12 Day Gastronomic Italian Vacation 2016: October 16 – 27th

Food is at the heart and soul of Italian culture, it is our true passion. What better way to discover and celebrate the real Italy than on an authentic and inspiring and exclusive gastronomic Italian vacation led by those who have learned the age-old traditions passed down from generation to generation.

Come along with Enzo and Sue Ardovini and Angela Ferrara-McEllin on an All inclusive, 12 day ‘Italia Gastronomica’ vacation and explore the culinary delights of Rome and the Molise region of Italy. Your culinary adventure awaits with everything from truffle hunting to picking olives, and even a ‘Sagra Gastronomica‘ (a traditional Italian Food Festival involving the whole village, organised especially to show off the fabulous local cuisine).

We want you to experience real Italian life and there is no better way to achieve that than through food. During this hands-on holiday experience you will be welcomed into the homes of many fine Italian artisan food producers in the Molise and Lazio region, where you will break bread and enjoy true Italian hospitality!

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gastronomic Italian tour

Food is at the heart and soul of Italian culture, it is our true passion. What better way to discover and celebrate the real Italy than on an authentic and inspiring cooking vacation led by those who have learned the age-old traditions passed down from generation to generation. Food is so important to Italian people, it represents more than sustenance and convenience. Food remains the source of income for many families, and it is for this reason that it is steeped in proud tradition. Food is an event, it is the meeting point for families. Almost every major decision in an Italians’ life is made at the dinner table!

Food is joy, unity and culture

We want you to experience real Italian life and there is no better way to achieve that than through food.

Available departures

Unfortunately, no places are available on this tour at the moment


FrosinoneFrosinone Still little-known despite the many beauties of the territory, the Ciociaria area and its Capital, Frosinone, offer visitors stunning sceneries, charming villages surrounded by green countryside and historical sites. Home of ancient Italic populations such as the Ausonians and the Samnites, the Ciociaria includes the area of the Ernici and Ausoni Mountains, and the Read more


Naples The Province of Naples is a magical place where colors, flavors, culture and history are intertwined in a charming mix of knowledge, joy and fun. The area is loomed over by Mt. Vesuvius and overlooks a marvelous bay, whose beauty has served as driving inspiration for many an artist. The allure of the landscape, Read more


Isernia Isernia is one of two provinces in the Region of Molise. It borders Abruzzo to the north (the Provinces of L’Aquila and Chieti), the Province of Campobasso to the east, Campania to the south (the Province of Caserta), and Lazio (the Province of Frosinone). It encompasses 52 municipalities, only two of which have more than Read more


RomeThe Province of Rome is a matching frame for the many treasures of the Capital, and the surrounding area has, more or less directly, experienced the influence of the history of the Eternal City. The Region of Lazio offers everything from sea and nature to good food and lovely villages rich in history and art. Read more


AgerolaAgerola is known as the ‘Land of the Gods’ It is a balcony at a height of 600 m above sea level on the famous Amalfi Coast. From these dizzying heights it is easy to confuse the deep cobalt color of the sea with the boundless blue of the sky. Here the slow beat of time and Read more


Campania[espro-slider id=676] Where is Campania? Campania is Italy’s most densely populated region. It has an area of 13,595 square kilometres and a population of 5.8 million people. It borders Lazio to the northwest, Molise to the north, Puglia to the northeast and Basilicata to the southeast. It has 350 kilometres of coastline that includes the Read more


Lazio[espro-slider id=715] Where is Lazio? The region of Lazio is situated in the western-central area of the country. It has an overall area of 17,208 square kilometres and a population of 5.6 million giving it a population density of 327 people per square kilometre, the third highest in Italy after Campania and Lombardy. It is Read more


MoliseWhere is Molise? Molise is the second smallest of the Italian regions and also the youngest, having been established in 1963 when the previous region of ‘Abruzzi e Molise’ was split into two. The region has an total area of 4,438 square kilometres and a population of about 330,000. There are two provinces: Campobasso and Read more


Day 1 - Fly from Melbourne, Florida to Rome, Italy 

  • Relax and sleep during the overnight flight, ready to start your culinary adventure.

