A Gourmet's Sojourn Though Northern Italy
This Gourmet's Delight takes you through the Northern Italian food meccas of Venice, Bologna, Verona & Bellagio, on Lake Como. It's also a romantic journey for those seeking to experience the romance of Italy with amazing food and wine! Savor the romantic moments at the balcony where Juliet saw Romeo!
Completely customized trips from any departure city, on any day for any number of travelers.
Venice, Bologna Verona, Bellagio
Starting from $6,584 per person double occupancy, includes private transfers upon arrival and departure at each location. 3 nights in a Lagoon View Junior Suite at Londra Palace including breakfast. Private 40 minute gondola ride. First class train from Venice to Bologna. 2 nights in the Art Corona d’Oro in a Suite with breakfast. Full day small group food tour including transport, food sampling & lunch. First class train from Bologna to Verona. 2 nights at Sogno di Giulietta in Il Messagero with balcony and breakfast. Private full day tour of Valpolicella and wine tasting with rustic lunch. First class train from Verona to Varenna. 4 nights at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in a Deluxe Lakeview Room and breakfast. Cooking class and lunch at the Salice Blu restaurant. All taxes, fees and service charges.The price will vary depending on hotels, travel dates, and other preferences. Please inquire for a custom quote.
Upon arrival in Venice you will be met by a private water taxi to travel along the canals to your hotel. The Hotel Londra Palace stands along the Riva degli Schiavoni, just a few steps from St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace. The reflection of its white Istria stone façade shimmers in the Lagoon. Its 53 rooms, each of them unique, offer enchanting views of St. Mark’s Basin and the city. The style of the original Biedermeier furnishings creates an elegant, relaxed atmosphere, untouched by the spirit of time. The discovery of a rare, authentic Venice begins here.
Stay for 3 nights in a Junior Suite, these rooms overlook St. Mark’s Basin and have a balcony. Admiring the view of the lagoon is like looking at a living painting, making a stay in these rooms a unique experience. The ‘Do Leoni’ Restaurant, which renders homage to the symbols of England and Venice, is the pride of the Londra Palace. Its cuisine and atmosphere make the restaurant a reference point for gourmets from all over the world. The chef combines the traditions of classic Venetian fare with more elaborate dishes that delight even the most refined palates. The wine and champagne list also offers a rich selection of prestigious labels. Cocktail time is an authentic Venetian rite. It is performed by the hotel’s bar men in relaxing surroundings, mixing local tradition with an international spirit. The splendid veranda facing Riva degli Schiavone is the ‘secret’ ingredient that turns even a casual break into a special experience.
Enjoy the day at leisure before your private evening gondola ride through the small canals of Venice, a chance to see the buildings and bridges from below - and to experience the real magic of Venice. Evenings and nights in Venice are unmatched - With a blanket of stars overhead, get lost in the twisted streets over small bridges, meandering past violinists and candlelit tables, until you find that perfect spot for dinner. Dine in the wondrous Piazza San Marco at one of the many restaurants for an unbelievable backdrop you will never forget.
This afternoon, you could take the Vaparetto ferry to visit three of the most famous islands of the Venetian Lagoon.
First stop is Murano where you will learn the secrets of Venetian glass making. Next you could visit beautiful Burano, another artisan's island world renowned for its lace. The last stop of the day is Torcello where you will visit the ancient cathedral, Venice's first, and enjoy the island's quiet tranquility.
Spend a final evening in Venice and enjoy dinner at the rustic family run restaurant, Osteria Antico Giardinetto. They offer fresh sea food and fantastic local cuisine in a very cosy setting - Don't miss their sea food platters!
