This vacation experience is not for the tourist but for the traveler.
The itinerary has been thoughtfully crafted for those of you that want an in-depth and rich experience of local life in Italy. We’re going off-the-beaten-path to areas that are still mostly undiscovered.
This was the original concept and the very core of who we are and why Culture Discovery was created.
You’ll take a giant step back to places and times that are nearly forgotten. This is experiential travel in some of its purest form. You will partake in local traditions and customs. You will cook and taste home-style Italy that even most locals never do anymore.
This is the road less traveled. These are the cities lost in time.
This is the REAL Italy that everyone dreams about.
Our outings, excursions and cooking classes this week are a mixture of new places our guests have never been to, along with some of the highlights from our Under the Tuscan and Umbrian Sun Vacation.
We call this small- group, 8-Day, 7-Night vacation, Cities Lost in Time on the Road Less Traveled. We're taking guests to some lesser-known places in and around Soriano as well as Tuscany and Umbria. We will visit places that only a few foreign travelers ever see, including many sites that even the locals aren't familiar with.
Local civilization dates back about 2500 years when the area was inhabited by the Etruscans. The Etruscans pre-date the Romans, and much of what history has attributed to the Romans actually came from the Etruscans. They were an amazing people that ruled from twelve city-states before the Romans ultimately conquered them. We're going to see some of the places where they lived, how they lived and also where they practiced customs and rituals.
Take a step back to the origins of life in Italy. We'll even have one of our class courses and recipe based on a long-forgotten Roman cookbook. Along with this and many other experiences we'll have this week, above all, it is a week of getting to know the locals, fun, family and laughter as we share what makes this part of Italy so special in a very personal way.
We'll be making a diversity of recipes during our cooking classes this week. All our cooking classes are completely 100% hands-on, with a participate as much as you want or desire to structure. They are not demonstrations.
Two of the classes are complete full-course meals, during which you are completely involved in everything. Another class focuses on locally-sourced and regional recipes, including deserts of Biscotti and Gelato. Yet another is all about Italian Country Wood-Fired Pizza! One of our classes will be at a generations-old traditional water-wheel grain mill, where we will make a local-style Umbrian bread as well as a strudel-like dessert.
So, when you're ready, we will get wrist-deep in our kitchen as we make locally-sourced, farm-to-table recipes using ingredients such as flour from a family-run mill in Umbria to make, from scratch, home-made pasta. We'll also use it for our pizza class on Friday night! We use free-range chickens for our Tuscan Roasted Chicken made directly in our wood-burning oven. Our sauces are made with mostly with home-grown, seasonal vegetables including, zucchini, celery and onions and eggplant. We'll make ricotta and pecorino cheese with a local shepherd...And so much more!
For those would rather eat than cook, there is always something to entertain you. All of our classes take place at our beautiful 18th century country villa. Take control of our 90-bottle wine rack, relax, take a stroll, or just enjoy the wonderful Italian countryside. Whether you are cooking or not, the time we spend during the cooking classes is always a highlight.
When we are not cooking, we are heading out on some truly incredible outings and excursions.
Be prepared to be amazed and bewildered by the very special destinations we have planned this active week. While so much of Italy is steeped in its past, many times you can only view those places from afar. This week, you will literally be standing in the footsteps of centuries past.
One such place is the stunning and powerful Marmore Falls. View from below or hike down the trail of the tallest man-made waterfall in all of Europe. This incredible engineering feat was commissioned by the emperor and built by the Romans over 2000 years ago. It
We'll walk through history visiting two different Etruscan archeological sites. One is at the ruins in the village of Vulci, which was a thriving community set in a beautiful valley and mountain ridge with a river running adjacent to their settlement. The other is in a forest on the outskirts of Soriano, where the ruins and remnants of a small encampment shows evidence of what Etruscan village life was all about.
Welcome to Monster Park or The Sacred Wood as it is also known as. We will have a guided walk through this mystical garden full of renaissance sculptures from the 16th century that are as intriguing as they are thought provoking.
We'll visit towns that are rarely visited by foreign visitors, but are truly gems in their own right. You will be wonderfully surprised by our visits to Rieti and Foligno where we will do as the locals do strolling the cobblestone streets taking in the local flavor during happy hour sitting at our favorite cafes taking in the sights, sipping wine and having appetizers.
We'll visit some amazing wineries, including small family-run places where we will meet the owners and dine with them. We'll have dinner where the wine cellar is widely-considered to be the most beautiful cellar in the world.
We'll have lunch at a small home-based olive mill that makes arguably, the best Extra-Virgin Umbrian Olive Oil you will ever have! We'll visit a generations old, operational Deruta ceramics factory where we try our hand at the potter's wheel.
We'll see many other beautiful-beyond-description Italian gems such as Assisi, Orvieto, Pienza and more!
Italians love their food. And why wouldn't they? It's delicious! We love it too and so much of what we do revolves around meal planning! We're talking about lunch at breakfast and then talking about dinner during lunch! One thing you never hear during one of our vacation weeks is, "I'm hungry" - What we do hear is..."I can't eat another bite!" But they still find some room!
