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The Roman Countryside™

Mountains, Sea & the Island of Ponza ~ 6 Days

Tie on your apron and sail to the Island of Ponza!  Join us for an all inclusive Cooking Vacations with a boat tour to the Island of Ponza in our Mountains, Sea & the Island of Ponza – set in a Medieval winery – with Signor Carlo and Chef Stella.  Get ready for hands-on cooking classes, cultural tours and wine tastings in this village that was home to my great grandfather, Costanzo.  My grandfather left Italy and sailed to New York for a new life.  My family continues cooking and welcoming guests in this beautiful village filled with artisan products, farm-to-table produce, and home made extra virgin olive oil and wine.  This Mountains, Sea & the Island of Ponza experience features traditional cooking classes Rome with the region’s best wine.

Discover south of rome delicious local cuisine and our family traditions.  Set in the heart of the Ciociaria region – between castles and hills – this charming Medieval town is known for Marzolina, a special cheese made only in March because that is when the cows graze on the spring green grass.  Enjoy the most precious porcini mushrooms, artisan salami, brick oven made bread and delicious products made right here.

The quaint village overlooks miles of majestic green hills and mountains – with the Roman boarder to its left and the hills of Monte Cassino to its right.  The village is home to a 10th century castle, an ancient church to the patron saint, San Antonino, a stone tower to protect against invaders and wild olive trees.  There are endless cobblestone streets – no cars allowed – and a never-ending sense of peace.

The village lies in the breast of the Aurunci Mountains, next to Abbeys of Montecassino, Casamari, and near the grottos of Pastena, making it a convenient location for trekking, hiking and visiting nearby Sperlonga and Gaeta.  Just one hour south of Rome and one hour north of Naples, makes this village a perfect destination to see the nearby areas.  This authentic cooking and wine tour will immerse you into the food and wine culture.  Enjoy history, art, culture and delicious food and wine in this unforgettable cooking adventure in Rome’s beautiful countryside with our family!!!

Regional Cooking

Signor Carlo and Chef Stella welcome you to the kitchen in Cooking Classes Rome where you will prepare four hands-on cooking classes during your stay using seasonal local products from the local garden and purveyors – my family even owns a butcher shop.  In each cooking class, you will use  seasonal and local products, while learning tricks of the kitchen and techniques.  Learn how to prepare antipasto, pasta or risotto, main courses and desserts.  Signor Carlo and Chef Stella lead you through the preparation, slicing, dicing, baking and cooking – turning local ingredients into delicious lunches and dinners.  Learn how to make hearty soups, fresh pastas- gnocchi and ravioli, vegetables, fish, meat, vegetarian alternatives and desserts!  Wine is included at each Roman cooking class.

Recipes include:  Eggplant bites, stuffed eggplant, and zucchini with Mozzarella.  Fresh handmade pasta is endless – there’s even a pasta work shop Rome with classics such as mezze maniche tossed with eggplant, olives, cherry tomatoes, or gnocchi and porcini mushrooms.  Main courses such as:  veal involtini with carrot velouté, fish with tomato and basil or grilled and stuffed chicken with cheese and herbs.  Desserts are endless, but we’ll name a few:  almond biscotti, apple cake and tarts made with a selection of homemade preserves or semi-freddo, a creamy ice cream cake. Truffle  cooking class Rome are also available in season.  Signor Carlo offers Rome Wine Tasting too – take your glass and join us in wine classes Rome with our wine expert.  Everyone enjoys the foods made together in the Roman cooking class with local wine included.

Rome Countryside Accommodations

Set on a cobblestone footpath, the property dates back to the 11th century and has been refurbished respecting the original architecture with all of the modern comforts to make your stay perfect.  Step in to this cozy palazzo that is elegantly decorated with country antiques and art. Each room has been decorated blending comfortable beds with beautiful bedding and decorated with a collection of art from Signor Carlo.  Old Word treasures such as original tile floors, wood beam ceilings add a country touch giving a feeling of times past.  Each bedroom has its own ensuite private bath.  Breakfast is served daily and includes breads, cakes, eggs and jams hand made in the kitchen along with coffee, tea, juices, fresh fruit and yogurt.  Conveniently located close to the piazza, after breakfast, you can step out onto the worn cobblestones of bygones past and wander through this beautiful hillside town.

