Rustic Food & Faith of Italy

Discovery. Reflection. Adventure

14 May 2020


Join us on an authentic and rustic trip of Italy exploring the faith journeys of the early saints with God’s heart for family and community through food.

We will visit the sites of Rome, spend time in the beauty and charm of Assisi learning about the faith walk, lifestyle of worship and love of St Francis and St Clare as well as connect with locals. This will be followed by time at a Sanctuary in the Italian hills before making our way South.

We will arrive in the Tuscany region, our stay for the next 5 days on a ‘Foodie Retreat’ led by Sophie Stokes of ‘In Sofia’s Kitchen’.

This trip has been created to bring a mixture of discovery, reflection and food adventure combining the delights of Italy.

About the ‘Foodie Retreat’ – Tuscany region
Our time in the Tuscany region is filled with cooking workshops, food walking tours and learning from the locals.  You will get a chance to explore, taste and have a go yourself. If you love provincial country living, deliciously good food and immersing yourself in another culture this will be for you.

About Sophie Stokes – Foodie Leader
Sophie’s heritage is Greek and growing up in Australia enabled her to appreciate the diversity and expressions of both cultures as well as immersing herself in other European cuisine. In Sofia’s Kitchen begins with the love of family and friends sitting around the dinner table. It is a place where everyone is welcome and included in discovering how to do life together. Sophie is creating opportunities for families and communities to make healthy food choices and authentic connection through cooking workshops, Mediterranean feasts, foodie retreats and Mediterranean Food Adventure.

Sophie lives in NSW with her husband, children and grandchildren. She has a strong Christian faith and attends a local Church in Newcastle.


We depart Australia on an evening flight

Included Meals: None

Upon arrival into Rome you will be met by our local representative and transferred to our ​​accommodation in Rome. The remainder of the day is at leisure to visit the Colosseum, ​​Trevi Fountain and start to explore through this delightful City.

​​HOTEL: Hotel delle Nazioni, Rome or similar

Included Meals:

After breakfast this morning we will venture into Rome for a day of touring to cover the St. Peter’s Basilica (where St Francis had his audience with Pope Innocent 111) & Sistine Chapel, world famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings & The Last Judgement.

We will also explore the catacombs today. The Christian Catacombs, which are the most numerous, began in the second century and the excavating continued until the first half of the fifth.

We will then visit some of the many beautiful churches in Rome – St. Maria Maggiore, St. John the Lateran before making our way back to our Hotel for the evening.

​​HOTEL: Hotel delle Nazioni, Rome or similar

Included Meals:

​Early Breakfast and then depart by bus from Rome to Assisi in time for the morning Church ​​service at St Leonards in Assisi at 11am. We will then join locals from the Church ​​​for lunch at a beautiful local restaurant (own expense)

​​In the afternoon we have a guided walking tour of the old town of Assisi to familiarise ​​yourself with this wonderful hill town – home to St. Francis & St. Clare. We will visit the ​​Church of St. Clare, Piazza del Commune with the Minerva temple, Portico del Monte ​​​Furmentario & the Basilica of Saint Francis. Visit the wonderfully atmospheric St ​​​Stephano’s Church on the way to St Francis Basilica.​​

HOTEL: La Terrazza Hotel, Assisi or similar

Included Meals:

​Breakfast and then we make our journey to the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angelithat​​is site of the small simple Church the most sacred place for the Franciscans and the ​​​Portuncula. We will have an early lunch before making our way by bus to The Hermitage on ​​Mt. Subasio. There will be an opportunity for those that wish to walk back down the ​​​Mountainside (approx.1 hour).

​​Our afternoon will be at San Damiano, the Church and Monastery where St Clare built her ​​community and St Francis had a vision of Christ followed by early evening experiencing ​​‘Vespers’ prayer and song.

​​We will depart and have a late Dinner this evening.

HOTEL: La Terrazza Hotel, Assisi or similar

Included Meals:

Breakfast followed by a free day to explore, reflect in Assisi and surrounding area.  Dinner will be at your own leisure and expense.

