Maybe you haven’t been back to “Abruzzi” for decades. Perhaps your grandchildren have never seen their ancestral towns. Have you traveled to the hill towns in Tuscany but didn’t quite know what to do in the cliff hanging villages in Abruzzo or where to find remote castles in Molise?
Now is the time to connect or reconnect with our regions and I don’t mean on a big tour bus either. I have been exploring Abruzzo each summer since 2006, and this July I am finally tipping into Molise. Car rental works for me and allows for the independence that I prefer. That said, I have benefited from ditching the car and signing on with experienced, passionate people to teach me more about food, wines, and local secrets.
Experiential tours and excursions are popular now. They combine hands on doing with sightseeing. A half day excursion can go like this: after breakfast, your group of 6-8 jumps in a van to hunt for truffles (yes, they abound in our regions), make maccheroni alla chitarra for lunch with a sauce from your truffle haul, sit down together to talk and eat, and make a mental note as you say your goodbyes to send these lovely people a Christmas card with photos of your day in their home and fields. After lunch, a museum visit awaits.
Acclaimed Italian cookbook author Domenica Marchetti, who lives in nearby Alexandria, leads an annual culinary tour to her beloved Abruzzo. This trip combines a unique experience of hands-on professional cooking classes with private workshops from artisan food producers. The photo above is taken in the beautiful dining room of Casale Centurione Manoppello where Giulia Scappaticcio welcomes guests and offers cooking lessons of her own. Domenica partners with Michael and Nancy Morizio of Abruzzo Presto who seamlessly and expertly guide eight lucky souls to i borghi piu belli di Abruzzo. The deadline for signing up for this year’s September 20-27th tour is fast approaching. http://www.domenicacooks.com/tours/ http://www.abruzzopresto.com/
I keep promising myself that I will hunker down in a quiet (not too quiet) village to improve my Italian. Taking one or two weeks or even five days to brush up or get started on speaking Italian makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? A program in charming Agnone in Molise allows you to study hard and take a holiday at the same time. Jenifer Landor, Allesandro Aucelli and Davide Tanzj say it all in their name – Live and Learn Italian. They make it clear that they are a local, independent business whose aim is for a small number of students to integrate themselves into the fabric of the town and to experience the local customs and crafts as a welcomed friend. Sounds like paradise to me. http://www.liveandlearnitalian.com/
You can have it all on holiday in Abruzzo and Molise – personal attention, small groups, divine locations, authentic experiences and passionate guides and instructors who would be happy if you stayed a while.