Roman Countryside Discovery

This 1797 villa is located in the heart of Ciociaria and the historic center of a small town. In 1964, the Ministry of Education proclaimed this an area of particular interest for its panoramas of extraordinary beauty. From the slopes of the ancient tower (where, according to popular tradition, the legendary queen Camilla and her father Metabus took refuge in a cave), it is a wonderful view of arches, towers and bare stone walls, giving the appearance of a medieval hamlet, built close around the fortress.

Your host is an American-born Italian who grew up in a close-knit Italian family of three generations in the Midwest, where he was lucky to have learned fluent Italian at a young age from his beloved “Nonna.” He owned a very successful interior design firm in Boca Raton, Florida, but always spent time in Italy. He was continually drawn to the village of his father’s birth and in 2005, when the adjacent property to where his father was born was put up for sale, it was a forgone conclusion that this would become his opportunity to fulfill his dream.

Latest Review

I gave this trip 5 stars
Trip taken October 2019
(This traveler left a starred review with no comments.)

Trip Details

For your 4 hands-on cooking classes the local chefs create mouth-watering specialties such as zuppa di pane, sagne e fagioli, homemade fettuccine with various meat sauces, gnocchi with pork ribs, salsiccia patate e peperoni with casereccio bread and ciambelle di vino, to name but a few. Those who travel to this area soon learn that in Ciociaria “Si mangia e si mangia bene” (you eat and eat well). This area is also known for its marzoline (goat cheese), fresh ricotta, bufala mozzarella and prosciutto di Guarcino.
Your host immerses his guests into cooking in an Italian family environment and offers small hands-on cooking classes taught by various professionals. Your host and the local chefs have combed their family recipes to you an “assaggio completo” (authentic sampling) of Ciociara traditions.


Day One

The Sunday to Saturday itinerary is displayed. Please note that for the Monday to Sunday weeks at the sister property the order of activities is shifted, with the cooking classes in the morning and excursions in the afternoon.

  • Arrival at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport and transfer to your accommodations. (Note that the transfer from Fiumicino leaves between 11AM and 12 noon; please plan to leave enough time to disembark and go through passport control before meeting it.)
  • Check-in at the villa followed by a welcome apperitivo and light lunch. After lunch, set off on a short guided walk to get to know the medieval historical village.
  • After some time to relax, head to the town of Pofi and the Pizzeria Borgo Antico for your welcome dinner.
  • Overnight.

Entrance to your villa in Italy

Day Two

  • After breakfast, visit the town of Arpino, the birthplace of Cicero as well as the land of “olives.” You will visit a traditional olive oil mill, as well as hear how to make extra virgin olive oil, and get a taste of fresh olive oil at a local estate. A light lunch will follow.
  • On the return to the hotel, stop at “Meringo’s” for the best gelato.
  • Around 4 p.m, meet the pastry chef to start your class.
  • Dinner and overnight.

Making pasta in Italy

Day Three

  • Breakfast.
  • Start your day at the local farmer’s market to pick out the ingredients for an antipasto extravaganza.
  • Next, visit a local cheese caseificio, where you’ll sample fresh buffalo mozzarella, ricotta, and provolone.
  • Then it’s on to the “Abbey of Fossanova” in Terracina, a Tyrrhenian seaside town. After strolling by some shops and taking in a view of the sea, lunch at a seafood cooperativa.
  • Back at the hotel, some time on your own before your next cooking class that will focus on “antipasti,” including crostini, bruschette, grilled peppers and eggplant, frittate, and stuffed zucchini with a sampling of formaggi e olive. Enjoy your creations at dinner.
  • Overnight.

A plate of authentic Italian food

Day Four

  • Breakfast out at a coffee bar, followed by a trip to “La Pastorella” where you’ll see how fresh sausage is made.
  • Next, visit a “Prosciuttificio” in the town of Guarcino, where you will enjoy a picnic lunch of fresh hand-cut porchetta or prosciutto.
  • After returning to the villa, some time to relax.
  • Begin your third hands-on cooking class, where you’ll discover a variety of “primi patti” such as sagna con fagioli, zuppa di pane, gnocchi al sugo, and fettucine con tartufo. Dinner to follow based on your efforts, a bottle of wine included.
  • Overnight.

