A Culinary Quest in Vasto

The city of Vasto is one of Abruzzo’s many charming towns. It’s center is perched high on the hillside overlooking the Adriatic sea, and slopes downward to the coast, where fishermen have been harvesting from their wood “trabocchi” structures for centuries. Like much of this richly historical land, Vasto has roots that can be traced back millennia. During the Roman Empire is was a flourishing town known as Histonium, whose remains can be seen in the ruins, mosaics, and statuary that survive. During the medieval period it passed into the hands of a local lord who built the town walls, tower, and castle that make the city so distinctive. During the Spanish rule of southern Italy in the early 18th century, Vasto was again a vibrant and important town on Italy’s eastern coast. Today it is known for its pristine beaches, its centuries of history, and charming historical center, which features a number of interesting and important churches and buildings.

Abruzzo is where the seaside meets the mountains, and that is true also in its gastronomy. Local regional specialties range from wonderful pastas to the meats and cheese produced in the lush mountainous interior, to the fresh seafood fished from the Adriatic. You will have the chance to enjoy all of these and more during your cooking classes., which will be with different chefs and will feature local pastas and sauces, seafood recipes, and a wonderful pizza-making class.


Latest Review

I gave this trip 5 stars
Andrea
MA
It was possibly the best vacation I've ever had. Fabrizio, the owner, planned our days with great care and attention to detail. The trip had just the right mix of cooking/eating, walking, sightseeing and leisure time on our own. The group of 14 was just the right size and I lucked out with a bunch of folks who were interesting, lively and really fun. I highly recommend this trip.

Trip Details

Enjoy 3 hands-on cooking classes based on the season, among which:

  • homemade pastas and sauces
  • a fish-based class on a traditional ‘trabocco’ (weather permitting)
  • homemade pizza, ‘bruschette,’ and tiramisù


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Itinerary

Day One

Itinerary varies slightly week to week – please inquire with specific dates. Weather may force some excursions to be modified.

  • Arrival at Rome airport on your own. Meet the group transfer at 2:30 pm, and transfer to the ancient Roman town of Vasto, located right on the Adriatic Coast. Check in to your accommodations and time to relax.
  • Welcome dinner tonight in the center of town.
  • Overnight.

Day Two

  • Breakfast, followed by a morning cooking class focussing on homemade pastas and sauces based on seasonal ingredients.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts.
  • In the afternoon, explore the beautiful Loggia Amblingh, a promenade that overlooks the crescent-shaped coastline near Vasto. You will also explore the town’s medieval castle, towers, and alleyways, as well as the Cathedral and the town’s main piazza, named for the poet Gabriele Rossetti.
  • Time to explore the local artisan shops before dinner tonight in a local restaurant.
  • Overnight.

Day Three

  • Breakfast, and then off to the coast where, weather permitting, you will enjoy a cooking class on a “trabocco,” a typical Abruzzese fishing platform. Your host will show you how fishermen have been fishing from the trabocchi for centuries, and his wife will teach you some of her fish-based specialties. (When weather does not permit, and alternate excursion and lunch with be proposed.)
  • In the afternoon, stop at the enchanting abby of San Giovanni in Venere, which sits on a hill overlooking the coast and is surrounded by olive, orange, and pine groves.
  • Dinner in a traditional restaurant in Vasto.
  • Overnight.

Day Four

  • Breakfast and a day of exploration! Either your morning or your afternoon will be at leisure for exploring on your own. The rest of day will be occupied with a seasonal excursion: perhaps a light hike in one of Abruzzo’s national parks, a truffle hunt with a local truffle hunter and his dog, a gelato-making class, or a moonlight dinner on a “trabocco” overlooking the Adriatic Sea. (Note that the excursion is based on season, please inquire with specific dates to learn the exact itinerary for the day.)
  • Either lunch or dinner will be on your own, depending on the order of the days events.
  • Overnight.

Day Five

  • Breakfast and then head to a local farm where friends Dino and Pina will show you the art of sheep farming, and will teach you how they make Pecorino cheese. You can even milk a sheep if you’d like!
  • Enjoy a delicious lunch, including freshly made ricotta cheese, at the farm.
  • In the afternoon, visit the beautiful Roccascalegna Castle, known as “the castle in the sky.”
  • Dinner at a traditional restaurant in Vasto, and overnight.

Day Six

  • After breakfast, visit a family-run olive farm that has been producing top-quality olive oil for 3 generations. Your host Giovanni will share the secrets of this wonderful gastronomic product.
  • Next, visit an award-winning winery that sits between the mountains and a marine park, and enjoy a wine tasting with pairings of local products such as cheese and salami.
  • This afternoon, enjoy a cooking class featuring homemade pizza, as well as traditional bruschette and tiramisù. Dinner to follow.
  • Overnight.

