Sunday 29 May 2022 - 8 days
Choose from Italian Cooking, Italian Language, Art at Leisure OR just totally Relax!

We send our best wishes to our friends, the Cameli family, during this long Lockdown period. They are all safe and well. We look forward to staying with them once again next year for another wonderful, fully inclusive and unique, HOLIDAY IN RURAL ITALY!

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food” …. George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)


LEARN TO COOK with the Cameli master chefs, Massimiliano & Matteo; LEARN TO SPEAK ITALIAN with Gianni in the classroom and out and about – or do your own thing PAINTING, DRAWING & SKETCHING in the beautiful surroundings of Portico di Romagna, with its spectacular scenery sparkling river, forts, ancient stone bridge and waterfall (portable easel provided). If you just want to come and ‘relax’ whilst your companion take part in a course, you are very welcome too!

Immerse yourself in Italian life and sample the wonderful cuisine in Emilia Romagna, the renowned culinary region of Italy. Staying at the family owned and operated Hotel Al Vecchio Convento is ‘authentic’ Italy at its very best! A little paradise in ‘La Valle del Montone’. Eating is a necessary component for the complete Italian experience, so please join us to re-discover some of the secrets of their delicious flavours …. we did … and loved it so much in 2018 and again in 2019, we cannot miss another opportunity in 2020!

Our visit was an experience of ‘hidden’ Italy and far from the touristy areas of the country. Above all, it was the people who are the pull to this very special region – especially the Cameli family who own and run the hotel, cookery school and the popular family restaurant. Have a peep at the 2018 Michelin Guide, as you will find Al Vecchio Convento featured. You will also find it in numerous culinary books and travel magazines as one of those ‘hidden gems’ ………..

Founders of Al Vecchio Convento, Mama & Papa, Marisa and Gianni, work tirelessly with their sons and families to welcome everyone who passes over their threshold, whether in the hotel or the restaurant. I promise you, you will not want to leave! 

COOKING: For a truly authentic Italian cooking experience, we have found a beautiful hotel in a gorgeous village in the heart of Italy, where  it is still possible to live like a local, learn about the history, eat traditional Italian food and cook like an Italian! You will be able to master some of the country’s most mouth watering dishes with all the flavour expected of Italian cuisine, preparing both local and classic dishes.
In the beautiful surroundings of an old nineteenth century palace, the Hotel Al Vecchio Convento, you will have an amazing gastronomic when you will learn the secrets of Italian cooking. Hidden away in the little medieval town of Portico di Romagna in Emilia Romagna, this charming hotel is also an ideal base to discover and taste the wonderful wines, olive oils, cheeses and hams of this culinary region of traditional fare. You will spend the mornings preparing various dishes under the watchful eyes of Massi & Matteo, before testing and tasting your creations for lunch. Many of these dishes you will prepare are based on traditional recipes using local produce from the hotel’s own garden. You are introduced to typical, Italian recipes such as home-made pasta, risotto, truffle, mushrooms, home baked bread and pizza. Cooking lessons with Massi and Matteo are hands-on and instructive, so you will come away with many new skills and Italian recipes oozing with a depth of flavour we all crave to master. From spring to autumn the hotel’s greenhouses supply the restaurant with fresh picked produce.

PAINTING: If you would prefer to take your pencils, paints and crayons, it is the ideal location to capture Italy as it is and as it was. The beautiful village of Portico Romagna has numerous spots for you to capture. A local artist displays his talent in an art studio next to the hotel and sometimes in the historic tower opposite. 

The most delicious homemade Breakfasts, Lunches & Dinners are provided for everyone every day, even when out and about in the countryside and on the excursions. Some meals are also taken al fresco in the pretty little garden. We are also invited to a party with the locals. Such fun and so Italian!

SPEAK ITALIAN: Just over the road is the Language School where you can perfect your Italian with Gianni! Lessons will be timed to coincide with the Cooking School, so you will not miss out on anything!

This eight day cuisine extravaganza also includes activities and excursions, many of them gastronomically related, but others giving you the opportunity to discover more towns, parks and ancient buildings of this magical corner of Italy. The whole family have a passion for everything to do with Italian food and of course their local surroundings, which will be conveyed with enthusiastic and entertaining delivery during our stay.

During your stay you will enjoy a week of laughter, good food & wine and the inevitable mid-week party. Wonderful excursions, shopping at fresh markets, walks through forests, truffle hunting with Matteo and visits to local wine and food producers will give you 8 days of heaven!

We will visit the market town of nearby Forli and you will also have the opportunity to visit traditional producers of Parmigiano Reggiano, extra virgin olive oil, Prosciutto di Parma, aged balsamic vinegar plus other specialties and handcrafted products of the regions. You name it and we will probably be doing it!

The Al Vecchio Convento is a beautiful family run hotel in a renovated 19th century palace with one of the best traditional restaurants in Romagna.  Al Vecchio Convento is an Albergo Diffuso, which best can be translated to “Spread out Hotel”, situated in the historical centre of a medieval village, Portico di Romagna, in the Appennine hills between Florence and Ravenna in Tuscan Romagna.

Staying in a spread out hotel means living the town from within, having as neighbours the houses with the local inhabitants and not just hotel-rooms with tourists. Living with the village also means leaving behind stress and letting yourself being absorbed by the more relaxed rythm of local life.