The wine is always flowing at lunch and dinner. We take a lot of pride in making sure that we're pairing the right dish with one of the fantastic local wines. Everyone has their preferences. Find out which ones you like best!
Additionally, the meals at our cooking classes are not little "learn to make pasta" classes like many others. Instead, the classes are traditional Italian 'Sunday Family Meals'... Some are 5 courses, all done to the max. Other classes highlight Italian Desserts and Pizza!
When the week is over, you will have experienced the real Italy that few tourists have ever experienced. You will have made new friends, and you will have learned why Italian culture is so amazing... because you will have lived it in a way that few could ever dream about!
Home cooking...Away from home. Welcome to the Real Italy. Several of our meals will be home-cooked, home-served. That is, we are dining with local residents in their homes, villas or "taverne", truly sharing in their lives, and being part of everyday family life in an Italian village.
It doesn't stop there. Each morning when you "take" breakfast at the cafe in the main piazza, you will be welcomed with friendly smiles and a Buongiorno from the baristas. Don't be surprised when they know your specialty drink or pastry by the next day!
Your daily encounters with locals will leave a lasting impression not only on yourselves, but also with the locals as they really love our guests and the interaction that takes place. They are as genuine as it comes and you will feel it from the moment you arrive until the time to say goodbye.
It's not just in town where you will have this opportunity. Down at the villa, we have visitors come often to join us for lunch or pizza night. When we go to the wineries and the olive mill, we are at their personal homes and not some touristy stop where mainstream companies go.
This will most-likely be unlike anything you have experienced when traveling. You are invited into people's homes and lives and will be welcomed in as if you have known them for years.
In Tuscany, we will visit the villages of Montalcino, Montepulciano, Pienza, and Castelnuovo d'Abate. We will visit small family-run wineries and have an amazing home-made lunch in Montalcino at the home of our dear friend (and Brunello Winemaker),and dinner in what has been labeled as "The Most Beautiful Wine Cellar in the World" in Montepulciano.
Umbria...Figuratively and literally, sits in Tuscany's shadow, yet evokes emotions of what Tuscany was like before all of the tourists arrived.
Your journey to Umbria will bring you to some incredible towns with unforgettable experiences. One of the true gems and remarkable places in all of Italy is the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. You will have plenty of time to stroll through the picturesque walkways in this beautiful, historical town and marvel in the magnificence of the basilica.
When we go to Deruta, we have an exclusive experience at the factory and showroom of a family-run studio. You can take your turn at the potter's wheel at this generations-old Italian ceramics factory. Deruta is known around the world as home to some of Italy's most iconic and recognized designs.
One of Umbria's best-kept secrets isOrvieto. Along with a renaissance-inspired interior, the remarkable, gold-laden facade is recognized as one of the most beautiful examples of gothic design and architecture. We have a fantastic visit for shopping and lunch in this historic town.
Alto Lazio...Where Italian Traditions Still Prevail...
We find many of Central Italy's hidden treasures in the area of Alto Lazio - locally known as Tuscia. This is a mostly Roman area, yet borders parts of Umbria and Tuscany and has influences from all three regions. Our home base of Soriano nel Cimino which lies in the foothills above the Tiber Valley, was a strategic outpost beginning in Etruscan times and over the years has built a very storied history.
In Civita di Bagnoregio we visit the remarkable, Dying City, named that for its history of having most of the town crumble away leaving it nearly abandoned for decades.
We'll visit the beautifully preserved medieval quarters of the City of Popes in Viterbo, which was also an historic seat of the Vatican.
Another amazing highlight of the week and true gem in the area is the time we spend at a winery and olive oil mill in the rolling hills of Castiglione in Teverina.
Our First Class at Villa Eddarella, We'll Be Cooking...
A traditional Sunday Family-Meal - On Monday!
|Appetizer||First Course||Second Course||Side||Dessert|
|Fabam Vitellianam: Fava Bean-Style Dip & Local Bread Based on Ancient Roman Apicius Recipe||Pici Pasta w/ Fennel Ragu made from scratch||Tuscan Roasted Chicken (Made in our Wood-Fired Oven||Tuscan Roasted Potatoes (Made in our Wood-Fired Oven)||Millefoglie: Chantilly Cream and Fresh Seasonal Fruit mixed with layers of Baked Puff Pastry|
Our Second Cooking Class Features Regional Favorites
Today's class we'll be cooking the following menu:
Class 3 Is Our Traditional Pizza Night at the Villa!
We prepare the dough together, as well as all of the toppings as we fire up our 500 year old wood-fired brick oven! Each guests will have the chance to make their own individual pizza with toppings of your choice.
And that's not all...
It's a regional and Roman tradition to make pan-pizzas. We'll help Carla prepare several types of them. Such as...Margherita Pizza, Sausage & Porcini Mushroom Pizza, Caramelized Onion Pizza, Cherry Tomato Pizza, Zucchini Flower and Cream Pizza. Even a dessert pizza made with the fresh ricotta cheese we've made and also includes a home-made, Nutella-style, hazelnut and chocolate spread.