The Abruzzo, Puglia & Matera Experience

Fabrizio Lucci

Founder & Tour Guide of Italia Sweet Italia

Fabrizio Lucci

Founder & Tour Guide of Italia Sweet Italia 

Price: € 3,145

Fully escorted small groups tour up to 12 travelers

12-22 September 2023

19-29 September 2023

10-20 October 2023

7-17 November 2023

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 11-day unique Italian cultural and culinary escorted tour to visit 3 of the most stunning Italian regions: Abruzzo with its charming mountain villages, 3 National Parks and the fascinating trabocchi (special fishing structures, a symbol of the area), Puglia with its UNESCO sites, castles, beautiful medieval towns and coastal villages, and Basilicata with the enchanting Matera, elected European capital of Culture for 2019.
Your hosts and local guides Fabrizio and Katia, together with their families & friends, have put together amazing experiences that combine passion, beautiful places and locals to show you the best of Abruzzo & Puglia, allowing you to live an immersive adventure in the Italian culture and traditions, where you really get to know the food, region and people. This is a fully escorted tour that will give you insights to daily life, food & wine, culture and production and will let you discover the authentic Italy in a balanced mix of experiences, relaxation, adventure and learning.
The highlight of this tour is the chance to discover and experience different local cultures that have in common, the warm hospitality of local people, great food and wine traditions.

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 - Couples - Group of friends - Families



Day 1 | Tuesday | Rome Fiumicino airport pick-up, Sulmona and welcome to Abruzzo dinner (dinner)


  • Rome Fiumicino airport pick up at 2:30 pm, transfer to Sulmona, the town of the Roman poet Ovid, the most illustrious son of Sulmona (click here to discover more about Sulmona)
  • Get to know your local guide and Italia Sweet Italia founder Fabrizio and learn more about this 11-day Italian cultural vacation
  • Check in, relax and welcome dinner at Hotel Ovidius in the heart of Sulmona
Day 2 | Wednesday | Confetti Museum, explore Sulmona’s historic center and wine tasting (breakfast, confetti and wine tasting, lunch)

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


  • Visit the Confetti (sugar-coated almonds) Museum, where you can see a wide display of old-fashioned confectionery machines and equipment, memorabilia and precious, rare objects relating to the ancient Sulmonese art of confectionary
  • After confetti tasting, we’ll discover Sulmona and see the Medieval aqueduct on Piazza Garibaldi and the Church of Santa Maria Annunziata with its majestic bell tower
  • We’ll have a wine tasting in the centre of Sulmona and learn all about Abruzzo wines
  • You’ll taste 3 different wines from local vineyards, with pairings of local cheeses, salami and other specialties


  • We know that not every minute of your time needs to be packed with organized events; you will also be able to explore on your own and actually live like an Italian
  • So today you’ll have a free afternoon for your own activities, which could include: visiting Sulmona’s museums and art galleries, taking part in some extra activities/excursions, having a SPA experience in the Hotel wellness center (must be booked in advance) or just do some shopping, visiting artisans or taking a walk in the “piazza” to enjoy the relaxing Sulmona atmosphere

In the evening, you may experience dinner on your own in one of the many restaurants of Sulmona. Obviously Fabrizio will suggest to you his favorite places

Day 3 | Thursday | Amazing Abruzzo mountains landscapes, Scanno and Vasto on the Adriatic Coast (breakfast, lunch, dinner)


  • After check out, we’ll drive across the wonderful Abruzzo mountains and National Parks to the ancient Roman town of Vasto on the Adriatic Coast, where you will be staying for the next 3 nights
  • On the way to Vasto, we’ll visit the enchanting Hermitage of San Domenico in Villalago and the village of Scanno (one of the most beautiful villages of Italy) in the mountains


