Hands-on with Italy’s Cultural Side

Rocco Forte Hotels

When you visit Italy on a family holiday, you can spend your time absorbing history via the country’s museums but if you really want your kids to be enchanted by the culture, hands-on experiences are the best. Here are some creative ways to craft, cook and make your way through Italy.

Unleash Your Inner Potter in Puglia and Sicily

Grottaglie, a charming village in Puglia an hour by car from Masseria Torre Maizza, is famous for its vibrant ceramics. Here, you can join a workshop and try your hand at crafting a piece of colourful Puglian pottery, all with the help of a local artisan. There’s no better souvenir to bring home than one you made yourself.

If you find yourself in Sicily, head to the fishing village of Sciacca, just 20 minutes north of Verdura Resort. Our concierge can organise a workshop that puts you in front of a pottery wheel but what they can’t control is which tales of the “sarvaggiu” (savage) Sicilian landscape and lifestyle the locals regale you with.

Soap-Making in Sicily

Did you know that olive oil has been used to make soap since 2800 BC? Get in touch with a concierge at Villa Igiea or Verdura Resort and they’ll guide you in the direction of Casa Museo del Sapone, a restored 19th-century building that's now a soap museum in Sciacca. You'll get a chance to browse through historical agricultural tools and create your own bar of olive oil soap.

Cookie creations at Verdura Resort

Cooking lessons at Verdura Resort take you and your family from the kitchen garden to the flour mill in Sciacca. You’ll see flour made the same way it's been made for centuries. But delicious ingredients only get you so far. Whether the chocolate biscuits you make from this flour really are as beautiful as promised depends on your baking skills.

Discover the Magic of Marzipan in Palermo

Do you have a sweet tooth? If so, visit Palermo's Martorana Convent and learn the story about how the nuns created pastries painted to look like real fruit. Stay at Verdura Resort, and you can learn how to make marzipan Martorana pastries, using a recipe passed down through the generations.

Roll Your Own Pasta in Puglia

Orecchiette, a regional favourite in Puglia, are ear-shaped pieces of pasta that are traditionally hand-rolled. Learn how to make this classic pasta in a cooking class at Masseria Torre Maizza, a working farmhouse where figs and olives still grow. You’ll learn that in Puglia, ‘Si mangia sempre bene tra i campi’ – you can always eat well in the fields.

 

Fresco Fun in Florence

Absorb the details of the stunning frescoes in Florence, including Giorgio Vasari's "Last Judgment" inside the cathedral dome, then head over to the Iguarnieri Art Gallery Studio. Ask the concierge at Hotel Savoy and they can arrange a lesson where you’ll learn how to make your own frescoes, painting on the smooth surface while the plaster is still wet.

Paint Your Own Postcard in Rome

If the natural beauty of the Eternal City was enough to inspire the great painter Rafael it’s sure to be more than enough to inspire you to make your own postcards. Join a private art class when you stay at Hotel de Russie and capture the beauty of a leafy park in the city. What better way to remember your time in Rome than with your own watercolour masterpiece?

Ready to dive into the authentic culture of Italy? Don't miss these workshops and more cultural activities in Europe.


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