This morning you will be met at your hotel for a private transfer to the train station to catch your train to Bologna. Upon arrival you will check in to the Art Corona d’Oro for a two night stay in a Suite. The recently inaugurated Corona D’Oro is part of the Bologna Art group of hotels, known for their historic locations and excellent service. The Corona D’Oro is no exception, located in the historical Piazza Azzoguide in the heart of Bologna. It very much mirrors the history of this stunning city, combining an elegant mixture of different architectural styles - the gothic walls, renaissance ceilings, Art Nouveau hall, coats of arms on ceilings and the magnificent liberty of its entrance hall – which all together add up to a lavish atmosphere, as soon as one enters this sumptuous 14th century building. The Suite has a beautiful carved wood ceiling, with double glazed shuttered doors to a balcony, and a sitting room with flat screen TV.
Enjoy lunch at one of Bologna’s many fantastic restaurants like the Trattoria Leonida. Then explore the lively and cosmopolitan city of Bologna. See the oldest University in Italy, founded in 1088. There is a wealth of important Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque artistic monuments to discover.
Today you will enjoy a full day tour in a small group of the region’s absolute finest foods. A culinary expedition on the trail of taste and typical products of Emilia Romagna.
To see how Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is made requires an early morning wake-up. You will be picked up at your hotel at 7.30am and you will be back around 4.30pm. The tour includes lunch and is hosted by Alessandro.
Your first visit is to the cheese factory, where you will see all the working steps in the production of the Parmigiano Cheese - from the untreated milk until the final product. At the end of the visit there will be a cheese tasting at different stages of maturity accompanied with a good Lambrusco Wine.
Your second visit is to the "Acetaia" where the owners make the famous "Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena" (Balsamic Vinegar minimum 12 years old) and where they will reveal the secret to the art of making traditional vinegar from wine, as well as the history of the Balsamic Vinegar through the centuries. Afterwards there will be a tasting of an "Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale", which has matured for 4 to 30 years in special barrels. You will also have the chance to try a nice ice cream topped with Balsamic Vinegar Tradizionale.
Afterwards you will get a special tour of the Liberty-style Villa where the owner of the Acetaia lives and where in 1976 the movie "1900" by Bernardo Bertolucci, with Robert de Niro, Dominik Sandra and Gerard Depardieu was filmed. Inside the Villa is a stunning private collection of glass vases by Gallè and Lalique, as well as many prized paintings and a private collection of bronze animals from the best Austrian and French schools - An incredible glimpse into the history of Italy.
Last but not least you will visit a typical Italian Wine Cantina (winery) in a 16th century monastery that is currently a wonderful Agriturismo with fantastic views of the hills, here you will have a fabulous wine tasting and a light lunch all while enjoying the beautiful view of the valley.
After lunch you will meet a family that for over 3 generations has been committed to the production of “Prosciutto di Modena, A Prosciutto equal to the more famous Prosciutto de Parma, however it is produced in the city limits of Modena instead of Parma.
This morning you will be transferred to the station to catch train to Verona. Transfer on arrival to your hotel, the Sogno di Giulietta. Opposite Juliet’s balcony, in the courtyard of her house, this isn't so much a hotel, as a historical house destined to welcome the most romantic couples and to envelope them in a night of dreams. It is now possible to stay in the kingdom narrated by Shakespeare in one of his most famous works, the lovers’ nest par excellence. This historical dwelling in the courtyard of Juliet’s house, opposite the famous balcony, symbolizes the most romantic place in the world. It is located in the very heart of the city of Verona. Spend the next 2 nights in Il Messaggero (The Herald) - a King-sized bedroom on Via Cappello. Featuring a charming king-sized bed, refined living- room and balcony with a view of Via Cappello. The charm of the city center and the pleasure of a cozy intimacy contained in an irresistible romantic setting. There is also a bathroom with Jacuzzi and shower, minibar, LCD TV and wireless internet.
This afternoon you could explore Verona - a real masterwork of art with a combination of historic styles and cultural influences. Here you can marvel at the old and the new whilst strolling the streets of Shakespeare’s lovers. Discover Verona’s monuments and the 1st century Roman Arena and of course not to be missed, the house of Romeo and Juliet in Piazza delle Erbe and Castelvecchio.
Arena di Verona - Built in the first century AD, this is one of the best conserved Roman amphitheatres, whose seating area is made up of 44 levels and can hold up to 22,000 spectators.
