Experience the trip of a lifetime in Italy!
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Traveling to Italy to attend a cooking school is an incredible experience. I love Rome and the Puglia region and the people so much I take groups on culinary adventures each year. I do all the planning and preparation for these trips, and help you organize everything from how to pack and what to wear to how to book your flights and how to manage jet lag. You’ll receive monthly newsletters from me beginning 6-8 months prior to our travel full of information to help you learn about the trip and to whet your appetite, both literally and figuratively!
We begin our adventures with three days in Rome, my favorite city in the world, adjusting to the time change, sipping our espresso macchiatos, seeing the sights with a culinary slant, dining in a local home of a Cesarina in Rome, and practicing our Italian. I lead the group to all of the Centro Storico highlights in Rome, including the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navonna, the Pantheon and Il Vittoriano.We share a guided tour through the Jewish ghetto in Rome, essential to understanding much of the culinary history of Rome. Optional guided tours are available for St. Peter’s and the Vatican, the Borghese Art Gallery, and Ancient Rome. Our hotel is the Albergo Santa Chiara, perfectly located smack in the middle of the historic center of Rome, within walking distance to everything you’d want to visit.
The Awaiting Table at the Castle
After our short visit in Rome, we travel south by train to the region of Puglia, located in the very southernmost heel of Italy, where a lovingly restored – and impressively large – castle in Spongano serves as the kitchen for The Awaiting Table cookery school run by Silvestro Silvestori.The week-long program provides the perfect mix of cooking, food and wine, sightseeing, relaxing, and generally becoming one with the place. You’ll be awed by the beauty of the castle and warmed by the friends you will make during the week.
After our time at the cooking school, we return to the Baroque town of Lecce for the weekend. We’ll stay at a lovely boutique hotel right in the center of the preserved historic city, just steps away from Antonio’s wonderful bar where he’ll make us cappuccino in the morning and his wife will serve us little snacks. You’ll grow so fond of him you’ll hate to even think of returning home and making your own coffee each morning!We’ll have the opportunity to tour this gorgeous baroque city with a guide who specializes in the history and architecture of the region and you’ll have plenty of time to shop, wander, and take in the town. On our final night in Puglia, we will dine together in a local restaurant in Lecce. The next day, we take the train back to Rome for a final night before flying home.
Schedule (11 Days/Nights in Italy, 2 Travel Days)
Wednesday – depart for Italy to arrive on Thursday (or you may arrive earlier)
Thursday – casual touring as a group through Centro Storico to adjust to time change with lunch along the way; casual dinner for those feeling up to it
Friday – guided group tour of the Jewish ghetto followed by a group lunch; optional guided tours of the Borghese Art Gallery, Ancient Rome, or Vatican in the afternoon; group dinner
Saturday – optional guided tours of the Borghese Art Gallery, Ancient Rome, or Vatican; free time for shopping and sightseeing; group dinner in a private home in Rome
Sunday – morning train to Lecce, transfer to the Castle in Spongano; welcome dinner at The Awaiting Table
Sunday through Friday – The Awaiting Table Cookery School; day trip to Otranto
Saturday – farewells at the Castle and return to Lecce for the weekend
(optionally you may continue directly to Rome on Saturday to prepare for a Sunday departure to the US)
Sunday – morning in Lecce, return to Rome via train; farewell group dinner in Rome
Estimated* Trip Cost – $5,500
- All hotel rooms in Rome (4 nights), at the castle in Spongano (6 nights), and in Lecce (1 night) – double occupancy ($550 surcharge for a single room)
- All breakfasts and dinners (including wine), including one dinner in a private home in Rome
- Lunch at an historic restaurant in the Jewish Ghetto
- Roundtrip first class train from Rome to Lecce
- Welcome reception at The Awaiting Table in Lecce
- Transfer to the castle in Spongano
- Six days at The Awaiting Table cookery school at the castle in Spongano in Puglia (including all food, wine, lessons, transfers, and excursions)
- Guided tours of the Jewish Ghetto in Rome, Otranto, and Lecce
*Estimated costs are based on 2013 hotel rates and exchange rates, which may change by the time the trip is formally announced.
- Airfare is not included, but many past participants used miles for free flights. I am happy to provide assistance booking flights or advising how to use miles.
- Because guests will usually be separated at lunch time in Rome, lunches (except for lunch in the Jewish Ghetto) are on your own.
- Optional tours will be offered for the Ancient City, the Borghese Art Gallery, and the Vatican – these are paid directly by the guests to the tour guide if you participate in a tour.
- Transfer to and from the airport, and taxis in town are your own responsibility.