Piedmont, Bologna & Emilia-Romagna
Discover the best Northern Italy has to offer: culture, scenery, food and wine. Enjoy the scenery of ancient medieval villages, a landscaped dotted with vineyards, and taste the pleasures of the Parma food valley.
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Tour price includes:
- Roundtrip airfare from New York or Boston to Milan Malpensa airport
- 10 nights deluxe accommodations: 3 nights in Torino; 3 nights in La Morra; 4 nights in Polesine Parmense
- All breakfasts, 4 lunches, 6 dinners with drinks included
- Transportation by air-conditioned minivan
- 2 fun cooking classes; 1 at a private mansion, 1 at the resort near Parma
- 3 winery visits with wine tastings
- 1 visit to a Parmesan cheese farm with tasting
- 1 visit at a prosciutto farm with tasting
- 1 visit at a traditional balsamic vinegar farm with tasting
- Visits to Serralunga d’Alba, Alba, Novello, Barolo, and Bologna
- Guided tours of Torino, Alba, Parma, and Bologna
- Full-time tour escort
- All local tour guides, museum, winery and monument entrance fees
- All tips and taxes
Upon arrival we will be met and transferred to Torino. Before arriving at our deluxe centrally located hotel, we take a scenic guided tour of the city that will allow us to see: the Parco del Valentino, the city’s largest park located along the Po River; the Monte dei Cappuccini; the circular Neoclassical Gran Madre di Dio church, inspired by the Rome Pantheon; and the grand Piazza Vittorio Veneto. After checking into our hotel, we take a stroll nearby and enjoy a welcome aperitivo the Italian way, before heading to a restaurant for dinner.
Overnight: Torino | Meals: D
After breakfast, we will meet our guide to discover the historical center of Torino: the extravagant red brick façade of Palazzo Carignano, Piazza Castello (Castle Square), the elegant Royal Palace, the majestic San Carlo Square, as well as some antique courtyards, real hidden gems of Torino. After lunch at a 19th century elegantly decorated café, we head to the Mole Antonelliana, symbol of Turin and former Jewish synagogue, now hosting the amazing Cinema Museum, where we take the panoramic lift up to a terrace from which you can enjoy a birds-eye view of the city. The afternoon is free for us to stroll on our own or to visit one of the striking museums of Torino. Dinner will be on our own in one of the many charming restaurants around our hotel.
Overnight: Torino | Meals: B, L
We begin with a visit to Turin’s famous market, Porta Palazzo, where we meet a 100% Piedmontese lady who will be our chef for tonight and will help us shop for the ingredients of our hands-on cooking class. The chef will teach us how to select the season’s finest vegetables, herbs, spices and fruits. In the afternoon we enjoy a 3-hour “hands on” cooking class at an ancient private mansion where we learn how to prepare both typical Piedmontese and northern Italian dishes. Later in the afternoon, dinner will be served in the beautiful dining room of the mansion.
Overnight: Torino | Meals: B, D
After breakfast we check out of our hotel and drive to the Langhe wine region. After the hustle and bustle of the big city, we can enjoy the idyllic scenery and relaxing views of the rolling hills that give birth to some of the best wines in the world. Our first stop is the medieval village of Serralunga d’Alba for a relaxing stroll to the impressive 14th century fortress that dominates the surrounding landscape. We then continue to the former private hunting estate of the first king of Italy, Fontanafredda, where we have lunch at the cozy and warm osteria on the premises. After lunch we continue to La Morra, the highest village in the area, where our charming family-run hotel is located. Enjoy the beautiful view from its Belvedere before a typical Langhe dinner at a local inn next to the hotel.
Overnight: La Morra | Meals: B, L, D
After breakfast we head to Alba. Named “the city of 100 towers”, it is the capital of the Langhe Region, and its historical center is rich in Roman and Gothic monuments. We will take a guided tour of the center, then the rest of the morning will be at our disposal to discover the beautiful squares and pedestrian streets, lined with beautiful shops and cafés. Our last visit for today is at the world-famous Ceretto winery, near Alba, where we enjoy a unique tasting in the so-called Grape, a large oval bubble poised on an oak platform suspended among the vineyards. We return to La Morra for some free time and dinner.
