplied by the medieval aqueduct.
For lunch today we will eat like the locals!! Many porchetta vans make it to the market every weekend competing to be the local’s favourite. We will enjoy a delicious porchetta panino (slow roasted pork roll Abruzzese style) at the market and watch everyday Italian life go by.
A short drive up into the mountains is the gorgeous little village, Pacentro. Here, we will climb the stairs of the Castle to take in the stunning views. There is also a little house to find which has been unchanged since before electricity and you can see what village life used to be like!
This afternoon we will make our way to Michelle’s family’s cheese factory in the gorgeous village of Sant’Eufamia in the Majella mountain. We will get a hands on with cheese making and sample some of the freshest and most juiciest mozzarella you’ve ever had!
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This morning the is time to have a sleep in and an easy start to the day. In the late morning we will say goodbye to our hosts at the Agriturismo and continue on to Santo Stefano di Sessanio, a medieval village in the Gran Sasso Mountains.
Here in Santo Stefano di Sessanio, we will be staying in “difuso” accommodation, where each of us will have our own little apartment within the village. You will be shown to your apartment to settle in to what will be your home for the next 2 nights.
Enjoy time to yourselves this morning to wander the cobbled alleyways. Visit the stores to meet the local artisans for a first-hand look at the wonderful crafts and food produced in the area. Most notably are the production of honey, farro, chickpeas and a smaller version of brown lentil, for which this region is famous.
The production of wool has been an important commodity in the area for thousands of years, be sure to visit the store where locals are carrying on the traditional way of dying the wool using natural, traditional means.
You may want to visit the Medici Tower which forms the distinctive silhouette of Santo Stefano di Sessanio.
Enjoy a night to yourself tonight. There are a few fantastic restaurants within the village to choose from.
During our stay in Santo Stefano di Sessanio, an Italian-style breakfast is provided in your own accommodation, along with coffee and tea making facilities and there is also a cafe in the main square if you prefer.
Enjoy the morning at your leisure in Santo Stefano.
9:00 am we board the van and make our way to Calascio. From here we will take a walk up to the nearby impressive tenth century Fortress of Rocca Calascio. At 1460, above sea level, it is the highest fort in Italy.
Lunch today is a highlight! Within the alpine meadow of Campo Imperatore alongside Italian picnickers, we will enjoy lunch of Abruzzo’s most famous dish, arrosticini!! These sheep’s meat skewers are what Abruzzo Lab is known for and Michelle will work her magic behind the BBQ’s to cook us these delicious treats in the fresh mountain air.
Afterwards, we will drive through the plateau known fondly as “Italy’s Little Tibet”. Here, at 1800m above sea level, we can see the highest peak in the Apennines, The Corno Grande.
Enjoy another night to yourself tonight, Marco and Katri can help with restaurant suggestions.
8am – Meet at the van with your luggage ready to load.
Note: Be sure to wear your hiking-style boots today.
Today, we will leave the accommodation in Santo Stefano di Sessanio and drive to Anversa degli Abruzzi, at the doorstep to the National Park of Abruzzo. In Anversa degli Abruzzi, we will be the guests at a Bio-Agritourismo (Bio-organic Farm).
We will accompany the shepherds into the national park, to graze their sheep in the fields, breathe in the in the pristine alpine air and enjoy the splendid views of the mountains all around.
After Lunch, we will make our way through Le Gole di Sagitario, a beautiful drive through the Abruzzo National Park. Along the way we will stop at the hermitage of Sant Domenico, situated on the wonderfully green Lake of Sant Domenico.
We continue along this scenic route until we reach the village of Barrea. We will stay the last night of our discovery of Abruzzo in a quiet B&B in Barrea, overlooking the lake.
8:00 pm meet in the foyer to walk together to a restaurant nearby for dinner.
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Breakfast today and tomorrow will be served at our accommodation, either inside or in the garden with a gorgeous view overlooking the lake. Make your way down when you are ready, keep in mind the departure times.
10:00 am Meet in the foyer to walk to the van together.
Sit back and enjoy the relaxing drive through the national park, to the medieval village of Scanno.
Explore the village which really feels like you are stepping back in time and maybe you will spot one of the elderly women who still wear the traditional dresses of Scanno. In an artisan jewellery store, you can see the trade that Scanno is famous for, handmade filigree jewellery.
This afternoon, we will visit a reserve nearby to Barrea, where we will have the chance to see the pack of Apennine Mountain Wolves, who live there.
8:00 pm – Dinner tonight is in a village nearby, Villetta Barrea, which can include the locally caught trout.
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Enjoy breakfast with a wonderful view overlooking the lake of Barrea.
This morning, we leave our lovely accommodation in Barrea. Take your time to pack and reflect on the wonderful experience you’ve had over the last 9 days. Perhaps enjoy one last stroll around Barrea, one of Abruzzo’s untouched villages.
At 10:30am, we will board our van for the last time, and bid farewell to wonderful Abruzzo.
We will stop off for a break and snack along the way back to Rome and arrive in Rome around 1:00pm where we will bid you farewell out the front of Fiumicino Airport or Termini Train Station.
Please note: This is an example itinerary. Although every effort is used to stick to the advertised itinerary, some experiences may be shuffled around or replaced with simular experiences when it is necessary to do so.
Fabulous experience- every detail lovingly looked after and the food is to die for. Kathryn and Marco are outstanding hosts.
To experience the real Abruzzo you need to be with passionate people like Katri & Marco that alone is an experience !!
25 June – 4 July 2024
$7,500 AUD per person twin share
Near Termini Train Station in Rome.
Fully escorted tour by English speaking tour leaders Marco & Katri and hosted by Michelle of Abruzzo Lab, private air conditioned minibus, charming and well appointed accommodations with private ensuite, all meals (except 2 dinners) and drinks with meals including table wine, entry fees and activities. Vegetarian meals and food allergies can be catered to.
Air fares, travel insurance, food and beverage outside of meal times unless stated in itinerary, additional beverages other than what is provided, personal purchases, other activities not listed in the itinerary and personal travel costs.