Tuesday, 9 May 2023

An Italian Mother's Day : ideas from Italy for celebrating the "Festa della Mamma".

Mother's Day in Italy: when it is, how it's celebrated and how you can make it special for your mamma, too.

Do you have an Italian mamma? Or maybe your mother would just like to be Italian!

Whether she's from Italy or would like to be, whether she has Italian in her family history or she'd like to put down roots there - and wherever in the world she may be right now - here are some ideas for celebrating your mother - in Italian style!

>>>List of Italian Gift Ideas online and in-person

When is Mother's Day in Italy?

Many stereotypes exist about the Italian mamma. What is certainly true, though, is that wherever in the world they may be, Italian mothers are still the main focus of the family and family traditions.  

Although mothers are respected and appreciated all year round, the "official" Mother's Day - known as "La Festa della Mamma" - is celebrated in Italy on the second Sunday in May. This year Mother’s Day will be on Sunday May 14th! It's a day for families to come together to enjoy each other's company and to thank the person who made it possible.

Everyone who is able to returns to their family home. Those who cannot, make sure they send a card, a letter or a poem.

The day itself centres around activities bringing the family together. In most families, Breakfast will be made for mamma - generally fresh pastries and coffee.  Young children will give usually home made gifts of cards and fresh flowers and it's a tradition for young children to write a poem in school, to be given on the day.

Lunch will be held either in the family home or, increasingly, at a local restaurant. This has become the most popular day of the year in Italy to dine out. The meal is always rounded off with a sweet cake, sometimes in the shape of a heart.

Are you looking for inspiration?

We have a list of Italian Gift Ideas for your Mamma on Mother's Day - including online Italian Cooking Classes and in-person activities and experiences in Italy!

>>>Book a Gift Today - Gift Cards & Certificates Available

Thursday, 13 April 2023

Medieval villages, unspoilt natural beauty, fine food and authenticity: The Rieti province.


Toffia is one of the medieval hilltop village in the province of Rieti

With history beginning 2,600 years ago and its unspoiled landscape dotted with ancient medieval villages and monasteries, the Rieti Province, part of the Lazio Region directly north of Rome, is an exciting destination for the independent traveller. Part of its charm is due to the lack of mass tourism which you often encounter in other Italian areas. Authenticity is what the Rieti Province is all about.

The early inhabitants of this area of Italy were the 'Sabines', a highly civilised population that thrived in this region, east of the River Tiber. The Sabines left some truly refined art from 600 BC, including gold jewellery, greek-inspired pottery and bronze chariots. Most of these precious items are today found in Fara Sabina Archaeological Museum. The Romans took over the Rieti province and the Sabine Hills in 290 BC. Cities were built or improved and still today this is one of the most interesting areas of Lazio from an archaeological point of view. During the middle ages the Rieti province grew prosperous and became densely populated, which explains why there are so many 1,000 year old villages built on hilltops for defence.

With 2.5 million olive trees in the Sabine Hills, extra virgin olive oil is the main production

The culture of olive oil is all important for the Rieti province and there is evidence that people have been producing the "green gold" here for at least 2000 years. Olive groves literally cover each and every hillside, with windy roads and pathways making their way between the old, majestic trees. The beauty of the landscape is often associated with Umbria, and in fact Rieti and its territory was once considered part of this region and under Perugia's rule until the 1930's. The Rieti province and the Sabine Hills are amongst the greenest areas of Italy, due to the abundance of water springs, rivers and lakes. It's main aqueduct, called "Peschiera" is one of the largest in Europe and provides pure spring water to three quarters of the City of Rome and of course to the Rieti province as well. The large availability of pure clean water is a blessing for those working in agriculture, and in particular to a young generation of 'neo-rurals', who have recently moved from the city to start organic agriculture in this area.

Lakes are mostly to be found in the east part of the province, the most popular one being the lake Turano. Its clean water makes Turano a great destination for day excursions especially in summer where you can swim, take a rest on the shores and enjoy lunch or dinner on the lakeside.

While the climate is generally mediterranean with mild winters and warm, sunny summers. As you move towards the east of the region the territory becomes more mountainous, with the highest point reaching Monte Terminillo, 2,217 metres above sea level. Terminillo is a winter resort that is fully equipped for ski holidays during winter, while in summer it can be a refreshing escape from the heat, and is especially popular with Rome's inhabitants. Because of the variety offered by its geography, this province of Italy is a hiker's heaven. You can chose easier walks through valleys or more challenging hikes to the top of hills and mountains from where you can enjoy majestic views over the whole region.