HOTEL: La Terrazza Hotel, Assisi

Included Meals:

Breakfast and then we will depart Assisi making our way to La Verna Sanctuary in​​​ Casentino on Mount Penna. La Verna Sanctuary was donated to St Francis in the 12th ​​​century. This was a place of peace, tranquillity and silent prayer. Today it is still the same set ​​on a mountainside.

​​Here we will spend time exploring the Monastery, Chapel and Sanctuary, with time for quiet ​​reflection followed by dinner and staying overnight.

HOTEL: La Verna Sanctuary in Casentino or similar

Included Meals:

Breakfast and then depart La Verna making our way to Florence where we will start our Rustic Foodie part of the trip.

We will meet with our foodie tour leader, Sophie Stokes who will be leading us through the food delights of Italy for the next 5 days. We will enjoy a 3-hour food walking tour around Florence tasting all the foods that make Italy!  This will then be followed by some free time to explore Florence before a quick stop to Eataly, a gourmet food store.

We will then depart Florence making our way to the Montecarlo area of Tuscany for our Hotel over the next 6 nights followed by dinner together at our hotel.

HOTEL: Montecarlo area of Tuscany 

Included Meals:

After Breakfast we will head towards Jul’s Kitchen in Clle Val d’Elsa where we will have a cooking workshop with Jul’s learning to make some traditional and rustic Italian dishes.  We will eat together around the table enjoying the fruits of our labour.

On our way back we will enjoy the delights of a Tuscan based Chocolaterie FACCENDI in Quarrata, we will arrive back for some leisure time followed by Dinner at our Hotel.

HOTEL: Montecarlo area of Tuscany

Included Meals:

After a leisurely breakfast and free time we will leave mid-morning and make our way towards San Gimignano known as the ‘City of Beautiful Towers’ with the centre now a UNESCO World Heritage site.  We will enjoy a specialized 2-hour walking tour of this fascinating city. Afterwards you are free to get some lunch at the many cafés, wonder the streets and enjoy the afternoon exploring where you can pop into the famous Dondoli Gelato and indulge in a little sweetness!

We will then head to Fattoria Paggio Allora Restaurant where we will enjoy four courses with grappa and limoncello. Dinner will be served on long tables so guests from all over the world can eat together, an Italian Feast!

HOTEL: Montecarlo region, Tuscany

Included Meals:

After breakfast we will join Donatella in Siena for an organic food tour visiting local farms specializing in fully organic foods. We will visit a cheese farm, an olive mill with tastings, family winery and honey too. We will enjoy lunch together in the beautiful Tuscan countryside.

We will come back to the hotel for some free time before making out way to the Chianti Cooking School at Panzano where we will enjoy an evening of cooking some traditional Tuscan food enjoying Dinner together.

​​HOTEL: Montecarlo region, Tuscany

Included Meals:

Today we will make our way to Bagna Vignoni, a medieval village famous for it’s Piazza delle Sargenti (Square of Springs) where we will enjoy a relaxing break in the hot thermal springs.

Lunch will be at the Springs, La Terrazza Enoteca Restaurant followed by some rest time at the Hotel.

For our last evening we will travel to nearby La Castellana, a family run restaurant in beautiful Montefioralle near Greve known as one of the ‘most beautiful villages in Italy’. There will be time for s short walk and stroll around the village before enjoying our meal together, a night of freshly prepared Italian cuisine in a majestic setting, sharing our stories and celebrating.

HOTEL: Montecarlo region

Included Meals:

After Breakfast we depart our Hotel and our rustic food retreat travelling to Rome airport (approx. 3hours) for our flight back to Australia.

Onward travel for those exploring others places in Europe.

Included Meals: None


5 day Tuscan foodie retreat

Key Christian sites of Rome

3 nights in Assisi

Reflection time at La Verna Sanctuary

Walking food tours of Florence & Siena

Organic farm visit

Chianti Cooking School

Shared table experiences with locals





Category Description Twin PP Single
Land Only TBC TBC

Departure Date Booking
14 May 2020 BOOK NOW



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