Learning holiday for U3As groups, Abruzzo Italy

Fabrizio Lucci

Founder & Tour Guide of Italia Sweet Italia

Fabrizio Lucci

Founder & Tour Guide of Italia Sweet Italia

Available on request

Fully escorted small groups tour up to 12 travelers

Why a small group of travelers and a local tour operator

Here’s why we believe that traveling with a small group of people and a local tour operator as we are can really make the difference:

We love our region – Attention to details – Local knowledge and experience - Support sustainable and responsible travel - Live like a local – Feel part of a big family – Make new friends – Explore on your own – Everybody feels at home – Small groups tour up to 12 travelers. Click here to learn more!

Join us on a 7-day learning holiday in the undiscovered Italy, Abruzzo, where Italy’s north and south meet with the sea, wide open country, mountains, forests and beautiful medieval towns. You will experience the local culture including its food and wine, traditional arts and crafts.

The highlight of this tour is the chance to learn: cooking, painting, how to taste extra virgin olive oil, local dop wine-tasting, , how to make ricotta cheese and a special kind of bread, Italian and much more. You will visit artisans, design studios, museums and markets and be surprised by the unexpected when you wander around small villages, piazzas and laneways during included free time.

Who is this tour suitable for?

Like-minded travelers - Everybody that travelled enough to know that touristy vacations are just not them - Travelers that appreciate la dolce vita and want to learn something new - Solo travelers (there is no single room supplement) - Couples - Group of friends - Families



Day 1 | Rome airport pick up and welcome to Abruzzo dinner! (D*)


  • Private group pick up at Rome Fiumicino Airport or Naples or Pescara (to be agreed) after crossing beautiful Abruzzo mountains looking at amazing landscapes, hilltop villages and castles
  • Check in at the charming and family run Hotel dei 7 (or a similar accommodation) in the historical downtown
  • Get to know your local guide and Italia Sweet Italia founderFabrizio and learn more about this learning cultural and culinary vacation
  • Walking to a traditional restaurant to enjoy a welcome group dinner in the heart of Vasto
Day 2 | A visit to the market, make homemade pasta with Mamma, explore Vasto (breakfast, cooking class, lunch)

* B= Breakfast | L=Lunch | D=Dinner | T=Tasting | C=Cooking Lesson

After a leisurely traditional breakfast made of freshly baked bread, whole fruit country-style preserves, cake, pastries, coffee, tea and freshly squeezed juice:


  • We’ll walk and visit Vasto’s colorful market to get seasonal products. Here you’ll have the possibility to practice a little bit of Italian even if you don’t speak any of it
  • Next we’ll drive to the beautiful countryside of Vasto where we’ll meet Fabrizio’s family to have an exclusive cooking class with them and we’ll learn how easy it is to make fresh pasta and we’ll be introduced to Abruzzo sauces
  • An example menu based on Fabrizio’s family recipes, includes Bread with meat sauce, Pasta alla chitarra with meat sauce, polpette (meatballs),  and Tarallucci (typical biscuits from Abruzzo) 


  • Lunch with the scrumptious dishes that we prepared in the morning, while enjoying the relaxing family atmosphere
  • After a short break to relax, in the afternoon we’ll explore Vasto historic center: Loggia Amblingh, a promenade overlooking the fascinating crescent-shaped coastline, the old town with its medieval Castle, charming lanes, a tower, the Cathedral and Piazza Rossetti, dedicated to Gabriele Rossetti, a poet from the town and father of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
  • Before free time, we’ll meet some local artisans or artists
  • In the evening you may experience dinner on your own in one of the many restaurants of Vasto. After the big family lunch, based on our many years of experience, we know that nobody is looking for a rich dinner, so our travelers usually enjoy spending time like a local trying a simple aperitif, a gelato or a pizza. Obviously Fabrizio will suggest you his favorite places
Day 3 | Discover the fascinating Trabocchi coast, fish based lunch on a trabocco fishing hut, visit C6th Abbey (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

* B= Breakfast | L=Lunch | D=Dinner | T=Tasting | C=Cooking Lesson


  • After breakfast we’ll explore the famous Trabocchi coast. We’ll start with a short and easy walk inside Punta Aderci Nature Reserve, one of the 12 most beautiful Italian beaches according to the National Geographic From there, you can also glimpse the snow-capped peaks of Italy’s Apennines Mountain range*
  • Next we’ll visit the enchanting Abbey of San Giovanni in Venere, part of an ancient monastery located on a hillside facing the sea. The abbey dominates the coastline and is surrounded by orange, olive, oak and pine treesNext we’ll visit a “trabocco,” Abruzzo’s unique fishing platforms and an important symbol of the area. Built mostly with acacia wood and railway iron sleepers, we’ll learn more about them from our host,  Rinaldo. The secrets and history behind these traboccos have been featured in the BBC TV show: ”Escape to the Continent
  • Weather permitting, we’ll help Rinaldo fish! 
  • We’ll then enjoy a delicious seafood luncheon, prepared exclusively for us by Rinaldo’s wife, Maria, and dine al fresco on our perch overlooking the Adriatic Sea


