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Secret Italy – Abruzzo and Le Marche from €3800 / per person

Escape the crowds and explore rich cultures, diverse scenery and delicious cuisines of Aquila, Vasto and Ascoli in the Abruzzo and Le Marche regions on this very special itinerary into a secret Italy.

Once met a the airport our tour really starts in The Province of L’Aquila in the Abruzzo Region in central Italy. This landlocked province set amongst breathtaking mountain scenery is most famous for its medieval castles, forts and hill towns.  
 
You have time to explore the town that is dominated by Mt Gran Sasso and visit sites like the Fountain of the 99 ‘Cannelle’, Santa Maria di Collemaggio as well a sit at a cafe in the Piazza del Duomo watching the town go about its business.
 
Our second day begins with a hearty breakfast before starting a hike around the snow-capped Gran Sasso mountain through forests, streams, waterfalls, rural farms and ancient villages.

Shepherds and their flocks are a common sight and the region is renowned for its prize sheep and lambs. The sheep graze on wild herbs like mint, rosemary and juniper and the sheep’s milk is crafted into some of Italy’s best cheeses.

We visit a rural farm and meet the farmer who will show you around and how artisans craft fine cheese for you to sample.

On the third day we head down from the mountains to the Adriatic coast, through more beautiful scenery, rarely seen by overseas tourists. Our destination is Vasto, a hilltop town in Southern Abruzzo dating back to the 15th century.

After breakfast at the hotel, you will be met by your guide on day four and explore the Costa del Trabocchi, made famous by “Trabocchi” ancient fishing structures that look like wooden crabs extending into the sea.

We take a seafood lunch on one of the Trabochhi giving you a very unique experience, as well as dining on some of the finest seafood, cooked how the locals have enjoyed it for centuries.From there we head to a village for a short walking tour and visit a winery to taste wines made from the local grape, the Pecorino Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

We take a seafood lunch on one of the Trabochhi giving you a very unique experience, as well as dining on some of the finest seafood, cooked how the locals have enjoyed it for centuries.

 

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Itinerary

Itineraries

1

Transfer to Aquila with time to visit the town

Meet your English speaking driver and enjoy a pleasant journey to The Province of L'Aquila in the Abruzzo Region.
Due to its location presents a great variety of customs and traditions, history and dialects and is the only province with no access to the sea. As you approach the territory you will become absorbed in its charming landscapes, plunged into the silence of its cities and picturesque villages, which cling onto the mountains or lie on valleys below. You will be enchanted by a succession of images that mutate with the natural surroundings, dotted with ruins of ancient pagan temples and Roman settlements connoting ancient religious traditions, such as the many Benedictine monasteries. L'Aquila itself is the Region's most mountainous town, dominated by the Gran Sasso mountain.
This most historical town has so much to offer from many points of view: will enlighten you to the highlights to be savoured both with the eyes and your taste buds.
There are several attractions for you to visit: very unusual is the Fountain of the 99 ‘Cannelle’ located outside the western walls. The fountain has 99 fountains that represent the 99 churches that were originally in the city.
The Duomo (the city’s main church) is located on the Piazza del Duomo, and Santa Maria di Collemaggio (located outside the city walls), a Templar church with beautiful rose windows.
Other places to see include the Museo Nazionale d'Abruzzo, located in the sixteenth century Castello, one of the most impressive castles in central Italy and possibly one of the earliest types of this type constructed.
It has several different sections including paintings, Roman finds, but its most famous feature is the skeleton of a mammoth that was found in the local area

2

Hiking Around Gran Sasso Mountain & Farm Experience

After breakfast at the hotel your friendly English speaking guide will collect you for an adventurous and active day.
The Gran Sasso and the Mountains of the Laga National Park make up what is known as the so-called “Twin Mountains” with typical features of the Dolomites, like high peaks, steep slopes and several high-altitude routes; from here, on particularly clear days you can even spot both the Adriatic Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Also in the vicinity are the Calderone Glacier and the plateau of Campo Imperatore, an extensive and wonderful high-altitude grassland. The area is rich in woods and streams, waterfalls and ponds.
The Monti della Laga are soft and undulating, furrowed by many streams that flow into vast pine, beech and birch forests.
Although a strong human presence is significant throughout the whole area of the park, everywhere is perfectly integrated with nature, as you will notice in the numerous Middle-Age villages that still preserve their original appearance. The civilization of shepherds has always characterized this area, as shown by dry stone walls, shelters, farms and unusual rock churches.
Over 2,000 species of flora have found their home in the different areas of the park, from prairies and pastures to woods.
The undergrowth is enriched by an amazing variety of colours and the aromas of the raspberries and wild orchids can be enjoyed at different times of the year during amazing hikes. The wildlife is an important protagonist too: the Gran Sasso is considered the kingdom of the Abruzzo chamois, besides deer, roe deer and the Apennine wolf - as well as many rare birds of prey, such as golden eagles, peregrine falcons and eagle owls – all call the area home.
After you have hiked your boots off, you will be taken for some enjoyable time for a local “Farm Experience” Here in the surrounding mountain ranges of the Gran Sasso there is ample space and fodder for the raising of prized sheep and lamb; from the early spring and into the late fall, the sheep, the shepherds and their dogs, spend virtually their entire waking hours grazing in the mountain meadows of the Gran Sasso, feasting on the pristine mountain grass of wild mint, rosemary, oregano, fennel, and juniper, so artisanal and organic products are abundant.
The cuisine of this region, much like its products and lifestyle, rely on the simple and the available, the raw and the fresh.
Your driver will be taking you to a Farm where your local hosts will be happy to show you the ropes of the know-how that has been passed down through the generations to revitalize the pastoral traditions of the area and produce some amazing cheeses thanks to ancient local breeds, Maremma sheepdogs, local shepherds and dedicated cheesemakers.