Basket of herbs in Italy

Day Five

  • Breakast.
  • In the morning, head out for to “Cantina Tullio,” a vineyard in the Val Comino, which is known for it’s Cabernet wines. Here you’ll visit the bottling plant and cellar, see the vineyards, hear about the vinification process, and end with a wine tasting.
  • Depart for the town of Atina, known for it’s annual Jazz Festival.
  • Lunch at “Le Canardizie,” which was previously called “Old Cantina Visocchi” before it was restored with antique winery relics.
  • In the afternoon, a sommelier leads a wine tasting of another fantastic wine of the region. You will also prepare a variety of “Second Piatti,” including salsiccia con patate e peperuola and involtini, as well as a “controno” to accompany your dinner in the villa.
  • Overnight.

Hotel bedroom in Lazio, Italy

Day Six

  • Following breakfast, start a pizza making class by making the perfect dough. You will then top the pizza just the way you like it, cook it in the pizza oven, and enjoy it for lunch.
  • In the afternoon, after relaxing for a few hours, go shopping in Frosinone.
  • Your multi-course farewell dinner tonight will be at a local restaurant.

Kitchen where you have your cooking classes in Italy

Day Seven

  • Breakfast and departure. Arrivederci!

Trip Details

Included in the 6-Night Trip


6 nights accommdation in double or double twin room at the Palazzo, its cottage, or the villa

Food & Beverages

  • Daily breakfast
  • 5 lunches
  • 6 dinners
  • Local wine, water, and coffee included

Classes & Instructors

For your 4 hands-on cooking classes the local chefs create mouth-watering specialties such as zuppa di pane, sagne e fagioli, homemade fettuccine with various meat sauces, gnocchi with pork ribs, salsiccia patate e peperoni with casereccio bread and ciambelle di vino, to name but a few. Those who travel to this area soon learn that in Ciociaria “Si mangia e si mangia bene” (you eat and eat well). This area is also known for its marzoline (goat cheese), fresh ricotta, bufala mozzarella and prosciutto di Guarcino.
Your host immerses his guests into cooking in an Italian family environment and offers small hands-on cooking classes taught by various professionals. Your host and the local chefs have combed their family recipes to you an “assaggio completo” (authentic sampling) of Ciociara traditions.


  • Guided visit of the medieval town
  • Visit to Arpino, including olive oil mill
  • Visit to a gelateria
  • Market visit
  • Excursion to a cheese producer to sample fresh local cheeses
  • Visit of the Abbey of Fossanova
  • Sausage making demonstration
  • Winery visit with tastings, and visit of Atina
  • Shopping trip to Frosinone

Transfer Details

  • Arrival transfer from Rome Fiumicino airport between 11AM and 12 noon (please note that you will need to disembark and go through passport control, so we recommend you leave yourself plenty of time). (Due to the restrictive driving policies in the center of Rome, we are not able to have you picked up or dropped off at a Rome hotel.)
  • Departure transfer to Rome Fiumicino airport (with arrival at the airport around 9 or 10 am).
  • If you are unable to take the scheduled transfers, your hosts are happy to transfer you from the Castro-Pofi-Vallecorsa train stop at any time (about 90 minutes from Rome)

Accommodation Information

Sunday to Saturday weeks take place at a charming and luxurious Palazzo tucked away in a small medieval town. It has just seven cozy bedrooms, plus the adjacent guest cottage. Built in the 1700s, the renovated structure today still retains some ancient flair, including antique furniture, but with modern amenities. All the rooms include air conditioning and heating, reading lamps, Jacuzzi baths, and hair dryers. The rooms too offer stunning views of the beautiful countryside.


