Diamante The City Of Murals & Chilli Peppers™

Cooking In Diamante With Chef Giovanni ~ 8 Day


Calabria lies along a majestic coastline of curving beaches, rocky bluffs, and meandering roads. Once the stronghold of the ancient Greeks, Calabria was the biggest of the Greek colonies, and its rich history saw the rise and fall of one of the mightiest empires. Calabria’s richly diverse past influences its present culture as well as culinary styles and cooking traditions.

In the kitchen is Chef Giovanni, who leads you through the region’s opulent past and into his present day kitchen, where he prepares Calabrian cuisine for your cooking week. During your program learning about Calabrian cuisine, prepare handmade fusilli al ferretto, turn your hand at making Calabria’s much loved local digestive liqueur made with succulent citrons, and watch Giovanni as he transforms the island’s famed red chilli peppers into main dishes, side dishes, and even ice cream and jam!

Cooking Classes

Join Chef Giovanni in hands-on cooking classes preparing local food of the region.  Antipasto, fresh pasta, sauces, main courses and desserts are on the menu using fresh and local ingredients from the region.  You will learn to cook like a local in his cooking classes, limited to 6 guests, in his kitchen.   Learn how to make fungi, wild stuffed mushrooms, pitticelle di zucchine, zucchine puffs, pasta con crema di zucchine,cuccine, tonno cunzatuand,-marinated tunna, ginetti, doughnut like desserts,-a traditional favorite.

Chilli pepper is the king of spices in Calabria, and finds itself in all recipes imaginable, used fresh, dried, crushed, or naturally preserved. Also used are the rare, but delicious, Calabrian truffles; indigenous to the Santa Domenica Talao area, and from which comes the celebrated black truffle ice cream. In the Riviera dei Cedri area of Calabria grows the citron, which is turned into the digestive citroncello liqueur,”the noble cousin of limoncello.”


Calabria is set in the cerulean seas of Italy’s south, and all that delighted people throughout the ages still enchants natives and tourists alike today. The enviable climate, the beautiful beaches, the raw passion, untamed countryside, ancient churches and ruins remind us of Calabria’s eclectic past. Calabria is one of the jewels of the south, and is far from the well-worn tourist track, making it irresistible to those travellers who wish to discover a culture virtually untouched and rich in traditions and history.

Calabria’s gastronomy reflects its mixed history too. The meeting of past and present is represented by the region’s typical products including red onions from Tropea; chilli peppers, red potatoes, Porcini mushrooms from the Sila plateaux; Clementines from Corigliano, Bergamot from the Reggio Calabria area, Citrons from the Riviera di Cedri, liquorice from Rossano, and olives from the Piana di Gioia. Calabria is also known for its famed Nduja, which is a delicious, creamy sausage. Its coastline position makes fish a staple dish, sword fishing being a local, age-old tradition still carried on today. Another important fish in Calabrian cuisine has many names: neonata, nudilla, rosamarina, nannata, and bianchetti, all meaning the same thing, Sardines. These tiny, newly born fish are known as the caviar of Calabria, and are preserved in oil and often spiced up with flakes of chilli pepper.

Calabria Accommodations

Your accommodations are in a 3-star hotel, located overlooking the sea and historic town of Scalea. The hotel lobby, with its 24-hour reception, provides common areas to relax, with the TV Room, three terraces overlooking the sea, and have a drink (the bar is open 24-hours).

Furnishings are modern and functional, with superior comforts: each room features a telephone with a direct line, satellite TV, air conditioning (from end of June to early September) and safety deposit box. Each room has a private bath with shower, hair dryer and a courtesy beauty kit.

Available rooms are single, double, double-bed, triple and family rooms are available as well.

Diamante: The City Of Murals & Chilli Peppers

Stroll through the village of “speaking walls,” as Diamante is hailed. This ancient village was decorated by skilled artisans from all over the world, creating scenes on the walls, telling the story of Calabria’s gloriously eclectic, and opulent past. Then it is on to the Red Hot Chilli Pepper Museum in Maiera, created by the Accademia Italiana del Peperoncino. It is the only museum of its nature in the world, showing the history of the chilli pepper, complete with a vast selection of chilli pepper products from all over the world including a tasting of chilli pepper goods!


Beautiful 14th century portals welcome you as you step into Maratea. The old town, bombarded by French troops in the late 19th century, beckons you into its history as you are greeted by the Christ of Maratea, an impressive 22-meter statue! The statue faces the Basilica of San Biagio, which houses the relics of the town’s patron saint. Next visit the antique churches tiled with Majolica from Vietri, and walk down alleys rich in handicraft shops of embroidery, leatherwork, and the like. Your passage through Maratea ends with a visit to the natural grottoes full of spectacular stalactites and stalagmites, as well as the harbour of Maratea.

