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Nonna's Cucina In The Roman Countryside™

Olive Oil Harvest & Pressing ~ 4 Day

Cooking Tours
Prices & Dates

In the hilltop town of Pico, located south of Rome the locals celebrate the four seasons with an array of food, wine, song and festivals throughout the year, and their Olive Oil Harvest is one of them.

Learn the art of the Olive Oil Harvest along with local cooking in the homeland of my family and birthplace of my great grandfather. He was named after saint Costanzo, the patron saint of lovers. His name was Costanzo Caparrelli. This charming medieval village sits on a high hilltop in Lazio, and is just one hour south of Rome. The word Pico means peak or high point in Italian, so you can only imagine the view!

My great grandfather was a contadino, farmer, like all the people of Pico. He worked the land in the rhythm of the four seasons and in November through December he harvested the olives and made his olive oil. We share our family tradition with you in the season of the olive harvest.

The Olive Oil Harvest & Pressing

Step in the footsteps of an ancient harvest referred to by Virgil, walk under Itrana olive trees that are over 1000 years old. Pick the fruits and visit the frantoio to see the olives being pressed. Signor Carlo, a native of Pico and expert in the art of the olive oil harvest explains the history of his precious olive groves native to Pico and considered one of the best in Italy. He brings you to the mill where the olives are cold-pressed into extra-virgin olive oil and shares tastings and discussions. Carlo tells the importance of his organic growing process, its role in the Mediterranean diet and shows how it is used in the Chef ’s kitchen.

Cooking Classes

Ciociara Cuisine

The Ciociara cuisine includes fresh pasta, such as fettuccine and gnocchi served with wild mushrooms like porcini and signorine, asparagus with sun-ripened tomatoes, broccoli rapini, polenta and sausage, farm-raised tripe in red sauce, grilled sausage with fennel, lamb, and wild pork and always using the local extra virgin first-cold-pressed olive oil that is made in Pico. It’s the Casereccia Ciociara cuisine, and you will only find it in Pico.

During your Olive Oil Harvest Tour, Chef Stella and Signor Carlo welcome you into their kitchen with three hands-on cooking classes that use seasonal, local products with regional recipes. You will make an antipasto, pasta or risotto, a secondo, and dessert. She will lead you through her favorite Ciociaria menus, turning local seasonal ingredients into hearty regional lunches and dinners. Learn how to make hearty soups, homemade pastas & gnocchi, delicious vegetables, fish, meat, vegetarian alternatives and desserts!

Mushrooms are gathered in the nearby hills, Marzoline cheeses are produced by the local artisans and olive oil is made in the hills. You will learn that simple is best in Italian cooking, and maybe even discover why the locals here look so good and live so long!

Her recipes are derived from age-old peasant dishes and include her special personal interpretation like mezze maniche pasta with eggplant, olives, cherry tomatoes with our home produced olive oil; light potato gnocchi with locally gathered porcini mushrooms; and easy to create veal involtini with carrot velouté. Homemade desserts such as hazelnut biscotti, apple cake and tarts made with a selection of homemade preserves and fruit in wine are some of the precious recipes you will learn to make. Everyone enjoys the foods made together in class following around the table with Stella, Signore Carlo and the family, with local wine included.

Pico

Pico is not marked on most maps and it’s not on the tourist track, however it has always been a strategic place throughout time, from the ancient Romans to the Americans during World War II. During invasions and war times, its people communicated with smoke by day and fire night by night from its high point. Its people are referred to as Picani and pre-date the Romans. Nestled at the foot of the National Park in the Aurunci Mountains, it was once part of Campania. Today it’s in the province of Frosinone, and is called Ciociaria in local dialect.

The ancient Romans had written about Pico thousands of years ago. They noted that the salted sea air that jetted in from Sperlonga, touched the wild green grass on Pico’s slopes and created air with “pure oxygen.” The Romans had documented this as a recipe for longevity. In fact, the average local Picani live to be well over 100 years old. Scientists and researchers also confirm the longevity of the Picani, due to this combo of air and salt, spring water, slow pace of life and Mediterranean diet. National Geographic recently wrote about this phenomenon of longevity as well.

From its green hills, one can almost reach out and touch the Abbey of Montecassino. Once inside the village there is a small world to discover, including the Borgo, a Medieval Castle and bell tower that date back to the eleventh century; and three churches including the tenth-century San Antonino, eleventh-century Santa Maria, and sixteenth-century San Rocco. Tommaso Landolfi, the great Italian writer lived in this region and wrote many books and stories on live, love and war.