  • Lunch in a traditional restaurant in Scanno
  • Transfer to Vasto, check in at Hotel in the historical downtown
  • After a short break, we’ll go on a guided visit of Vasto’s historic center. We’ll explore 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 (click here to discover more about Vasto)
  • Group dinner in a traditional restaurant in the heart of Vasto
Day 4 | Friday | A visit to the market, make homemade pasta with Mamma and and make your own souvenir with an artist (breakfast, cooking lesson, lunch, dinner)


  • 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 of a 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 at the hotel 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, you can enjoy an artistic experience with Ettore, who will let you create your own Abruzzo souvenir (a postcard made with natural colors produced on site by mixing leaves and flowers that you can pick on Ettore’s property)
  • We’ll have an aperitif and a traditional dinner with Ettore and his wife Barbara
Day 5 | Saturday | Discover the fascinating Trabocchi coast, fish-based lunch on a trabocco fishing hut and free time (breakfast, lunch)


  • 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 10 most beautiful Italian beaches according to the British daily The Telegraph, from where you can also admire snow-capped mountains
  • Next we’ll visit a trabocco (the symbol of the area), mostly built with acacia wood and railway iron sleepers
  • Weather permitting, Rinaldo our host will show us how to fish from it and the secrets and history behind Abruzzo’s unique fishing platforms that have been featured in the BBC TV show: Escape to the Continent
  • His wife Maria will prepare fish from the Adriatic Sea for our exclusive 


  • Free afternoon for your own activities, which could include: going to one of the many beaches, visiting Vasto’s museums and art galleries, taking part into some extra activities/excursions, or just doing some shopping, visiting artisans or having a walk in the “piazza” to enjoy the relaxing Vasto atmosphere

In the evening, you may experience dinner on your own in one of the many restaurants of Vasto. After lunch on a trabocco, 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 to you his favorite places

Day 6 | Sunday | Welcome to Puglia, exploring Trani and Conversano (breakfast, dinner)


  • After check out, we’ll move to Puglia where we’ll meet the local guide Katia and we’ll have a guided visit of the beautiful town of Trani: the little fishing port, the Church of the Templar Knights, and the historical quarter


  • Free time and lunch on your own in one of the many restaurants of Trani
  • Transfer to Conversano and check in at Hotel Corte Altavilla in the historical downtown (possibility to have a SPA experience in their wellness center to book in advance)
  • Guided walking tour in Conversano: ancient town with its medieval Castle and Romanesque cathedral
  • Welcome to Puglia group dinner in traditional restaurant in the heart of Conversano
Day 7 | Monday | Cooking class in a masseria, exploring Monopoli (breakfast, cooking lesson, lunch)


  • After breakfast we’ll move to an ancient masseria (typical Apulian farmhouse) in Monopoli and cooking class with traditional recipes such as orecchiette pasta, melanzane alla parmigiana (eggplant  parmigiana) and Bocconotti (a typical Apulian dessert)


  • Lunch will consist of the scrumptious dishes that have been prepared in the morning
  • Next we’ll have a guided tour of Monopoli, an enchanting seaside town with a lot of history, surprising corners and fascinating alleys
  • Dinner at your leisure in one of the many restaurants of Conversano. After the lunch in the masseria, 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 Katia will suggest to you her favorite places
Day 8 | Tuesday | Explore Locorotondo, the UNESCO site Trulli of Alberobello and olive oil tasting (breakfast, lunch, extra-virgin olive tasting)


  • After breakfast, we’ll drive to the charming village of Locorotondo, whose name derives from the Latin Locus Rotundus and literally means “round place” recalling the circular shape, which is repeated on several rings between suggestive alleys and streets
  • Next we’ll move to the UNESCO site of Alberobello to have a guided tour and walk among the trulli
  • In this unique town we’ll enjoy a traditional lunch


  • Next we’ll visit an ancient olive oil mill where we’ll have an extra virgin olive oil tasting
  • Dinner at your leisure in one of the many restaurants of Conversano
Day 9 | Wednesday | Exploring Bari, panzerotto tasting, wine-tasting and Polignano a mare (breakfast, panzerotto and wine tasting, lunch)


