The only travel rule is: never go back home the way you were before! Go back different!
At the centre of this journey is the rural life and its genuine values: traditions, customs, as well as teachings connected to the land, to nature, to the countryside.
Molise maintains its rural culture still much alive in its DNA, and it’s the ideal place to fulfil this pleasant and beneficial personal immersion. We propose a six-day travel adventure, a journey made of diverse places, food and emotions: excursions and workshops to be experienced first-hand in environments where one can feel completely welcomed and relaxed, just like at home. We start off with a rendez-vous in Rome and right after we dive into rural, pure landscapes without renouncing to the comfort available at the best accommodations and in the most sought-after, genuine dishes. Accompanied by professional guides in equipped vehicles, nothing is left aside in a program offering multiple travel proposals that is absolutely flexible, and always subject to the needs and preferences of the guests.
Aeroporto internazionale di Roma Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci
Via dell’ Aeroporto di Fiumicino, 00054 Fiumicino RM (Ottieni indicazioni Google Map)
4 ore prima del tempo di volo
We depart from Rome with an escort and a minivan: this is no simple travel, but a grand and true voyage through the central Apennine Mountains and the National Parks of Monti della Laga and Gran Sasso, traversing imposing summits with steep slopes along high-altitude roads, to arrive atop and observe both the Adriatic and the Thyrrhenian seas. Gifts from nature such as the Calderone glacier and the Campo Imperatore plateau will make I Viaggi dell’Origano guests feel like in a lunar landscape, surrounded by peaks that call the Dolomites to mind. For many kilometres our only companions will be sheep, horses and cows; between forests and streams, waterfalls and ponds, we will enjoy a satisfying picnic based on arrosticini – the famous Italian lamb skewers – with additional sausages, chops and pecorino cheese. In our journey, we will go inside the Monti della Laga National Park to see its vast fir, beech and birch forests intersected by torrents, cascades and small lakes. And between large grazing lands and expanses of green meadows, we will be welcomed by medieval hamlets such as Santo Stefano di Sessanio or Calascio. The latter, with its grand rock cliff being home to the highest fortress in Italy, has become a well-known location for American movies, gaining a full entry into the history of cinema. One of the many medieval villages located between the border of Abruzzo and Molise will be our host for the evening. In this particular area, we will find examples of excellent infrastructure restorations, such as Borgotufi, in the commune of Castel Del Giudice, which has transformed a deteriorating hamlet into an enchanted treasure. In the horizon, we will also see mesmerizing mountainous ranges that provide an additional charm to the natural beauty of the landscape, and if we go farther into Molise we can then find Agnone, a typical mountain village and home of the oldest establishment in the world to fabricate bronze bells
It’s the day dedicated to a first exploration of the highlands of Molise, where we will do some light trekking with a professional guide: the most relaxing and beneficial way to enter, little by little, in this small mountainous paradise. In Molise’s highlands, the hiking routes are fascinating, starting from Vastogirardi, a medieval hamlet that rises from the inner area of the Natural Reserve of Montedimezzo, a MAB (Man and Biosphere) reserve of the UNESCO. Forests, peaks, springs and trails are all combined in a unique natural perfume. This is the part of Molise characterised by vast spaces, natural herbs and essences, as well as Royal Tratturi – the antique transhumance trails used by shepherds and merchants of yore that are still visible and walkable. The atmosphere, silent and welcoming, offers exciting traditions and a captivating simplicity found everywhere, which we will also discover through the meal of a typical restaurant of the zone. We are at the centre for high-altitude sports such as cross-country skiing, in which Capracotta – the town when it snows, one has to go out from the window – allows travellers to go deep inside whitened woods and hop on dreamy ski lifts. For those who love higher speeds, there are stations such as Campitello Matese or Roccaraso. There is also an area where the harvest of wild and forgotten fruits can be performed, in an orchard where every apple offers flavours and memories of past times. The healthy movement is good for the body and mind, but a cosy evening in a mountainous village with exquisite food and drinks – as well as a comfortable bed to rest at night – will pleasantly restore our stomachs and thoughts.
Today’s the day of beauty, of signs and dreams, of craftmanship that speaks and captivates, of special rediscovered flavours. We head towards the Biferno valley and its small villages, passing through a treasure chest of artisanal art: the historic centre of Isernia. Once inside the paths of ancient Aesernia, surrounded by a massive wall that today still protects it, among buildings, alleys, decorative friezes and precious breath-taking artefacts, we reach the symbol of the city: the Fontana Fraterna, an elegant public fountain considered one of the most beautiful in Italy. Inside the historic centre we will also have a fascinating art workshop on the secrets of the tombolo, an antique crocheting technique, conducted by the master Antonio Ricci. We will learn about a craft typical of this town, presently recovered and used for creating handmade bijoux, special objects and exquisite souvenirs. It’s time to arrive to the Biferno Valley, where we will take ownership of our guest rooms for the evening, savour in absolute freedom a buffet lunch, rest, and prepare ourselves for an afternoon filled with emotions. We head towards the village of Casalciprano, a special place that must be experienced comprehensively. Here, a local guide will lead guests along the paths of the Farmer’s Open-air Museum, an exciting gymkhana made of signs, sculptures, unique creations, and bundles of history with peculiar stories of times long gone. The Attics of Memories, located under the roofs of restored houses, are properly set-up for reliving the emotions of the quotidian life once present in this area. It is difficult to describe, without a true direct experience, the unique reality of a previously existing world on its historical, anthropological and architectural levels; however, the museum has created houses that almost seem to speak – a result of a long and detailed archive research, as well as of pure passion. It is the moment for the farmer’s gala evening, based on the locals’ tastes and customs of the past. From written stories on antique documents to oral traditions, the village’s restaurateurs re-propose old dishes made with the same ingredients, in a harmony composed of stories, tales and curiosity, along the rhythm of the guitar, the mandolin and the zampogna, the Italian bagpipe.