Day 2 - Arrive in Rome

  • Begin with a tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and the highlights of Rome. Overnight at the Fraterna Domus.

Day 3 - En route to Capracotta

  • We'll stop to sample cheese and wine at the Nicoli family farm in Frosinone.

Day 4 - Herbs, Pizza & The Dolci Factory

  • Gather herbs with Dr> Pontarelli for our first cooking lesson: Italian breads and pizza! On to Agnone to visit the Martinelli Bell Foundry and a confectionery workshop.

Day 5 - Market Day

  • Shop like a local and visit a 'Pastaficio' (artisan pasta maker) followed by a lesson in Antipasto.

Day 6 - A Grand Day Out! Sagra Gastronomica at Civitello Roveto

  • With over 70 different local specialty dishes to sample, it's sure to be an unforgettable experience!

Day 7 - Truffle Trekking & Pasta Making

  • A thrilling adventure with a local 'trufflatier' followed by a hands-on lesson by The Pasta Maker from The Big Dream Factory.

Day 8 - Visit to Vallecorsa

  • Today is all about olives, with some olive picking and a tour of the 'frantoio' - olive mill, then it's on to an Italian family style dinner at Le Tre Torre restaurant.

Day 9 - Secondi, Cake Decorating & Stargazing

  • Lessons on regional 'Secondi' and 'Contorni' - main and side dishes, followed by some sweet decorating secrets from our touring baker, Angela. Weather permitting we'll cap off the evening stargazing from the local observatory.

Day 10 - A Grand Day Out! Amalfi

  • Walk the Path of the gods, stroll through picturesque Positano and sample gelato in Amalfi. Weather permitting we'll take the boat from Positano to Amalfi.

Day 11 - Dolci, Sightseeing, Farewell Dinner

  • Whip up a traditional Italian dolci or two before heading out on our final tour. Our last evening together will be celebrated with a farewell dinner in the Il Ginepro restaurant at Hotel Capracotta.

Day 12 - Time to Head Home

  • Flight from Rome International airport to Melbourne, Florida.

Hotel Capracotta and Albergo Conte Max

Apart from our overnight stay in Hotel Fraterna Domus in the centre of Rome, the rest of your stay, you will be the guest of Hotel Capracotta and Albergo Conte Max, both of which, overlook the beautiful rolling countryside and mountains of Capracotta.

The Hospitality Comfort, relaxation and service are discounted concepts at a Hotel and it’s the same for us all. But the true meaning of hospitality is something else. Everything inside the Hotel Capracotta and the Albergo Conte Max, is conceived so that our guests can feel welcome and at ease. It begins with a smile and kindness, following in the best tradition of hospitality from the people of Molise.

The Rooms

Each room provides you with a relaxing and pleasant atmosphere. They are spacious, bright and welcoming, tastefully decorated, all with en suite bathrooms and TV.”

The Common Areas

We have a private bar, spacious living rooms with TV corner, an open fireplace around which to gather, to chat and relax. We also have a large multipurpose room for shows or cinema which is complete with conference facilities.

Our Itinerary

Our itinerary has been designed to offer you a vacation rich in culture, history, artistry and nature, without forgetting leisure and entertainment. Although our itinerary can be subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances and weather conditions, we will make every effort to ensure the smooth running of your visit.


As part of our all inclusive package, your full board meals will be served at The Restaurant ‘Il Ginepro’ which is located in the quiet town of Capracotta, in the province of Isernia, and is part of Hotel Capracotta.

The benefits of unspoiled natural surroundings coupled with a passion for cooking, are combined in dishes of indescribable flavour. For example, the meats and cheeses that are presented in our antipasto are produced exclusively in Capracotta, as they have been over countless generations. In the elegant atmosphere of our dinning rooms, you will sample many products and dishes unique to the area:

Nationally renowned Pecorino and ricotta, lamb cutlets prepared in typical Molise style, homemade pasta Molinese which is prepared daily, porchini mushrooms and fresh truffles, local meats cooked on the wood-fired grill to enhance their undisputed quality.

