JULY 1-8, 2018 – Dea Maja Tour for Women

JULY 22 -29, 2018 – Dreamy Italian Summer Tour

OCTOBER 7-13, 2018 – Food, Wine & Fantasy Tour

Experience the magnificent, unspoiled Italian region of Abruzzo on one of our small-group tours.  Only a short two-hour drive from Rome, Abruzzo is unlike any other region is Italy.  It is the region of national parks, “la terra di mare e monti”, where you can travel from the sea to the mountaintop in an hour’s time. It’s the unexplored last frontier of Italy where you hike through rugged mountains and valleys only to stumble upon medieval villages and hidden hermitages carved into stone. Abruzzo’s cuisine is rustic and pure – you can truly taste the land’s aura in its cheese, salumi, lamb and ancient legumes and grains. It is a region with a proud pastoral tradition that has seen hardship and poverty due to wars and an isolated geographic position, but whose people have emerged with an indomitable spirit of survival and loyalty to their territory. It is my father’s homeland and the place that I love most in the world.

Abruzzo is for people who wish to TRAVEL DEEPER, for individuals and families seeking a genuine Italian travel experience beyond the usual charted course.

WHO AM I? My name is Michelle DiBenedetto.  I am the daughter of Italian immigrants and a corporate lawyer-turned-private chef in New York. My father, Gino, was born and raised in a tiny village within the Parco Nazionale della Majella in Abruzzo. I have spent the past 12 summers exploring, savoring, meandering, hiking, cooking and dreaming in Abruzzo as well as cultivating relationships with talented folks who have dedicated their lives and livelihoods to preserving and honoring the region’s natural beauty, rich culture and culinary traditions. In the summer of 2017, I led two groups of intrepid travelers on my “maiden” tours of Abruzzo and am thrilled to invite guests to join me in 2018.  Together with my dear friend Roberta, a proud and adventurous Abruzzo native, I’ve crafted unique itineraries that highlight majestic mountains, serene coastlines, historic towns and artisanal foods.

A recent feature in Conde Naste Traveler says it well: “While navigating Italy can often feel like retracing the footsteps of countless others—that once-obscure Tuscan trattoria has long since adopted an English menu, cellar doors in Piedmont cater to busloads of visitors, and that seaside spot with the spaghetti tossed with sea-urchin roe is booked months in advance—Abruzzo still retains a mystery and promise of discovery.”


JULY 1-8, 2018 – Dea Maja Tour for Women

In July 2017, 11 women travelers joined me on my very first tour in Abruzzo.  It was a total coincidence that these individual groups of sisters, cousins and friends all signed up for this trip – a coincidence that turned out to be one of the most remarkable weeks of my life.  The Majella mountain is named after the Dea Maja – an earth goddess associated with growth and nurturing – and each of the women on that first trip will tell you that she experienced some level of self-discovery  in those mountains. So grab your sister, mother, daughter, girlfriend (or come yourself!) and join me and my incredible “sister” collaborators in Abruzzo for a week of fun and fabulous hiking, eating, exploring and other activities specifically geared toward women including a spa day, a sunset yoga class and a visit to a centuries-old “orafo” (gold jeweler).


We are incredibly excited to partner with local travel companies that specialize in hiking within Abruzzo’s three national parks. Our experienced nature guides are dedicated to responsible ecotourism in the territory and 100% committed to the safety and well-being of our guests. With their help, we’ve planned excursions that are suitable for all travelers provided they’re in good physical health and have proper shoes and clothing.

For our Dea Maja tour, we have chosen Agriturismo Pietrantica as your home for the week, a farm-stay/inn owned by the warm and loving Sanelli family. Have you ever traveled somewhere and wished you had a local friend with whom you could stay and have dinner?  Well, that’s what staying at Pietrantica is like – for a week, you live at the home of your Italian friends in a village in which it feels as if time has stood still.  Pietrantica is located in Decontra, a tiny hamlet at 900 meters above sea level, in the heart of the Majella National Park.  The complex is composed of old barns carefully restored using local stones, wood and terracotta. The farm has partnered with the Parco Nazionale della Majella to promote sustainable tourism and agriculture within the territory.

You will experience family-style homemade breakfasts and farm-to-table dinners using organic ingredients from the farm and from other local producers. Marisa’s cooking matches her personality – filled with warmth, nurturing and humor. But be warned – she might make you sing for your supper!  Visit http://www.agripietrantica.com/ for photos and information about the property.

