“Life is a combination of magic and pasta”
I couldn’t agree more and the tour is designed with this in mind. You begin in Venice (the epitome of magic), known for its tiramisù, cichetti and iconic drinks. Italy’s most famous food region is that of Emilia-Romagna (home to Bologna, also known as ‘La Grassa’ (aka the Fat One) and tortellini pasta). Parma (famous for parmesan cheese and ham) and Modena (home of balsamic vinegar), are two other food havens in this province. You end the tour in Tuscany, a region drenched in fabulous olive oil and Chianti wine. Buon appetito!
“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.” (Truman Capote)
Day 1 La Serenissima
Arrive with slightly fewer jewels than Marco Polo at the airport bearing his name and head to your centrally located Venetian hotel to check in and enjoy some relaxation time. This evening, sample your first aperitivo before we begin our fine dining, Italian style, at a local restaurant. (D)
Day 2 Venice Highlights
Today a guided tour of Venice includes an opportunity to sample local specialities such as the baicoli cookies, as well as a visit to the Doge’s palace. It ends in the most Venetian of ways: on a gondola. Lunch and the afternoon are free for you to continue your tasting, be it food, wine or Venice’s many artistic offerings. Venice and the Veneto are home to some of Italy’s most famous drinks, such as the Bellini, the iconic peach juice and prosecco combination, named after the pink in Giovanni Bellini’s paintings. This evening sample this and several of the drinks we associate with Venice at one of her best hotels, followed by dinner at one of Venice’s best restaurants. (B, D)
Day 3 Burano
Today we head to Burano in private water taxis, for a wander around the famous colourful houses and a chance to sample some of the island’s famous bussola cookies. Return to La Serenissima (Venice’s nickname) via motor taxi, for free time for lunch and an afternoon’s wandering at your leisure. Tonight we have our final Venetian dinner before it’s time to say, in the words of the locals, “Ciao Ciao Venezia”; the word ciao is of Venetian origin. (B, D)
“You may have the universe if I may have Italy.” (Verdi)
Day 4 Ravenna to Parma
Ravenna is famous for its amazing Hellenistic-Roman mosaics and for being the final resting place of Dante. It is to Ravenna that you head this morning. Upon arrival enjoy a typical cappuccino and cornetto Italian second breakfast, followed by a guided tour of the town, including a visit to the mosaics. A light lunch of the local speciality follows. You then head to Parma where you can settle into the hotel, before you head out to dinner and a stroll around the town. (B, L, D)
Day 5 Parma Cookery Lesson
This morning you stay in Parma for a cookery lesson where you will prepare lunch from local goodies. The afternoon will be spent digesting and exploring Parma with a local guide before free time to perhaps sample some more of Parma’s goodies. (B, L)
Day 6 Regional Specialties & Ferraris
Today you are off to Pavarotti’s home town of Modena, to enjoy a guided tour by bike featuring the famous local sweet speciality, followed by a lunch which comprises the food for which this region of Italy is so famous: Parma ham, Balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese among others. You then head to Maranello, to the Ferrari museum, home to the world’s most iconic motor car where you will have the opportunity to test drive one of the cars before returning to Parma in the evening. Evening at leisure. (B, L)
Day 7 Mantua
Surrounded by water, known as Italy’s sleeping beauty, Mantua truly is a fairy-tale city. This was also the place that Monteverdi, the father of opera, premiered his opera Orfeo. In 2017 it was the European Capital of Gastronomy, making it an ideal stop on our Gastro tour. You will enjoy a guided tour, a cookery lesson and an evening meal here before returning to Parma. (B, L, D)
“The creator made Italy from designs by Michelangelo.” (Mark Twain)
Day 8 Bologna to Florence
Nicknamed La Grassa, (‘the fat one’), Bologna is an absolute must on any foodie’s route. Home to tortellini – said to be based on Venus’s navel – and the famous ragù meat sauce, today’s tour will finish at a local restaurant where you can lunch on such specialities. This afternoon you continue on your way to Florence where you have a free evening. (B, L)
Day 9 Florence
Having feasted your eyes upon Goliath’s foe, your morning tour of Florence continues with a visit to the local food market to feast upon Tuscan goodies. Lunch and afternoon are free. Dinner is an opportunity to sample yet more local dishes, accompanied by the wine for which this region is world famous. (B, D)
Day 10 Siena & a Tuscan Vineyard Tour
Siena is best known for its famous Palio horse race which takes place in the ‘Piazza del Campo’ twice a year. Today you will visit this lovely town and its square, which opens up like a golden fan as the sun creeps in. You will have free time to explore the town and have lunch. You then continue to a wine tasting in a typical small Tuscan town, where you will also have dinner to help absorb some of the wine’s effects! (B, D)
Day 11 Departure
Time to say Arrivederci Italia, until we write our next travel story together. (B)
Included in your trip:
Accommodation & Services:
- 3 nights in Venice, 4 nights in Parma and 3 nights in Florence.
- Centrally located, upmarket hotel.
- The services of an extremely highly qualified and experienced Tour Manager who will accompany you throughout your trip
- Transfers to and from the airport.
- Private transport, unless otherwise stated.
- All tips. For instance, tips to tour managers, local guides, restaurants and porterage (where available) are all included in the total price; one less thing to think about.
- You will be visiting: Venice, Ravenna, Modena, Mantua, Maranello, Parma, Bologna, Florence and Siena.
Food & Beverages:
- Breakfast and either lunch or dinner (unless otherwise stated).
- When lunch and/or dinner are included, alcohol in the form of wine and/or beer is provided, unless otherwise stated.
- Aperitivi, coffee and snacks where stated.
Entrances & Tickets:
- Doge’s Palace
- Ravenna’s mosaics
- Santa Croce
Guided Tours with a difference:
- Modena (by bike)
- gondola ride in Venice
- 2 cookery lessons
- wine tasting
- aperitivi tasting
- Ferrari test drive
- A surprise (we are children at heart after all)
NOT INCLUDED IN THIS TRIP:
- Flights not included. I would suggest flying into Venice and out of Florence or Pisa.
- Travel insurance.
- Visas, where applicable (Please note: US and Canadian nationals do not require Visas when travelling to Europe).
Please note that in booking a trip with me, you are also contributing to charities which support young people in education. The charity I currently give to is the Malala Fund: www.malala.org , whose mission it is to help the 130 million girls worldwide, who are currently unable to access education.
Customised itinerary designed by Lucy Loves Travel Ltd.
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