Monday to Sunday weeks have accommodations at a private 4-room Villa or at an elegant 3-room guest house. Both lie in the same charming medieval village as the palazzo. Once the summer residence of Pope Innocenzo III, the villa offers stunning views onto the countryside and the town’s main square. It boasts 4 luxurious bedrooms as well as a living room, kitchen, and fireplace. The guesthouse was once the residence of nobility and lies on the village’s main square.



Pricing & Tour Dates


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

Available any week Sunday to Saturday OR Monday to Sunday March to late November.

Sunday to Saturday dates are listed, Monday to Sunday dates also available.
March 6-12
March 13-19
March 20-26
March 27-April 2
April 3-9
April 10-16
April 17-23
April 24-30
May 1-7
May 8-14
May 15-21
May 22-28
May 29-June 4
June 5-11
June 12-18
June 19-25
June 26-July 2
July 3-9
July 10-16
July 17-23
July 24-30
July 31-August 6
August 7-13
August 14-20
August 21-27
August 28-September 3
September 4-10
September 11-17
September 18-24
September 25-October 1
October 2-8
October 19-15
October 16-22
October 23-29
October 30-November 5
November 6-12
November 13-19
November 20-26


I gave this trip 5 stars
Trip taken October 2019
(This traveler left a starred review with no comments.)
I gave this trip 5 stars
Ann C
New York
Trip taken September 2017
This was excellent. Check out my reviews on Yelp & Trip Advisor. Far exceeded my expectations. So well organized in the most beautiful area I couldn't even have dreamt up. The kitchen is state of the art. I can't say enough about the staff & the villa & accommodations. Everything was top notch! I spoke with Adrian to set up my trip & he was fantastic. Knowledgeable, professional & so helpful! Don't change a thing! Best trip ever!
We gave this trip 5 stars
James & Cheryl
Trip taken September 2011
Without a doubt of the 4 Italian cooking schools we have attended this was our favorite. We chose the Roman Countryside Discovery since we had not been to Lazio, and were planning to spend a week in Rome after cooking school. Cheryl and I are happy we made this choice. Greg is a wonderful host and Casa Gregorio is beautiful. Greg is an interior designer and designed and furnished the entire hotel to his high standard. Our room was very spacious and included a jacuzzi tub in the bath, and the hotel has a terrace with incredible views. While Greg has high standards, we found him to be a relaxed and down to earth. Like a family member we didn't know we had. Frosinone, the province of Castro dei Volsci, reminded me of Marin County CA with the rolling hills and agriculture, and it was a pleasure to drive through the country and small towns. Everyday we had field trips and you could tell tell that Greg had spent a lot of time getting to know the field trip hosts, and these hosts have a passion for their artisanal products. Some days we also had to make a stop at one of Greg's favorite gelaterias. The first day we visited the Cantina Cominium winery and a trip through the vinyards and a tour the owner/winemaker prepared a lunch of prosciutto, cheese and eggs with truffles. Another day we visited a farmer's market, artisanal mozzarella maker (with a cheese and salami tasting of course), and an olive oil producer. Every day there was something different. The field trips were so much fun I almost forgot this was a cooking school and we had 4 cooking classes. Favorite recipes included frittata, fettucine con tartufo and grilled lamb chops. The cookbook we received is easy to follow and considers American measurements. We also ate out at restaurants. All were excellent, but Il Frantoio in Boville Ernica and La Cooperativa in Terracina were outstanding.
No rating given with this review
My husband and I honeymooned in Italy for two weeks. The first week we spent in Rome and southern Italy, and the second we spent in Lazio. On the plane, all we could say to each other was that if we could do it again we would’ve spent it all at Roman Countryside Discovery! The first week of our honeymoon was busy – traveling all the sites, fitting everything in, and remarkably, we didn’t really get a feel for Italian culture. It was more of a melting pot of tourism everywhere we went. We were exhausted driving up to the villa, but busy cities melted away into inspiring mountain scenes and peaceful towns. The beautiful Italy we had in our heads sprung up in front of us, and we were just thrilled when we reached our accommodations. The days of small Rome hotel rooms were gone; we had graduated to large expertly designed spaces that offered all the comforts of home. Thinking of our host, you can only think the best of both worlds: 1) He speaks fluent Italian and English, letting you access/talk to local people and get into the culture even if you don’t speak Italian 2) He has a medieval hill top property, but he’s also an interior designer, so all the modern amenities you want are there and you still get the history/authentic feel (he lets you use his internet and phone to call back home to the US at no extra charge!) 