Italian Cooking Vacation in Abruzzo

A view of the palazzo that is your home during your cooking vacation in Abruzzo.Abruzzo is an unspoiled, authentic part of Italy situated due east of Rome on the Adriatic coast, and is a perfect spot for an Italian cooking vacation. The region boasts miles of seaside and pristine beaches, medieval villages perched on hilltops and nestled in valleys, and natural wonders in its famous parks. Indeed, a full third of the region is protected parklands full of lush forests, majestic mountains, and charming towns. Your home for our fabulous cooking vacations in Abruzzo is the town of Carunchio, an ancient borgo perched on the top of a hill in southern Abruzzo.

A successful truffle hunt in Abruzzo.Situated at the top of Carunchio is the restored palazzo that will be your home during your Abruzzo cooking holiday. Owner Massimo left a job in corporate America to return to his homeland and provide an authentic and unforgettable culinary vacation for his clients. As a result, Massimo has created a lovely small hotel in the middle of Abruzzo complete with a gourmet restaurant and a charming, separate teaching kitchen for the cooking classes. The result is one of our best Italy food and wine tours.

One of Massimo’s passions is wine, and during your stay in Abruzzo you will enjoy one of the most famous of central Italian wines, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, during vineyard tours and a wine tasting, and will learn how to pair the wines with traditional Abruzzese food.

Pasta "alla chitarra," a specialty of the Abruzzo region.Abruzzo combines some of the finest of traditional Italian products such as cured prosciutto and salami, sheep’s milk cheese, and homemade pastas, with fresh seasonal produce. You will discover how this has created a regional cuisine that is both simple and full of natural flavors.

The natural landscape of Abruzzo (mountains to coast) means access to both wonderful meats and fresh seafood that you can taste (and cook!) during our cooking vacations in Abruzzo. Your cooking lessons will explore healthy Mediterranean cuisine, homemade pastas and sauces, and mouth-watering desserts.

Latest Review

I gave this trip 5 stars
Trip taken October 2018
This was our first cooking school experience and our host Massimo did a superb job. Everything was well organized and enjoyable. From the time he met us at the airport until he made final arrangements for our departure our experiences were delightful, educational, and fascinating. Massimo, Sheryl, and Dino were our chef instructors. They encouraged everyone to participate, and expertly guided us in the preparation of numerous dishes. We will highly recommend that our friends enjoy this program. Thanks to the International Kitchen for making arrangements for our participation in the program.

Sapori d'Abruzzo Cooking Tour Details

Your amazing Abruzzo cooking tour will take place in a small, authentic Italian village. You will discover the authentic cuisine of Abruzzo on this Italian food and wine tour, including such traditional pastas as pasta alla chitarra, gnocchi, cavatelli, and regional “peasant” dishes that have been made for centuries.

Abruzzo Cooking Vacation Itinerary

Discover our day-by-day itinerary, during which you can experience one of the most authentic cooking vacations in Italy during our Abruzzo culinary tours. Please note that some weeks may take advantage of local festivals or the weather and the itinerary may be modified accordingly. 

A view of the palazzo that is your home during your cooking vacation in Abruzzo.Day One

  • Meet the arrivals transfer at 1:00 pm at the Rome airport, then head across the beautiful Central Apennine mountains directly to the Palazzo in Abruzzo where you will be staying. The drive is about 3 1/2 hours.
  • In the evening you will attend a multi-course welcome dinner to help you get acquainted and settled in.

A cooking class during your cooking holiday in Abruzzo.Day Two

  • Your morning will start with a delicious Italian breakfast.
  • Next, head out for a visit to an award-winning olive farm and sample a variety of olive oils. You will walk through the olive grove, learn how the olives are harvested, and see how they are processed into extra virgin cold pressed olive oil. You will also have the opportunity to purchasen some of this amazing olive oil to take home.
  • Return to the Palazzo for a short break, then start your first hands-on cooking class to explore the basic ingredients of Abruzzo cuisine. You will create one of the scrumptious appetizers known in the region, a main course based on vegetables, and a delightful dessert. The theme for this class is quick and healthy homemade meals, recipes, and techniques, which you will be able to reproduce at home. Afterward, dine on these tasty creations in traditional Italian style, slowly and in good company!