Sperlonga and Gaeta

The coastal towns of Sperlonga and Gaeta, just ten miles apart from each other, are part of the Ulysses Riviera, a breathtaking landscape comprised of clear blue waters, sandy beaches, cliffs, caves, and Ancient Roman archeological sites. Being close to the sea offers a variety of mouthwatering seafood dishes, including zuppa di cozze, a soup made of mussels from the Gulf of Gaeta); fritti misti di mare, a mix of deep-fried tender seafood; and seppie con carciofi, cuttlefish and artichokes. In addition to its seafood, a culinary gem of the area is its famous cheeses, namely its mozzarella di bufala, which is made in the nearby Campania cheese factories. Enjoy these delights as you walk down Sperlonga’s whitewashed lanes that are lined with restaurants, cafes, and boutiques. Relax and take in the atmosphere at the Piazza della Repubblica in the town square, or visit the nearby Villa Tiberio, the one-time residence of Roman Emperor Tiberius, close to the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Sperlonga. Travel to Gaeta and you’ll see the town is dominated by Monte Orlando, a rocky headland that towers over the surrounding area and contains numerous monuments such as the Mausoleum of Lucius Plancus Munazio and the Sanctuary of Montagna Spaccata. In addition to its gorgeous beaches and the bright, bold colors of its architecture, the town features the Cathedral Basilica of Gaeta, its main church, which boasts a 13th century bell tower.

Veroli, Casamari Abbey, and Arpino

Veroli, a town of artisans and craftsmen, is located right in the heart of Ciociaria. The village’s historic churches, such as the Basilica Concattedrale di Santa Maria Salmone with its exquisite interior, are a highlight matched only by its local olive oil. Veroli even hosts a festival every March for the crespella, an Italian oven baked pancake fried in olive oil. Another baked good staple of Veroli is ciambella all’anice, a golden brown anise-flavored bread resembling a crown. Nearby Veroli is the Casamari Abbey, which dates back to the 11th century and is regarded as one of the most important examples of Gothic Cistercian architecture in Italy. A monastic presence of over 200 monks still reside there to this day. Further east is the town of Arpino, the home of ancient Roman consul Marcus Tullius Cicero. Nestled high in the hills, Arpino’s beauty lies as much in its lively atmosphere and genuine spirit as it does in its colorful buildings at the Piazza Municipio and its main church the Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo. Arpino’s main attraction is the Civitavecchia di Arpino, an acropolis, which offers the best view of the town. Arpino has its fair share of culinary traditions, but you will sample the delicious truffles that are found in the rolling hills that surround the area.

Ponza

Take in the beauty and mystery of the Pontine Islands on a scenic cruise around the isle of Ponza. Surrounded by a clear blue sea, Ponza’s comune is unmissable with its warmly-colored buildings and bevy of ships in port. The village shares its precious land with a sundry of stunning beaches and coves, including the stunning Grotti di Pilato, a system of man-made tunnels and pools constructed by the Romans. Enjoy sunning, swimming, and snorkeling around Ponza, as well as lunch aboard the ship. Ponza’s local cuisine holds a treasure trove of seafood dishes including: Calamari ripieni (stuffed squid), alici marinate (marinated anchovies), tonno sott’olio (tuna in oil), spaghetti con le vongole (spaghetti with clams), and linguine all’aragosta (lobster linguine). Ponza is not without its desserts, such as zeppole (fried dough balls with a creamy filling), casatiello (a stuffed bread prepared around Easter), and struffoli (deep fried honey dough balls). The cruise will also take you to Palamora, an uninhabited island that famed oceanographer Jacques Costeau appointed “The most beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea.” Swim among its natural grottos and cliffs that are hued in the enchanting Mediterranean colors of the Ponzian Archipelago.

Rome Countryside Accommodations

Set on a cobblestone footpath, the property dates back to the 11th century and has been refurbished respecting the original architecture with all of the modern comforts to make your stay perfect.  Step in to this cozy palazzo that is elegantly decorated with country antiques and art. Each room has been decorated blending comfortable beds with beautiful bedding and decorated with a collection of art from Signor Carlo.  Old Word treasures such as original tile floors, wood beam ceilings add a country touch giving a feeling of times past.  Each bedroom has its own ensuite private bath.  Breakfast is served daily and includes breads, cakes, eggs and jams hand made in the kitchen along with coffee, tea, juices, fresh fruit and yogurt.  Conveniently located close to the piazza, after breakfast, you can step out onto the worn cobblestones of bygones past and wander through this beautiful hillside town.

Itinerary: 6 Days, 5 Nights

Day 1: Arrival & Cooking Class 1

  • Morning – arrive at the property.
  • Enjoy a welcome cocktail.  Meet Signor Carlo as he introduces you to the village and your cooking program.
  • Lunch at the property with an introduction to local products. Additional wines and beverages at a surcharge.
  • Walking Tour of the village: including a visit through the Medieval village, to the Farnese Castle, the churches, along with a brief history of the village during World War II.  Also, food notes on the local cuisine.
  • Later afternoon:  Tie on your apron for cooking class 1.  You will prepare a full course traditional menu.  Dinner follows and everyone joins enjoys the food made in the cooking class.  A toast of wine included.  Extra wine available at a surcharge.

