Day 1 - Welcome to Calabria, Statti Winery
We’ll meet you at the Lamezia Terme International Airport at 10 a.m. or, if you arrive earlier, at the Bram Hotel near the airport. Our tour starts right off with a visit to the Statti winery nearby, where Alberto and Antonio Statti produce award-winning wines from grapes grown on land that’s been in their family since 1700. They’ll greet us at the winery and invite us to their estate for lunch paired with Statti wines, some of the finest produced in the Lamezia DOC.
After lunch, we head to the Cirò wine region. On the way, we’ll stop at Le Castella on the Ionian Sea, one of the most picturesque fortresses still standing in Calabria. We’ll arrive late afternoon to the private estate that’ll be our home away from home for the next three days. We’ll have this luxurious property, along with its olive groves, vineyards and pool, all to ourselves for the duration of our stay.
Over aperitifs that evening, our sommelier will talk about the indigenous grape varieties of the wines we’re about to taste in the coming days. A feast of food and wine welcomes you in true Calabrian style.
day 2 - Ippolito and Ceraudo wineries
After breakfast, we begin our tour of the Cirò DOC, Calabria’s oldest and most famous winemaking region. The area boasts stunning vistas, rolling hills and sunny plains near the Ionian Sea.
First, we visit the historical Ippolito 1845 winery that lays claim to 100 hectares of prime, scenic vineyards in the heart of the Cirò DOC. The owners will greet us and personally give us a guided tour of their vineyards, followed by lunch at the winery where their world-famous Gaglioppo, Calabrese, and Pecorello wines will be poured.
Next up, after a short rest back at our country estate, is Ceraudo, producers of truly notable wines that win top awards from the authoritative “Gambero Rosso” in Italy. Roberto Ceraudo’s story on why he pioneered organic grape- and olive-farming in Calabria is unforgettable. He’ll sweep you off your feet, as he shows us around his vineyards, winery and olive groves nestled between hills facing the Ionian coast. Dinner will be equally memorable, at Dattilo, their Michelin-starred restaurant where Roberto’s daughter, Caterina Ceraudo, is head chef. Of course, award-winning Ceraudo wines will flow throughout dinner.
day 3 - Cheesemaking, Librandi winery
We start our day visiting a local cheesemaker that makes Calabria’s most famous cheese, Pecorino Crotonese DOP. You’ll see how they make the cheeses, and taste their Pecorino, as well as their fresh sheep-milk ricotta, still warm if we’re lucky.
Just a short drive away, we arrive at the Librandi vineyards set in the Neto Valley. Librandi is Calabria’s largest and most prestigious winery but, because they’re personal friends, we’ll be treated like family. We get to tour their spectacular vineyards with owner Paolo Librandi in off-road vehicles. Lunch is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, at a stunning table set specially for us in the vineyards amidst rows of grapes, with mouthwatering local specialties prepared by Francesco, another member of the Librandi family. It goes without saying that Librandi wines will be served with lunch.
After our vineyard lunch, we’ll visit their winery, including the production and aging areas, followed by a professionally-guided tasting to Librandi’s top wines, including their Magno Megonio, Gravello, and Le Passule.
A gastronomic experience at a traditional local trattoria will top off our day’s adventures. We’ll savor one-of-a-kind dishes made from recipes passed down through the generations (for centuries!). This evening, we’ll serve Cirò DOC wines not on our tour itinerary.
DAY 4 - Rossano, Altomonte
After bidding farewell to our country estate, we head to the historic town of Rossano, the center of Byzantine culture in Calabria. We’ll visit the Cathedral of Rossano and museum to admire the Codex Purpureus, a unique gospel believed to be the New Testament’s oldest manuscript, handwritten on red parchment in the 6th Century. Afterwards, my good friend will host a private lunch for us at the seafood restaurant on her farm surrounded by clementine and olive groves, weather permitting.
In the afternoon, we head north to Altomonte to check in at our luxury castle-hotel. We’ll take a walk before dinner around the old hilltop town to work up an appetite for what’s to come: a feast of amazing micro-local specialties prepared by the Barbieri family with produce from their farm, paired with wines from the Pollino area.
DAY 5 - Tenute Ferrocinto, Cantine Viola
After breakfast on the castle’s terrace overlooking the Calabrian countryside, we drive to the eastern edge of Pollino National Park, to Tenute Ferrocinto. We’ll tour their vineyards and enjoy a private wine tasting and lunch at Ferrocinto’s 19th century castello. You’ll be blown away by their large selection of wines made from indigenous grapes, especially the acclaimed Aglianico wines and their grappa.
In the afternoon, we visit Cantine Viola, the winery known worldwide for its Moscato Passito di Saracena dessert wine. This passito has a complex character that’s so unique, it’s protected under the Slow Food Presidium. We’ll also taste their wines and grappa. We’ll dine that evening at an osteria that’s one of Saracena’s best kept secrets. Their creative, sophisticated dishes served in an ultra-rustic setting will surprise and delight you.
DAY 6 - Serracavallo, Pizzo
After check out, we head south to discover the wines of Serracavallo, a boutique winery that makes some of Calabria’s most amazing wines. Owner Demetrio Stancati takes full advantage of his vineyards’ 2,000-feet elevation above the sea with hot sunny days and cool nights, to produce elegant, unconventional Magliocco and Pecorello wines. He’ll treat us to a scrumptious lunch at his beautiful tasting room set above the Crati valley in Bisignano, with each course paired with a different Serracavallo wine.
We check in to our resort-hotel in Pizzo that afternoon. You’ll get a chance to explore the charming town before we sit down to dinner at one of the best seafood restaurants in the area. Of course, we’ll end our feast with the famous “Tartufo di Pizzo.”
DAY 7 - Nduja, Tropea, Lento Winery
We start our day with a culinary discovery: ‘nduja, a spicy spreadable salami unique to the Monte Poro area. We’ll take a tour of the best ‘nduja producer in Spilinga and enjoy a local lunch where ‘nduja will be the star.
After lunch, you’ll have a chance to stroll around Tropea, considered the jewel of the Tyrrhenian coast.
Making a full circle back to the Lamezia DOC, later in the afternoon we’ll visit the renowned Lento winery. Lento is situated on a hill between two seas. As the sun sets over the Tyrrhenian Sea, we head inside for a feast in their wine-aging caves, savoring Lento’s masterpieces produced from their Greco Bianco, Greco Nero, Nerello, Magliocco, Cabernet, Merlot grapes.
DAY 8 - Reggio Calabria, Tramontana, Farewell Dinner
Today we drive south along the enchanting Tyrrhenian coast to the National Archaeological Museum in Reggio Calabria, home of Bronzi di Riace, world-famous ancient-Greek bronze warriors that were under the sea until 1972.
Our next stop is the Tramontana Vini winery, where the Tramontana family will welcome us with a delicious lunch paired with their fantastic Calabrese, Castiglione and Alicante wines for which Southern Calabria is known.
Back to our resort to relax before we settle into our farewell dinner. With live Calabrian folk music as backdrop, our send-off is a winemaker’s dinner hosted by Lidia Matera of Terre Nobili. You’ll taste wines she made from Nerello Cappuccio, Nerello Mascalese and Magliocco grapes – these are Lidia’s specialties for which she has won numerous awards, so you’re in for a real treat!
DAY 9 - Arrivederci
After breakfast, a shuttle takes you to the Lamezia Terme International Airport by 10 a.m. for your return flight.