Last but not least, the Rieti province has great culinary traditions. Apart from the DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) olive oil which is light and flavoursome at the same time, this is the land of pecorino cheese and ricotta, produced from fresh sheep's milk. The local producers also take pride in their cured meats, including prosciutto, capocollo and, above all, guanciale (cured pork cheek), an essential ingredient of Carbonara and Amatriciana pasta sauces. Wine production is also gaining momentum in terms of high quality, popularity and awards.

Spectacular views and tasty local produce to delight your senses

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

La Ribollita is the perfect soup

It's finally winter here and this is the perfect time for comforting soups, such as Ribollita ('boiled again'), so called because it's even nicer you have it heated up the day after. It's a very traditional dish in Central Italy and it's sometimes called Acqua Cotta ('cooked water'). I made Ribollita yesterday and had it today for lunch with a bunch of friends. Delicious! Here is the recipe. You'll need a big pot.

Ribollita (serves 6 or more)
800g of fresh borlotti or cannellini beans (or 300g of dried borlotti or cannellini beans), 400g of fresh, ripe tomatoes or tinned tomatoes, 1 black cauliflower (almost impossible to find!) or 1 quarter of a regular one, 1 quarter of a cabbage, 500g of beet (similar to spinach but milder flavoured), 1 carrot, 1 celery stick, 1 red onion, parsley, basil, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, parmigiano reggiano (parmesan) cheese.

If you are using dried beans, they need to be soaked for 24 hours, then boiled in 2 litres of water, a pinch of salt and a little olive oil. Finely chop the onion and fry in oil until translucent, then add tomatoes, beans (if fresh with 1 litre of water, if dried add with its own cooking water). Chop all the remaining vegetables roughly and add the to the soup. Add salt and boil for at least two hours. Add more water if necessary. Serve in a bowl on top of a slice of toasted country bread. Finish off with parmigiano, a little olive oil, pepper and chopped parsley and basil (if available). E' Pronto!

Thursday, 5 January 2023

La Befana, the good witch, arrives January 6th!

Here in Italy, Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) is a recently imported tradition. It is La Befana, instead, who comes down through the chimney, bringing a stocking with sweets and small presents. She is a sort of good witch and a bit of an eccentric elderly lady, flying on her old broomstick through the sky at night. She comes on the 6th of January bearing gifts of sweets for those that are good and bits of charcoal for those naughty children. Adults have great fun with this tradition by setting the scene and building up the anticipation for their children and grandchildren the night before.

photo courtesy of secoloditalia

In Rome, there is a traditional Christmas market in Piazza Navona, that I remember going to as a child. Still today has plenty of Befane strolling around the piazza, while children eat zucchero filato (fairy floss) or mostaccioli, traditional Roman biscuits simply made out of flour, honey and walnuts.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year for 2023 to you all, 
from Guido, Sally and Gemma
@ Convivio Rome in Italy 

Monday, 12 December 2022

Italian Hot Chocolate Recipe - Chef Guido's family recipe

Chef Guido and Sally, and our Convivio Rome team want to help you get into the Christmas Spirit by sending you a gift!
Chef Guido wants to share with you, his special family recipe for Italian Hot Chocolate. The type of hot chocolate that is sooooo thick you can stand your spoon up in it! Enjoy!

Italian Hot Chocolate: Ingredients (serves 6):
Half a litre (1.05 pt or 2 cups) of milk, 80 g (2.8 oz) of granulated white sugar, 20g (0.7 oz) of maize flour, 1 bar of dark chocolate (100g or 3.5 oz), 30g of cocoa powder.
Method: Put cocoa powder and maize flour into a pot and mix well. Start pouring the milk a little at a time to make a paste first, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add all the milk and place the pot on medium heat, stirring from time to time. When the mixture begins to boil, break the chocolate into pieces and melt into the mixture. Once all the ingredients are perfectly mixed, the hot chocolate is ready to be served. 

Buon appetito!


Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Olive Harvest and 2022's Extra Virgin Olive Oil - It's happening earlier than usual this year, in the Sabine Hills, near Rome

Can Olives be picked too early?