3) He knows the local markets and resources, but also has friends from all over Italy that came and helped us with our cooking classes 4) He’s far enough away from the hustle and bustle of Rome to get the relaxing feel, but still close enough to major attractions in central Italy that you can access them if you want to (he took us to the Gardens at Ninfa – a MUST SEE, Tivoli, Villa D’este…) 5) There was enough structure that you felt there was plenty to do, but enough time to relax as well. Our two major responsibilities were eating and resting, unless we felt like seeing something. There were so many doors to Italy that our host opened for us. We went to an olive oil tasting, the local market, a cheese making place, an amazing local tavern where the food just kept coming; he even had a friend who opened her restaurant one night just for us! And all this in the middle of learning how to cook amazing Italian food in a kitchen that would give anyone kitchen lust! It was truly incredible. It can be a nerve racking experience looking at vacations online - you have such high hopes for the experience you want, you’ve saved money to go, and yet you can’t say for sure if you’ll love it because you don’t know until you go. We have told EVERYONE, our closest friends and family, coworkers, random people who ask us about our honeymoon – if you want a trip of a lifetime where you get the best of both worlds – go to Roman Countryside Discovery. There is no doubt that the experience will be exactly what you want – an adventure for your senses in a home away from home! Anita M., WI
No rating given with this review
We loved Lazio and our accommodations. We had a conference in Rome so went to Lazio and our villa first thank goodness because we had a chance to relax, eat good food, and be shown a wonderful time before the chaos of Rome. This is a great trip because there is very little tourism in the eastern Lazio area yet it is stunning. Staying at this villa was a great base because the host is a fantastic host (and an American who speaks Italian), the small town was incredibly historic. I could go on and probably will later but I wanted to get something up on the internet to let people know what a quality experience this trip was. Joe R., OR
No rating given with this review
My cooking vacation was great. Our host was great and worked hard to make us all happy. He has done and is doing a great job with the accommodations. Beautifully decorated. The only issue was the air conditioning going out in the house and rooms, which was more important than usual due to it being June and hot, and we were cooking inside using the ovens. Our host worked diligently to get the air conditioning working, but you know how slow workers can be sometimes. I would highly recommend this program in the future. Kristen P., CA
No rating given with this review
Spectacular setting in a medieval hill town in a less traveled part of Italy. Cooking experiences every day. Relevant and fascinating excursions--olive oil producer, organic winery, artisanal cheese and salumi producers, a seaside town with an amazing lunch of fresh seafood. Spectacular accommodations in beautifully restored 17th century palazzo. All inclusive (even the wine!). Friendly knowledgeable host, wonderfully helpful staff. Some unusual and valuable experiences--like breakfast in the village bar, spending a week in a historic building that has been sensitively and gorgeously decorated. My only caveat is that host and chef were expat Americans--but I knew that before going. They were very knowledgeable and helpful, but I travel to learn about other cultures directly rather than through a lens that I share. Nonetheless, the week was well worth my time and travel, and I learned a great deal especially about a new region in Italy. I would return for the advanced course if my schedule allows. [Regarding the cooking vacation packet:] The International Kitchen has always provided me with more than sufficient information - it's the only culinary tour company I've used several times, and with good reason. [Regarding The International Kitchen staff:] Perfectly satisfied. I'll be back! Edelma H., NM (Fall Olive Harvest itinerary)
No rating given with this review
Roman Countryside Discovery was fantastic. Well organized and executed. Staff was great. [Regarding The International Kitchen staff:] We were very satisfied with the IK staff - we dealt mainly with Adrian. The hotel in Rome was great. Overall, a wonderful trip. Joseph & Maureen F., MD

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