  • Feel free to relax or take some great photos of the surrounding beautiful marinescape
  • Free afternoon from around 3.30 pm
  • Tonight we’ll dine together in a traditional restaurant in the heart of Vasto

*If you prefer, on this day instead of the short and simple walk and visit to the abbey, we could do a painting class (watercolors) in a unique location on the trabocco (before lunch on the trabocco)

Day 4 | Art experience and lunch with an artist*, and free afternoon (breakfast, lunch)

* B= Breakfast | L=Lunch | D=Dinner | T=Tasting | C=Cooking Lesson


  • After breakfast we’ll drive to the little hilltop village of Lentella at Ettore’s “Fattoria d’Arte” (Art farm)
  • Surrounded by an amazing landscape with a stunning view of the sea, mountains, hills and small towns, Ettore, will teach you to create your very own picture postcard  made using the natural pigments produced by combining the leaves and flowers that we’ll pick ourselves on Ettore’s property!
  • We’ll enjoy an aperitif and a traditional lunch with Ettore, and his wife, Barbara


  • We know that not every minute of your days in Abruzzo must be packed with organised events. Take this afternoon to actually live like an Italian.  Slow down or explore on your own. Enjoy your afternoon
  • You might choose to go to one of the many area beaches, visit Vasto’s museums and art galleries, take part in some optional local activities or excursions, shop, or simply stroll the “piazza” taking in the relaxing Vasto vibe
  • In the evening, dinner is on your own 

*If you prefer, on this day instead of the short and simple walk, we could do a pottery class (clay manipulation) or a painting (watercolor) class in the same location

Day 5 | Visit a typical “agriturismo” to learn everything about Abruzzo farming, farm-to-table lunch and explore Roccascalegna Medieval Castle (B, C, T, L)
* B= Breakfast | L=Lunch | D=Dinner | T=Tasting | C=Cooking Lesson


  • After breakfast we’ll make our way to a farmhouse where Pina and Berardino will reveal the secrets of farming letting you immerse in an authentic slow food experience. You could relax in the beautiful Abruzzo countryside or take part into some or all of these experiences
  • We’ll milk a sheep or a cow
  • We’ll learn how to make a special bread called “pizza scima – stupid pizza”, a pizza without yeast
  • After collecting some organic wine from their winery, we’ll have an aperitif including a taste of their production: cheeses, salami and extra virgin olive oil
  • Next we’ll learn how to prepare ricotta cheese
  • Finally we’ll collect the fresh vegetables from their garden that will be used for our farm-to-table lunch
  • A delicious traditional farm-to-table lunch will be prepared and served
  • Almost everything we’ll eat is produced in the farm (wheat to produce the organic flour to make different kinds of breads, cookies and fresh pasta together with eggs from their hens, organic extra virgin olive oil, wines, liquors, juices, jams, cheeses, many varieties of salami, meats and vegetables)


  • In the afternoon, immersed in the nature and surrounded by amazing sceneries, we’ll drive in the inland to explore the enchanting Abruzzo’s castle in the sky in the charming village of Roccascalegna, ranked by Condé Naste Traveler as one of the 9 Most Beautiful Hilltop Towns in Italy
  • After the big lunch at the farm, in the evening you may enjoy a dinner or aperitif on your own in one of the many restaurants and wine bars of Vasto
Day 6 | Olive oil and wine tasting, pizza & tiramisù family party & farewell dinner (B, T, L, C, D)
* B= Breakfast | L=Lunch | D=Dinner | T=Tasting | C=Cooking Lesson


  • After breakfast we’ll visit an Olive Grove that has been farmed by Giovanni’s family for three generations to produce DOP olive oils. He will unfurl the secrets of what Homer described as “liquid gold” and we will finish with an olive oil tasting
  • Next we’ll visit an award winning winery that sits between a marine park and the mountains. We’ll make a wine tasting and lunch with pairings from local cheeses and salami and a tour of the vineyard and cellars organized by the winemakers Emanuele and Nicola


  • After lunch and some free time to relax and pack or do a last minute shopping, we’ll have a farewell party with Fabrizio’s family. You will enjoy the Abruzzo wines and food in a very relaxed atmosphere or help Adele and Mamma Anna Maria to make tiramisù and many kinds of pizza including the world famous Margherita or local ones with typical toppings such as the renowned “ventricina” salami
  • In the evening we’ll have the last dinner together as an Italian family immersed in the Abruzzo’s countryside
Day 7 | Goodbye and transfer to Rome airport (B)

