Let our Italian travel experience make your trip extraordinary. ‘GRAND TOUR of ABRUZZO’ Tour (10 days)
The extraordinary beauty of Abruzzo awaits you on this special Grand Tour. Enjoy the stunning scenery of the Apennines as we travel through the three National Parks of Abruzzo and visit wonderful hilltop villages…
and only 3 hours from Rome experience the best of Italy.
Read on to find out more about our “Grand Tour of Abruzzo“.
ABOUT THE TOUR
Over the 10 days, experience the art of living the Dolce Vita as you immerse yourself in traditional Italian village life and embrace the warmth of the Abruzzese people.
You will travel through northern, central and southern Abruzzo, indulge in exquisite food and wines and dine in amazing restaurants with its traditional specialties. Enjoy a private truffle hunt amongst hazelnut and oak woods followed by a truffle degustation menu.
Abruzzo is still off the main tourist radar and has so much to offer from the Adriatic coastline to the rugged Apennine Mountains. You will meet local artisans who are passionate to share with you their work with bobbin lace, ceramics, wrought iron and gold filigree work. Uncrowded and silent you can explore timeless treasures, hidden monasteries, fortresses and castles. The real Italy is right here. This is a fully escorted, all inclusive small group tour (no more than 12 guests…ever) and will be led by Luciana.
- All inclusive travel within Abruzzo, central Italy – all meals and drinks with meals
- Exclusive small group travel – no more than 12 guests
- Fully escorted and personalised travel with LUCIANA and guides- Abruzzo specialist and English speaking guides
- Tours depart from Rome Termini Station
- Travel Abruzzo at a quiet and leisurely pace, with time to relax and unwind
- Experience true and authentic village life in Abruzzo – enjoy the rich traditions
- Share the passion with Luciana for all things Italian – that only a local can offer
September 17 – 26 (10 days)
DAY 1: ROME to ABRUZZO – COCULLO - VASTO
You will be met this morning by Luciana, your Abruzzo specialist guide, at Rome Termini station with an airconditioned private minibus to transfer you to Abruzzo. Crossing the Apennines, we will stop for morning tea at the tiny hilltop village of Cocullo, where you experience a typical Sunday morning in Abruzzo. Driving through stunning scenery of fertile vineyards and olive groves we arrive at the southern seaside town of Vasto which will be our base for the next 3 nights. Inhabited since pre -Roman times, this ancient town of Vasto (Histonium) has many layers of history and architecture.
DAY 2: TUFILLO village: Artisan Cheesemaker, Baker, Jeweller and Honey producer
This morning we make our way inland to the small hilltop village of Tufillo in southern Abruzzo, near the Molise border. Admire the village’s panorama and churches and generally soak up the local village atmosphere. We visit a local cheesemaker, Attilio who hails from a long line of cheesemakers who have been producing traditional cheeses using time honoured methods. Meet Dino, the local baker, who along with his wife Antonella will delight you with their passion for making speciality breads and pizzas and pastries. Lunch today will be an alfresco picnic style lunch outside the village bakery…immerse yourself in true village Italy with the locals. Later, a private visit to an artisan goldsmith is a must as she creates fine jewellery using traditional motifs.
Admire the delightful panorama to the Adriatic sea over your evening sunset welcome drinks on the rooftop terrace of the hotel in Vasto. See the main piazza which was once the site of the ancient Roman amphitheatre, stroll along the narrow alleys and shop fronts. Onto a local enoteca bar with a fabulous selection of regional wines, the perfect place for a light supper.