Pasta "alla chitarra," a specialty of the Abruzzo region.Day Three

  • Breakfast at the Palazzo.
  • This morning’s class will focus on how much fun making pasta at home can be, in a variety of colors and shapes. Experienced chefs will teach you all their pasta-making tricks so that your pasta turns out great every time, with the pasta of choice in the area being cavatelli.
  • After lunching on your creations and taking an afternoon break, it is time for a wine pairing class with Massimo, owner of the Palazzo and a certified sommelier. You will be sampling a few great Abruzzo wines, then learn how to pair them with food and wine.
  • The evening will be filled with another extraordinary multi-course dinner.
  • Dinner at the palazzo and overnight.

Visiting a trabocco fishing hut during our cooking vacations in Abruzzo.Day Four

  • After breakfast, head to the Adriatic Coast. You will enjoy a guided tour of Vasto and its historical center, and you will then have some free time to do some shopping or stop by a bar for a cappuccino.
  • Depending on the season, you may have a short sightseeing tour of the coast’s unique “Trabocco” fishing houses, which very old fishing huts perched in the middle of the sea. If the weather and the season permit it, you may have a fishing experience at the Trabocco – a very special treat.
  • Shoe shopping is very popular in Italy, and you will find a huge selection in the local boutiques and outlets, along with lingerie, jewelry, and more. You will then relax at the best restaurant in town, where you will enjoy a seafood sampling feast.

Enjoying homemade gelato during your culinary tour of Italy.Day Five

  • Breakfast at the palazzo.
  • Today you will learn some recipes of the old world, known locally as “peasant food.” While it used to be the food of the poveri, it is now considered some of the most authentic regional food. For dessert, learn to make the best almond biscotti, with an Abruzzo twist.
  • In the afternoon you are free to walk around town savoring the peaceful environment in the small village of Carunchio, or you may enjoy a hike on a trail close by. For an additional fee, you may instead choose to arrange to have a massage in the spa treatment room, or enjoy a short ride to a local winery for a tour and tasting. If in season, truffle hunting may also be an offered option (May 20th to September 20th, if weather permits).
  • Dinner at the palazzo and overnight.

Traditional caciocavallo cheese.Day Six

  • Breakfast.
  • Next, get ready for another unique excursion – a tour to Agnone in the region of Molise, where you can watch old-world production of different cheeses like mozzarella, ricotta, and caciocavallo, a gourmet version of provolone. After the tour of the cheese company, you will have the opportunity to purchase some of this extraordinary cheese to bring back to your home.
  • Next, visit a historic artisan bell foundry to learn about each phase of manufacturing these unique bells, which are still created for Vatican City.
  • Lunch will be gourmet street food, a local sandwich paired with a fine Italian beer.
  • After arriving back at the Palazzo, you will learn how to make pizza with a variety of vegetables, meats, and cheeses – in the Abruzzo way. Create the pizza dough, top it with many fresh ingredients, and carefully place it into an artisan wood-fired oven; the result is a crunchy, thin-crusted pizza. Taste and discover how these ingredients are a big part of the Abruzzese cuisine.

Day Seven

  • Following an early breakfast, finish any last minute shopping in the town and return transfer to the Rome airport.

Sapori d'Abruzzo Cooking Tour Details

Included in the 6-Night Abruzzo Cooking Vacation Package


6 nights in a beautiful, restored private ‘palazzo.’

Food & Beverages

  • All meals included, with local red wine (white wine is avaiable for purchase)

Classes & Instructors

Your four cooking lessons will be led by the wonderful chef of the Palazzo, Dino Paganelli. Dino is a native Abruzzese who graduated from the top cookign school in Abruzzo. He is a wonderful, patient teacher who will lead you on your exploration of Abruzzese cuisine.