The hotel has just 16 bedrooms all with en-suite facilities, furnished in traditional period wood furniture with terracotta. All the rooms are spacious and comfortable with ensuite facilities, complete with TV and tea/coffee making facilities. Hotel rooms are located in the centre of Portico di Romagna, with 9 rooms in the main building, where you also find the restaurant, and 6 in the annexe, just 50 metres from the main building. A REAL Italian experience, but places are LIMITED, so be sure to book yours early!

The rooms are furnished with the original 18th Century furniture, all with bathroom and the following modern facilities:

  • wi-fi
  • lcd tv and telephone
  • electric kettle for tea and coffee
  • we offer laundry service

The culinary region Emilia Romagna
The ‘land of plenty’ is known for its delicious flavoursome produce and authentic Italian dishes. Emilia-Romagna is considered one of the richest regions of Italy with regards to its gastronomic and wine-making tradition. It is famous for its egg and filled pasta made with soft wheat flour. The capital, Bologna, is notable for pasta dishes such as tortellini, lasagne, gramigna and tagliatelle and are now found in many other parts of the region, but in different declinations.
The Romagna  subregion is also known for pasta dishes like gargenelli, strozzapreti, sfoglia lorda and tortelli alla lastra. In the Emilia subregion, except Piancenza which is heavily influenced by the cuisines of Lombardy, rice is eaten to a lesser extent than it used to be. Polenta, a delicious maize-based dish, is common both in Emilia and Romagna and the celebrated balsamic vinegar is made only in the Emilian cities of Modena and Reggio Emilia, following legally binding traditional procedures. Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan Cheese) is produced in Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena and Bologna and is much used in Italian cooking, while  Grana Padano variety is produced in the rest of the region.

Personal Travel Insurance
Drinks with dinner each evening (payable locally)
Discretionary gratuities
Italian City Tourist Tax – if required (typically €1-€6 pppn)

NB. A max of 20 passengers apply to this exclusive Solent Events Tour. (Max 12 cooking)

To avoid disappointment, please book your place as soon as possible when released.

See the itinerary below for your 8 days of Italian heaven!

From £1,575pp




What's Included?

MAXIMUM 20 pax

DEPOSIT: £165pp 

Single Supplement: £135pp 

For your peace of mind and financial protection, our holiday has been arranged with
Success Tours, who are fully bonded.

Sunday 06 June 2021
Day 1 – 
Early morning pick-ups by luxury executive coach to London Heathrow. Coliseum Coach Depot; Stokes Bay, Gosport; Lee on the Solent; Stubbington Red Lion; Peak Lane, Fareham.
Relax with breakfast in our pre-booked airport lounge before our flight to Bologna, Italy. Upon arrival we will be met and transferred by mini-coach to the Hotel Al Vecchio Convento for check in by mama, Marissa Camili.  Lunch will be served (flight time permitting) before a leisurely walking tour of Portico di Romagna. A welcome drink will also be served today at the hotel. Dinner in the hotel restaurant

Monday 07 June
Day 2 – 
AM cookery/language sessions.
In the afternoon there will be a Truffle hunt in the forest. Lunch and dinner included* at the hotel.

Tuesday 08 June
Day 3 – 
AM cookery/language sessions.
In the afternoon a visit will be made to the Drei Dona Wine Estate for a tour and tasting of the local wine. This will be followed by a visit to Foscolo the Violin maker. Lunch and dinner included* at the hotel.

Wednesday 09 June
Day 4 – AM cookery/language sessions.In the afternoon visits will be made to the two nearby villages of San Benedetto in Alpe, Bocconi and waterfalls. Lunch and dinner included* at the hotel, with a “Festa” in the hotel’s garden (music, dancing and a buffet dinner with invited local residents).

Thursday 10 June
Day 5 – 
AM cookery/language sessions.
In the afternoon we enjoy a tasting at the hotel with chef & professional sommelier Massimiliano, sampling some of the typical products of the area (salami, cheese, olive oil and salt from the Adriatic sea with 3 different wines. Lunch today is included* with dinner at the hotel.

Friday 11 June
Day 6 – 
This morning we visit to Forli for the Friday market. In the afternoon a visit will take place at a local farm, followed by a guided tour of the Fortress of Castrocaro. Lunch today is included with dinner at the hotel.

Saturday 12 June
Day 7 – 
AM cookery/language session will take place. Followed by a visit to the Volcano, with time at leisure back at the hotel to relax afterwards. Lunch today is included* with dinner at the hotel.

Sunday 13 June
Day 8 – 
Today we check out of our hotel and transfer back to Bologna Airport for the return flight back to the UK. An en route stop will be made in Bologna for lunch (included) before returning to the airport.

*ART at LEISURE guests: It was suggested by our art clients in 2019, that it would be more convenient for Art at Leisure guests to have a ‘picnic lunch’ so that they can continue with their painting until we leave for an excursion. This can be selected from the breakfast buffet each morning and packed to carry. Lunch is included with the rest of our party on arrival day, day 6 in Forli (local restaurant) and the last day in Bologna (local restaurant).  

The order of excursions may change if necessary. Exact times & flights will be confirmed nearer the time and also in the final Travel Pack, to be posted to you approximately 10/12 days before departure.

PLACES ARE STILL LIMITED TO A TOTAL OF 20, SO IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, please contact us as soon as possible by completing the online booking form below or telephoning Lin 02392 501803 or 07977 065885 to discuss

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