The “Dimora Storica” Casa Gregorio occupies a 1797 structure in the heart of the historic center of Castro dei Volsci. The date is still visible on the keystone of the arch framing the original entrance door. The three story high dimora storica belonged to the nobility of the town, was completely renovated and restored in 2010 and today still preserves coffered wooden ceilings, antique wooden beams, and some original tile flooring. The interior décor reflects the ancient look while giving visitors luxury modern day conveniences. The Frantoio, an old traditional olive oil mill dating back to the 16th century, is located on the ground floor and is attached to the old three story high residence. Even though it is no longer operable, the Frantoio with its stone mill’s press and various components, is a fascinating sight for the curious visitors interested in learning how the extra virgin olive oil was extracted from the handpicked olives by the natives in the surrounding olive groves.
You will be met at Rome Fiumicino Airport upon your arrival and transferred to your Italian home for the next 7 days. Benvenuti and check-in at the Palazzo is followed by a welcome aperitivo and light lunch. Afterwards, you will set off for a guided walk acquainting you with the medieval historical village of Castro dei Volsci. This is, after all, the heart of the Ciociaria and an area of exceptional beauty. Having taken some time to relax back at the Palazzo, unwind and unpack, you will then depart for the town of Pofi and the Pizzeria Borgo Antico, where all will gather for your first night's welcome dinner.
After breakfast you set off for the town of Arpino, birthplace of Cicero and land of the "Olives". This morning’s visit is to a traditional olive oil mill (Frantoio) where you are shown the process of making Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Proceeding to a local estate, you will enjoy tasting fresh olive oil. A light lunch with flavors of the oil and a sample of some of the owner's organic wine accompany our visit. Prior to leaving olive country, you may just decide to bring home a bottle of "Terra di Cicerone" extra virgin oil. As you return to the Palazzo, you will visit Meringo's for the best gelato in Ciociaria! In the late afternoon it is time to meet your Pastry Chef Giustino and begin bake! Your first hands-on cooking class is followed by dinner in the Casa's dining room, where you will enjoy the fruits of your labor with new friends.
After breakfast at the local bar in Castro dei Volsci, you set off for a visit to a local cheese caseificio to sample fresh ricotta, buffalo mozzarella, and provolone. A visit to the local town’s farmers’ market is next, to gather what is needed for tonight's antipasto extravaganza, while getting a feel for how the locals live. The morning continues with a visit to the Abbey of Fossanova on your journey to the Tyrrhenian seaside town of Terracina. Thrill to a view of the sea, stroll by a few shops, then stop for lunch at a seafood co-operativa. Upon return to the Casa, relax for a short time, then jump into your second hands-on cooking class, as you all prepare together a variety of Antipasti. The day's activities culminate in dinner with wine, bruschette, crostini, frittate, grilled peppers and eggplant, frittelle di zucchine, and stuffed zucchini accompanied by the sampling of various formaggi e olive, surrounded by new friends in the Palazzo’s dining room.
Today you will head off to La Pastorella and are shown the process of making fresh sausage. We continue our tribute to the "miale" and visit a “Prosciuttificio” in the town of Guarcino (the Parma of Ciociaria), and there you share a picnic lunch of fresh hand-cut prosciutto or porchetta. Upon your return to the Palazzo, you will relax for a short time, then begin your third hands-on cooking lesson with resident pasta-maker, Pasqualina. A variety of “Primi Piatti” such as zuppa di pane, sagna con fagioli, fettucine con tartufo and gnocchi al sugo is a sample of what you will learn to prepare and then enjoy tonight at dinner with a great wine.
Today's journey begins at Cantina Tullio, a vineyard in Val Comino, a region in Italy famous for its Cabernet wines. You will have the opportunity to see one of their vineyards, visit the cellar and bottling plant, and learn the vinification process, capped by a wine-tasting. Then continue your journey to the town of Atina, famous in Italy for its annual Jazz Festival. You will have lunch at the Old Cantina Visocchi, now totally restored with antique winery relics into a sophisticated restaurant, Le Cannardizie. Your host Patrizia Pattini, a sommelier, will give everyone a taste and sampling of yet another fantastic wine of the region. In the afternoon you will begin to prepare a list of Secondi Piatti such as involtini, salsiccia con patate e peperuola, and scaloppine alla mela, along with the proper contorno to accompany the main course. Dinner with wine will be enjoyed in Casa’s dining room.
Breakfast this morning is in the dining room. Later in the morning you will enjoy making authentic Italian pizza with fresh vegetables and wonderful cheeses. Lunch follows our class and then you will be given the option of visiting the Casamari Abbey, or a shopping run for last minute gifts and souvenirs. The Abbey of Casamari is built in the austere Cistercian style, specifically designed to avoid distraction and ostentation. Despite this (or perhaps because of this), the abbey is a beautiful sight, with delicate columns, vaulted ceilings, small stained-glass windows, and a lovely cloistered courtyard. Later there will be a multi-course farewell dinner at a local Agriturismo, Il Ruspante, where the food products are home grown, prepared, and served.