DEA MAJA TOUR 2018 RATE: $2475.00 per person, in double (or triple) occupancy room**


  • Double occupancy room with private bath for seven (7) nights at Agriturismo Pietrantica**
  • Breakfast daily
  • All except for two lunches/dinners (wine included)
  • All ground transportation via private coach and drivers
  • All hiking excursions
  • Any entrance fees, tours and local guides
  • A hands-on cooking class
  • Transfers between Agriturismo La Pietrantica and Piazza Bologna in Rome
  • Taxes and service charges
  • Gratuities (however, at the conclusion of the tour, if you are pleased with the hospitality and service of our local partners, additional recognition at your discretion is appreciated)


  • Airfare
  • Trip insurance
  • Two meals
  • Optional activities during free time (e.g., Lago di Scanno)
  • Individual spa treatments at La Riserve (applies to Dea Maja tour only)
  • Gifts and personal purchases including refreshments during “free time” or during spontaneous stops along the way

**Single supplement of $500.00 applies.  Given the small number of rooms available at Pietrantica, we can only accept a very limited number of travelers requesting single rooms.

Number of Participants: A minimum of five (5) participants is required for the program to occur. The maximum number of participants for the program is 12.



JULY 22 -29, 2018 – Dreamy Italian Summer Tour

All intrepid travelers are invited to join us on the Italian summer adventure of their dreams! Experience the height of Italian summer living in unspoiled Abruzzo – swim in the turquoise Adriatic Sea, hike in the sprawling mountains of three national parks, relax in the picturesque countryside, explore medieval villages, savor exceptional farm-to-table cooking, taste fine local wines, enjoy traditional festivals and truly live like an Italian for a week! For the first four nights, you’ll stay at a charmingly rustic agriturismo (farm-stay) in the mountains where you’ll be welcomed like a member of the family. For the next three nights, you’ll stay in a sophisticated castle owned by one of Abruzzo’s premier wine-making families.




OCTOBER 7-13, 2018 – Food, Wine & Fantasy Tour

Please join us for this very special autumn tour of Abruzzo where we’ll dive in deep to experience the region’s food and wine and explore fairytale medieval castles and villages.  We’ll pick olives on my friend Antonio’s land overlooking the Gran Sasso mountain range, visit three wineries, taste truffles hunted by a local producer, explore the cradle of the region’s prized saffron production and explore the singular Trabocchi coast all while staying at two medieval castles that have been restored into elegant hotels.



Scroll down past the photo galleries for Testimonials from past guests and Tour Terms & Conditions




You really outdid yourself in the planning and execution of our week in the Majella. We could not have asked for a better tour. Marisa and staying at Pietranica was a delight and our daily journeys were adventurous (to say the least!) and educational, not to mention DELICIOUS. I am so grateful that I was a part of your “maiden tour” of [la] Majella and Decontra. … MANY, MANY, THANKS for an amazing, unforgettable vacation. Hopefully I will be able to do it all again with my husband.
Linda D, New York

Michelle, you planned an amazing experience for all of us! Thank you again and again!…The week couldn’t have been better! You out-did yourself! Lucky us!!!
Susan C, New York

I am still talking non-stop about our trip.  I loved it more than I can explain.  Thank you so much for everything. I want to bring my niece and nephews next summer!!
Becca T, Boston

[I have told all my friends about how wonderful and special this trip was I can’t believe it’s over.  Thank you for all your efforts putting this amazing experience together for us.
Kathy P., Florida

When folks ask how my trip was I found that my reply has been… It was just like going home!
Shirley S. , Maine


Getting To & From – The tour begins and ends in Rome (approx. 2 .5 hour drive).  Consider spending a few days in the Eternal City before or after your stay in Abruzzo – I’d be happy to suggest a few of my favorite things to do and places to eat! Please plan to meet us at our assigned place in Rome’s Piazza Bologna at at the assigned time. Please note that out of consideration for our guests, we will not be able to wait for late arrivals.  If you are late, you will need to arrange for alternative transportation to Abruzzo.  Any alternative travel arrangements will be at your own additional expense and will not decrease the price of the program.

Health– Please be advised that Abruzzo is a very mountainous region.  All participants must be in good physical health as there will be extensive walking involved in our contemplated touring activities. Although the planned excursions for the program are considered to be of an easy to moderate level of difficulty, we will necessarily be hiking over uneven surfaces and mountainous terrain. Any condition of a participant that may require physical assistance or special medical attention should be reported to us at the time of your reservation.  Appropriate attire, such as hiking shoes and clothing, are required and participants are required to properly outfit themselves for the contemplated touring activities. In addition, Abruzzo has many winding roads and our touring will sometimes require long drives. We have attempted to design the itinerary to break up the length of drives as much as possible, but if you suffer from motion sickness, please bring motion-sickness medication with you. Finally, any food allergies or intolerances must be reported to us at the time of your reservation.

Payment Schedule & Deposits – A 50% deposit per person (the “Deposit”), payable to Three Little Guys LLC (D/B/A Majella Home Cooking) (hereinafter, “MHC”), of which $500 is non-refundable for administrative fees, is required at the time of the reservation of the program (hereinafter, “the Program”) for each participant (“Participant”). Final payment, by check, wire transfer or Google Wallet, must be received by MHC no later than 120 days prior to the first day of the Program.