All good things must come to an end. After breakfast, we leave for Rome Fiumicino airport or other airports or locations according to your needs


According to your interests and needs we could add/eliminate activities and days to create a tailor-made holiday for your U3A/organization group. We can accommodate groups of up to 50 people – although this is not possible for all the activities we offer such us cooking, painting, pottery or Italian language classes. Please see our Tailor-made section. As well as cooking, painting, pottery and Italian language classes, which include wine tastings and other goodies, there’s a wide choice of other activities to build into a tailor-made holiday. Some examples of the possible activities are a visit to local castles, a wine tasting class, visits to wineries and olive oil mills, grape harvest, olive harvest, truffle hunting, cycling, fishing from a trabocco (an ancient fishing equipment typical to Abruzzo), cheese making, day trips to Rome, Naples or other destinations and many more activities.

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Download this tour's PDF brochure and start tour planning offline


Your Itinerary is a guide to your activities during the week. However, sometimes we modify the final itinerary to take advantage of the season and the weather. Our goal is to ensure that everyone has a fabulous time, and that sometimes means tweaking the schedule even after your arrival. Your guide will provide suggestions during the week, and the group will decide if any modifications are desired. Be assured that only enhanced experiences are ever considered.


from € 1,750.00 per person in double room (depends on the number of participants, agreed itinerary, accommodation and period)

Small groups up to 16 people, minimum 6 people.

Discover here about a similar tour we have already organized for a U3A group From UK.

Prices are per person and land only, with accommodation in a twin/double room with ensuite bathroom. Airfare and travel insurance are not included. 

Click here for exchange rate

During this tour you will stay at the centrally located Hotel dei 7 or a similar accommodation.

You can also choose to upgrade to a lovely boutique residence located in the heart of Vasto. Originally an 18th-century mansion, it has been renovated into an upscale B&B with 5 bedrooms, located on the Amblingh promenade. Discover more here and inquire for a quote.



  • Only 100% authentic experiences
  • Deep connections with the people who live here
  • We have a passion for our culture and our communities


  • We know how to let you feel that at home
  • We keep our groups small to take care of all the details
  • Discover our guest reviews on Tripadvisor


  • We promote the local culture as a sign of responsible travel
  • We are focused on preserving our way of life
  • We involve small, family-run and passion-driven businesses


Italia Sweet Italia (ISI) is a small incoming tour operator specialised in organizing vacations around Abruzzo Italy, our home. ISI is a fully licensed company covered by insurance policy no. 402485101 by Axa Assicurazione S.p.A. and authorised by the local government to create and sell tour packages from 2011.

Our mission is to show people from all over the world the beauty of Abruzzo and other Italian regions so they can experience our homeland, traditions, arts and folklore in a unique way, also demonstrating the benefits of sustainable tourism to everyone. In order to help you discover everything Abruzzo has to offer, we organise small groups (up to 12 people) escorted tours including cultural, culinary, active, pottery, Italian language and ancestry experiences. We are happy to create a tailored vacation around your wishes. Our tours provide you with the rare opportunity to be invited into homes and farms, as well as into the daily lives of locals.

Pick up

For all the small group tours listed in our calendar, the pick up at Rome Fiumicino airport is planned at 2:30 pm on day 1. Normally it takes 3-3,5 hours to drive to Vasto, our base on the Adriatic Coast for all the tours (except for The Abruzzo, Puglia & Matera experience tour in which we’ll drive for around 2 hours to Sulmona). The duration of the trip depends on traffic (on Sunday, when most of our tours start, usually there is no traffic) and if you need to stop at the motor service along the way for a snack or to go to the toilette. It is a beautiful and relaxing driving crossing three National parks,from where you can see many hilltop villages and the Apennines. A few weeks before the tour starts, we’ll send you a pdf with exact pick-up location and times. Please consider also this information:

  • If you want you can be picked up at an Hotel in Rome, but this service has an extra cost of € 50 that you can pay at your arrival. We’ll come earlier to pick you up at your accommodation (it depends on the exact location, but it is usually 1 hour before the pick-up at Rome F. Airport). Sometimes it could be also after the airport pick-up.
  • When we’ll have all flights and arrival information from all the travelers, if everybody that is joining the tour is supposed to arrive before 2:30 pm, we could anticipate the pick-up time.
  • You can also reach Vasto or other destinations in Italy by bus or train. Please take a look at this page. We’ll organize the taxi transfer from/to Vasto train station (10 minutes driving) or Vasto coach station to/from the hotel in Vasto (3 minutes driving).


