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"Beyond anything I could have imagined… The weather was warm, the people were warm, the food was amazing and copious. An experience not to be missed, it will change your life!" -Seasonn Bailey, 2018

Dan Pashman’s Pasta Pilgrimage

from $4,950 USD per person

Group Size

8-12 People

Upcoming Departures

Nov 20-25, 2024

Reserve now >


Pasta in Italy seems steeped in tradition, with time-honored recipes handed down through the generations. Any change would be sacrilegious. At least that’s what James Beard Award winner Dan Pashman, host of The Sporkful food podcast and inventor of the cascatelli pasta shape, thought when he set out to create a cookbook of nontraditional pasta sauces, entitled Anything’s Pastable. But on a research trip across Italy he was shocked to learn that pasta did not become the country’s national food until about a hundred years ago, and iconic dishes like carbonara were just invented in the 1940’s. Others, like the city of Bari’s spaghetti all’assassina, are even newer, and continue to evolve.

On this 6-day Pasta Pilgrimage in Rome and Puglia, you’ll retrace Dan’s steps, eating at many of the same places where he ate, with many of the same people – including Dan himself, who will join the trip for several action-packed days!

Along the way you’ll experience both the delicious traditions of Italian pasta culture, and the new ideas, giving you a deeper appreciation for the full breadth of pasta history and culture, as well as a taste of pasta dishes that even many Italians haven’t heard of.

You’ll eat pasta in Roman institutions with local expert Katie Parla. In Puglia’s Bari, you’ll visit the “orecchiette ladies,” who roll out pasta all day in front of their homes, before Dan takes you on an investigative pasta crawl in search of his favorite version of spaghetti all’assassina (assassin’s spaghetti). Down in Lecce, deep in the Puglian heartland, you’ll spend the day cooking with chef and teacher Silvestro Silvestori, who runs his own cooking school. As we make our way on this trip from the Italian capital to the far reaches of pasta’s homeland, you’ll spend time with those upholding pasta tradition as well as those pushing this iconic dish into new realms, proving that indeed anything’s pastable.


Travel With Dan
Our trip will be joined by none other than Dan Pashman, James Beard Award-winning food journalist, podcast host, cookbook author and inventor of the cascatelli pasta shape

Rome With an Insider
Eat in Rome with cookbook author Katie Parla, who’s served as a food guide in Italy for Stanley Tucci, Andrew Zimmern, and other celebrities

Hands On Experiences
Participate in cooking workshops where you will learn from the professional chefs who shared their recipes with Dan during the research of his book

Unforgettable Dining
Sit down for stunning meals, from high-end to down-home

In-Depth Culinary Tours
Get a taste of the cuisines of Rome and Puglia and learn about their context with local experts

One-of-a-Kind Hotels
All lodging will be in boutique hotels with charm and character and a minimum 4-star standard

Exclusive Guides
A seasoned Culinary Backstreets guide (fully licensed in Italy) will be with the group for the entire trip. In Rome, Katie Parla will be a featured guide. In Bari, Dan himself will lead the group on a pasta quest




Welcome to Rome



Culinary Tour alla Romana with Katie Parla



Rome to Bari



Bari Pasta Crawl



Down in Lecce Pasta Workshop









Pricing and Accommodation
The total cost of this trip is $4,950. For travelers wishing to have single accommodations during the trip, an additional $700 will be due at the time of the final payment. A $500 non-refundable deposit per traveler is required to secure space on the trip. The balance is due 90 days prior to the start of the trip. In Rome we’ll be staying in the stylish Una Hotel, located in the charming Trastevere neighborhood. In Puglia, the group will stay in Lama San Giorgio, a converted 19th-century estate set amid olive groves and lush vineyards.
Activity Level
Travelers should feel comfortable walking three to five miles each day and remaining on their feet for long periods of time. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get hands-on during a couple cooking workshops.
Arrival and Departure
You should plan to arrive in Rome by 3 p.m. on Day 1 and depart anytime on Day 6 from our accommodation near Bari. Our hotel there can arrange transfer to the Bari airport. We’ll provide the option of booking additional nights at our hotels before and/or after the Trip, and are more than happy to provide suggestions for things to do and see in each location on your own.
• Five nights accommodation in boutique hotels.
• Talented local guides to accompany you throughout the trip.
• Five breakfasts, three lunches, and four dinners.
• All activities and events as mentioned in the itinerary.
• A hungry group of travelers, excited to explore the home of pasta together!
• Transportation and flights to and from Italy, including airport transfers.
• Additional meals and drinks outside of Culinary Backstreets offerings, including one lunch, one dinner, and some alcoholic beverages.
• If applicable, applying for an Italian visa (not required for U.S. citizens).
• Travel insurance (recommended).
Dietary Restrictions

We encourage an adventurous palate! We try our best to accommodate dietary restrictions, though in most cases ingredients can’t be substituted or omitted from particular dishes. Unfortunately, due to the traditional southern Italian diet, the itinerary isn’t able to cater to gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan diets. If you have a particular food allergy or intolerance, please contact us to find out if this is the right trip for you.

Notes on the Itinerary
Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.
Our Commitment to Safety and Sustainability
We have reinforced our commitment to sustainability and safety with new guidelines to assure maximum safety of our guests on our trips while maintaining the quality of the experience. All of our experiences are designed to have minimal impact on the community and environment. For more details on our precautions, read here. Our cancellation policy is extremely flexible to deal with changes in travel plans.
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