WFIT campus 249

All will be a unique experience for your palate. Il Ginepro is the ideal place to enjoy the imaginative recipes that our talented chefs will prepare especially for you

Day 1

Day 1: Overnight flight from Melbourne to Rome

Today you begin your great gastronomic, Italian adventure!

We first board a short flight from Melbourne, Florida to Charlotte where we will board our non-stop, overnight flight Rome International airport.

  • Melbourne, Florida - Charlotte : Departing 1:39 pm
  • Charlotte - Rome : Departing 3:30 pm - Dinner and Breakfast served on board - if you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know in advance. Total flying time : 14 hours

Relax and sleep during the overnight flight to help adjust to the Italian time zone which is 6 hours ahead of American time.


Day 2: Arrive in Rome - Vatican and Rome Tour

We will arrive at Rome International airport at 9:40 am. We will head straight for the Hotel Fraterna Domus in the centre of Rome.

The hotel is operated by nuns and was built around an old church from the VI century - ‘S. Lucia Della Tinta”. It is named after the work of the textile dryers that worked in this quarter of Rome at the time. We have chosen this hotel for many reasons.

  • First of all it is centrally located in the heart of ancient Rome near Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps and the Vatican.
  • Secondly the rooms are simple but very clean and each has bathrooms en suite and air conditioning.
  • Thirdly, the nuns will look after you all really well and have a wonderful restaurant serving simply prepared meals.

After a quick freshen up we head out to the Vatican which is a short walk away. Here we will tour the museum, Sistine Chapel and the Vatican itself.

We will enjoy a light lunch along the way as we head to the Vittoria Emanuel monument, site of the unknown soldier, towards the Forum and the Colosseum. We will then head back towards the hotel for dinner which is served between 7 and 9 pm, passing the Pantheon and the Fontana di Trevi en route.

● Pack for departure for the following day

Day 3

Day 3: En route to Capracotta - Cheese and Wine

Today we leave for Hotel Capracotta but before we do we will take in a few more of the marvellous sights offered by The Eternal City.

Following breakfast we will drive to Gianicolo Hill. Although called a ‘hill’ it is not considered to be one of the 7 hills of Rome. Gianicolo Hill is located on the western side of the Tiber River between the Vatican and Trastevere. This little known treasure of Rome is a popular stop for Italians to take a romantic stroll while enjoying an undisturbed view of the roof tops of the city.

From Rome we will head south towards Frosinone where we will stop to visit Agricola Nicoli Casaficio. Here we will learn all about the local cheese made here. We’ll meet the family who have been operating the farm for many years, have a tour of the farm and sample some of their specialty’s. Mauro will also join us for a talk and sampling of his locally made wine.

frosinone big cheese

When we have said our farewells and helped sustain the Nicoli family with a little shopping, we will head off to Hotel Capracotta. Iserna, Molise. During this drive, relax and enjoy the view. We will be passing by the infamous Cassino monastery and plenty of wonderful Italian scenery that we can admire and discuss along the way.

Hotel Capracotta will be your home for the rest of your stay. So, once we have arrived, unpack and unwind before getting back together for dinner where you will meet the chefs and take a tour of the kitchen.

Capracotta Hotel kitchen

Dinner will include some glasses of wine from Agricoli Nicoli as well as some produced from the vineyards of Molise

Day 4: Herbs, Pizza, Agnone and The Dolci Factory

Italians insist on eating well and this means understanding their food. Fresh ingredients are extremely important to them; how it is grown, raised or produced.

Following breakfast, today we will visit with Doctor Pontarelli from V. Pontarelli nursury in Rocchetta al Volturno, who will guide us through a sensory journey and learn the medical benefits of aromatic plants. Before we leave we will gather some herb for our cooking class.

Our first cooking class is all about bread. We will learn how to make traditional Italian breads and perfect pizza dough. We will also learn how to prepare and cook using a wood-fired pizza oven.

  • Today lunch will include your own specialty pizza!

After lunch we are off to Agnone known for the manufacturing of bells by the Marinelli Bell Foundry. Many of the bells found in the Vatican were made at this foundary. We will visit the Laboratorio Docciario Labbate e Mazziotta - a confectionery workshop which unsurprisingly create bells from chocolate and other dolci! We will meet with their pastry chefs and chocolatiers!

