Wild Heart of Italy | Cultural Adventure for Foodie Aficionados to Ciociaria

CIOCIARIA, Italy, Molise
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Sunday 6 to Sunday 13 September 2020:

Staying in a lovingly restored 18th century noble’s palace in the ancient mountaintop town of Atina, first mentioned in Virgil’s ‘Aeneid’ and believed to have been originally settled by the ancient pagan god Saturn according to local legend. Home to one of the most significant fortresses of the ancient Samnites, it was conquered by the Romans in circa 300 BC.

Atina is now known as one of Italy’s most beautiful villages and is home to some of the region’s best Ciociarian restaurants and close to nearby vineyards. Our focus is on local and fine-dining food and wine experiences and cultural adventures during our 8 days / 7 nights Wild Heart of Italy experience. We will be exploring the Ciociaria and Molise regions’ deep Etruscan civilisation era roots through its food, wine and music. We will be tracing the footsteps of the ancient Italic tribes and Samnites – and the Romans who conquered them – through local historical sites across both regions.

Our accommodation is built on top of the remains of an ancient Samnite tribe fortress, pre-dating the Romans – and the surrounding hills of the Comino Valley are thought to have been the location of the legendary Samnite city of Cominium which was totally destroyed by the Roman army in the Samnite Wars in 293 BC.


Our September cultural adventure for foodie aficionados features a private and guided tour of Il Giardino di Ninfa – renowned as one of Europe’s most beautiful, the Gardens of Ninfa were beautifully restored in the 20th century to preserve the ruins of the medieval village of Ninfa. One of the additional highlights of this experience will be a long, degustation lunch with one of Atina’s noblest families in their 16th Century palazzo – seated in the palace’s formal dining room, we will be treated to recreated medieval recipes sourced from the family’s original ancient cookbook and served with Cabernet wine from the family’s famous Atina DOC vineyard.

It also includes a visit to an ancient farmhouse villa on an organic farm and vineyard, currently being lovingly restored, for a unique wine-tasting of the indigenous Maturano white grape of the Ciociaria region accompanied by the region’s DOP status-protected pecorino sheep’s milk cheese. We’ll visit additional organic and biodynamic vineyards and farms in the region; take a day trip to the nearby region of Molise to explore historic ancient Samnite civilisation sites with one of Italy’s most renowned authors on the subject; and finish with a flourish with a fine-dining 8 course degustation farewell dinner.

Our itinerary traverses the Piglio DOCG, Atina DOC and Anagni IGT wine regions within Ciociaria, and will feature wine-tasting explorations of indigenous varieties such as Cesanese, Maturano, Passerina del Frusinate and Cabernet.

Each morning or evening before we set off on our adventures we will be providing you with an introduction to each of the sites we will be visiting. This tour is suitable for people of all ages who are relatively active and healthy – there will be walking in countryside and forests and through cobbled stone villages.


AUD$5,497* per person for a Superior Suite based on double occupancy (couple/friends**). Fabulous Singles welcome for an additional $1,000 to secure own Classic Suite.

It is possible to upgrade rooms from a Superior to a Junior Suite for an additional $500 per person (couples only), please ask for more information when booking.

On receipt of your reservation you will issued with an invoice for a non-refundable deposit of 25% (minus reservation fee). Final balance payment due 31 May 2020. Payment Plans available on request. Please refer to our Booking Info.


Minimum of 6 guests for this tour. Maximum 12 guests.


Return transfers to the Ciociaria region from Rome; 7 nights’ boutique accommodation with breakfast; a long table dining or fine-dining event each day, alternating between lunch and dinner (including table wine and water with any additional wine & beverages at own expense); one free evening for you to choose your own dining adventure in Atina; all tour experiences plus wine-tasting and museum entry fees; tour transport & driver, Australian Tour Manager and Ciociarian Host; donation to the Caetani Foundation on your behalf for the preservation of the Gardens of Ninfa; and welcome gift on arrival

* Package cost does not include flights, travel insurance, medical insurance, relevant visas, or any additional personal expenses. Package will be charged in Euro from 2020 **It is possible to request a room with two single beds for friends to share, however please note these rooms are limited and will be allocated on request.


There is an AUD$500 reservation fee per person to secure your place. This fee is non-refundable but completely transferable to an alternative tour date. For more information on our bookings and payments procedure, including details on our Cancellations & Refunds policies please visit our Booking Information page.