DAY 3: MAIELLA NATIONAL PARK – Limestone Gorge Walk – PALOMBARO
Today we travel inland to Fara San Martino, nestled in the Maiella National Park. These mountains have been known since ancient times as the Montagna Madre– the grand protectress of shepherds, hermits, monks and place of ancient cults of worship by the pre-Roman tribes, the <em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>Italics. Enjoy a short walk into the gorge and see recently completed archeological excavations come to light – a 9th century Benedictine monastery. Stunning views to Luciana’s village of Palombaro where we stay for lunch in the local trattoria. Leonardo will serve us a 3 course lunch including the pasta specialty vraghe de muleaccompanied by the perfect Montepulciano D’Abruzzo wine. After lunch, Luciana’s family and friends welcome you to the village as we stroll through the quiet streets and share stories of times gone by…
DAY 4: ROCCASCALEGNA– Medieval Castle- NATIONAL PARK of ABRUZZ0 - BARREA
We leave our accommodation and make our way to the southern most National Park in Abruzzo where we will be based for the next 3 nights. The Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo lies on the border of the Italian regions of Lazio and Molise. Stunning views of the Apennines are a perfect backdrop while we explore the medieval castle of Roccascalegna, perched on a rocky outcrop above the Rio Secco. A leisurely lunch awaits at a nearby country restaurant where our hosts Amalia and Antonio serve us an amazing array of traditional Abruzzese dishes. The degustation lunch includes cheese and egg balls in a fresh tomato sauce, wild greens with maize meal followed by many other courses.. Be sure to leave room for dessert! All ingredients are sourced within 2 kms and feature seasonal home grown produce…Slow Food at its best! Settle into your accommodation in the lakeside village of Barrea. This untouched ancient medieval village is truly a step back in time with wonderful locals and traditions. Evening<em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””> aperitivo drinks in the courtyard overlooking Lake Barrea.
DAY 5: CASTEL di SANGRO – Local Village Markets – VILLETTA BARREA – Short Walk in the National Park of Abruzzo – CIVITELLA ALFEDENA – BARREA
Wake to the most peaceful setting in the national park with fabulous views of the lake and mountains from your balcony and windows. Market day in Castel di Sangro is a perfect place to relax with a morning coffee before browsing the colourful local stalls selling everyday wares and fresh local produce. Not to be missed is to tastethe wonderful local specialty <em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>porchetta – roast pork with rosemary and garlic. Onto Villetta Barrea for lunch where our host Alessandra has prepared an exquisite authentic Abruzzese lunch including home made gnocchi with wild spinach and local fresh water trout, a specialty of this area.
The nearby lakeside village of Civitella Alfedena is home to 2 sanctuaries dedicated to the preservation of the local wolves and lynxes, both rare and under threat. This National Park of Abruzzo is also home to wild deer and the small brown mariscan bear under protection by the WWF. Dinner is in a local trattoria in Barrea – enjoy the very special ‘wedding soup’, grilled local lamb and sponge cake filled with Italian custard cream.
DAY 6: MAIELLA NATIONAL PARK – Ancient Beechwood Forest - Al Fresco Picnic – PETTORANO sul GIZIO
Local guide Lorenzo will meet us today as we take a stunning scenic drive through the centre of the Maiella National Park. Stop for morning coffee in the alpine village of Campo di Giove, known for its ski resorts and a great place to unwind away from the crowds. An easy walk in the woods is an experience to behold with its ancient beech, maples and oak trees as well as wild cherry trees and the autumn flora of wild cyclamens and mushrooms. These woods cover 550 hectares and are situated at high altitude of 1300-1400m and also is home to rare woodpeckers. A delightful picnic here is the perfect thing to do – lunch in the woods. Luciana has prepared a gourmet feast to savour in this magical setting. At Pettorano sul Gizio, perched at nearly 700m above sea level it was voted one of Italy’s prettiest villages. Stroll the narrow winding alleys with its churches, balconies and medieval castle. Relax by the planted herb garden and nearby cool stream which used to run the village’s flour mills and coppersmiths workshops. Enjoy an afternoon caffe’ in the magnificent 16th century main piazza.