Accommodations

The property sits on a cobblestone footpath that dates back to the 11th century. Step in to this cozy palazzo that is elegantly decorated with country antiques that your host, Signore Carlo has collected over time. Each room reflects well-thought planning as modern comforts blend with old world treasures, original tile floors pave the way, wood beam ceilings add a country touch and family carefully decorate each part of the property. Each bedroom is furnished with pristine furnishings, comfy bedding and all the modern amenities one could imagine. Each bedroom, complete with private bath has been named accordingly, Bellavista, Le Fornacelle, L’Antico Portale, and the Bishop’s Rooms even boast original frescoes and watercolors. Breakfast is served daily. Step out your door onto the worn cobblestones of bygones past and wander through this hillside town which is a quiet retreat for the soul.

Nonno’s Homeland & The Ancient Villages Of Gaeta, Sperlonga, Veroli & Aprino

The village has a rich Medieval heritage, carefully preserving its remarkable antique walls and towers, and you’ll be able to visit its castle, antique churches, and admire the stone archways which are among the many treasures to be discovered while strolling though the village’s alleyways.

Add on a day or two and visit fascinating Arpino, the motherland of the great orator Cicero (the Roman philosopher); the medieval village of Veroli, famous for its street artists and artisans; and Boville with its precious Giotto mosaics. Visit local castles and monasteries, take trips to ancient villages within the National Park of Monte Aurunci and soak up the beauty of the seaside towns of Gaeta and Sperlonga. You may also visit Collepardo, Arpino, Anagni and the famous Montecassino nearby.

Itinerary: 4 Days, 3 Nights

Day 1: Arrival, Lunch, Tour of Pico & Cooking Class 1

    • Arrive at property.
 Enjoy a Welcome Cocktail while your host, Signore Carlo explains your itinerary.
    • Lunch at the property: introduction to Local & Typical Products. Additional wines and beverages at a surcharge.
    • Walking Tour of Pico: the medieval village, the Farnese Castle, the Churches, Brief History of Second World War in Pico and the Battle of Monte Cassino, the arrival of the American troops and the Liberation, food and Gastronomic Traditions.
    • Later afternoon: Meet the Chef and tie on your apron for your Cooking Class 1 in the kitchen to learn and prepare a full menu. Dinner follows and everyone joins together to eat the foods prepared in class together.

Day 2: Visit To Olive Orchard, The Frantoio-Press, Lunch In the Garden, Tastings & Discussions

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Start your day off early for a tour through the countryside. You will continue on to the olive orchard, the Frantoio, or oil press with tastings and discussions.
  • We stop a Pranzo Contadino, a farmer’s lunch in the olive orchard. Following the olive oil visit tour, we return to the kitchen for your first hands-on cooking class. Everyone eats together and enjoys the food that was made in class. Wine is available at a surcharge.
  • Return to the property. Relax, have a prosecco and get ready for your Cooking Class 2.

Day 3: Cooking Class 3

  • Breakfast is served
  • After breakfast set out on your Food Lover’s Tour.  Choose between Buffalo Mozzarella, Ricotta & Cheese Tour; Extra Virgin Olive Oil Tour; or Cabarnet & Cesanese Wine Tour.
  • Enjoy lunch at our favorite trattoria. Lunch is included, wine and beverages are available at a surcharge.
  • Tie on your apron and get ready for your Cooking Class 3. Dinner follows and everyone eats the foods prepared in class together. Wine available at a surcharge.

Day 4: 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

  • 4 days, 3 nights accommodations in a charming double room with private en-suite bath, based on double occupancy.
  • 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, Brief History of Second World War in Pico and the Battle of Monte Cassino, the arrival of the American troops and the Liberation, food and Gastronomic Traditions.
  • 3 cooking classes with dinner following with the foods that were prepared in class. A toast of local red or white wine included. Extra wine available at a surcharge.
  • 1 full day visit through the countryside, visit to the orchard, Frantoio, oil press with tastings and discussions.
  • 1 Pranzo Contadino lunch in the olive orchard on the day of the visit.
  • 1 Food Lover’s Tour: Choose between Buffalo Mozzarella, Olive Oil or Wine Tour. Transfers included.
  • 1 local lunch at a typical trattoria.
  • Round trip transfers, from Isoletta Train Station to property or Round trip transfers from Rome Airport to property. *Please see price options below.
Program Price

$2,050 per person, based on double occupancy including all transfers and round trip transfers from Isoletta Local Train Station on arrival & departure. All taxes and Italian VAT included.  $700 Single Supplement.  *This program price includes round trip transfers from Isoletta, the local train station.

$2,395 per person, based on double occupancy including round trip transfers from Rome Airport. All taxes and Italian VAT included. $770 Single Supplement.  *This program price includes round trip transfers from the Rome Airport.

Check Availability

2019 Dates: This program is available in October and November. 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.