Download our ‘There’s something you need to know about Ciociaria’ Fact Sheet before booking to gain an understanding of visiting a region not set-up for mass tourism. Having travel insurance is a condition of joining our hosted travel experiences. We like World Nomads Logo




Tour commences at 11am on Sunday 6 September (Day One) with pick-up from designated tour hotel. Guests not staying at the hotel are required to make their own way there. Tour completes at 3pm on Sunday 16 September (Day Eight) with return transfer to Rome to designated tour hotel (arriving Rome 5pm). Onward transfers to hotels or airport are responsibility of guests. We recommend you plan to arrive in Rome at least one day prior to the tour commencing and arrange onward transfers for one day after the tour.


We can assist with recommendations for extending your food and wine travels throughout regional Italy on request. We have local partners in the food and wine regions of Chianti in Tuscany and a farmhouse cooking school in Le Marche.


“…just perfect for the adventurous, the curious, those who are tired of crowds and tourist restaurants, and for those who dislike moving from hotel to hotel to make the most of their vacation. It’s a great fit for those who want to learn more and appreciate more, and who want to extract the very essence of life from every day, and who are flexible enough to confidently do so.” Janette, Australia. Read the full review here >>


Our small, sustainable group tours to Ciociaria and Molise are aimed at preserving the charm and authenticity of each region for visitors. We hold our tours during low seasons, so by joining us you are also supporting the well-being of the local Ciociarian and Molisean communities we visit. Our immersive food and wine cultural experiences have been designed for fellow travellers with soul. We ask our guests to tread lightly, travel joyfully, act kindly and explore mindfully on our Wild Heart of Italy adventures throughout Ciociaria and Molise. Grazie mille, a thousand times thank you, on behalf of all our friends here.

Contact us to make an enquiry >>


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Il Giardino di Ninfa

Described as ‘the world’s most romantic garden’, our private tour of the Gardens of Ninfa (pictured above) will definitely have you swooning. The ancient settlement of Ninfa is preserved within the gardens, and this was a place of pilgrimage since Roman times to a temple in the grounds dedicated to Nymphs. The gardens now surround the ruins of the medieval village of Ninfa, which was destroyed in the 1200s during a series of battles between noble families to control the Caetani Castle and for the papacy. We contribute a donation to the Caetani Foundation on behalf of our guests for this unique access and experience.

You might like to read about our Wild Heart of Italy adventure in September 2018 here >>

We also love the Skyroam Solis for mobile wifi. Buy internet access with day passes, and forget about international roaming! Use the code SILVERCOMPASSTOURS at check-out for a 10% discount.


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Package Includes:

  • Group pick up from Rome on Day One at 11am from designated Tour Hotel meeting point. Guests not staying at the venue will need to make their own way there.
  • Accommodation for 7 nights' in a beautifully restored boutique hotel in an 18th Century noble's palace. Breakfast inclusive and free wifi.
  • Welcome gift on arrival.
  • 8 day travel experience through the Ciociaria & Molise food and wine regions, accompanied by Australian Tour Manager & regional dialect speaking native Host.
  • Orientation tour of home village.
  • Welcome Dinner at local fine-dining restaurant specialising in Ciociarian cuisine, including table wine
  • A long table dining or fine-dining event each day, alternating between lunch and dinner. Most meals include table wine and water (additional wine & beverages at own expense).
  • One free evening for you to choose your own dining adventure in Atina.
  • Half-day tour of archeological sites in Atina and historic buildings
  • Day trip to the Garden of Ninfa (Il Giardino di Ninfa), one of Europe's most beautiful gardens. Private guided tour.
  • Piglio DOCG & Atina DOC wine trails for Cesanese & Cabernet (red) wine tastings.
  • Long table lunch on a biodynamic and organic vineyard, wine inclusive.
  • Market day in the medieval mountaintop town of Anagni.
  • Easy mountain walk along a plateau on the Appennines with a national park ranger & a shepherd’s lunch of sausage, cheese and wine.
  • Day trip to Molise for guided tour of ancient Samnite civilisation archeologic site (pre-Roman), as well as a copper museum & bell foundry.
  • Fine-dining 6-course degustation dinner in the remote hills of Molise, table wine inclusive.
  • Visit to organic farm and vineyard to sample Maturano wine (white), indigenous to Ciociaria.
  • Farewell 8-course degustation Sunday lunch, wine inclusive.
  • All day-trips.
  • All wine-tasting fees.
  • Local guides, historic site and museum entry fees.
  • Driver, transport and all transfers within the itinerary.
  • Donation on your behalf to the Caetani Foundation for the continued preservation of Il Giardino di Ninfa.
  • Group return transfer to Rome at 3pm on Day Eight, arriving Rome at approx. 5pm to designated Tour Hotel. Onward transfers to hotels or airport are guests' responsibility and at own expense.
  • * Flights, travel insurance, medical insurance, relevant visas, and any additional personal expenses are not included.


*All of our itineraries are subject to change and spontaneity. It makes life a little more fun!

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