Indulge in mouthwatering flavor and divine diversity during your custom-tailored food and culture tour of France, Italy, and Greece. Taste the different culinary techniques that range from the decadent dishes of Burgundy to the hearty ragù of Bologna and the fortified flavors of Santorini. Learn to craft fresh pasta in an antique kitchen. Enjoy sampling rich chocolate truffles in historic chocolateries. Taste remarkable wines utilizing a variety of grapes spanning distinctive landscapes. Whether...
Paris – The Remarkable City of Paris for the Culture and Cuisine
Paris is one of Europe’s most glamorous cities, known for radiant stained-glass windows, soaring cathedrals, sophisticated cuisine, and the elegant architecture of the Belle Époque. You will meet your private transfer at Charles de Gaulle Airport after your flight lands. Venture into the heart of Paris for an introduction to the classic charms along the banks of the Seine River. Patisseries fill their windows with vibrant displays of freshly baked baguettes and colorful macarons. The Eiffel Tower stands as an iconic fixture of the Parisian skyline and reaches 1,063 feet above the verdant field known as the Champs de Mars.
The remainder of the day will be at your leisure to wander the stunning cobbled lanes and tree-lined boulevards at your own pace. The depth of Medieval history in the city emerges from the Musée Cluny on the fabled Left Bank located inside the 14th century Hôtel de Cluny. The former Benedictine Abbey was erected over the foundations of a Roman bath complex to reveal the layers of the city’s history. One of the galleries in the museum displays sculptures from Rome and Gallic cultures dating back to the 1st century AD. A 15th-century tapestry series entitled “Lady with the Unicorn,” depicts an allegorical story of the five senses and their pleasures woven with exquisite detail to achieve intricate flowers, detailed animals, and the featured unicorn.
Paris – Luscious Chocolates and Discover the Monuments of Paris
The morning light washes over the vivacious colors of the stained-glass windows decorating Notre-Dame de Paris. The emblematic figure of Paris emerges from a small island in the Seine River crowning the water with a spire reaching more than 295 feet tall. The scent of chocolate lingers in the air of Paris and emanates from chocolateries, cafés, and patisseries. You will meet your guide in St.-Germaine, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, celebrated for the medieval ambiance embodied in the narrow cobblestone streets.
The seductive chocolateries spread across the arrondissement produce some of the best gourmet chocolates in the city. The first chocolaterie you will visit combines the distinct scent of ground cacao with the buttery fragrance of puff pastry. The kitchen resembles a childhood dream with workers stuffing eclairs, pressing together airy macarons, and dusting decadent truffles with coconut shavings or nuts. Your guide provides the history of chocolate making in France, a trade dating back to the early 17th century when Anne of Austria introduced the original “bitter water” to her new husband, Louis XIII, King of France. After the tour, you will continue your discovery of Paris by visiting the prominent monuments.
The captivating image of Notre-Dame de Paris contains flying buttresses forming a wide arch like a frame around the central exterior nave. The medieval feature helped stabilize and support the weight of the structure’s upper-levels. The gargoyles decorating the ledges have a dramatic, near-mythical effect on the structure. A number of the gargoyles are decorative but many act as spouts catching and moving the rain from the cathedral ledges when it rains. The sanctuary has a serene ambiance of the nave, which contains typical Gothic architecture accentuated by the familiar aroma of frankincense. The five aisles and ornate wooden stalls add to the drama of the architectural aesthetic emphasized by the 75 enormous pillars.
Paris – The Louvre for a Half-Day Tour and a Gourmet Cooking Class
The dining room of your luxury hotel in Paris fills with the aromas of freshly baked buttery croissants accompanied by the rich flavor and frothy texture of delicious cappuccino. You will meet your guide outside the entrance to the Louvre Museum. Spend time today with many of Western Europe’s artistic masters and ancient history displayed in the form of artifacts. The Louvre houses 30,000 works of art placed across more than 70 rooms that span 645,835 square feet.
Your guide will introduce you to the marvelous works of the masters, as well as the hidden treasures often overlooked when wandering the galleries on your own. Sections of the museum reveal the ancient foundations of the former fortress and French palace at the base of the Sully Wing. You will find a unique charm in the way Georges de la Tour broke the fourth wall in his painting, The Cheat with the Ace of Diamonds. In the painting, the subject looks back so that the spectator shares in the moment he changes cards.
In the afternoon, you will embark on a culinary exploration of Paris by learning the basic skills every chef of French cooking must know. Your chef helps plan and execute a three-course meal working with traditional French ingredients for a classic Parisian meal including a dessert of coffee and macarons. After preparing the dishes for the first and second courses, you attempt to capture Paris in a bite by mixing almond flour, confectioners’ sugar, egg whites, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract. The aroma in the kitchen changes from the herbaceous fragrance of garlic and rosemary to the tantalizing scent of vanilla.