In today’s journey the Biferno river is the path to follow, traversing through its green valley floor we meet a sort of nativity scene set upon a rocky hill: the magnificent village of Ripalimosani, the land of the funai – the ancient craftsman of hemp roping. The village is known for its beautiful bell tower, for the presence of the third replica of the Shroud of Turin, and for the Palio delle Quercigliole, an equine route that every year attracts millions of people.
We take a trip around the magnificent historic centre, and later we head to the countryside for an entertaining hunting session: the hunt of Mister Truffle, the lord of the forest. After the truffles are collected, these will be prepared and served on the dinner’s table in a wild and pure atmosphere, together with cured meat, cheeses, cereals and other delicacies of the territory, all paired together with an exquisite wine. After a genuine lunch, the best things to do are either take a nap under a tree or go on a leisure walk along the tratturo. Afterwards, we visit the ‘small house of a thousand flavours’ for shopping local products that can be tasted on the spot.
Today’s master route remains the river: water, source of life for the fields, food and hygiene, has also long provided energy for grinding flour. And in this immersion in rural Molise, a snack in the Antico Mulino Corona, an antique mill, is practically an obligation. Restored and re-opened in 2018, it’s one of the few watermills working without the aid of a hydroelectric power station; a jewel of technology with a complex hydraulic and mechanical system that once produced various types of flours, offering today a breath-taking charm. Here, we will spend all afternoon with a guide.
Dinner will be in a typical restaurant of the area.
It’s the moment to reach the lower part of Molise, between Bonefro and Colletorto, where our new accommodation awaits and with it a guide ready to make us experience a new immersion in this territory. This time, we go on a light trek together with a local shepherd to have a glimpse of the lesser-known and most fascinating aspects of shepherding, a forgotten daily activity. In an open-air workshop, we will also learn to collect wild herbs and seasonal fruits.
Story, art, culture, tradition, photography… nothing is missing from our afternoon in Bonefro, an enchanting medieval village in lower Molise that rises along the right bank of the Rome stream, surrounded by pleasant places where nature preserves its great beauty intact.
We will visit its castle, the Miozzi and Maucieri palaces, the beautiful fountains around the village, the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent and the Ethnographic Museum, where we will get to know Bonefrani names that have left their mark, such as the photographer, actor and painter Tina Modotti, and the war photo-reporter Tony Vaccaro, to whom I Viaggi dell’Origano dedicates an annual photographic contest.
We will dine in one of the village’s trattorias, so that no local dish remains unknown to us and where the friendship consolidated during the past few days will find maximum satisfaction in front of a glass filled with magical wine.
Today we head to Colletorto, a small medieval village near the Fortore river that is an olive oil treasure in terms of biodiversity, and one of the founding member towns of the National Association of Olive Oil. Besides a pleasant stroll through centuries-old olive groves, we cannot miss a visit to an oil mill, where we will have a tasting session of extra virgin olive oil.
The morning will also be spent discovering the world of horses. How do we approach a horse? What are the rules of communication? How do we get closer to the animal or what are some grooming techniques? This is the perfect occasion to learn all the answers to these questions and discover this world with an adventurous equestrian tourism experience.
Riding on horseback and visiting a stable always makes us very hungry; hence, everyone to the table! If the weather allows, we can even enjoy a picnic in an equipped area around the village.
In the afternoon, we will partake on a nice excursion towards the Occhito Lake, a marvellous place where the surrounding villages and the environment are in true symbiosis, so much so that it seems that no human has ever set foot on this land.
And finally, a very nice manual experiment will take place in our pasta workshop. Just like children, we let ourselves be transported by an ancient activity that also happens to be very relaxing, to then have the pleasure of tasting the product of our own labour in a charming inn. A lovely dinner with music, where we will raise our glasses and toast to this whole experience in Molise that, like all beautiful things, is about to end.
We leave back to Rome with a goodbye and many emotions in our heart.
We have selected only cozy, high-quality, environmentally-friendly accommodations. They are all in an authentic urban context, in contact with local people. The strengths are the hospitable approach and the welcoming culture. You can choose the accommodation when you customize the your tour.