10 Day Tour | 7 June 2022 |
GRANDE ABRUZZO ITALY TOUR
Overview of activities
- travel off the beaten path
- meet the local people and artisans
- roam untouched villages
- scenic routes
- authentic dining
- leisurely pace
- charming accommodation
- cooking classes with local produce
- saffron master class & lunch
- truffle experience
- ancient olive oil mill oil tasting
- wineries & wine tasting
- seafood lunch on trabocco
- alfresco lunch in alpine plateau
- farmer’s market
- hidden hermitages
- follow the shepherds
- farm visit
- national parks
- Apennine Mountain wolves
- castels & forts
11:00 am – We will meet you this morning out the front of Bettoja Atlantico Hotel on Via Cavour in Rome (walking distance from Termini Train Station). Look for the Italian Provincial Tours sign which we will be holding up.
We will leave Rome together and make our way through Lazio and into the region of Abruzzo. Be ready to see some spectacular scenery along the way as this is Italy’s most beautiful stretch of freeway.
Around 1pm we will reach our lovely agriturismo accommodation which will be home to us for the next 5 nights. Agriturismi are a popular type of accommodation in Italy. Basically, 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 of regional cooking!
Upon arrival, we will enjoy a welcome aperitivo and a light lunch set out by our friendly hosts.
5:00 pm – Meet in the dining room where we will join our host Donatella, for a leisurely 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!
We will enjoy what we have made during the cooking class for dinner, which will be served afterwards.
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.
8:30 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 where Marco and Katri have their home.
Just outside of the village, we will visit our friend Alessio and his family, who produce pasta, tomato passata (sauce), olive oil, jams, and other items. Alessio will take us to see how they grow various fruits and vegetables and we will enjoy learning how to make traditional tomato passata. Talk about paddock to plate!
Afterwards, we will sit down with the family for a traditional lunch.
After lunch, we will visit Loreto Aprutino. 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 birroteca (brewery) in the historical centre and enjoy a drink while taking in the views of the Majella Mountain.
Dinner tonight will be at our agriturismo.
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9:30 am – Board the van out the front of our accommodation.
Today, we 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! We will visit the Abby of San Giovanni in Venere, perched up high overlooking the Adriatic Sea and see the oldest olive tree in Abruzzo.
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 130 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.
After lunch, we will continue our drive along the coast to the beach in Pescara where you can enjoy a swim with the locals, or walk along the beach.
Dinner tonight will be at our agriturismo accomodation.
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It’s Day 5 of our discovery of Abruzzo and we will be in need of a lazy morning to rest so we are recharged for the second half of our journey together. Not to mention, tonight will be a late one!
1:00 pm A light lunch will be served at our accommodation.
2:30 pm Board the van out the front of our accommodation.
We will make our way the hilltop village of Bucchianico, where we will spend time with the locals. Weather permitting, we will take a detour to a lookout high on the Majella Mountain.
In Bucchianico, we will meet with Francesca, a producer of fine extra virgin olive oil. In her private ancient frantoio, (olive oil factory) 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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9:00 am Board the van out the front of our accommodation along with your luggage.
Today, we say goodbye to our hosts and to the foothills of Abruzzo, and head inland, 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 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.
12:00 pm – Meet at the predesignated spot to board the van. A half hour drive away we will reach a unique winery who’s owner risks everything each year in his quest to produce exquisite wines. We will walk through the vineyards while the resident Bulldog follows behind and our host explains why this microclimate is so particular.
Lunch today will be paired with informative tastings of the winery’s range of wines.
After lunch, we will 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 3 nights.
8:00 pm We will meet for dinner at our designated meeting point and walk together to a restaurant within the village.
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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.
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.
12:00 pm we will meet at reception and head into one of the highest pastures of Europe, the alpine meadow of Campo Imperatore, 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.
Within the plateau, we will enjoy an alfresco lunch of Abruzzo’s most famous dish, arrosticini (sheep’s meat skewers) at an old set used to film “spaghetti westerns”. Learn to cook arrositicini amongst the locals, on the especially designed BBQs.
After lunch, we will visit Castel del Monte, a village near Santo Stefano which was the set for the movie “The American” with George Clooney. Here, we will be taken back in time as our local guide walks with us through the village and speaks of the village’s history.
Afterwards, 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.
Note: The walk takes about 20mins each way. It isn’t a difficult walk, however, there are loose rocks on the path and some steep natural steps. Wear your sturdy hiking-style boots/shoes.
Dinner will be in the tiny village at the foot of the fortress which we will walk to. After dinner, we will return to our accommodation in Santo Stefano di Sessanio.
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10:00 am Meet at the reception ready to board the van.
This morning we head towards the Navelli Plateau, in Abruzzo’s ‘Saffron Valley’, where the world’s most sought after saffron is grown. Our host Francesco, will guide us through the fields and the secrets of mastering this very precious spice, from its delicate blossom, to dressing our risotto.
A short drive away we will join Chef Nello, at this restaurant, for a Saffron Masterclass and a delicious saffron-infused lunch.
Enjoy time to yourself back in Santo Stefano di Sessanio, until we meet at 8pm for dinner at a restaurant within the village.
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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.
Lunch will be at a restaurant nearby.
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 two nights 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. Today, we will visit one of our favourite villages in Abruzzo, Pescocostanzo. Pescocostanzo is a ski resort village, also bestowed with the title of “I Borghi Piu Belli d’Italia” and is home to many important Renaissance and Baroque monuments. In one of Abruzzo’s most interesting churches, Basilica di Santa Maria del Colle, we can see exceptional examples of the marble and iron work that was once an important craft in this village.
Lunch today will be in a restaurant in Pescocostanzo.
This afternoon, we will visit a reserve nearby, 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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9:30 am – Meet in the foyer with your luggage.
This morning, we leave our lovely accommodation in Barrea. Sit back and enjoy the relaxing drive through the national park, to the medieval village of Scanno.
Explore the village 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.
Lunch will be at a restaurant in the village.
2:00 pm – We will board our van for the last time, and bid farewell to wonderful Abruzzo.
By 4:30 pm – In Rome, we will depart out the front of Bettoja Atlantico Hotel on Via Cavour in Rome (near Termini Train Station).
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 !!
Upcoming Tour Dates
7 June 2022
28 June 2022
$5,850 AUD per person twin share
$4,450 USD per person twin share
Prices include all meals & alcoholic & non-alcoholic drinks with meals!
Low Cost Single Supplement
Near Termini Train Station in Rome.
Fully escorted tour by English speaking tour leaders Marco & Katri, private air conditioned minibus/van, charming and well appointed accommodations with private ensuite, all meals 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, personal purchases, other activities not listed in the itinerary and personal travel costs.