Overnight: La Morra | Meals: B
Today we visit Novello, a beautiful ancient hilltop village. From here we can take an easy downhill walk through the surrounding vineyards, that will take us to Barolo. Located in an ornate hollow of hills covered in vineyards, this simple and cosy town is dominated by the austere image of the 10th century Faletti castle. Inside is the site of the regional wine shop and of the Wine Museum, which provides a fascinating sensory experience – a descent into the world of wine. After lunch on our own and some time to explore the village, we return to La Morra. Half way up the hill overlooking the main Barolo valley, along the first spurs of the neatly aligned vineyards, lies the Abbey of the Annunziata (Our Lady of the Annunciation), a priceless jewel of the 15th century, today hosting the Renato Ratti winery. We enjoy a visit and a wine tasting before getting ready for our gourmet dinner.
Overnight: La Morra | Meals: B, D
After breakfast, we leave La Morra and head to Polesine Parmense, a small village located north of Parma, in the heart of the so-called Food Valley. Our hotel for the next four days is the Antica Corte Pallavicina Relais, a country estate dating back to the 14th century that is at the same time a quaint inn, a farm, a restaurant, a dairy and a renowned salami producer. In the afternoon we can take a hands-on cooking class, focusing on home made pasta. For those who are not keen on cooking, the option is a 30-minute walk to the nearby village of Zibello, kingdom of the Culatello. The group will gather for dinner to taste the home made pasta prepared in the afternoon.
Overnight: Polesine Parmense | Meals: B, L, D
In the morning we will enjoy a cultural visit to the city of Parma. A local professional guide will show us this lively town rich in history, art and culture. Parma has been shaped over the centuries by great painters and architects. Antelami’s pink marble Baptistery and Correggio’s illusionistic frescoes decorating the Cathedral, the Chamber of St. Paul and St. John the Evangelist, are the trademarks of the town, together with Parmigianino’s masterpieces. The National Gallery, located in the Pilotta Palace, displays paintings by Canova, Tiepolo and Leonardo da Vinci. In the afternoon we will explore the countryside, scattered by castles built by noble families between the 14th and 15th centuries. We also visit the Torrechiara Castle, where the famous Lady Hawk movie was filmed. Before going back to our hotel, we stop by one of the numerous prosciutto factories to see how this Italian specialty is prepared, and to taste it with an expert.
Overnight: Polesine Parmense | Meals: B
Today we will enjoy a full day excursion to the magnificent city of Bologna. We will go through the city center, visiting the main monuments and palaces with a local expert guide. Today, Santo Stefano Square will be animated by the monthly antique market. It is an institution for the locals, and it gathers one hundred exhibitors, offering a variety of refined objects and ancient furnishing elements. A typical Bolognese lunch at a famous Osteria will be an opportunity to experience local specialties, such as mortadella and lasagne. On our way back we will stop near Modena for an educational and gourmet visit at an authentic Balsamic Vinegar Acetaia, where we’ll learn the production techniques and enjoy a tasting session.
Overnight: Polesine Parmense | Meals: B, D
On our final day we visit a certified Parmigiano Reggiano dairy. We’ll discover the ancient secrets of the world’s most renowned Italian cheese. The rest of the day will be dedicated to the discovery the surroundings of Parma. Some of the most important castles, fortresses and royal palaces are the Rocca di Soragna, still the residence of Prince Meli-Lupi, with its outstanding frescoed decorations and Baroque furniture; the Rocca Sanvitale di Fontanellato, a charming medieval fortress standing at the center of the town and surrounded by a deep moat which hosts one of the masterpieces of Italian Mannerism; and the Reggia di Colorno, with its monumental structure and French gardens. Tonight a special farewell dinner will be prepared by our hotel’s chef.
Overnight: Polesine Parmense | Meals: B, D
After breakfast, we head to Malpensa Airport for our return flights.