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September 1 - September 8

Olive Oil: The "Green-Gold" of Italy with Sandro Gilotti - Harvest

Olive Oil: The "Green-Gold" of Italy with Sandro Gilotti - Harvest

Workshop Dates:
September 1 - September 8
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About the Workshop

Italy is synonymous in many minds with olive oil and it has traditionally produced some of the finest in the world! Here, in Umbria - the region called the Green Heart of Italy -  a land of olive trees, grape vines, wheat fields, and rich in ancient traditions - we are very fortunate to produce some of the finest oils in Italy. Our little village is surrounded by olive orchards in every direction and their yield has claimed numerous regional and national awards. This Green-Gold as it is sometimes called, is the pride of our region and our locality.  Those who have never experienced the flavor of freshly-pressed Umbrian pure virgin olive oil will be amazed by the complex flavor: smelling of the green of freshly cut grass, then rich and buttery, and finally - a spicy finish - it is among the most complex oils in the world!


From our mountain castle village, we are fortunate to be within a mornings walk of Passo del Palomba, a farm estate owned by Alessandro Gilotti and his wife, Claudia.  Sandro is an internationally renowned expert on olive oil, and owner of one of the most highly-regarded producers in the region. The couples passion for this land as well as for the oil and wine they produce, is infectious and participants will soon be won over by their enthusiasm for the health benefits of his oil and his vast knowledge of cultivation and production.

The course is designed for all levels of interest, those with a general interest in simply learning more about quality olive oil in  spectacularly beautiful setting will be equally enriched by the workshop as those with careers in the culinary arts, seeking to enhance their expertise and credentials. The week-long workshop, will consist of four, three-hour classes, held on the farm of the Passo del Palomba estate from Monday to Thursday.  Day-five will be held at our Asilo facility, where we will do a tasting paired with dinner, accompanied by local wines of note. Afternoons will be spent in Monte Castello with excursions to local wineries, food and wine tastings, and a truffle hunt.

Topics to be addressed in our time at Passo della Palomba:

  • The history of olives and oil starting from the ancient Phoenicians, Romans, up to the present day.
  • The production of olive oil in the world and the notion to understand the cultivated varieties (Cultivars)
  • Classification of olive oils according to international rules
  • How to read the labels trying to avoid misleading advertising until understanding how to select the best quality.
  • How to use EVOO in the kitchen and eliminate the potential associated risks (Smoke Point)
  • Specific tasting session of EVOO from various parts of Italy during which the participants are introduced to the tasting techniques aimed at appreciating the qualities of a good Extra Virgin Olive Oil and how to combine it with dishes whether they are gourmet or of all days
  • Visit to one of our neighboring olive groves with explanations of the various Cultivars and cultivation techniques
  • Visit to our modern two-phase company oil mill to understand the various processing steps to produce a high quality EVOO by comparing them with old and now obsolete extraction techniques.


During your stay, you will be housed at a beautiful and grand, 17th c. villa, located on a forested mountain overlooking Tiber valley.

Surrounded on all-sides by olive groves, carefully kept lawns and grand cypress trees, hedges of lavender and rosemary grace the landscape, with a vegetable garden for guest use - the setting is idyllic.  The stately villa itself is completely gated and fenced and features unique architectural elements, such as beautifully painted beamed and brick domed ceilings, terracotta tiled floors, stone walls, unique fireplaces, arched doorways and wooden-shuttered windows, all complemented by the stylish furnishing and decor throughout.  The designer kitchen features the most elegant contemporary appliances and features.The main house sleeps ten (four bedrooms, all en-suite). In addition, a stone cottage and sleeps 4 in 2 bedrooms, with a separate bathrooms, and provides several sitting and relaxation areas in addition to a very comfortable main lounge. A large upper terrace includes a shaded area, perfect for dining and appreciating spectacular sunsets and mountain views.  The lower patio surrounds a magnificent infinity pool.  The villa is a stunning property that will provide unforgettable experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.

About the Instructor

Alessandro Gilotti
 “I am Italian but lived abroad many years. I have a background in engineering.  I am a FIS  (Italian Sommelier Foundation)  Oil Sommelier, a  Professional Taster registered in the National Registry of Italian Tasters of Olive Oils, a Producer of High Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oils awarded in the most important oil competitions and owner of the Passo della Palomba farm.” About : Passo della Palomba Farm: “In the estate of about 75 hectares, we produce High Quality oils and wines in sustainable agriculture. We also carry out accommodation business as a holiday home. In the 15 hectares of olive groves we have about 5000 olive trees of the following varieties. Moraiolo, Leccino, Frantoio, San Felice, Dolce Agogia, Don Carlo and Pendolino. We are a Slow Food Presidium for Moraiolo. From the olives of these olive groves we produce 5 mono-cultivars oils and two Blends: Olistico and Olistico Gran Cru We have been organizing introduction courses to the world of oil for. The tutorials, including tastings and samplings, are held in the tasting rooms of the splendid estate of the Passo della Palomba Farm and have a great following and success. Outside, guests can visit the olive groves and then view ancient artifacts of olive processing (millstones, settling tanks and jars) but also the very modern two-phase company oil mill which are all located a few steps from the urban courtyard.”
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Included Amenities