After a very long hot and dry Summer the olives this year are being harvested at least 2 to 3 weeks earlier than usual. The usually warm weather has continued throughout October and into November so the olive farmers are picking as soon as they can and taking this precious fruit  to be pressed at the olive mills as soon as possible.

What a great time of year to visit the Roman countryside and especially the Sabine Hills. The Sabina region, just 40 kms north of Rome is famous for it's extra virgin olive oil and with over 2,5000,000 trees squeezed into hilly terrain you can understand why it is so important. The olive farmers make sure that the quality of the olive oil is at its best by picking the olives just as they are turning from green to black in colour. This is when the anti-oxidants are at their highest. The olive producers really concentrate on quality, not quantity and the Sabine Hills are now 'alive with the sound of music' of olive pickers. It is an exciting time to visit.

Olive picking with crates of olives already picked

Olive Harvest has been going for 1000's of years here in the Sabine Hills

We, at Convivio Rome, run Half Day Rome Olive Oil Tours all year round, but if you happen to be in the area in late October to early December, this is the time where olives are picked. You can understand how labour intensive olive picking is, when seeing it in action.

Olive harvest in progress takes teamwork

The olives need to be picked and taken to the local 'frantoio' olive mill, within 24 hours to ensure the quality of the extra virgin olive oil remains high.

Being an eighth generation Roman, means that even as a child I was taught by my parents and grandparents the importance of the Sabine Hills for it's D.O.P. extra virgin olive oil. I remember travelling with my family through the Sabine Hills to renew our supply of the famous Sabina extra virgin olive oil, and other local produce, to take back home to Rome. 

We operate Rome Olive tours all year round, to discover more:
Or contact me, Guido, at Convivio Rome on info@conviviorome.com

Monday, 4 April 2022

Award Winner for 2022: Convivio Rome Italian Cooking Classes and Culinary Holidays is a Travel & Hospitality Award Winner for 2022



Convivio Rome Italian Cooking Classes and Culinary Holidays is a Travel & Hospitality Awards Winner for 2022


Travel & Hospitality Awards


April 2022: The Travel & Hospitality Awards is proud to announce that Convivio Rome Italian Cooking Classes and Culinary Holidays has been awarded in its 2022 European Travel Awards programme.

While this year has been the toughest the travel industry has ever faced, we endeavour to recognise those who deserve praise and to promote the hard work of tenacious travel businesses. Recipients of Travel & Hospitality awards in 2022 were scrupulously selected based on the aggregation of reviews from multiple third-party sources. Selected by a panel of experts who analyse submission material, review customer feedback and compare the facilities of each entrant. Our winners are those who can demonstrate their uniqueness, quality of services and facilities and exceptional levels of customer care across a number of categories.

In this extraordinary year of the awards over 22,000 nominations were received for this years programme, and the standard of entries was incredibly high. The judging panel had great difficulty in narrowing down the entries but the winners reflect the very best in travel and hospitality standards. The team at Travel & Hospitality Awards, said: “We were overwhelmed by the quality of entries this year. We hope this guide will be a useful tool for discerning travellers planning their next luxury getaway. Congratulations once again to all our winners.”

The full list of winners will be included in the annual awards publication that will be available for digital download in July. To receive this publication, you are encouraged to join the mailing list to be notified upon its release.

For more details on Travel & Hospitality Awards, go to www.thawards.com


About the Company: THE TRAVEL & HOSPITALITY AWARDS is an annual celebration of excellence across all sectors of travel. The independent awards programme is an annual celebration of excellence for the best hotels, spas, restaurants and tour operators.

About Convivio Rome Italian Cooking Classes and Culinary Holidays: Chef Guido born in Italy, and Sally, his Australian wife, have been running Convivio Rome in the beautiful Rome countryside since 2001. They offer Italian Culinary Vacations, Day Italian Cooking Classes, Winery Tours and Rome Olive Oil Tours. They also offer Virtual Italian Cooking Parties and Guido's Cook Club Membership, both fun online activities that give you a 'Taste of Italy'. Web site: www.conviviorome.com

Media Contact:

Stanley Lucas | Public Relations
Travel & Hospitality Awards | +44 (0) 800 048 8265 | Stanley@thawards.com

Related Links: