TRADITIONS AND FLAVORS OF THE ROMAN CUISINE

Day1 - ROME I FRASCATI
Upon arrival proceed to baggage claim. After clearing customs, you will be met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel in Frascati. Just south of Rome, in the Alban Hills, lies a string of hill towns nestled among vineyards called “Castelli Romani” - "Roman Castles". Frascati, a summer haunt for the Roman elite and subsequent nobility through the centuries, offers good food, fresh white wines and captivating views of Rome from a distance. This afternoon get acquainted with this lovely town during a guided walking tour. See the magnificent 16th century Villa Aldobrandini with its impressive flat-fronted façade and gardens, a fine example of an early Italian Baroque garden, the beautiful Cathedral, and the many restaurants and cantinas that line the streets and alleys before heading back to the hotel to enjoy a delicious meal. (D)
Day2 - FRASCATI I GROTTAFERRATA I FRASCATI
Today's tour starts with a visit of the Abbey of San Nilo in Grottaferrata. Founded in 1004 by St. Nilus himself and completed a few years later by St. Bartholomew the Younger, it remains one of Italy's most important centers of Byzantine culture. From here a panoramic road winds its way uphill, through beautiful scenery and areas of forest, to the remains of ancient Tusculum. A favorite resort of Cicero, Tusculum was the birthplace of Cato the Elder. Destroyed by Rome in 1191, its ruins are atmospherically overgrown and include an amphitheater, a theater, the forum, a wellhouse, and a stretch of the old town walls. Picnic lunch (weather permitting) or at local restaurant. Tonight dinner is at the very well renowned “Osteria di San Cesario”, a restaurant that specializes in the deepest-rooted culinary traditions of the Roman countryside. (B,L,D)
Day3 - FRASCATI
This morning you will learn the secrets of the Roman cuisine during a cooking class held by Frascati’s very own resident, culinary coach and food blogger, Mrs. Josephine (Jo) Donghi. Jo will guide you in making your own authentic Italian lunch in a creative and fun way. The rest of the day is yours to explore Frascati's alleys and browse the many artisans, goldsmiths, antique shops and boutiques. A feature of Frascati is its "cantine", or as they are known locally, “fraschette”. They’re essentially places where you can buy and drink wine, and can bring your own food. During summer nights the fraschette put their tables outside on the paved roads, and it seems like the whole town sits on these benches drinking, talking and laughing beneath the stars. (B,L)
Day 4 - FRASCATI I NEMI I ARICCIA I CASTEL GANDOLFO I FRASCATI
Start your day with a visit of Nemi. Perched high above Lago di Nemi, the smaller of the two volcanic lakes in the area, Nemi was the center of a cult to the goddess Diana in ancient times, and the favorite holiday spot of the emperor Caligula and Nero, who used to orchestrate refined sumptuous banquets and feasts on luxuriously rigged rafts. Today it’s a popular getaway from Rome, and famous for its wild strawberries that grow in the nearby woods. Next you will visit the Chigi Palace in Ariccia, a masterpiece by Bernini. Planned in the 1600s as official residence for Cardinal Flavio Chigi, it is remarkable not only because of the artworks hosted there, but because of the unique preservation of its paintings, sculptures and furnishings. Ariccia is also known for its "porchetta", a whole spit roast pork. Enjoy a light lunch accompanied by local wine before continuing on to Castel Gandolfo. Summer residence of the pope, Castel Gandolfo is a peaceful little town built on the shores of Lake Albano, the largest volcanic lake in the area. Time to stroll around the town before heading back to your hotel. (B,L)
Day5 - FRASCATI I MONTE PORZIO CATONE I FRASCATI
This morning tour starts with a visit to the “Scattered Museum of Wine”, a quaint little museum in Monte Porzio Catone, a town named after Marcus Porcius Cato the Elder, Roman Consul, born in Tusculum and author of the treatise De Agri Cultura, (circa 160 BC). The museum was opened in 2000 and houses a collection of wine-making utensils and equipment. You will then proceed off the beaten track to visit the oldest historic winery in the Region. Here you will meet with people who are passionate about the wine they produce, learn about the history of wine, get to know more about the importance of "terroir" and discover how to taste wine. Return to Frascati and the rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Tonight dinner at a local restaurant is included. (B,D)
Day 6 - FRASCATI
This morning tour will take you to three agribusinesses that belong to the Slow Food organization, and will introduce you to the different techniques used by these local farmers. Our first stop will be a hill-top honey bee farm where you will learn about honeybees and the wonderful world of honey. From there, we will go to the Erba Regina country estate, that specializes in cultivating a wide variety of herbs and whose farming techniques are closely monitored by the Botanical Department of a Roman university. Last, we will visit a cheese farm where you will be given a demonstration in cheese making and sample some of the cheeses. Rest of the afternoon is at leisure for independent activities. Tonight enjoy dinner at a typical restaurant. (B,D)
Day7 - FRASCATI I ROME TO USA (OR EXTEND YOUR STAY)
Morning transfer to the airport for your return flight home. (B)