 

Day 2: Gaeta, Sperlonga, Grotta di Tiberio and Museo Romano; Cooking Class 2

  • Breakfast is served.
  • After breakfast and with your driver, depart for Gaeta to visit the town’s historic center. Gaeta is a beautiful seaside town set on the Ulysses Riviera, a land of myths and heroes like Ulysses and Aeneas – known for its seafood and delicious buffalo mozzarella and ricotta cheeses.
  • Lunch is included in a trattoria in the Gaeta.
  • Following lunch, the tour continues to the town of Sperlonga. In Sperlonga, visit the the piazza, Tiberius’ villa, or the Ancient Roman museum.
  • Following your tour, return to the property for cooking class 2.  Following the cooking class, everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared in the class.  A toast of wine included.  Extra wine available at a surcharge.

 

Day 3: Visit to Veroli, Casamari, and Arpino ~ Cooking Class 3

  • Breakfast is served
  • After breakfast and with your driver, depart for a tour to Veroli. Visit the town and historic center with its many churches and artisans.
  • Lunch at a trattoria in Veroli, wine not included and available at a surcharge.
  • After lunch, transfer to Casamari Abbey to visit the centuries old monastery.
  • The tour continues to Arpino, the city of famed orator Cicero and home of the incredible archaeological site of Civitavecchia and its Acropolis.
  • Return to the property, tie on your apron and get ready for your cooking class 3. Dinner follows and everyone enjoys the foods that were made in the cooking class together. A toast of wine included.  Extra wine available at a surcharge.

 

Day 4: Ponza and Palmarola Boat Excursion (Except in August)

  • Breakfast is served.
  • After breakfast and with your driver, leave for the coastal city Terracina, where you will depart by fast jet ship (only 75 minutes) to Ponza in the Pontine Islands. The 5-hour boat excursion will offer a panoramic view of Ponza and nearby Palmarola, swim stops in beautiful locales, sunning, snorkeling, and lunch served onboard. Ponza boat tour ticket included.
  • Ship features include: armchair seats, air conditioning, bar service, stabilized navigation for more comfort, and ladder ascent from the sea during swimming stops.
  • Return to the village in late afternoon.  Enjoy local dinner at our favorite trattoria around the village.

 

Day 5: Anagni, Piglio, Alatri Wine Tour ~ Cooking Class 4

  • Breakfast is served.
  • After breakfast, depart for Anagni, a favorite residence of the Borgia, Colonna, and Cosini families. You’ll visit the town’s Cathedral, its crypt and the historic center.
  • Transfer to Piglio for the Cesanese del Piglio D.O.C.G. Wine Tour. Enjoy a tasting of traditional local wines served with delicious local products.
  • Continue on to Alatri to visit the town’s Acropolis surrounded by megalithic walls and its historic churches.
  • Return to the village in the evening for your cooking class. Dinner follows and everyone enjoys the foods that were made in the cooking class together. A toast of wine included.  Extra wine available at a surcharge.

 

Day 6: Check Out & Arrivederci!

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Check out.
  • Arrivederci e a presto!

Note: This sample itinerary schedule may vary due to inclement weather, saints days; festivals. All activities, in the event of rescheduling, are always included during the week.

Program Includes:

  • 6 days, 5 nights accommodations in a charming room with private en-suite bath, based on two guests.
  • Daily breakfast and maid service.
  • Lunch at the property on your first day.
  • Walking Tour of Pico: the Medieval village, the Farnese Castle, the churches and piazza.
  • 4 lunches in traditional trattorias with wine and beverages not included.
  • 4 cooking classes, a toast of local red or white wine included.
  • 4 dinners at the property, with the dishes cooked and prepared during the class. Extra wine available at a surcharge.
  • 1 local dinner at our favorite Trattoria, around Pico.
  • Excursion to Terracina, Sperlonga, Grotta di Tiberio and Roman Museum with English speaking guide, lunch included.
  • Excursion to Veroli, Casamari, and Arpino, English speaking guide included.
  • 1 full-day Special Boat Tour to Ponza and Palmarola islands, boat tour ticket, car and driver.
  • Excursion to Anagni, Piglio, and Alatri with English speaking guide; wine tasting and sample of local products included.
  • Reserved entrance to sites and monuments, entrance tickets not included and payable at the door.
  • Excursion with driver for all the 4 excursions indicated in the program and Ponza boat tour ticket.
  • Excursion with driver for 2 transfers from and to Rome on arrival and on departure (on request and at an extra cost).
Program Price

$4,495 per guest based on 2 guests in a classic room with view, including driver and tour guide for all excursions.

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

2023 Dates: This program is available all year round. 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.