Piazza delle Erbe - It's no wonder that this is one of the most historic and picturesque squares in Italy: in antiquity, it served as a Roman forum; today, it contains many historic buildings, sculptures with a popular and colorful market overflowing with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Torre dei Lamperti - Enjoy panoramic views of the Alps from the 84-m tower built in the 12-15th centuries.
Museo di Castelvecchio - This impressive castle built in the 14th century houses a fine art gallery.
San Zeno Maggiore Church - Built in 1123-35, this ornate Romanesque church features adorned bronze doors and a remarkable Cloister.
Today you will take a private Valpolicella & Amarone Wine Tour.
Valpolicella, which means "valley of many cellars", is home to a series of red grapes, most of which have unclear origins and are rarely found elsewhere in Italy. Corvina, a dark-berried, thick-skinned variety, is the principal grape in red Valpolicella wines, forming the backbone of the blend with its firm tannins and rich, smoky, red-cherry scent. You will visit celebrated vineyards where Amarone is made. Its method of production dates back to Roman times. Valpolicella is a blended wine. The corvina grape must make up to 40 to 70 percent of the mix, with rondinella 20 to 40 percent and molinara 5 to 25 percent. Up to 15 percent of the blend can include barbera, sangiovese, negrara or rossignola, while up to 5 percent can come from other red grapes.
This visit includes a tour of the Accordini winery with a wine tasting and light lunch in a local restaurant. Later, explore the vineyards of Villa Manzi with the winemaker who will be explaining the different techniques of viticulture.
This morning catch the train to Varenna where you will take the ferry to Bellagio. Check in for a 4 night stay in a Deluxe Room with Lake View at The Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. The hotel is certainly appropriately named — it is definitely “grand.” Indeed, the public rooms will take your breath away with their intricately frescoed ceilings, gold mirrors, ornate columns, Oriental carpets, gilded chairs, massive chandeliers, and a sweeping marble staircase. The bedrooms too are lovely and the quality throughout is superb: fine percale sheets, soft down pillows, and large towels. The service excels, with a friendly staff eager to please. The park-like grounds, enhanced by colorful beds of well-tended flowers, stretch to the very edge of the lake where a large swimming pool holds center stage. There are two more indoor pools opening to the garden. The hotel has two restaurants, one terrace restaurant and the gourmet Mistral. It is all set in extensive lakefront grounds two minutes’ walk from the main piazza of Bellagio. If you want to explore some of the other charming lakeside villages, the ferry is just steps away, or the concierge can arrange a private boat to pick you up at the hotel’s pier.
This morning enjoy a cup of coffee with Luigi chef of the Salice Blu Restaurant in Bellagio before a cooking lesson where you can assist Chef Luigi in making home made pasta, risotto and ravioli using fresh products from the market. Enjoy these delicacies for lunch. Following lunch, Chef Luigi will give you a diploma as well as an English translation of the recipes.
After lunch explore the town of Bellagio. Como is the most dramatic and romantic of Italy’s lakes, and Bellagio its prettiest resort, located at the tip of the promontory that separates the lake’s twin southern arms. A warren of steep, cobbled streets leads down to a largely traffic-free waterfront lined with arcaded shops and fin-de-siècle hotels in pale, pastel colors.
Catch the ferry to Isola Comacino. Once landed, you will receive a warm welcome by the "Oste" (an old fashioned word for "owner of a pub", this is the way Benvenuto Puricelli, the current owner, likes to refer to himself). After a tour of the Island stop at the bar "La Botte" for a cool drink before arriving at the Locanda where you will enjoy the pleasure of a rich meal while being waited on by the faultless staff. The menu has remained the same since 1947 - a Lake Como tradition. At the end of your meal, there will be a ferry to take you back to Bellagio.
Take the ferry across to Varenna this morning, to explore this pretty lake town. The best way is to take a walk alongside the lake on the narrow promenade which leads to small boutiques, cafes, gelaterias and art galleries. You may also wish to hike up to Castello Vezio for a stunning view!