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“A truly authentic Italian experience in a memorable, unique setting”
Review of Fontana del Papa

Fontana del Papa
Ranked #3 of 8 things to do in Tolfa
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Attraction details
Owner description: Cooking School
Sussex, UK
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“A truly authentic Italian experience in a memorable, unique setting”
Reviewed April 27, 2014

My sister and I just got back from celebrating her 50th birthday with a cookery weekend at Fontana del Papa..It is a breathtaking 16th century farmhouse with spectacular views all around just one hours drive from Rome airport. We were picked up by Luca the older son from the airport. He spoke English well and was very friendly and helpful. On arrival we were greeted with three lovely friendly dogs. The rooms were gorgeous with loads of artwork and tastefully decorated both ensuite. As we were the only guests Assuntina the owner very kindly let us have our own rooms although we had only expected the twin room. We also had our own living room and the run of the farmhouse. Assuntina is an incredible lady who has done an amazing conversion of this place. Over the weekend her beautiful daughter Emma showed us how to make two types of pasta from scratch - spaghetti puttanesca (pasta made without egg with the best sauce I have ever tasted) and fettucini carbonara with egg (eggs laid by their chickens roaming around!) we also learnt how to make a very quick bean soup, frittata, an amazing dish one of the tastiest I have ever had - with cauliflower and sausage -translates as 'drunken broccoli' - chicken cachatori, saltimboca, apple cake, tiramisu. It was just the right amount of time spent cooking - it was very casual, relaxed and 'real' - not too much like being in a strict cookery school. The rest of the time we ate and drank copious wine (far too much!! )Chatted to the family and their friends, listened to their Itailian conversations trying our best to understand what they were saying, walked ten minutes to some beautiful little hot springs, had a wander round the hilltop village of Tolfa and walked up to the castle ruins, and walked around the grounds and the olive groves and relaxed and read our books. If you are openminded and want a relaxed 'real' experience this is the place for you. If you do not like dogs, expect a five star meticulous venue with regimented, very complicated cookery classes and dont like pasta then this is not for you! Italian food is simple with basic but good quality ingredients, cooked to perfection. You are staying with a family in their home - the Italians speak passionately to each other - a previous reviewer said they were arguing but it is only their manner of speaking - its normal family life!

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank NancyTSussex_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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22 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    13
    4
    0
    1
    4
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Boca Raton, Florida, United States
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Absolutely stunnig, wonderful time”
Reviewed August 15, 2013

Fontana del Papa was everything we had hoped and wished for and then more. As we took the train to Rome after a week there we realized we had left part of our heart behind. The place is absolutely beautiful, the hills expand for miles and you feel free........relaxed........happy. Assuntina, Emma, Cecilia, Veronica, cats and dogs became our family, we could not have asked for more. We cooked and laughed, shared stories and wine and had one of the best vacations we have ever had. We are already thinking on going back.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Ana H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barcelona, Spain
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Do not go near the place”
Reviewed July 9, 2013

Asuntina the owner was not at home the day we had booked our Cookery course. Her son fetched us from the cruise liner and took the three of us to a run down, cat littered, unloved place. The daughter and some friends were in the Kitchen preparing the Lunch. After an hour of coffee and cake we were faced with Flour and Eggs to make Fettuccini. No instruction was given because the girls were peeling potatoes, frying Chicken and reading off the Internet a recipe for Pannacotta.the Ragu was also made while we were rolling the pasta.
We were told that there was no time in the day to learn Ravioli, Gnocci, or Risotto. We had all the time and instead of a talk by the Sommelier we had plastic cups with wine straight from the plastic carafe. And this cost 160€. I have tried to get it back but will not. What an expensive lunch where we only rolled fettuccine, had Chicken cacciatore and Ragu, and a crostata
for dessert. Want to warn everyone that as a keen kitchen cook, this was the greatest disappointment.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Perlie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodstock, New York
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“An amazingly beautiful setting”
Reviewed April 25, 2013

There is no question- the setting and history of the Fontana del Papa are breathtaking.

Nestled in the hills outside of Tolfa, this historic 16th century home is full of tasteful, personalized decor by its caring owner, Assuntina. The room we stayed in "Fragola" was beautifully appointed and had its own adjoining sitting room with fireplace. On our first night's stay, the room was rather chilly as it had rained for several days previously. Once the fireplace was lit and the electric heater was switched on, it no longer became an issue. We had asked for simple fare, predominantly vegatarian and our requests were met. Cecilia, one of the cooking teachers, added an ebullient and loving touch to the mix.
She was truly joyous in her sharing of information and seemed genuinely happy to be with us.
There is a dramatic story involving the Fontana del Papa which has obviously taken its toll on all of the family.
There is much to be said about the beauty of Fontana del Papa.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
Thank Eric W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belfast, Ireland
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Rustic Italian cooking and setting”
Reviewed April 15, 2013

We left Rome for a day to travel to Tolfa for the Fontana del Papa cookery school. Our host Assuntina was a lovely lady who picked us up from the nearby Civitavecchia train station and drove us to the market and local butcher's shop to buy fresh produce, then back to the Fontana del Papa B&B. Her daughter Emma taught us how to make fresh pasta from scratch, Italian meatballs, a fresh ragù, a side salad and authentic tiramisù, which was great fun. We sat down with another family who were staying at the B&B and ate together, and we were given plenty of local wine, coffee and limoncello. We were dropped back to the train station by Assuntina too. A great experience all in all! Do not go expecting to be taught how to cook like a Michelin chef - go expecting to experience a laid-back, relaxed, friendly and fun cooking experience in a beautiful rugged Italian countyside setting with a lovely Italian family.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank AcousticPiano
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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