Tantalise your tastebuds on this 7-day private tour through Emilia Romagna: the ‘food valley’ of Italy. As well as sampling the delicious local specialities you will explore the region’s historical cities and appreciate the local culture.
Day 1: Benvenuti in Italia!
Upon arrival at Bologna international airport, you will be met by your tour manager and transferred to a charming resort in the countryside. Check in and relax before dinner.
The evening begins with an aperitif in one of the best wine bars on the seaside, followed by a tasty welcome dinner in a fabulous seafood restaurant, waterfront.
Day 2: Cooking Class at Casa Artusi – Ravenna
After breakfast, depart to a special location for a unique cooking class experience at Casa Artusi. Visit the famous cultural centre dedicated to traditional, authentic Italian cuisine and attend a hands-on-cooking class preparing a traditional Italian menu, using top quality ingredients.
Lunch will be at Casa Artusi with the dishes you have prepared.
In the afternoon, travel north to the sleepy, historic town of Ravenna, where you will be taken back in time by the breathtaking 6th and 7th century mosaics, accompanied by a private art guide. You will learn all about the town’s history and visit some major highlights such as the mosaics of 5th century Galla Placidia, the Basilica of San Francesco with the Dante’s Tomb, and the Basilica of San Vitale. Return to the hotel in the evening.
Day 3: Bologna and Ferrara
After breakfast, proceed to Ferrara, the city of the Renaissance. You will have a panoramic tour of the perfectly preserved city walls, and of the Renaissance quarter, the so-called “Addizione Erculea”, with the magnificent Piazza Ariostea.
Start from Palazzo dei Diamanti, whose double façade is decorated with a marble composed of thousands of “marble diamonds”. Walk through the elegant Corso Ercole I d’Este to reach the imposing Castello Estense. From here, passing through Piazza Savonarola, you will arrive at the medieval centre with its Palazzo Ducale and the Cathedral of San Giorgio, whose Romanesque-Gothic façade introduces to a late Renaissance and Baroque interior. From the old Piazza delle Erbe, embellished by the imposing bell tower and the old merchant’s shops, you can reach the medieval area of the Jewish Ghetto and the evocative Via delle Volte.
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant where you’ll be able to taste the special “tortellini pasta” born in this area.
In the afternoon, visit Bologna, the capital of Emilia Romagna, nicknamed by locals “la dotta, la grassa, la rossa” (the learned, the fat, the red). These names come from three characteristics which define the city: Bologna’s historical university, its mouthwatering cuisine, and the long-standing connection to Italy’s anti-fascist movement and left- wing politics. Meet your local art guide for a private walking tour, which will lead you through some of the main highlights such as the Due Torri, the Piazza Maggiore and Piazza del Nettuno, the Jewish Ghetto, and the fascinating 16th century Anatomical theatre in the Archiginnasio Palace.
In the evening arrive at a resort in Modena’s countryside, your base for the remaining 4 nights.
Day 4: Parmigiano Reggiano & Balsamic Vinegar Tastings
Early bird breakfast this morning! Today you will leave your resort extra early in order to get to an authentic Parmigiano Reggiano producer by cheese making time. There are dairies in an array of cities and you´ll visit a dairy in Reggio Emilia, about one hour from Modena. You will see all elements of the Parmigiano production from the processing of milk in the vats, the molding of the curd, the salting and then the ageing process of the photogenic cheese wheels.
After this fascinating tour you will head back to the wealthy little Modena for a visit to the 11th century UNESCO World Heritage preserved Duomo and relax with an aperitif.
Lunch today is at local trattoria, right in the heart of Modena, tasting traditional cuisine. After lunch, you will probably want to enjoy a short little digestive walk!
Before returning to the resort, you will visit an “Acetaia”, a real “Aceto Balsamico” cellar, where you will learn about the interesting history and production of this liquid gold and taste a few aged balsamic. This is a treat!
Day 5: Mantua
Your morning will be spent exploring Mantua, the seat of the Gonzaga family from the 14th century. The impressive architecture reflects the ambitions of the family and Renaissance art is in abundance. Mantua is an impressive example of how Italian cities evolved from the 13th century through to the unification of Italy in the late 19th century.
After an independent lunch, return to your resort. Enjoy time soaking up some sun in the swimming pool or experiencing a guided tour of the resort’s farm and cellar, finally tasting the home-grown Lambrusco (a modern red wine, with a lively effervescent froth, an intense, persistent fragrance and a rich taste enhanced by good tartness). Dinner at your resort.
Day 6: Culatello Ham Tasting – The Motor Valley
After breakfast head towards Colorno to visit a small and upmarket Culatello cellar producer. You will taste some slices of the “crème de la crème” prosciutto of Italy, finishing with an elegant lunch focused on local specialties. Sample dishes will be offered, including Culatello di Zibello d.o.p. and a selection of the best charcuterie. Superb wines will be chosen for you from the extensive wine list.
After lunch enjoy a digestive “passeggiata” in Parma, a small gourmet town that was also the home of Italy’s famed composers Giuseppe Verdi and Arturo Toscanini. Do not miss the wonderful Duomo, the great Teatro Farnese and the Art Gallery, renowned for its paintings by Correggio.
On the way back to the resort you will have an interesting tour of the most important factories and museums dedicated to motors such as Ferrari (Maranello), Lamborghini (Modena), Maserati (Sant’Agata Bolognese) and Ducati (Bologna).
When in Maranello, learn all about the “prancing horse” and visit the Ferrari Museum, which contains over 40 models from many different decades.
Day 7: Arrivederci Italia
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Bologna International Airport to for your flight back home.
- Dinner at seafood restaurant in the Riviera Adriatica
- Professional English-speaking tour manager
- Transportation and private English-speaking driver
- Culatello ham tasting at local factory in Parma and lunch
- Balsamic Vinegar tasting at local Acetaia in Modena area
- Parmigiano Reggiano tasting in Reggio Emilia area
- Cooking class at Casa Artusi and dinner
- 2-nights accommodation in BB at a farmhouse/resort in Emilia area in standard room
- 1-night accommodation in HB (dinners and drinks not included) at a farmhouse/resort in Emilia area in standard room
- Lunch at a local restaurant in Bologna
- 2-nights accommodation in BB at a farmhouse/resort in Romagna area in standard room
- Entrance fees
- Drinks with lunch in Bologna
- City taxes (to be paid on the spot)
- Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Drinks with dinner at seafood restaurant