Context Travel: Roman Food Culture

by Bert Maxwell /
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Feb 12, 2009 / 0 comments

“Farm to Fork” introduces families to Roman food culture. Focus on organics, low-carbon, and sustainable agriculture through the ages.


Philadelphia. February 10, 2009 – Context Travel, the network of scholars who lead critically acclaimed walking tours in several European cities, and Insider’s Italy, the leader in customized travel planning services for Italy, announce the launch of Farm To Fork, Roman Food Culture for Families, a 6-day sustainable trip designed to introduce families to Roman food and how it is grown, harvested, prepared, and eaten. Trips run year round, with the first trip scheduled for June 2009


“Farm To Fork, Roman Food Culture for Families” was designed for families by families. The founders of both Context Travel and Insider’s Italy have families with small children that were born and raised in Rome. Perceiving a void in travel options for families who practice sustainable lifestyles, Context and Insider’s teamed up to create this innovative family itinerary that, for children and parents alike, brings alive the seasonal, regional, and traditional aspects of Rome’s food culture The trip will be led by scholars, cultural historians, and food professionals who are specially trained to work with family groups of all ages.  As with all Context tours, the group size is small (maximum eight people or two families) in order to provide a hands-on cultural experience for all. The trip can be arranged privately for individual families as well.


The Farm to Fork trip was born of both companies’ dedication to sustainable principles that shape the way they live and travel. “We wanted to offer other families the opportunity to see Italy and learn about its food and culture in a completely revolutionary way,” explains Context founder Paul Bennett.  “This trip is carbon neutral, emphasizes locally owned businesses and relies almost exclusively on inexpensive and reliable public transport.”


“This program shows how Italians enjoy such a strong connection to their landscape and to the food that it produces,” expands Marjorie Shaw of Insider’s Italy.


The trip includes visits to archaeological sites in Rome including the Markets of Trajan to study the role of food in ancient Rome. Along the way kids will have the opportunity to taste such ancient Roman recipes as garum and to consider the economics of food (how products were grown, transported, and sold) 2000 years ago. Once grounded in history, families focus on contemporary Roman cuisine by heading to several local markets with an expert in Roman cuisine. After learning to read and decipher the produce on sale and how the offerings relate to seasonality, the group will have an opportunity to shop for their own pickings and then retreat to the home of a noted Roman chef for a hands-on tutorial in the basics of Italian cuisine.


During the trip, an entire day will be dedicated to seasonal products. Depending on the season, we may participate in a strawberry festival or grape harvest; pick olives and watch new season oil produced at a country estate; or roll up our sleeves to make cheese in the Roman countryside. There is also an excursion south to Naples for a hands-on pizza making workshop in the birthplace of pizza; a visit to Pompeii; and a trip to the Naples Archaeological Museum with its fine collection of ancient cutlery, drinking vessels, and food themed mosaics.


For more information visit the Context website:

Founded in 1988 by lifetime Rome resident Marjorie Shaw, Insider’s Italy is the most authoritative resource for discerning independent Italy-bound travelers.  A leader in planning sustainable travel for Italy, Insider’s Italy provides personalized travel organization for families seeking experiences far beyond a traditional tourist holiday.  Farm to Fork participants receive Marjorie’s Rome Accommodation Planning service with lodging consultation for accommodations across a spectrum of styles and budgets.

Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and designer Lani Bevacqua, Context is a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals—including art historians, archaeologists, architects, and gastronomes—who organize and lead didactic walking seminars across eight cities: Rome, Florence, Naples, Venice, Paris, London, New York and Istanbul. In May 2007, Travel + Leisure named Context one of the top European tour companies for its innovative approach to travel and the depth of its programs. Sustainable tourism is central to Context’s philosophy.