  • Olive oil press
  • Adriatic Coast and trabocco fishing houses (weather permitting)
  • Agnone with cheese producer visit
  • Bell foundry
  • Shopping

Transfer Details

  • Roundtrip group transfers from Rome airport at pre-arranged time, with pickup around 1:00pm.
  • Departure transfer from Abruzzo after breakfast, please plan your flight accordingly.
  • If the transfer times necessitate an overnight stay in Rome, we would be happy to assist you in making arrangements.
  • Transfers are also possible from Pescara (please inquire).

Not Included

  • White wine with meals (local red wine is included)
  • Drinks outside of meal times
  • Souvenirs
  • Gratuities

Accommodation Information

In a small hillside town near the Apennine mountains sits the lovely Palazzo that will be your home. Your host started the restoration of the palazzo in 2002, and the work continued until it resulted in a wonderful boutique hotel of just 10 rooms. The residence features a gourmet restaurant and stunning panoramic views of the valley and countryside.



Pricing & Dates of Cooking Holidays in Abruzzo, Italy

Find pricing and dates for our authentic cooking vacations in Abruzzo below, and contact us to start planning your Italian cooking holiday.

Abruzzo Cooking Vacation 2024 Pricing:
April through November

6-night Program

US$2750 per person based on double occupancy

  • Add US$500 for single occupancy (use of a double room by 1 person)

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

Tour Dates

Our cooking vacations in Abruzzo are available mid-April through October, Sunday to Saturday, April to mid-November. Please inquire for updated availability!

Scheduled weeks follow, but please inquire for availability.

May 5-11 – 3 Rooms Left
May 12-18 – 3 Rooms Left
June 9-15 – 2 Rooms Left
June 16-22
July 14-20 – Sold Out
July 21-27 – Sold Out
July 28-August 3 – 6 Rooms Left
Aug 4-10
Sept 1-7 – Sold Out
Oct 13-19  – Sold Out
Oct 20-26 – 4 Rooms Left
Oct 27-Nov 2
Don’t see the week you want? Please inquire about additional weeks.



We Can Help Plan Your Best Cookery Holiday in Abruzzo, Italy!

Enjoying our cooking vacations in Abruzzo Italy.
We can help you bask in the beauty of unspoiled, authentic Abruzzo during your Italian cooking vacation. Come enjoy cooking courses that take advantage of Abruzzo’s natural landscape, where the coast provides access to wonderful fresh seafood, its mountains are home to succulent meats, and its terrain produces the well-known Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine. Contact us today to plan your Abruzzo cooking tour and experience the trip of a lifetime! Contact Us

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FAQ about Cooking Holidays in Abruzzo, Italy

What is Abruzzo traditional cuisine famous for?

Abruzzo cuisine is considered some of the purest of Italian regional cuisines. The region was relatively isolated for centuries due to the largest tracts of unpopulated mountains and park lands resting between it and other regions. This resulted in a unique and well preserved local cuisine that draws on the presence of the sea, mountains, and plains. It is known for its pastas, meats in the interior, and seafood along the coast.  It is also known for its full-bodied red wine, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.

What to do in the Abruzzo region?

The interior of Abruzzo is full of national parks and nature preserves, making it a wonderful place to hike and explore. The coast has miles of pristine beaches to enjoy, as well as its iconic fishing huts (trabocchi), restaurants, and shops. And there are numerous hilltop towns that date back to the Middle Ages and Renaissance. 

What is Abruzzese pizza?

Abruzzese pizza is a rustic type of tart made with thin pastry and filled with any number of ingredients including cheese, eggs, meats, and vegetables. In the Teramo area, “Easter pizza” is actually a sweet leavened bread. 

What is the most popular food in Abruzzo?

One of the most popular foods in Abruzzo is maccheroni alla chitarra, which are long, thing strands of pasta similar to spaghetti, but square in shape instead of round. Lamb is popular, due to the presence of so much pastoral land, including arrosticini, grilled lamb skewers that are served with a simple bruschetta. And of course seafood is popular on the coast, including cozze di Vasto, an appetizer of stuffed mussels.