You will have some free time to explore Agnone yourself before we head back to Hotel Capracotta for dinner and some dolci we have treated ourselves to from the Laboratorio Docciario.

For those who like an evening stroll, join us for a walk around Capracotta before bed.

Day 5: Market Day, Pastaficio and Antipasto

Today after breakfast, we will visit a typical local market and gather what is needed to create this evenings antipasto. It’s time to shop like a local!

Then we will visit a traditional and local ‘pastaficio’ - pasta maker, in Isernia where we will see how a professional pastaficio works to create Italy’s most favourite of foods - pasta.

We will stop for lunch at the best restaurant and pizzaria in town and later a stroll through the old Isernia before returning to Hotel Capracotta for our next cooking class which is all about antipasto.

Antipasto is extremely varied and often will showcase dishes and specialty’s of the region, for example brushette, salumi and cheeses.

We will also learn how to set our Italian table as well as learn the idiosyncrasies of Italian table etiquette, the number of courses, their names and what they include.

The antipasto you create this afternoon will be enjoyed as part of your dinner this evening.

If you are up to it, take a stroll through Capracotta before bed

Day 6: Sagra Gastronomica!

Many people who visit Italy will never get the opportunity to experience a Sagra. Sagras are going on all over Italy at different times of the year and each one is peculiar to the region, city, town or village. We have coincided this particular trip so that you can experience arguably one of the best and most famous of Italian Sagras.

Today we will visit the mountain town of Civitella Roveto. Their Sagra ‘Lungo le Antiche Rue’ - Along the Ancient Streets - happens only once a year and people come from all over Italy and the world, to be a part of it.

Sagra Lungo le Antiche Rue involves the whole town. Once the opening ceremony is over you will walk the ancient, fortified quartier of Civitella Roveto where you will find over 70 different dishes and specialty’s to sample (note, samples often come with a small charge and price will depend upon the vendor).

You are free to enjoy the Sagra for the day!

Once you have exhausted yourselves, we will get back on the bus for Hotel Capracotta and time to digest the whole incrEDIBLE experience.

(Entrance fee only will be paid by us. Picnic lunch will be provided. Dinner will not be served at the Hotel)

Day 7: Truffle Trekking and Pasta Making

Get your walking boots on because today we are going on magical mystery tour and will find out all about truffles from a local truffle hunter.

Truffle hunting has been in the family for many years and so our ‘trufflatiers’ have a great deal of expertise to share with you. But don’t expect to know exactly where we are going … this trip comes complete with a blindfold and pledge of secrecy!

You will learn about the favoured environment of the truffle and walk the truffle paths.

We will enjoy a picnic lunch today before returning to Hotel Capracotta for our next cooking class dedicated to pasta. Learn how to make Molinese pasta and pasta forms that are traditional to the region. We will also learn how the pasta offered by The Big Dream Factory is created by their own The Pasta Maker.

Dinner will be enjoyed at Hotel Capracotta and will include some of your own pasta creations.

After dinner, for those who have been enjoying our evening stroll before bed, it’s time for another one.

Day 8: Vallecorsa for Olive Picking and Olive Oil

Our specialty here at Italian Holidays, is to bring you into the Italian culture. Today you will get a chance to see for yourself why Italian food is so good! Why they value homegrown and homemade produce and why they rarely refer to their food as being organic, even if it is.

Vallecorsa is known as The City of The Oil for very good reason. They are expert olive growers and olive oil is said to flow through their veins. Olive oil from the area of Lazio and especially the so-called ‘Ciociaria’, is known throughout Italy and the world.

The Big Dream Factory has been working very closely with the olive growers and their families through an Adopt an Olive Tree project in an attempt to revitalise the small mountain towns. We also work with the local community through Italian Dream Home to offer investment opportunities. Whether it’s a small apartment, townhouse and potential bed and breakfast or an olive grove, we can help you find your Italian dream home.

However today, weather permitting, it’s all about helping the families bring in the harvest. That olive oil you get to enjoy from The Big Dream Factory …. this is exactly where it comes from.

