Culinary Trip Through the Roman Countryside
About 70 miles (115 km) outside Rome in the region known as Ciociaria, there’s a local saying: "si mangia e si mangia bene," which roughly translates to "you eat and eat well." It's a fitting motto for this area of Italy, known for its healthful Mediterranean diet of fresh cheeses, olive oil, meats, vegetables, pastas, and wine. With this seven-day, six-night culinary adventure curated by CookingVacations.com, you'll learn to prepare a classic Italian feast and visit the charming towns that produce its imitable ingredients. Click here to see the full itinerary.
Day 1: You'll be greeted at Rome's Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) by CookingVacations.com staff members, who’ll provide a transfer to Casa Gregorio, your hotel for the trip. Located in the medieval-era town of Castro dei Volsci, Casa Gregorio is a quiet, welcoming hotel housed within a late-18th-century building that overlooks nearby mountains.
After a welcome lunch, you'll embark on a guided walking tour of Castro dei Volsci, which is near the Sacco River. You’ll have the afternoon to relax before the group travels to the nearby town of Pofi for a welcome dinner.
Day 2: After breakfast, the caravan heads to Arpino to visit a traditional olive-oil mill and watch the production of extra-virgin olive oil. After sampling fresh olive oil during a light lunch, you’ll stop off at Meringo's for authentic gelato, followed by the first hands-on cooking class with pastry chef Giustino.
Day 3: Begin with a visit to a local cheese shop to try fresh ricotta, buffalo-mozzarella, and provolone cheeses, then drop by the town farmers' market to gather ingredients for the evening's dinner. On the way to the seaside town of Terracina, the group will explore Fossanova Abbey, a 12th-century Cistercian-style monastery where Saint Thomas Aquinas is believed to have died. The second cooking class takes place later that afternoon, as you prepare a variety of antipasti, including bruschetta, crostini, and stuffed zucchini.
Day 4: In the morning, you'll watch how fresh sausage is made before traveling north to the town of Guarcino. In town, enjoy a picnic lunch of hand-cut Italian meats, such as prosciutto or porchetta. Back in Castro dei Volsci, you'll take your third cooking class and learn to make primi piatti, pasta dishes such as gnocchi and fettuccine.
Day 5: In San Donato Val di Val Comino, a nearby region known for its cabernet varietals, the tour visits the Cantina Tullio vineyard to learn about the winemaking process. Next up is the town of Atina, where you'll have lunch at the historical Le Cannardizie restaurant. Back at the home base, the fourth cooking class covers the preparation of secondi piatti, which translates to second plate. Typical entrees incorporate meat and fish.
Day 6: After breakfast, learn the art of food sculpture and how to creatively decorate a table or plate with fresh vegetables. After lunch, you’ll have the option to tour Casamari Abbey, built in the somber Cistercian style, or shop for last-minute souvenirs. The vacation culminates with a dinner at the nearby restaurant Il Ruspante, which prepares its meals solely from locally grown ingredients.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.