This 11-day heritage tour includes stops in three strategically selected towns – Morano Calabro, Catanzaro, and Capo Vaticano. Travelers will be immersed in the Pollino Mountains of Calabria’s northern area before visiting a seaside hotel, centrally located in the busy beachfront neighborhood of Calabria’s capital. They’ll end their tour in one of the region’s most exclusive and beautiful resorts, set on the Tyrrhenian Sea.
This tour promises a lot of food, delicious wine, an artisan visit, and a heritage experience you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
Our Small Group Heritage Tour is the only tour of its kind in the world – where travelers participate in small group experiences while also enjoying a PRIVATE heritage tour to their family’s ancestral town. During this 11-day tour, you’ll hunt for mushrooms, feast on Calabria’s most famed food and wine, eat specialties you have always heard of, and imbibe on free-flowing wine and evening group aperitivi. You’ll cook, eat alongside the locals, meet artisans, and see the town you’ve always dreamed of visiting. You’ll learn more about your family’s heritage than you ever thought possible.
Non vediamo l’ora!
Accommodations and Transportation:
Private Heritage Tour:
Group Excursions and Experiences:
You will arrive in Lamezia Terme Airport in time for the group transfer at 10:00AM. There, you will meet Cherrye, your bilingual travel host for the week, as well as your private driver. You’ll transfer to your farmhouse hotel, located near Morano Calabro. Along the way, we will visit 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. We will have lunch nearby, before making our way to the farmhouse. We’ll have time to rest, get settled in, or dip your toes in the pool, before meeting for a poolside aperitivo and welcome dinner. Overnight Morano Calabro.
This morning you’ll visit a boutique vineyard in the beautiful hills that surround Cosenza for a tour and hands-on wine experience. You’ll learn about how these two brothers invested in a plot of land and started their young company giving us an up-close look at how they run their family business. You’ll have a homemade lunch – beautifully prepared by one of the brothers – complete with pairings from the family’s wines, then you will return to Morano. You’ll have time to rest and relax at the farmhouse, then in the evening, we’ll head into the charming historical center for an optional walk and group aperitivo. Overnight Morano Calabro.
This morning you’ll head into the nearby Pollino Mountains on a search for the famous fungi – Calabria’s beloved porcini mushrooms. Along with your expert guide, you’ll learn what to look for and put your eyesight to the test searching beneath centuries-old pine trees. We’ll have a delicious mountain picnic before returning to the farmhouse. We’ll have a break, but then it’s back to work as we push up our sleeves and prepare a homemade meal using the mushrooms we found. We’ll enjoy an aperitivo as we cook, then will feast on our creations! Overnight in Morano Calabro.
Travelers with heritage in central and northern Calabria will check out of your farmhouse hotel and depart with your private Calabrian Heritage Specialist. You will visit your ancestral town, learn what your specialist discovered during our on-the-ground research and learn more about your family in the village. You will have lunch in or near your town, then will drive south to your seaside hotel in Catanzaro Lido.
Other travelers will head south to the lovely seaside village of Pizzo Calabro, famous for its tuna and gelato truffles. Our first stop will be to visit the enchanting Chiesetta di Piedigrotta cave church, before heading into the nearby hills for a visit to 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 an exclusive wine-tasting and aperitivo, before heading to one of the area’s most loved seafood restaurants. Following lunch, we will hit the center of 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 drive to our seaside hotel in Catanzaro Lido.
In the evening, those who are interested are invited to an optional aperitivo at my favorite local bar. Overnight in Catanzaro Lido.
Travelers who didn’t visit their ancestral village on Wednesday will depart with your private Calabrian Heritage Specialist. You will visit your ancestral town, learn what your specialist discovered during our on-the-ground research and learn more about your family in the village. You will have lunch in or near your village. In the evening, you will return to your seaside hotel in Catanzaro Lido. Overnight Catanzaro Lido.
Other travelers will head south to the lovely seaside village of Pizzo Calabro, famous for its tuna and gelato truffles. Our first stop will be to visit the enchanting Chiesetta di Piedigrotta cave church, before heading into the nearby hills for a visit to 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 an exclusive wine-tasting and aperitivo, before heading to one of the area’s most loved seafood restaurants. Following lunch, we will hit the center of 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 return to our hotel for a rest.
In the evening, those who are interested are invited to an optional aperitivo on the outskirts of the historical center of Catanzaro. Overnight in Catanzaro Lido.