Burgundy – Burgundy for a Dijon Discovery and Wine Tour
After a delicious breakfast, you will wave goodbye to Paris and set out for the charismatic greenery surrounding Burgundy. Vineyards spread across the valleys and hills leading to lush forests interspersed with classic chateaus. Green hills host pockets of yellow mustard fields and medieval villages rise out of the idyllic scenery encouraging the age-old love of wine and food in the region. You will arrive in Dijon, the capital of the Burgundy region to discover the sensational Old-World charm and gastronomic heritage that dates back to the Ducal period. Elegant mansions are distinguished with colorful bricks, sophisticated fountains, and lavish windows.
The Palais des Ducs, was erected in the 14th century over the foundations of the original 3rd-century fortress. The impressive Bar Tower stands 170 feet tall and represents the oldest feature connected to the impressive display of duchy stateliness. The kitchen interior possesses six grandiose fireplaces provoking elaborate images of fantastical banquets once held in the palace. North of the palace stands the Eglise Notre-Dame, the grandest church of the city. The 13th-century architecture features a Gothic style specific to Burgundy.
Outside of Dijon, you will reach your accommodations situated inside a charming chateau. After settling into the comforts of your gorgeous suite, your local guide leads you through the vineyards on the property for insight into the history of local wine production. The grapes feel plump and waxy when you squeeze them. The soil has a distinct scent similar to tobacco. In the tasting room, the aroma of oak drifts from the barrels holding the maturing wine. You will have your first sample of wine grown on the property tasting a Grand Cru. You find the fragrant wine containing aromas of black fruit, a touch of oak, and black cherry leading to a sweet, creamy flavor on your palate.
Burgundy – Full Day Wine Tour and Culinary Excursion
Aside from the lavish chateaus that decorate the countryside and towns around Burgundy, the French region is famous for its preoccupations of food and wine. The sunlight washes over the lush sea of vines spreading across the vast landscape of your hidden chateau. You find the subtlety sweet aroma of freshly made jam accompanying the delicious scent of warm croissants. Venture back out into the countryside to sample the remarkable wines for which Burgundy is known beginning with a visit to Beaune.
A sense of joie de vivre arises from making wine in the province of Côte d’Or. There is a labyrinth of wine cellars hidden beneath the town that date back hundreds of years. The prominent 16th century Grosse Tour emerges from the preserved southern ramparts. The history of wine in the province dates back to the 4th century AD before the Catholic Church took over many of the responsibilities for its production in the Middle Ages. You enter the wine cellar owned by a prominent producer in the region who owns a variety of vineyards and vaults across Burgundy.
The historic ambiance under the city derives from the rugged sensuality of the vaulted ceilings and textured walls, in addition to the cooler subterranean air. After wandering the cellar, your guide will pour the first of six samples. The scents of acacia and hawthorn blend with citrus fruits for a robust nose. Your excursion into the depths of Burgundy continues with a cooking class concentrating on traditional regional cuisine like coq au vine and beef bourguignon. Your chef blends the passions of food and wine by utilizing the wines crafted in Burgundy to make a luscious meal, with many dishes covered in a decadent, mouthwatering sauce.
Bologna – City Tour and Delicious Pasta-Making Lesson
Bologna is the capital of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. The city is known as La Grassa, or “the Fat One,” a term of endearment highlighting the area’s interwoven history with food. After breakfast, your private transfer will escort you to Lyon Airport for your flight to Bologna, where another private transfer greets you at Aeroporto G. Marconi. The city streets have a harmonious medley of Medieval architecture illuminated in the gorgeous colonnades and Europe’s oldest university, which was founded in 1088. The food legacy emerges from hearty dishes like ragù and cozy flavors of tortellini en brodo.
The strong brass of Neptune’s Fountain glints against the surrounding palaces bordering the 16th century Piazza del Nettuno. Savor the aroma of slowly stewed meats with tomatoes and onions wafting out of hidden restaurants. The dynamic façade of the Basilica of St. Petronius captures the remarkable heights to which the Bolognese aspired in attempting to erect a church larger than the Basilica of St. Peter’s in Vatican City. Construction on the incomplete edifice began in the 14th century but the exterior remains incomplete. The interior boasts a remarkable sundial that reaches 222 feet long, which helped illuminate the anomalies of the Julian calendar.
You make your way into a private kitchen to learn the art of making pasta from a professional chef celebrated for their skills in crafting proper Bolognese cuisine. Traditional pasta from Bologna is made fresh using eggs in order to shape the classic tagliatelle noodles. The chef guides you through the process of making the dough, flattening it, folding it over, and slicing it to create perfectly wide flat noodles. As you make the savory ragù, you will add garlic, celery, carrot, and onion to a pot to begin the process of the hearty tomato sauce.
Bologna – Full Day of Flavor Visiting Parma, Modena, and Ferrara
In the morning, you will notice for the first time the leaning pair of towers soaring above the tiled rooftops of Bologna. The pair date back to the 12th century when the skyline featured towers as symbols of a family’s wealth and nobility in the city. The taller of the two towers, Torre Garisenda, reaches 158 feet tall. Set out early from Bologna for a full day of flavor in the fabulous Emilia-Romagna region. Parma is famous for opera, colorful architecture, and the renowned eponymous cheese celebrated for its crumbly texture and nutty, fruity flavor.
