SILVER COMPASS TOURS PRESENTS:
A food + wine + cultural encounter through the magical region of Ciociaria in Central Italy.
WILD HEART OF ITALY ⋆ FOOD AND WINE TOUR
Imagine if you could wander off the beaten track in regional Italy, and encounter authentic and traditional local food and wine experiences – far away from the tourist hordes. Just one hour south from Rome, there’s a magical secret : the untapped food and wine region of Ciociaria (sho-sha-ria).
A region within the Lazio region of Central Italy, Ciociaria was famed as a foodie destination in Roman times with venison and wild boar roaming wild in its forests. It still boasts an abundance of incredible fresh produce and local artisans, encompasses the Piglio DOCG wine region, and is one of Italy’s most renowned truffle regions. Vines have been cultivated here since the Etruscan civilisation flourished, and the Romans were fond of the local Cesanese varietal (which is now experiencing a renaissance).
The Ciociaria region borders on the National Park of Abruzzo. Photo Credit: © horseman82 – stock.adobe.com
FOOD + WINE + CULTURE
One of the last undiscovered regions of Italy, Ciociaria is a well-guarded secret food and wine destination. Many Romans today still make the trek on weekends to experience its traditional cuisine and rediscover their connection to the countryside. However, there’s not an international tourist in sight. BLISS!
You will truly be able to immerse yourself in an authentic, local food and wine and cultural experience – hosted by Paolo of Silver Compass Tours, whose family has lived in the region for centuries. Our accompanied tour will take you on a guided journey throughout the region to vineyards, farm gates and medieval villages to sample the many amazing regional specialties.
This includes foodie tours of local markets, a Ciociarian cuisine cooking class, a medieval banquet at an ancient tavern underneath a castle, a cheese-making class and a truffle expedition. It also includes day trips to a monastery built into a cliff on top of the ruins of Emperor Nero’s summer palace, a visit to the remains of Emperor Trajan’s hunting villa, a wander through the streets and temples of an abandoned Roman town, and a trip to the ancient Roman seaside resort of Terracina and its temple ruins.
EAT, DRINK & EXPLORE – LA DOLCE VITA
Throughout all of this, we will be merrily eating and drinking to our hearts content. This is a region known for its generosity. All meals are included in the tour package, with table wine provided for all lunches and dinners. There’s also plenty of time to rest and relax, and our itinerary has been designed to give you time to unwind and fully immerse yourself in the regional Italian experience.
Get ready to live the Italian sweet life – which means coffee and pastries for breakfast, prosecco for morning tea, mandatory siestas (everything closes between 1pm to 4pm, may as well do as the Romans do…), and evening adventures. Oh, and throw away your Italian phrasebook. Everyone speaks a charming dialect in this region, luckily for us Paolo is fluent.
Spontaneity and a sense of fun and adventure is also essential. We plan to take you to local village food and wine festivals, which occur practically every week in the springtime. However Italy being its marvellous self, we never know the exact dates and they change every year. So live a little and embrace a few random detours when you join us on our itinerary, if we hear about a local food festival in a nearby village, we’ll take you!
We will be staying in an ‘Albergo Diffuso’ (diffused hotel) in a medieval mountaintop village. The concept of a diffused hotel is unique to Italy, and ours comprises a hotel of historic and beautifully restored stone-wall apartments, gently terraced down the side of the mountain. Each has its own double bedroom, kitchen and bathroom with all modern conveniences – as well as its own private garden terrace perfect for morning coffees and an afternoon aperitivo.
A shared communal terrace has a pool and stunning views over the three valleys of Ciociaria, surrounded by the Apennine Mountains. There is also a wonderful flower-filled mountain walk through olive groves, and we will be living in a mountaintop village community. Our base will be the 19th century ‘Risorgimento’ city of Sora in the valley, for morning coffee refuels in the piazza, boutique shopping and market days.
Places are limited to the four separate apartments, for individual guest bookings (whether as a couple or fabulous single), as this is a small and intimate tour experience designed especially for people who wouldn’t normally go on group tours.
Built upon the banks of the Liri River, the city of Sora in Ciociaria was an ancient Volscian town, before being conquered by the Romans circa 300 BC. Photo Credit: © horseman82 – stock.adobe.com
Our next tour will be in May 2018, and places are limited to a maximum of 8 guests. This is an all-inclusive and bespoke 8 day / 7 night hosted tour package, featuring authentic food and wine and cultural experiences. Hosted by local guides fluent in English and Italian (and Ciociarian dialect!).
Bookings will open later this year. Feel free to contact us if you would like to learn more. Or go ahead and reserve your place on the Wild Heart of Italy wait list to be first to find out more details.
A typical Ciociarian countryside scene in the springtime: fields of poppies and forests along riverbanks in the valleys, encircled by the Apennine Mountains. Photo Credit: © Mirko Macari – stock.adobe.com
Chloe from Australia joined us in Ciociaria in May 2017:
“I’d been living and working in northern Italy for four months – this was my first time to southern Italy and it was also the first time I felt that I had *really* experienced authentic Italian food. I haven’t eaten better the entire time I’ve been in Italy. I’ll be back, absolutely!”
Foodie and foraging tours to local mountaintop villages to explore regional specialities such as truffles; olives, olive oil; sheep, goat and buffalo cheeses; chestnuts; porchetta, proscuitto, Ciociarian biscuits and pastries and more.
Visits to local food, fashion and antique markets, as well as Ciociarian cooking and cheese-making classes.
Wine-tasting and Zero Km local produce lunch at biodynamic vineyard.
Market day at Anagni, the medieval City of Popes packed full of Etruscan, Roman, Medieval and Renaissance history.
Regional wine tour, stopping at local vineyards for wine-tastings and meeting the vignerons.
A medieval banquet in an ancient tavern underneath a castle, in one of the most perfectly preserved mountaintop villages in the region.
The same boutique accommodation venue throughout the entire adventure, featuring your own bedroom, bathroom, kitchen & garden terrace. HEAVEN