Click on the links below for detailed information about our included amenities.
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  • Airport transfer from and to the Leonardo da Vinci Rome/Fiumicino Airport (FCO) aboard our private bus (on scheduled dates only). Bus departs the airport promptly at 12PM.
  • Airport welcome service and assistance with baggage
  • 24/7 bi-lingual support with manager on site at all times
  • All ground transport aboard private buses or our ICA van, unless otherwise specified. Licensed and insured professional driver and ICA guide accompany all excursions. Orientation at each destination is provided as is departure coordination (guide service is available upon request — unless specified — for an additional fee)
  • Village orientation and complimentary drinks provided on arrival day
  • Private access to our 5-storey tower at our Palazzo Persiane (on sign-up basis) for spectacular morning and evening views
  • Access to our art materials shop (during posted hours)
  • Thorough orientation lecture and maps provided the evening before departure
  • Return transport to the Rome/Fiumicino Airport (departs 5:30AM) with rest stop
  • Departure service/airport assistance at airport
  • Unless otherwise specified, single occupancy accommodation is provided in rooms with a view of the Tiber Valley that includes sink and vanity. Rooms are with shared bath on each level (3 rooms per bath) in our 14th century convent building, The Asilo. Apartments, rooms with private bath and AC, double rooms, group or villa accommodations are available for couples, business associates/ friends, or groups for an additional fee
  • Linens and towels provided
  • Weekly housekeeping service with change of towels and linens
  • Free washing machine access
  • Good Wi-Fi connection and access to our library and film collection
  • 3 chef-catered, gourmet meals per day (buffet breakfast, 3-course lunch, 4-course dinner) — with wine at lunch and dinner (table wine provided at lunch and dinner. An excellent wine list is offered at additional cost), while in Monte Castello
  • Group dining service is as follows, with breakfast and lunch served in our dining room, etc, with dinner (weather permitting) served on our private terrace overlooking the Tiber Valley
  • Lunch and dinner are plated as follows: pasta course, main course, vegetable, fruit/salad, dessert
  • When requested at registration, vegetarian, vegan, and special dietary options are provided
  • After dinner drinks on our terrace overlooking the Tiber valley
  • Dining service is as follows: Breakfast: 8:00 AM; Lunch: 1:00PM; Dinner: 8:00 PM. No meals are served on Fridays (excursion day) unless otherwise specified
  • On Saturday and Sunday, a full buffet brunch with fresh pastry and Prosecco is served at 11:00 AM
  • On Saturday, homemade, wood-fired pizza is served at 7:00 PM (except on departure days, when a special farewell dinner is served)
  • Sunday dinner with antipasti is served at 7:00 PM
  • Farewell dinner on the evening prior to departure
  • 24/7 access to our primary building and library is provided, including access to workspaces, studios, and ceramics facility
  • Special access to certain cultural and art collections is available upon request
  • FOR VISUAL ARTISTS: private, or semi-private secure and monitored studio space is provided (24/7 access)
  • FOR WRITERS: private workspace is provided (24/7 access)
  • FOR GROUPS: Group workspace is provided (24/7 access)
  • FOR CERAMIC ARTISTS: 24/7 access to our ceramics facility
  • Free access to lectures and events at the Teatro Concordia
  • An end of the session exhibition with reception that includes hors d'oeuvres and Prosecco in our gallery. Posters are prepared to promote the event with copies provided to all participants
  • 1 excursion per week is included (unless otherwise specified in the itinerary) aboard our private bus. Additional trips can of course be scheduled and given our central location. (Day trips are possible to as far north as Siena or Florence and as far south as Rome.)
  • Advanced reservations and ticket purchases for groups and individuals
  • Concierge services provided upon request at an hourly rate
  • Restaurant reservations (provided under Concierge services)
  • Car rental
  • Critique series with visiting visual artists
  • Artist materials workshops
  • Drawing and painting sessions from the figure
  • Cooking classes
  • Cheesemaking workshop
  • Pizza-making workshop
  • Kids cooking classes
  • Wine appreciation and Sommelier Courses
  • Wine and olive oil tastings
  • Vineyard tours
  • Truffle hunting
  • Ballroom dance classes
  • Weekend excursions to flea markets and natural sites
  • Shopping excursions to cashmere and leather outlets, to Deruta famous for fine painted traditional ceramics, and antique stores
  • Overnight excursions to the sea and day-trips to Rome beaches
  • Hot air balloon tours
  • Hot springs excursions
  • Lake Trasimeno tours
  • Umbria abandoned castle and fortress tour
  • Sustainable farming tour 
  • Babysitting services
  • Soccer, archery, and horseback riding camps for kids
  • Motorized mountain bike rentals
  • Electric car rental 
  • Golf-cart tours of Rome and Florence
  • Hiking/naturalist guides to national/regional parks - mountain hiking available
  • Fishing/Hunting Excursions

Payment Options

  • Payment in full (€500 non-refundable deposit is included. No refunds will be issued within 60 days prior to the start of the workshop. See refund policy for more details).
  • Non-refundable €500 deposit (Balance due must be paid a minimum of 30 days prior to workshop).
  • Balance payment (after €500 deposit).

