Quick - what's the one thing everyone knows about Calabria?
No ... not that we have uh-mazing beaches. Try again.
Nope, not the incredible mountains. One more chance.
Yes! Our food. It's da best. And you are about to find out why.
This 11-day tour includes stops in three strategically selected areas - The Cedro Coast, Catanzaro, and Reggio Calabria. We venture into the provinces of Cosenza and Vibo as we meet with food celebrities and local experts, munch on spicy peppers, make homemade tomato sauce, and learn about twisting figs. You will dine at a Michelin restaurant and inside tiny trattorias. You will have cheese. And wine ... . Lots of wine. My team and I have had an absolute blast getting this tour together and we hope you'll love it as much as we do.
During this 12-day gastrotour, you will feast on Calabria's most famed food and wine, will visit with small producers and international associations, will eat specialties you have always heard of and try things you never knew existed. You'll imbibe on free-flowing wine daily and evening group aperitivi. You'll cook, meet farmers, talk with locals, but most of all, you'll fall in love with the beautiful and unique region of Calabria through it's food and wine. Buon appetito!
The list price of the tour is $6,380.00, per person, based on double occupancy.
Single supplement is $740.00.
DAY 1: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20
E NI SCIALAMU
We will meet you at the Lamezia Terme Airport in time for the group transfer at 10:00 AM, or - if you are able to take our advice and arrive a day early, we’ll pick you up directly at your airport hotel.
Our first stop is a multi-generational family business dating back to 1910 which is praised for its high-quality signature sweets made with figs. We will learn how figs are used to create some of Calabria’s most treasured sweets including the much-loved Crocette, named for its cross shape. After sampling some of these delicious treats, we will make our way north.
We’ll stop in Fiumefreddo Bruzio, named one of Italy’s “Most Beautiful Hamlets.” We will explore this enchanting borgo with its ancient castle, impressive noble residences, and charming piazzas that overlook the Tyrrhenian Sea. We’ll stop at one of our favorite restaurants in Fiumefreddo Bruzio, tucked away in the maze-like streets of the town, and enjoy a delicious meal made with local ingredients made by small producers which are guaranteed to be IGP, DOP, and/or Slow Food certified, and environmentally sustainable.
We’ll check into our hotel on the Riviera dei Cedri, then will meet up for a Welcome to Calabria aperitivo.
DAY 2: MONDAY, OCTOBER 21
This morning, we’ll discover first-hand why this breathtaking coast of Calabria is known as the Riviera dei Cedri. This citrus has been grown and harvested in this part of Calabria for centuries. Not only is it unique to the region, it is the reason why Rabbis come here every year to handpick cedri to be used in a very important Jewish ceremony.
We will meet up with Chef Vincenzo, who is not only an expert when it comes to cooking with cedro, he is also a bonafide chef of the Accademia Italiana del Peperoncino. He will show us around his trattoria located on the foothills of the Pollino mountains. Then, he will lead us in a special cooking class and demonstrate how he uses these key local ingredients in various dishes. Then there is nothing left to do but feast on our delicious creations. Buon appetito! After lunch, we’ll return to our hotel and you’ll have the evening on your own.
DAY 3: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 22
This morning we will head into the countryside to spend the day with a local food celebrity. Together we will visit his small, but thriving shop, and learn the sacred art of making tomato sauce. We will feast on traditional Calabrese dishes that have stood the test of time for generations. We’ll gather and experience the true meaning of “casareccio” (homemade) as we enjoy a delicious family-style meal, al fresco, in the hilltops overlooking the Tyrrhenian coastline. You’ll return to the hotel and have the rest of the day on your own. Evening on your own.
DAY 4: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 23
A FAMILY AFFAIR
This morning we’ll check out of the hotel and head east towards the Ionian coast. Along the way, we’ll stop at a family-owned vineyard in the heart of the Cosenza province where you’ll get an up-close and personal tour of their vineyard and wine cellar. This boutique vineyard is owned by a pair of brothers who together with their mom and dad, bought a piece of land and a plow and set out to make some of the best Calabrian wine you'll ever taste.
After the tour, you’ll indulge in a multi-course wine-pairing lunch, exquisitely prepared by one of the owners. Then we’ll continue the drive towards the seaside town of Catanzaro Lido and check into our seaside hotel. Overnight in Catanzaro Lido.
DAY 5: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24
CALABRIA - PAST AND FUTURE
After breakfast, we will visit one of the most significant monuments in Medieval Calabria, the 12th Century Byzantine Basilica of Santa Maria in Roccelletta which just happens to be sitting proudly amid an olive plantation. We’ll explore ruins they say may have been discovered by Ulysses and walk through time with a visit to the only archaeological museum in Calabria that is dedicated to Roman history, which features statues, coins, columns, and other relics that were discovered beneath the olive grove. We’ll have a quick visit to the olive oil museum, which is home to one of the first electric olive mills in Italy.
For lunch, we will visit the Michelin-star restaurant, Abbruzzino. This family-owned fine dining restaurant was the first in Calabria to receive a Michelin star and its reputation has gained international attention. We’ll have the chance to taste some of Calabria’s traditional dishes “with a twist”.
We’ll return to the hotel and you will have the rest of the day on your own. Overnight Catanzaro Lido.
DAY 6: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25
This morning we will make our way to the narrowest point in Italy, to the picturesque town of Maida. There we’ll meet with our friend, Mariangela, and her crew consisting mainly of women, young adults, and disadvantaged people to discover more about her organic farm. She will give us an in-depth look into their family-run business known for its olive oil production. We’ll visit the olive fields, wander the orchards, and learn what they are doing to be more sustainable. Then, we will be her guests for a hearty lunch, complete with delicious traditional Calabrian foods made with kilometer-zero ingredients.
