Join us in Rome’s countryside where locals celebrate seasons and Saints’ days with food, wine, and music festivals – and an impressive olive oil harvest with Signor Carlo and Chef Stella. This authentic experience, including hands-on cooking classes and a scenic tour, is set in one of the most peaceful villages in Italy. This village was home to my great grandfather, Costanzo, who 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.
Tie on your apron and join us in the kitchen to learn about the delicious local cuisine and our family traditions. Set in the heart of the Ciociaria region, 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.
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 love. My great grandfather was a contadino, farmer. He worked the land in the rhythm of the four seasons, and in November through December, he harvested the olives and made his extra virgin olive oil. Join us in the fall, as we share our family tradition during the olive harvest.
The Olive Oil Harvest & Pressing
Step in the footsteps of an ancient harvest and walk under olive trees that are over 1000 years old. Pick the olives, and visit the frantoio, olive mill – see the olives being pressed and bottled. Signor Carlo, an expert in the olive oil harvest, explains the history of the olive oil harvest and pressing. He brings you to the mill where the olives are cold-pressed into extra-virgin olive oil and shares tastings and discussions. You will learn about the organic olive oil growing process, its role in the Mediterranean diet, and how it’s used in the kitchen.
Signor Carlo and Chef Stella welcome you to the kitchen 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 cooking class.
Recipes include: Eggplant bites, stuffed eggplant, and zucchini with Mozzarella. Fresh pasta is endless – 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. Everyone enjoys the foods made together in the cooking class with local wine included.
The Roman Countryside
The village is not 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.
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.
Tour To The Ancient Villages of Gaeta, Sperlonga, Veroli & Aprino
The village’s Medieval past can be seen in its ancient towers, castle, churches and archways. Nearby villages include: Arpino, the motherland of the great orator Cicero; the Medieval village of Veroli, famous for its street artists and artisans; and Boville with its precious Giotto mosaics. Also in this are are beautiful monasteries including Monte Cassino. This region called Lazio, is set in the National Park of Monte Aurunci, making day trips to the seaside towns of Gaeta and Sperlonga, and Collepardo, Arpino, Anangi very easy.
Itinerary: 4 Days, 3 Nights
Day 1: Arrival, Lunch, Tour of Pico & 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: 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 and to the olive orchard, the frantoio, olive press with tastings.
- Following the olive mill tour, you will have lunch in the olive orchard. Following the olive oil visit tour, we return to the property for your cooking class. Everyone enjoys the food that was prepared in the cooking class. A toast of wine is included. Additional wine is available at a surcharge.
Day 3: Cooking Class 3
- Breakfast is served
- After breakfast and with your driver, you will experience our Food Lover’s Tour. Choose from either the buffalo mozzarella, ricotta & cheese tour and extra virgin olive oil tour, or a Cabernet and Cesanese wine tour.
- Following the tour, we stop at our favorite trattoria. Lunch is included. Wine is not included and is available at a surcharge.
- Return to the property. Tie on your apron for cooking class 3. Everyone enjoys the food prepared in the cooking class following with a toast of local wine included. Additional wine is 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.
- 4 days, 3 nights accommodations in a charming double 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 the piazza.
- 3 cooking classes with dinner following including the foods that were prepared in class. A toast of local red or white wine included. Extra wine available at a surcharge.
- Full day visit through the countryside, visit to the olive orchard, frantoio, oil press with tastings and discussions.
- 1 lunch in the olive orchard on the day of the olive oil visit.
- 1 Food Lover’s Tour: Choose between buffalo mozzarella, and olive oil or wine tour with tastings. Tours include a private driver.
- 1 local lunch at our favorite trattoria.
- Round trip transfers, from Isoletta train station to property.
- Cooking Vacations welcome bag with Chef’s apron and Prosecco toast.
$2,195 per person, based on two guests, and including all transfers and round trip transfers from Isoletta local train station on arrival and departure.
$2,495 per person, based on two guests, and including round trip transfers from Rome Airport to property on arrival and departure.
Transfer from Rome center or Rome Fuimicino Airport to the property are available, upon request.