  • After breakfast we’ll drive to Bari, the capital city of Puglia. We’ll have a guided tour to discover  San Nicola’s church, Frederick II’s castle and the city center
  • We’ll enjoy also a tasting of traditional panzerotti (a pocket of dough stuffed with tomato and vegetables or a meat sauce) in a bakery 
  • Next we’ll visit a family-run winery where we’ll have a wine tasting and lunch with pairings from local cheeses and salami and a tour of the vineyard and cellars organized by the winemakers 


  • We’ll drive to Polignano a mare to discover its wonderful sea views and charming alleys 
  • Dinner at your leisure in one of the many restaurants of Conversano
Day 10 | Thursday | Matera and its UNESCO site, focaccia tasting, and farewell dinner (breakfast, focaccia tasting, light lunch, dinner)


  • After breakfast we’ll drive to spectacular Matera in the Basilicata Region. We’ll have a guided tour of the Unesco site of  “the Sassi” (cave houses and rocky churches where time seems to stop)


  • Next we’ll have a Focaccia tasting in a very old bakery with a wood burning oven in Altamura, town famous for its DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) bread
  • After some free time to relax and pack or do last minute shopping, we’ll have a farewell dinner at Hotel Corte Altavilla
Day 11 | Friday | Departure and goodbye (breakfast)


  • After breakfast departure (normally 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)

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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.


18-28  April 2023: € 3,145.00*

16-26 May 2023: € 3,145.00*

13-23 June 2023: € 3,145.00* (SOLD OUT)

4-14 July 2023: € 3,145.00*

12-22 September 2023: € 3,145.00*

19-29 September 2023: € 3,145.00*

10-20 October 2023: € 3,145.00* (SOLD OUT)

7-17 November 2023: € 3,145.00*

Click here to discover the 2024 new tour and dates!

*Prices are per person and land only, with accommodation in a twin/double room with ensuite bathroom. Airfare and travel insurance are not included. Single occupancy supplement (double room for single use): + € 245.

Click here for exchange rate

During this tour you will stay at the centrally located 4* Hotel Ovidius in Sulmona, 3* Hotel San Marco in Vasto and 4* Hotel Corte Altavilla in Conversano. All of them provide a high standard of service, are meticulously clean and equipped with modern conveniences, air conditioning, elevator, free wi-fi and they are at walking distance to the main attractions and squares of their respective towns. At Hotel Ovidius and Hotel Corte Altavilla you have the opportunity to enjoy a SPA experience in their wellness center to be booked in advance.

Regarding your staying in Vasto, 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 overlooking the Adriatic Sea. 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.

Yes, Fabrizio will be happy to guide you for the first 5 days of the tour to let you discover his Abruzzo although there may always be some unforeseen event that may make it necessary to replace Fabrizio with another experienced and trusted Abruzzese guide who has worked with Fabrizio for many years. In Puglia there will be Katia, an enthusiastic local guide who share our philosophy and we prefer to have people that love and know everything (or almost) about their region just like Fabrizio does for Abruzzo. It’s best to have the knowledge of a local to appreciate all that is local. Rest assured that we designed the tour together and Fabrizio has personally met the local suppliers to make sure they share Italia Sweet Italia’s philosophy and style to create new and unique trips to support small local businesses and sustainable tourism.

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 € 60 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 Sulmona 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 Sulmona  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. 

On a typical day there could be 0.5-2 hours (some days even few minutes) of slow and light walking (with stops to see monuments, churches, piazzas, historical sites and so on, not hiking) except for day 9 when there is a longer walk (with some climbs and stairs) to explore wonderful Matera. Anyway, in every location if you feel tired and don’t want to walk too much, we’ll be happy to give you suggestions to stop to wait for the rest of the group in a nice bar or location in a nice piazza or a bench to enjoy the Italian atmosphere. 




Price: € 3,145

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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