For the drop-off to Rome we usually leave the hotel in Vasto after breakfast, at around 09:00 am so that we arrive at Rome Fiumicino airport at maximum 01:30 pm (if there is traffic, but it normally takes 3-3,5 hours). If anybody in the group has an earlier flight, we could leave 1-2 hours before (so at 07:00-08:00) but we make our evaluations from time to time. If there is any specific need, there are also public buses that shuttle from Vasto to Rome Fiumicino (or the city center) earlier in the morning and by night (take a look here). In this case we organize the taxi transfer from the hotel to Vasto coach station (3 minutes driving).

For the drop off to Bari for The Abruzzo, Puglia & Matera experience tour, we have this program: after breakfast, we will leave (usually at 09:00) for Bari airport or your next destination (45 minutes driving from Hotel to Bari airport and 40 minutes to Bari train station). When we’ll have information from all the people who will join the tour (about their programs on that day) we’ll finalize this. If there is any specific need, we can organize a private transfer (before or after the planned one) from the hotel to Bari airport or train station that costs € 90.

Private pick-up and drop-off for group tours

Of course, we are always happy to support you to organize a private pick up/drop off only for you to let you join our small group tours listed in our calendar. Please keep in mind that a private transfer (before or after the planned one) from Vasto to Rome airport or city center costs around € 300.

Connecting to or from another part of Italy

If you are connecting to or from another part of Italy we are happy to assist you in planning your pre and post trip connections. If your planned arrival or departure does not coincide with the specified meeting time we can assist you in booking a private transfer at an additional cost or some extra nights in Vasto or Puglia. .

Once a complete booking is made you may also contact us directly for further details and assistance. We are always here to help and have the insider knowledge and on the ground support to ensure you find the best option available to arrive or depart from your tour.

Make sure to arrive at the meeting point on time but don’t get stressed

Please note that all guests joining our tours are responsible for ensuring they make it to the meeting point by 2:30 pm at Rome’s Fiumicino airport. Those who are unable to be on time will not be guaranteed a transfer from Rome to Vasto and will have to seek other arrangements to participate in the remainder of the tour. Anyway, don’t worry, there are many daily public buses that with less than € 30 connect Rome Fiumicino airport or Roma Termini coach station with Vasto as you can see here.

  • Our tours are suitable for everybody that travelled enough to know that touristy vacations are just not them and long for more authentic travel, ways to truly experience the culture and people they’re visiting
  • Our travellers appreciate la dolce vita and the pleasures of exquisite food, wine, and fellowship with others who share their passions
  • Our guests are not afraid to take bold steps…to learn something new…to explore something completely out of the ordinary
  • The minimum age for pre-arranged tours is 14 (14-18 accompanied by an adult) with no upper age limit. For tailor-made and private tours any age is fine
  • Our tours are perfect for solo travellers (we don’t charge single room supplements for our 7-day tours in Abruzzo), couples, groups of friends and even families are welcomed
  • Our guests don’t need to have any experience in cooking or painting or do pottery or speaking Italian to join our tours. Our experienced course tutors will soon discover your level of knowledge and will adapt their approach accordingly

All classes are taught in both Italian and English so you’ll have the opportunity to learn and practice a little bit of Italian

To book this tour with us, check availability contacting Fabrizio (fill in the form or send an e-mail to fabrizio@italiasweetitalia.com) and go ahead with his instructions to pay by credit card. The booking becomes binding only after the payment of a 25% deposit per person and the confirmation e-mail from Italia Sweet Italia. The 75% balance has to be paid within 45 days before arrival. Tours booked less than 45 days before their start date must be paid in full. 

If you prefer, you can also pay the 25% deposit and 75% balance by Bank Transfer (Italia Sweet Italia Holidays di Lucci Fabrizio,  Account number: 1231254113 IBAN: 

IT21R0526277910CC1231254113 SWIFT: BPPUIT33 Banca Popolare Pugliese – Società  cooperative per azioni, Via XXIV Maggio, 25, 66054 Vasto (CH) – Italy. Headquarter: Via Luigi Luzzatti, 8, 73046 Matino (LE). 

Before the balance is due, we’ll send you an e-mail to remind you about the payment including a link to be used in case you prefer to pay the balance by credit card. 

Yes, Fabrizio will be happy to guide you to let you discover his Abruzzo although there may always be some unforeseen events that may make it necessary to replace Fabrizio with another experienced and trusted Abruzzese guide who has worked with Fabrizio for many years.




Price from: € 1,750

Cultural, Culinary and Active Tours in Italy - Enquiry

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Cultural, Culinary and Active Tours in Italy - Travel Privately

To get more info and for booking enquiries, select your preferred starting date, add your personal data and needs and I’ll get back to you with more information accordingly as soon as I can! Thanks, Fabrizio, Founder and Tour guide

  • This tour can be booked privately from a minimum of 6 travellers
  • There may be an additional fee when booking this tour privately

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