We will enjoy a picnic lunch followed with a walking tour of medieval Vallecorsa and the olive mill - ‘frantoio’.

Our dinner will be served Italian family style at Le Tre Torre restaurant at the very heart of Medieval Vallecorsa.

Day 9: ‘Secondi’, Cake Decorating and Star Gazing

Today is a great cooking day and we will recap on what we have learned so far before learning how to create ‘Secondi’.

Every part of Italy has its own collection of regional dishes and Molise is no different. You will be introduced to a range of seasonal ‘Secondi’ and complimentary side dishes known as ‘Contorni’. For example:

● Pampanella Moisana - Spicy baked pork ● Bracioli - Rolled veal ● Grilled Lamb ● Rosemary potatoes

Today our touring baker Ang will delight you by sharing some secrets of cake decorating.

Following our morning cooking extravaganza, we will head out for a wander around the beautiful botanical gardens and mountain town of Castelpizzuto. Then it’s back to the kitchen to lay up some tables and enjoy a relaxing dinner.

After dinner, instead of a walk around Capracotta, we will visit the local Observatory for a bit of star gazing (weather permitting).

Day 10: Amalfitana

We know that for many your trip to Italy would not be complete without taking in the Amalfi Coast.

No trip to the Almafitana would be complete without stepping onto The Path Of the Gods, meeting the people of Agerola, strolling through Positano or slurping up a gelato in Amalfi.

We will take a picnic lunch with us today and the whole day is pretty much yours to enjoy as you wish. You’ll be ‘ooooooing’ and ‘ahhhing’ all day long!


Weather permitting we will take a boat from Positano to Amalfi because this area takes on a whole different perspective when viewed from the sea.

Dinner will be served at Hotel Capracotta tonight and if you are up to it we will take in the night air with a short stroll through the streets.

Day 11 : Cooking Class and Last Supper

Who doesn’t enjoy a little something sweet. Often the dessert is the most extravagant of all the courses you will enjoy at an Italian table. This is our last day in the kitchen so today it’s all about dolci.

We will learn how to whip up a traditional Italian dolci or two, or even 3. We will also learn how to balance a meal so that we can enjoy the dessert course without feeling that we have over-indulged.

Lunch will be served at Hotel Capracotta.

This afternoon we will enjoy a tour of the surrounding areas, towns and villages.

Dinner will be served at Hotel Capracotta and tonight is our last evening together.

If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to pack for departure early in the morning. We need to be boarding the bus at 4 am.

Day 12

Day 12: Time to go home

It has come to that time of the journey when we have to part company and head out for home.

We have no doubt that you will have made many friends along the way who will be sorry to see you go and be looking forward to the day that you come back.

For now, we have a very early start due to our 3 hour check-in time. Breakfast will be gathered on the way to the airport.

  • 4:00 Board the bus for Rome International Airport
  • 11:15 Flight for Charlotte then onto to Melbourne, Florida.
  • 21:58 Scheduled arrival time into Melbourne.

We sincerely hope that you have enjoyed the journey and experience living like an Italian! These cultural exchanges are very important to us all. They create clarity and awareness of others as well as helping to form bonds and memories that will last a lifetime.

We hope that you will consider Italian Holidays and its associates for your next exciting Italian experience and we look forward to having an opportunity to help you with that. We also look forward to continuing our relationship through the food available from The Big Dream Factory.

Be sure to contact us at any time!

With very best wishes from everyone who participated in making this Italian holiday a special one.


Price includes:

  • Round trip economy flights from Melbourne, Florida to Rome, Italy (includes 1 hand luggage and 1 stowed bag)
  • Full board accommodation at Hotel Capracotta and Albergo Conte Max, Molise All Meals: Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner with picnic lunch provided for excursions. Except on the days that state otherwise, dinner will be provided at the Hotel.
  • Chauffeured Transportation
  • All trips and tours including entrance fees
  • All classes and seminars

$7,295 per person (including flights)

$6,450 per person (excluding flights)

There is NO single person supplements.



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We partner with, and to offer you the most unforgettable and exclusive Italian experience. Whether you are looking to live in Italy or just visiting, we feel it is important to experience as total a cultural exchange as we can offer.

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