Changes in Itinerary & Costs – MHC and its partners are committed to creating an enjoyable Program itinerary.  If improvements can be made prior to the commencement of or even during the Program, or if unforeseen conditions make changes necessary, MHC reserves the right to vary the Program itinerary and/or substitute hotels or accommodations of a reasonably equivalent quality and will not be held responsible for any of these types of changes or occurrences. Individual deviations or additions to or from the scheduled Program itinerary are at the sole expense of the individual Participant. All prices are subject to change without prior notice due to currency fluctuation, fuel prices and/or unforeseen economic circumstances.

Photography – Photographs or, in some cases, videos, of Participants taken during the program may be used for promotional purposes by MHC and its partners and each of the Participants expressly consents to this manner of promotional use when reservations are completed.

Trip Insurance–Though MHC does not provide insurance coverage, MHC  strongly urges Participants to purchase insurance to cover trip cancellation (including cancellation of the Program at the discretion  of MHC), emergency medical evacuation, lost or damaged baggage, accidents, sickness or otherwise.

Responsibility Clause – In no event will MHC assume responsibility or liability for any act, error, or omission, or for any injury, loss, accident, delay, or irregularity including death which may occur to a Participant or a Participant’s property during or in relation to the Program, including any injury, loss, accident, delay, or irregularity including death that may result from the act, error, omission, default or even negligence of any subcontractor or other third party. In no event will MHC be liable or responsible for loss, injury, damages, or expenses to the person or property of a Participant, including, without limitation, any indirect, incidental, consequential, special or punitive damages.  The limitation of liability of MHC shall be regardless of cause or reason for any asserted loss of Participant, including for loss to Participant due to illness, weather, strikes, local laws, hostilities, wars, terrorist acts, acts of nature, or other such causes in connection with the Program. MHC is not responsible for transportation delays or Program delays and changes, nor for additional expenses or loss of time that may be incurred in connection therewith. In the event it becomes necessary or advisable for the comfort or well-being of the Participants, or for any reason whatsoever, to alter the Program itinerary at any time, without notice to the Participants, MHC reserves the right to carry out such alterations and will not be held responsible for said alterations. Baggage and personal effects of any Participant shall at all times remain the sole and exclusive responsibility of such Participant. MHC reserves the right to accept or decline any person as a Participant at any time, or to require any Participant to withdraw from the Program at the expense of said Participant when such an action is determined by MHC to be in the best interest of the Participant’s health and safety, or the general welfare of the other Participants within the Program.

Cancellation Policy – MHC strongly advises Participants NOT to purchase airline tickets until you have received confirmation in writing that we have a sufficient number of participants for the program to occur. Under no circumstances shall we be responsible for the reimbursement of any travel-related expenses or cancellation fees related thereto, including but not limited to, airfare or travel insurance.  MHC must strictly adhere to its cancellation policy to offset costs incurred prior to the commencement of the Program, which may include but are not limited to: advance payments to tour operators, hotels and drivers, communication expenses; development/promotional expenses; and the loss of time that might have permitted resale of reserved space. To be effective, any cancellation must be made in writing to majellacooking@gmail.com and will be subject to a $500 non-refundable administrative fee.   All refunds are limited to amounts actually received by MHC. At the time MHC receives written notification of cancellation, the following cancellation charges will apply: cancellations received between 120 and 91 days prior  to the commencement of the Program, 80 percent of the Program cost per Participant shall be refunded less the $500 non-refundable administrative fee; those received between 90 and 61 days prior  to the commencement of the Program, 50 percent of the Program cost per Participant shall be refunded less the $500 non-refundable administrative fee; no refunds will be given for cancellations received within 60 days of the commencement of the Program. No partial refunds shall be given for individual deviations from the scheduled Program itinerary, including, but not limited to, missed excursions, tours, meals, transportation or lodging,  for any reason.  In the case of a cancellation due to insufficient number of Participants, MHC will attempt to notify all Participants at least 45 days prior to departure. However, MHC reserves the right to cancel the Program prior to departure for any reason and, in such case, reimbursement of refundable costs of the Program by MHC shall constitute full settlement with the Participant. MHC shall not be liable for any airline fees or cancellation penalties incurred by the purchase of a non-refundable ticket.  In the unlikely event that a dispute arises between a Participant and MHC, the following conditions will apply: (a) the dispute will be settled by binding arbitration administered by the American Arbitration Association in New York, NY; (b) the dispute will be governed by New York Law; (c) the maximum amount of recovery to which a Participant shall be entitled under any and all circumstances will be the sum of all monies actually received from the Participant by MHC. The Participant agrees that this is a fair and reasonable limitation on the damages, of any sort whatsoever, that a Participant may suffer. Upon payment of the Deposit to MHC, the Participant agrees to be bound by the above terms and conditions.