Required Forms

All ICA participants; whether coming independently, with a group or through a college / university, must provide the following completed forms and information to at least 2 weeks prior to attending their program. 
Emergency Contact & Medical Information »Liability Waiver »
Proof of Insurance / Travel Insurance
Itinerary and Passport
For detailed information and to download the required forms, please visit our Guides and Forms page.


Day 1

  • Arrival at ROME FIUMICINO airport where one of our operators will be waiting for you - once the group has formed you will be guided to the private bus to reach ICA - departure from the airport is scheduled for 12pm maximum, unless otherwise agreed previously with the participants and this organization.
  • Estimated arrival, traffic and weather conditions permitting for 3pm at the agreed facility where there will be a welcome aperitif waiting for you, a tour of the estate and accommodation in the room planned for your stay. Free time to relax by the pool or in the park. Dinner at 7.30pm

Day 2

  • 8:00 - 9:00am breakfast
  • 10:00am departure for Todi, a medieval village in the Umbrian hills where, after a short tour of the town and its beauties, an aperitif will follow in the heart of the San Fortunato square. At the end, return to the villa for lunch.
  • 01:00 - 02:00pm lunch
  • 02:00 - 04:00pm relax
  • 4:30pm departure to visit the nearby village of Monte Castello di Vibio, its medieval walls, its Teatro della Concordia and the Porta del Maggio watchtower.
  • Aperitif on the terrace of our Monastery with a magnificent view of the Middle Tiber Valley - followed by dinner on the terrace (08:00pm).
  •  At the end return to the villa.

Day 3

  • 08:00 - 09:00am breakfast
  • 09:30am departure for the first morning session of the program at the "Passo della Palomba" farm where the lessons will be held.
  • 12:30pm return to the villa
  • 01:00 lunch
  • time for relaxation
  • 04:00pm visit to the "Conti Faina" winery in Collelungo - tour of the estate and wine tasting paired with typical products of the area
  • 07:00pm return to the villa
  • 08:00pm dinner

Day 4

  • 08:00 – 09:00am breakfast
  • 09:30am departure for morning session departure for the morning session of the program at the "Passo della Palomba" farm.
  • 12:30pm return to the villa
  • 01:00 lunch
  • time for relaxation
  • 04:00pm visit to the town of Deruta, known throughout the world for its rigorously handmade artistic majolica - tour of the town and its historic companies with visit to a true master ceramist and exhibition and demonstration of Deruta art at his shop.
  • At the end, time available for shopping. Stop at the sanctuary of the Madonna dei Bagni along the road.
  • 07:30pm return to the villa
  • 08:00pm dinner

Day 5

  • 08:00 – 09:00am breakfast
  • 09:30am departure for morning session departure for the morning session of the program at the "Passo della Palomba" farm.
  • 12:30pm return to the villa
  • 01:00 lunch
  • time for relaxation
  • 04:00pm visit to a truffle farm - tour of the company and its lands, history, exhibition and tasting of products paired with black truffles: the gold of Umbria - at the end, free time for shopping in the internal truffle boutique.
  • 7.30pm return to the villa
  • 08:00pm dinner

Day 6

  • 08:00 – 09:00am breakfast
  • 09:30am departure for morning session departure for the morning session of the program at the "Passo della Palomba" farm.
  • 12:30pm return to the villa
  • 01:00 lunch
  • time for relaxation
  • 04:00pm visit to Caseificio Montecristo, a well-known and appreciated cheese producer - tour of the company premises, family history and practical lesson in cheesemaking with the production of a blue cheese. Tasting. At the end of the session, free time for shopping at the company's cheese boutique.
  • 7.30pm return to the villa
  • 08:00pm dinner


Day 7

  • 08:00 – 09:00 am breakfast
  • 09:30am departure for the visit of the town of Orvieto, "the tall and strange city", arriving there you will understand why... visit of the city, of the Duomo, marvel of European Gothic architecture and of St. Patrick's Well, a masterpiece of hydraulic engineering - not to be missed LOSE.
  • Aperitif in the square and lunch.
  • Free time for shopping.
  • 6:00pm departure for the return
  • 08:00pm gala dinner and goodbye in the villa

Day 8

  • 5:30am depart for the Rome/Fiumicino Airport - the departure time may be subject to change according to the departure times of the participants' flights
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