The Norman Town Of Scalea & The Aragon Towers

Discover the splendor of the Aragon watchtower dotting the Calabrian coastline. First visit Talao’s tower, dating back to the 16th century, built by the Aragon vicar of the king of Naples. A guided walk follows to the old village of Scalea, dominated by the ruins of a Norman castle. Two magnificent churches and an old medieval “hospitalia” with rare Byzantine frescoes characterize the village. Within one of the towers is a museum boasting treasures from Laos, a Greek Lucan city of the 6th century B.C. Your tour ends with a visit to the Aragon Tower of Praia a Mare facing Isola di Dino.

Itinerary: 8 Days, 7 Nights

Day 1: Arrival & Welcome Dinner

  • Arrival at the property and welcome aperitivo. A brief introduction to your cooking program with our host. The rest of the day is dedicated to relaxing.
  • Afternoon free.
  • Evening Welcome Dinner is served. Wine/beverages not included.

Day 2: Cooking Class 1 & Visit Diamante

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Cooking Class 1: Chef Giovanni introduces the themes of the three lessons, and will start the first one with home made pasta Calabrese style. Lunch follows with the foods prepared in class.
  • In the afternoon, Visit Diamante, also known as the city of Murals. The walls of the houses have been painted by artists from all over the world and depict the history, culture and life of the deep Italian South.
  • Transfer to the Chilli Pepper Museum set in a pretty village on the top of a hill facing the sea, whose alleys are decorated with pottery made from artists from all over the world. Chilli pepper products tastings included.
  • Dinner included.

Day 3: Excursion ~ Riviera Dei Cedri, Scalea

  • Breakfast is served.
  • In the morning, we visit a citron tree plantation on the Rivieria dei Cedri. Included in the visit is a taste of citrons on a fruit farm that specializes in producing candied citrons and citron liqueur.
  • Lunch included.
  • In the afternoon we visit Scalea’s old town, and a 16th century Aragon Sighting tower.
  • Dinner included.

Day 4: Cooking Class 2

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Cooking Class 2: second hands- on cooking course, featuring a full menu menu.
  • Lunch follows with the foods prepared in class.
  • Afternoon free to explore on your own.
  • Dinner included.

Day 5: Cooking Class 3 & Visit Aieta

  • Breakfast is served.
  • In the morning, Cooking Class 3 featuring a full menu from appetizer to dessert.
  • Lunch follows on the foods prepared in class.
  • After lunch we visit the medieval village of Aieta.
  • Dinner included.

Day 6: Excursion ~ Rossano ‘Amarelli Liquorice’ & Vineyard Visit

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Full day excursion to Rossano with a visit to the Amarelli liquorice factory, the largest liquorice producer in the world. You’ll experience the transformation of a simple root into the black candy, liquour and more. Tastings included.
  • A traditional lunch is included.
  • In the afternoon, Vineyard Visit to the Librandi Vineyard where you will taste some of the most famous wines from the Librandi Cellars.
  • Dinner included.

Day 7: Free Day

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Free day. Take time to visit the towns and take in Calabria’s beauty on your own.
  • Dinner included.

Program Includes:

  • Eight days, seven nights accommodations in 3-star hotel, based on double occupancy.
  • Daily breakfast.
  • 3 cooking lessons, followed by lunch or dinner on the foods prepared in class.
  • 2 lunches in local restaurants.
  • 7 dinners served in our favorite local restaurant.
  • Tour of Diamante – City of Murals.
  • Riviera Dei Cedri Tour with Citron tasting.
  • Tour of Scalea’s old town.
  • Half Day Tour of Aieta.
  • Full Day excursion including visit to liquorice factory and visit to vineyard.
  • English speaking guide during all excursions.
  • Cooking Vacations’ welcome bag with chef’s apron and recipe booklet.
Program Prices

$2,795 per person, based on two guests.

For Single Guests: If you are traveling on your own, please call us for the best group price. We are happy to welcome you into an already scheduled group.

Check Availability

2021 Dates: This program is available throughout the year. You can check in and start your cooking program any day of the week. Rates are subject to change based on currency exchange. Call for updated rates. Airfare not included. Group transfers for any cooking tour or tours that include transfers, are for the group and are not private. Transfers before, after or to another destination outside of your cooking tour are not included in the program price. If you would like to add on a private transfer or transfers, let us know and we will send you pricing.