Following lunch, we will return to our hotel in Catanzaro Lido and you’ll have the rest of the evening and dinner on your own. Overnight in Catanzaro Lido.
DAY 7: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26
BEANS, BEANS, THE MAGICAL FRUIT
Today we will head into the lower La Sila Mountains for a visit to Cortale. These mountains are home, not only to Acqua Calabria, creator of the famous Brasilena coffee soda (don’t judge!), but they are also known for their amazing porcini mushrooms, and fagioli di Cortale. These beans are so deeply rooted in the territory that they have been included in the Presidia Slow Food Community - a community of farmers and producers from all over the world who are dedicated to maintaining and preserving foods with strong ties to the heritage and tradition of the territory it is produced in. There are five types of beans that have been cultivated here for generations, most of them still harvested by hand!
We will see the fields where these local beans are grown and then try them during our mountain feast at one of the area’s most beloved restaurants, complete with samplings of other local specialties.
Following lunch, we’ll return to the hotel. Evening and dinner on your own in Catanzaro Lido. Overnight in Catanzaro Lido.
DAY 8: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27
TUNA AND TRUFFLES
You will check out of your hotel and drive across the isthmus to the Tyrrhenian Sea where you will visit a winery that has revived an almost extinct grape variety. Their signature white wine has not only received praise as one of the Top 10 Best White Wines in Italy from the New York Times, but it is also garnering attention from wine enthusiasts and wine competitions all over the world. We’ll have a chance to taste some of these wines - and taste firsthand why these wines are getting so much praise.
Then, we’ll learn about Pizzo’s famous tuna with a visit to the Callipo Tuna Factory, which has been in business since 1913. This long-standing tuna producer was the first in Calabria and one of the first in Italy, and it continues to produce high-quality tuna products exclusively in Calabria.
With all our new knowledge and a grumbling belly, we’ll make our way to the heart of the centro storico of Pizzo Calabro for a delicious lunch at one of our favorite seafood restaurants. You’ll enjoy a rich meal featuring the freshest high-quality seafood from the area.
Following lunch, we will visit my absolute favorite gelateria in town for dessert and a behind-the-scenes look at how to make Pizzo’s famous tartufo di Pizzo gelato truffles. Happy and full, we will continue heading south and check into our hotel located in the heart of Reggio Calabria and just steps away from the breathtaking seaside promenade overlooking the Strait of Messina and Sicily. Overnight in Reggio Calabria.
DAY 9: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28
MYTHS AND LEGEND-ARY SWORDFISH
This morning we’ll hit the Violet Coast with a half-day excursion from Scilla to Bagnara. You’ll see Chianalea, the Ruffo Castle, the Grotta di Glauco - a recently discovered cave in Pirate’s Bay - and will have, weather permitting, time to swim and snorkel. We’ll have an aperitivo on board and learn all about the swordfish industry. We’ll have lunch, then in the afternoon we’ll return to Reggio. Evening on your own in Reggio. Overnight in Reggio Calabria.
*Weather and local regulations might impact this day. If we can’t go on the boat, an alternative day in Scilla will be arranged.
DAY 10: MONDAY, OCTOBER 29
IT’S ALL GREEK TO ME
Today, we'll discover "Greek Calabria". Situated in and around the Aspromonte mountains, the ancient Greek influence is a living legacy, evident in its culture, cuisine, and the fading Calabrian-Greek dialect that is spoken there. These echoes of a bygone era transport visitors to a time when Greek settlers left an indelible mark on this picturesque Italian region.
You will visit Pentedattilo, one of the most famous ghost towns in Calabria situated on Monte Calvario. The name of the town comes from the Greek words penta and daktylos, meaning “five fingers” - and if you look closely at the town from a distance, you'll see why. Then it's full speed ahead to Bova, one of the most important ancient Greek centers in the province of Reggio Calabria because it is one of the few places where the unique Greek-Calabrian dialect is still spoken. We'll enjoy lunch in a family-owned agriturismo to enjoy some local specialties and sample their homemade digestivo with its unique infusion of herbs grown spontaneously in Calabria.
Afterward, we'll return to our hotel in Reggio Calabria, freshen up, and gather for a farewell aperitivo on the rooftop of the hotel. Overnight in Reggio Calabria.
DAY 11: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30
You’ll have breakfast, then at 8:00 AM, the group transfer will depart for either the Reggio Calabria or Lamezia Terme airport. Arrivederci bella Calabria!
Accommodations and Transportation:
– 11 days, 10 nights in a double-occupancy room with private bath
– Group transportation throughout the itinerary
– Group transfers to/ from Lamezia Terme Airport
– Breakfast daily in hotel
– Abundant lunch with free-flowing wine daily
– Welcome to Calabria Apertivo, Day 1
– Rooftop Farewell Aperitivo, Day 10
– Surprise stops for aperitivi and cocktails various places throughout the tour
** There is a lot of food included in this itinerary; travelers rarely have the appetite for dinners or "on their own" meals.
Group Excursions and Experiences
– Visit to fig factory & Fiumefreddo Bruzio
– Cooking class with Chef Vincenzo
– Vineyard tour and wine-pairing lunch near Cosenza
– Basilica of Santa Mara in Roccelletta visit.
– Olive grove tour in Maida
– Visit to Cortale bean farm
– Wine tour and tasting near Pizzo Calabro
– Boating excursion from Scilla with aperitivo
– Tours of Pentedattilo and Bova
Abundant wine is included with all meals.
– Airfare / transportation to/from Calabria
– Transportation outside of group airport transfers
– Travel insurance, which is highly recommended. We can make recommendations.
– Shopping and personal expenses
– Meals not listed as ‘included’ in the itinerary
– Drinks or other cocktails not included in the itinerary
– All other expenses incurred during free time