Regarding Casa Gregorio – From the start of being picked up at the airport it exceeded my wildest expectations. The rooms were beautiful and well prepared for a comfortable stay. The view from the bedroom window was exquisitely beautiful overlooking the mountains. A tour of the facility and the teaching kitchens was incredible. I can't say enough about Chef Dayana! She patiently & entertainingly taught us how to cook so many things. A huge part of this magnificent culinary experience were the employees at Casa Gregorio. Without question, they are a team who work together and really enjoy their jobs! The week was full of tours and culinary lessons that I will never forget. I have traveled extensively and can say without a doubt, Casa Gregorio is one the best vacations I've ever had. I can see in the future that it will be heralded as one of the top 10 destinations in the World.
Mandy - October, 2015
Just wanted to let you know that we had a fantastic time on this trip to the Italian countryside. Everything was wonderful and even my husband, who went "kicking & screaming", admitted he had a great time! We've told all our friends about it, and I've passed your name on to several people who are looking into trips for next year. Thank you again for recommending it, it was the perfect size class for us in the most perfect place!!
Lisa and Wayne - July, 2015
I have never been on such a fabulous vacation as this one to Casa Gregorio. It was everything that I could have asked for and more, from the pickup at the airport, to the accommodations, the food and the staff who are absolutely outstanding. All the day trips and the wonderful people we met, I would go back tomorrow if I could. It is such a beautiful place and the accommodations are just beautiful, all within a stunning 16th century village. Thank you for booking this for me, I have given your name out to a few people.
Roblyn - July, 2015
All I'm going to say is... WOW, WOW, WOW!!! Casa Gregorio was STUPENDOUS!!! I can't thank you enough for working with me on such a fabulous vacation.
Lorraine and Mike - June, 2015
I just wanted to say what a wonderful experience we had at Casa Gregorio March 29 to April 4, 2015. Absolutely the 5 star location as advertised and Gregory and his entire staff were first class. The cooking classes and the tours of the local countryside were great. The staff at Epitourean were so helpful and patient with me since I'm not a world traveler. Would recommend to anyone who wants a relaxing but educational vacation. I'm making fresh pasta and loving my purchase at the farmers market. Thanks for a super time.
Carole - April, 2015
I wanted to let you know that our trip to Casa Gregorio was terrific! We had a super time cooking and seeing the countryside. Every detail was perfect and we appreciate your booking this for us. I would recommend this for anyone and everyone. The meals were so, so good and our cooking results were amazing.
James and Cissie – November, 2013
I just want to let you know what an incredible time my husband and I had at Casa Gregorio!! Words aren't even enough to express the tremendous experience we had up in Castro Dei Volsci!! Gregorio and his staff were amazing! The Casa was beyond incredible and all the food, touring, care and vistas were 5 star!!! Thank you for all your help! We just had the best time ever and hope to go back and see more of Italy!
Cara & Ken - October, 2013
Stirling and I just returned from Casa Gregorio and wanted you to know what an amazing trip we had. Gregory is so charming and such a great tour guide. The cooking lessons were wonderful as they were taught by Gregory and the local women of the town. It is especially nice to learn the techniques of the local cooks. I cannot say enough about the beautiful accommodations and the modern conveniences that Gregory has so lovingly built. This is a wonderful place to visit on your way back from the Italian coast on your way to Rome. We were snowed in for a few extra days and Gregory managed all the snow problems with grace and humor. This is a great cooking vacation and I encourage all to try to manage a visit to this beautiful villa on the hill. Thank you for your excellent service. I will book any future vacations with you!
Liz and Stirling Craig - March, 2012
I had such a fabulous cooking vacation, was one of the best I have been on. Gregory is the host with the most. He is so accommodating and gracious. The villa is so elegantly decorated but yet so comfortable to stay. You feel like you are in a 5 star hotel but without all pretentiousness. The cooking classes were so well organized. The meals were all so fabulous. The company great and everyone got along. This part of Italy was true Roman countryside and picturesque. I enjoyed meeting the farmers, winery, etc. and tasting everything…it was all so amazing. I venture to say that Gregory has a real hidden secret in Castro dei Volsci, but not for long. Thanks David for suggesting Casa Gregorio. This trip far exceeded any expectations.
Tina Mayle - May, 2012
Casa Gregorio is a glorious place. Magical, and beautiful. And by the way, I am a single woman traveling alone – and I was very comfortable. Greg is a marvelous host. His staff, especially Annalisa and Anna, are wonderful people. I felt like when I left, I left with at least 3 new friends. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I also saw a part of Italy that I would not have seen. You can view the snowcapped mountains from Casa Gregorio. Greg took us to an olive oil coop where 38 farmers bring their harvest in the fall. The man and his Mother that oversee the operation were amazing – we tasted olive oil, Mommas made us some lovely bites of goodness, and the son shared some of his wine that he si trying to perfect (my palate said it is perfect). This is just one of many experiences offered at Casa Gregorio – a true 5-Star property!
Susie Sullivan Fiske - May, 2012
We’re just back from Casa Gregorio in the Roman Countryside. If all of your cooking adventures are up to this standard, we’ll be booking more trips with you in the future. It was OUTSTANDING!
Larry Fechter - October, 2012