Buongiorno! Welcome to the cobbled streets of Rome. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting tonight at 6pm. Please ask reception to confirm the time and place of your meeting. Have your insurance details and next of kin information on hand for verification by your leader. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. There are no activities planned before the meeting, so you can arrive any time before then. There are so many things to do in Rome – the Colosseum, the Forum, Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps, Via Condotti, Piazza Venezia, the Vatican City and St Peter's Basilica – so arriving early is recommended. Don’t forget to do as the Romans do and sip an espresso at one of the tiny streetside cafes and sample the many flavours of gelato that colour the city. For those captivated by the 'Eternal City', throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain to ensure a return visit to Rome. After the 6pm welcome meeting, get to know your fellow foodie travellers over a bowl of pasta in the rione (area) of Monti, home to some of the city's most famous monuments.
Swap the city for the coast with a morning private transfer to the small fishing village of Fossacesia (approximately 3 hours), which sits nestled between the mouth of the Sangro River and the Adriatic Sea along the Trabocchi Coast. Spend some time relaxing in the Italian sunshine or head down to the beach. In the late afternoon, take part in a cooking class and learn the secrets to authentic Abruzzo cuisine – such as mussels stuffed with breadcrumbs, garlic and parsley. Dishes will change with the seasons. Enjoy an elevated view of the water at a dinner atop a converted trabocco fishing platform – just make sure to save room for dessert!
Drive to the World Heritage-listed city of Alberobello (approximately 4 hours), famous for its trulli (white-washed, conical-roofed houses). On the way, stop for a tasting of fresh burrata (cheese made from mozzarella and cream) and a visit to an olive press. Arrive by early afternoon and spend the rest of the day exploring Alberobello. The cuisine of the region is simple, fresh produce which is some of the tastiest in all of Italy. The evening is free time, perhaps check out a local favourite called Trulli and Puglia Wine Bar or find your own food adventure among the trullos.
Travel from Alberobello into the neighboring region of Basilicata, and the striking city of Matera (approximately 1.5 hours). On the way, stop at Laterza, a historical town renowned for its many crevices and caves. The name of the town even means 'a hiding place'. Discover a celebrated family-owned artisanal bakery and learn about the significance of Laterza bread. Next, visit a masseria (country estate) to indulge in a primitivo wine tasting followed by a bevy of classic Apulian dishes. Arrive in Matera by late afternoon. For the next 2 nights we stay in a traditional Sassi cave. Sassi is an area of extraordinary dwellings, half-carved and half-built from the surrounding tufo (tuff) rock, in which people have been living since Palaeolithic times.
Step back in time on a guided walking tour of ancient Matera – a town that's been occupied for 9,000 years. It's one of the oldest cities in existence and its drawcard is the stunning sassi – stone houses formed from natural grottoes and tufo cliffs overlooking a dramatic gorge. The rest of the day is free for you to explore. Perhaps choose to take another cooking class learning to prepare orecchiette, the signature pasta of the region. In the evening, meet up with your fellow travellers to sample some herbaceous Italian liqueurs.
Point the compass west today and head towards the Campania region and Sorrento (approximately 5 hours). An orientation walk is the perfect introduction to this beautiful place, with a refreshing limoncello tasting your reward after pounding the cobblestones. The evening is yours to take at your leisure, so why not soak up the beauty of this location with dinner by the water.
The colourful streets and turquoise port of Sorrento are the perfect place for a leisurely stroll. The morning is free to explore, so take a wander past quaint little shops selling ceramics and lacework, or take up a class in gelato-making. Alternatively, simply order up a scoop or two served straight from a stainless steel pozzetti (the original Italian way). In the late afternoon there is one final cooking class learning to prepare a southern Italian classic – pizza – in a trattoria. Settle in for a delicious farewell dinner with the group.
Your southern Italian food adventure comes to an end today. Extra accommodation in Sorrento can be arranged at the time of booking. If you're looking for onward travel, Sorrento is only a short ferry or train ride to Naples (approximately 1.5 hours). Alternatively catch a bus or train to tale in Pompeii and brooding Mount Vesuvius (approximately 40 minutes). Rome is also an easy train ride away.