DAY 7: SCANNO - ANVERSA degli ABRUZZI – CIVITELLA DEL TRONTO
Today we make our way to northern Abruzzo in the Teramo province where we will be based for the next 3 nights. We climb to 1000m above sea level towards Scanno and visit the small church of San Domenico and hermitage by a lake, then onto the largest natural lake in Abruzzo, Lago di Scanno. Wonderful photographic stops will create memories forever, from hilltop villages to stunning national parks. Stroll the medieval backstreets and walk past composer Henry Mancini’s family home.
This village is also famous for its master goldsmiths working in traditional filigree gold jewellery. Learn all about the presentosagold pendants and gold earrings given by the men to their betrothed..Lunch is a delightful slow food experience indulging in traditional Abruzzese dishes. Meet your hosts Bianca and Gino who have prepared exquisite gnocchi with pecorino sheep cheese ricotta and fig and walnut cake. Welcome drinks at your accommodation in Civitella del Tronto followed by a wonderful dinner.
DAY 8: CIVITELLA del TRONTO – SANT'OMERO - 19th century Olive Oil Mill and Tasting - CONTROGUERRA – Private Cellar Visit and Tasting - CIVITELLA del TRONTO- Spanish Military Fortress
Meet Graziano an olive oil producer whose family has been growing, gathering and harvesting olives for centuries. Learn all about the amazing differences between extra virgin, virgin and olive oils and taste these exquisite extra virgin olive oils. Heading onto a local winery in Controguerra and meet our charming hosts as we learn all about winemaking in Abruzzo. Indulge in tastings of heritage grape varieties and award winning montepulciano, cerasuolo (rose’) and trebbiano wines.. The wines will be perfectly matched with tasting platters of delicious local pecorino cheeses, prosciutto, bread with lashings of their extravirgin olive oil and more!.. Ah.. Slow Food at its best. Explore the nearby fortified hilltop village of Civitella del Tronto – inhabited since pre- Roman times and its first historical records as a fortified village date back to the 11th century. A private visit of the fortress has been arranged where you will have commanding views over what was once the border of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the Papal States to its north. There is time to stroll through the village exploring the romantic narrow alleys and watch the world go by and enjoy a gelato or caffe’ in the local bar.
Day 9: Private truffle hunt – Private Cooking Class - ASCOLI PICENO
We head to the nearby village and learn all about Abruzzo’s secret – prized truffles. Surprisingly, over 80% of taly’s truffles come from Abruzzo. Understand how truffle dogs are used to find these precious gourmet delights and enjoy delicious tastings of truffle pastes and cheeses infused with truffle …squisito! Meet local truffle hunter Ginesio who will share his passion for truffle hunting and truffle dog training with us. Your own private COOKING CLASS awaits, set in the lovely Abruzzo countryside. Local ladies will share with you their passion for traditional cooking. We will prepare a 4 course lunch together using fresh and seasonal local ingredients as well as luxury local truffles! Learn the secrets of slow food as you create wonderful antipasti, traditional home made pasta, deboned leg of turkey filled with parsley, garlic and truffle and delicious desserts… This evening we take time out to visit the town of Ascoli Piceno, in the nearby region of Le Marche. There is time for shopping Italian style, time to sit and sip your aperitivo as well as marvel at the wonderful churches and spectacular piazza. A truly unforgettable day.
Day 10: CASTELLI – Maiolica ceramics - Departure for Rome Termini Station or Pescara
Travel through stunning scenery in the Gran Sasso National Park with amazing views of the Apennines and the largest peak in this mountain chain. Visit the small medieval village of Castelli, famous for maiolica ware ceramics since the 14th century. The tsars of Russia collected these valuable pieces andnow the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg has a priceless collection there.
We see the “Sistine Chapel of Maiolica ceramics and are invited to see the Institute of Art with fabulous modern pieces usingtraditional techniques. Transfer to Pescara or Rome Termini Station by mid afternoon. Buon Viaggio!
$6050 per person, twin share twin share (AUD$1200.00 single supplement)