3

Transfer to the Vasto Seaside Area

After breakfast, checkout from your hotel in L’Aquila and meet your English-speaking private driver who will accompany you to your centrally located hotel in on the Seaside area of Vasto.
On the way there you are in for a wonderfully diverse drive around another lovely part of Italy, leaving the domineering Gran Sasso behind you, then heading down towards the Adriatic Coast, where you will pass through some well-known resorts until you get to Vasto, which is a hilltop town in southern Abruzzo.
It has a lovely medieval centre and many beautiful buildings dating from the 15th century, with beautiful panoramic views over the Adriatic sea, over the lovely golden beaches and towards the Punta della Penne harbour and lighthouse.
Wandering through the narrow alleyways is a pleasure and reveals many churches and mansions and also various Roman excavations.
The Palazzo d'Avalos is a key sight, now home to the Archaeological Civic Museum; be sure to also checkout its pretty Neapolitan-style garden. Not far away is the Cathedral of San Giuseppe which has a simple Romanesque facade. The rest is newer as it was rebuilt following destruction during a Turkish raid in the 16th century.
On the coast Vasto Marina is a popular holiday destination and has lots of hotels and campsites along the edge of the beach.

4

Costa del Trabocchi, Seafood Lunch, Village visit and Winetasting

The Trabocchi are extremely solid wooden structures built by simple, but very effective techniques like using weights and rope connections. They are firmly anchored in the rocky seabed below the water surface.
They have been described as the ‘giant spiders of the sea’ that look a little alien with the silhouette of a giant crab walking on its thin, fragile stilts along the shores of the Adriatic coast.
They are man-made bridges between land and water. “the Trabocchi ” were built to battle with the fierce sea along the coast of Abruzzo. Nowadays these trabocchi are the most charming seafood restaurants in Italy where al fresco dining, pieds dans l’eau, is taken to the next level.
Enjoy some great food today, as well as a unique experience, during which you will savour these few hours in this exceptional and Friendly atmosphere.
The photos taken here will be in your memory for a long, long time!!
In the afternoon we enjoy a village tour and wine tasting experience when you visit a local village and interesting winery to taste local grapes as Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Pecorino

5

Heritage Trail to Limosano with lunch

After breakfast at your hotel meet up with your driver who will be taking you for what you have been anticipating for a long time: your “Heritage Trail to Limosano” the sleepy little village with a pretty medieval centre that includes a feudal palace and three ancient churches.
Once an important trading town in Roman times and at one time it was a more important centre than Campobasso - the capital of the Molise region. The town grew in the Middle Ages but then started to decline in the 12th century when many of its population emigrated to Canada and America.
Nowadays it is a charming hill village and little has changed since its medieval heyday. As you approach the village you get charming views of its ancient stone buildings hugging the hillside. It winds slowly up the hill to the feudal palace and one of its three churches on the square at the top of the village. The 12th century belltower of the church of Santa Maria rises up above the rest of the village.
From the village itself, you get pretty views of the surrounding Molise countryside. Whilst many of the houses sit on the gentle slopes of the hill some sits dramatically on top of a rocky outcrop where the stone of the houses almost merges with the stone of the rocks below. Limosano is also the birthplace of a famous Italian philosopher called Igino Petrone who lived in the late 19th / early 20th century.

6

Ascoli Piceno & Wine Tasting

After breakfast, check out from your hotel in Vasto and meet your English-speaking private driver who will accompany you to your centrally located hotel in Ascoli Piceno, yet another fascinating Italian town.
Along the way, we visit a quaint winery sample some more of the local speciality grapes and vino.

7

Walking Tour of Ascoli Piceno, Transfer to Rome

Together with your private guide you take sightseeing tour in the old city centre of Ascoli Piceno.
Ascoli Piceno, the city of 100 towers was established during Roman times and the town square is considered one of the most beautiful in Italy. Paved with local travertine it is a truly stunning hub of town life with its cafes, gelaterias and elegant surrounding streets.
Here we highly recommend a visit to one of Italy's most historic cafes - Caffe Meletti
In the afternoon we transfer along the via Salaria ancient Roman Road to the Eternal City of Rome

8

Tour ends

After breakfast at your hotel, it is time to say “Arriverderci” to Italy!
Your English-speaking driver will accompany you to Rome Airport for your flight back home.
We are sure you will have enjoyed your “Taste of Italy” and we sincerely hope to see you again soon for another delicious experience!

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