This morning we’ll take an in-depth look into Catanzaro’s ancient silk tradition. Since the 1600s, Catanzaro has been home to one of the most important silk industries in Europe, and once supplied tapestries to the Vatican. We’ll join our good friends, Miriam and Domenico, who have brought new life to this dying tradition. From their base nestled in a beautiful Mulberry Tree orchard, they breed silkworms and give visitors hands-on experiences at extracting silk. Following our visit, we will be their special guests for a delicious multi-course lunch, with wine. After lunch, we’ll return to Catanzaro Lido.
In the evening, we’ll reconvene for an optional, private wine-tasting experience at a local wine bar. Overnight in Catanzaro Lido.
This morning we’ll check out of our hotel in Catanzaro and head across the peninsula to the stunning Capo Vaticano. Along the way, we’ll visit my friend, Francesco, for a guided walk through his hometown, including a visit to the Jewish Quarter, the largest in Calabria. For lunch, the locals will spill out of their homes and prepare a private feast for us, directly in their piazza. We’ll dine alongside them, practice our Italian/Calabrese words, and enjoy a unique once-in-a-lifetime local experience.
Following lunch, we will continue our drive to the “Coast of the Gods” and to the lovely Capo Vaticano, where we’ll check into our seaside resort. You’ll have the evening on your own to enjoy the resort’s grounds. Those who are interested can meet up for an optional evening drink. Overnight in Capo Vaticano.
This morning, you’ll awaken and have your choice of experience: yoga, canoeing, snorkeling, relaxing by the pool, swimming in the sea, or enjoying the tennis courts, then before lunch we’ll head into the center of Tropea, the village that was recently named the “The Most Beautiful hamlet in Italy.” You will have time on your own for lunch, shopping, and to explore the town.
We will return to the hotel for a break, then in the evening, we will hit the sea in our private boat for a trip along the Coast of the Gods with sunset aperitivo on board. Return to the hotel. Overnight in Capo Vaticano.
This morning we’ll head outside of Tropea for a visit to a local farm that grows and harvests Calabria’s, and Italy’s, most famous “red onion” – the cipolla rossa of Tropea. We’ll learn why this regional onion is a kitchen staple in many Italian households and how it can be used in a variety of dishes including pasta, jams, spreads and even ice cream! We’ll visit the fields and have a robust tasting, complete with wine from the family’s vineyard, followed by a stroll along the famous lighthouse lookout.
We will return to the hotel where you will have a break and will have access to the spa! Bring your suit if you plan to partake.
In the evening, we’ll meet for a farewell sunset BBQ, Calabrian-style. Overnight in Capo Vaticano.
At 8:00AM this morning there will be a group transfer to the Lamezia Terme Airport. Ciao Calabria!
Group airport transfers are included at the scheduled times. Travelers arriving outside these times should inquire about private transfers.
The day of your private ancestry tour will be based on the location of your ancestral town in relation to the group’s location and activities. Heritage specialists and dates of private heritage tours are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.
We love private tours and can often include extra fun elements that aren’t available to individual travelers. If you’d like a bilingual escort or driver, just let us know. We’ll be happy to plan your custom vacation accordingly.
This is a great question because there is sometimes overlap amongst the three which leads to confusion. To keep it quick though, a travel consultant is a local expert, meaning she only focuses on a specific part of the world, in some cases one country, in other cases (like mine) part of one country. This person usually lives (or has lived for an extended amount of time) in the place she consults on and has an intimate knowledge of the area.
A travel agent is similar in that she helps her clients put their trips together. A travel agent can specialize in a country but oftentimes hasn’t lived there and/or may not have traveled to all of the places her clients are going. A travel agent can search for and book flights and cruises that travel consultants can’t or choose not to book.
I often work with travel agents who want to ensure they are offering the best service to their clients. The travel agent will contact me and together we’ll put the Calabria/southern Italy section of their client’s vacation together.
A tour operator packages trip elements into travel packages that they either sell directly or through travel agents. Some travel consultants (like me) are registered as a tour operator for legal business purposes.
When you book a custom vacation, there is more going into your trip than simply recommending a hotel or a cooking class. I am invested in my clients’ trips and I work with them to choose the right base locations, to map out their ideal route and to ensure the hotels, guides, excursions and activities are right for them.
It’s been estimated the average person spends 100 hours researching, planning and booking a vacation. My clients either don’t have this kind of time to devote to planning their trip or they want to ensure they are making the right decisions for their vacation.
Besides the fact that I’m being paid by my clients to plan their trips, I choose not to accept commissions from hotels, car companies, chefs or other vendors because I don’t like the potential conflict of interest. If I don’t accept commission from anyone, then my clients know I always have their best interest in mind.
I don’t – but I can either coordinate with your travel agent, recommend an agent to you for group travel or tell you about the airlines I personally choose when I’m traveling.