Day Seven

  • Breakfast and group transfer to Rome’s Fiumicino airport (please plan on an afternoon flight).

Trip Details

Included in the 6-Night Trip

Accommodations

6 nights accommodation in 3* hotel

Food & Beverages

  • Daily breakfast
  • All lunches and dinners except for 1 (either lunch or dinner) on day 4
  • Local wine included with all included meals

Classes & Instructors

Enjoy 3 hands-on cooking classes based on the season, among which:

  • homemade pastas and sauces
  • a fish-based class on a traditional ‘trabocco’ (weather permitting)
  • homemade pizza, ‘bruschette,’ and tiramisù

Excursions

Excursions vary by season, but will include among the following:

  • A tour of Vasto with its promenade, castle, towers, cathedral, and piazza
  • A visit of a traditional ‘trabocco’ fishing platform (weather permitting)
  • A visit of the abby of San Giovanni in Venere
  • A seasonal excursion on day 4 (truffle hunt, visit to national park, etc.)
  • Dairy farm visit with cheese making
  • Roccascalegna Castle, the ‘castle in the sky’
  • Olive farm visit and winery visit with tastings

Transfer Details

  • Group arrival transfer from Rome FCO airport at 2:30pm, and departure transfers to Rome FCO Airport around 10:00am (please plan on an afternoon flight, or on staying an extra day in Rome).

Accommodation Information

Most weeks will have accommodations at the centrally located 3* Hotel San Marco. Recently renovated, this simple but comfortable hotel provides 18 rooms with updated en suite bathrooms, tiled floors, air conditioning, room safe, elevator, and WiFi. (Some weeks a comparable hotel may be proposed, please inquire.)

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You can also choose to upgrade to a lovely boutique residence located in the heart of Vasto. Originally an 18th-century mansion, it has been renovated into an upscale B&B with 5 bedrooms, located on the Amblingh promenade. (If unavailable an comparable accommodation will be proposed.)

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Pricing & Tour Dates

Looking for tour date information?


High Season Pricing:
Easter week, June 16-July 6

6-night Program
US$2140 per person based on double occupancy
  • Add US$500 per person to upgrade to seaview room at historical residence

30% deposit due to confirm booking.
Balance payment due 60 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!

No single occupancy supplement in 3* accommodation.
Single supplement in upgraded residence: US$930 (includes upgrade cost)

Mid Season Pricing:
May 15-June 10, September, and October

6-night Program
US$2010 per person based on double occupancy
  • Add US$500 per person to upgrade to seaview room at historical residence

30% deposit due to confirm booking.
Balance payment due 60 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!

No single occupancy supplement in 3* accommodation.
Single supplement in upgraded residence: US$930 (includes upgrade cost)

Low Season Pricing:
February, November, and December

6-night Program
US$1815 per person based on double occupancy
  • Add US$500 per person to upgrade to seaview room at historical residence

30% deposit due to confirm booking.
Balance payment due 60 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!

No single occupancy supplement in 3* accommodation.
Single supplement in upgraded residence: US$930 (includes upgrade cost)


Tour Dates

Available select weeks February through early December. Other weeks also available on request – please inquire!

2019
Feb. 17-23
April 3-12 (special 9-night itinerary, $3115 per person, please inquire for details)
April 18-24 (Easter week)
May 19-25
June 2-8
June 16-22
June 30-July 6
Sept. 8-14
Sept. 22-28
Oct 2-11 (special 9-night itinerary, $3115 per person, please inquire for details)
Oct. 13-19
Nov. 3-9
Dec. 8-14

Pricing & Dates

Class Pricing

Reviews

I gave this trip 5 stars
Andrea
MA
It was possibly the best vacation I've ever had. Fabrizio, the owner, planned our days with great care and attention to detail. The trip had just the right mix of cooking/eating, walking, sightseeing and leisure time on our own. The group of 14 was just the right size and I lucked out with a bunch of folks who were interesting, lively and really fun. I highly recommend this trip.
No rating given with this review
One of the best vacation experiences we have ever had. Our hosts seemed to go above and beyond. The accommodations were great. Fabrizio had activities planned all day and into the evenings. We were busy the entire time whether we were cooking or getting a tour of the farm or the town. Fabrizio has planned out full days to give you the true cultural and food experience of Vasto. The experience was exceptional and I will be recommending it to anyone who will listen. They were even kind enough to deal with my family's difficult allergies of gluten, corn, cow's milk and peanuts and had work arounds for it all. Court, Canada