Visit the cheese factory and you will first notice the size of the vats in which staff heat the milk before separating the curds from the whey. The process for making Parmigiano Reggiano takes milk rested from the previous evening, which allows the fats to rise to the surface, similar to making butter. The maturation process averages two years, which changes the flavor and texture in the process. The warehouse contains seemingly endless rows of wheels of cheese that weigh up to 75 pounds. You sample a freshly opened wheel to find the renowned crumbly texture and nutty flavor accompanied by the well-known funky scent of matured cheese.
In Modena, you stop at a balsamic vinegar factory to learn the art of crafting the culinary delight protected by Italy’s DOP, Denominazione di Origine Protetta. The tasting room fills with blending aromas of tartness and caramel. You sample a balsamic aged 12 years and notice how the unbridled tang of the younger balsamic fades to a bright sweetness similar to molasses. Your last stop for the day will be in Ferrara, a city once rivaling Florence in power, prestige, and the arts. The symbol of the sophisticated past derives from the preserved dramatic walls and towers of the Castello Estense, which struck fear into the hearts of the Ferrarese dating back to the 14th century.
Tuscany – Countryside Truffle Hunt and a Gelato Tour in Florence
The early morning mist drifts through the forests of the countryside outside of Bologna. You meet your guide along the ridges of the trees before beginning your hunt for the elusive truffle. Varieties such as Scorzone and Bianchetto truffles can be found in the Emilia Romana soil. You follow the nose of a trained dog that scours the pockets of the earth near the tree roots in search of the sprouting tubers hiding beneath the fallen foliage. Your guide will explain the process of training the dog to hunt for truffles and which trees produce certain varietals of the coveted ingredient.
The dog begins to bark, sniff, and dig near a protruding root. You help the hunter excavate some of the dirt to reveal a large black truffle. Your guide will make a stunning lunch as they explain the ways to properly use the fresh ingredient with specific dishes. The result will be a stunning array of dishes including a simple farm-fresh egg fried in olive oil and topped with shaved black truffle. You continue to Florence for a unique tour of the monuments that decorate the city celebrated as the “Cradle of the Renaissance.”
Instead of passing the remarkable architecture, cobbled lanes, and decorative statues dating back to the 16th century, you will engage with the beauty of Florence’s ambiance as an open-air museum by visiting a number of gelaterie within the historic city center. Begin at Vivoli, the oldest gelateria in Florence, which first opened in 1930. The recipe for the base of the artisanal gelato has not changed over the years as the same family continues to own and operate the celebrated store. The scent of vanilla and pistachio fills the room as the various flavors change each day when the gelato is made fresh in the morning.
Tuscany – Wine Tasting and Cooking Lesson of Tuscany
The dome of Florence’s renowned cathedral catches the sunlight first in the morning as it stands an impressive 375 feet tall. After breakfast, you will venture into the wondrous Tuscan countryside for a full day of sampling the delicious wines of the region and learning the simple beauty of traditional Tuscan flavors. The landscape has grown to near-legendary proportions with rolling green hills, rows of towering cypress trees, and verdant vineyards spreading across the slopes and valleys. Medieval towns crown the knolls and sheep graze open farmland.
You reach Montepulciano in the province of Siena. The town sits atop a hill at 1,985 feet above sea level and contains a remarkable maze of wine cellars woven into the volcanic ridge beneath the streets. The main street of Il Corso cuts through the center of town to reach the central public space of Piazza Grande. It features the Renaissance architecture that emanates from palatial facades and gorgeous churches. You enter a cellar with a local guide eager to introduce you to the stunning noble wines of Montepulciano.
The temperatures can reach up to 10 degrees cooler underground than above ground as you wander through the network of protected, aging wines. Your guide pours a sample of a Sangiovese-based Montepulciano known as Vino Nobile de Montepulciano. After finding pleasant aromas, you will sip the wine and notice the robust, bold herbal flavors like tobacco pairing with familiar fruits like boysenberry and red plum. You enter a countryside villa that overlooks an array of vineyards to visit with a local chef specializing in the cuisine of Tuscany for a lesson in preparing the customary noodles of pici.
Santorini – Athens for a Day at the Acropolis en route to Santorini
You leave behind the beauty of ancient Rome early in the morning and fly over the Adriatic Sea to reach the marvelous historic city of Athens, Greece. The symbol of Western Civilization remains significant as a representation of the last 3,000 years of the philosophical, artistic, and architectural evolution of the Western World. You will have a full day to explore the majesty of ancient Athens, with a private tour around the Agora and Acropolis before continuing to Santorini. The historic marketplace of the ancient city-state retains a sense of place along with the northern gate near the Church of Saint Philip. The center acted as a place for public speakers, as well as a center for administration and commerce.
A seat for the Archon Basileus erected in the 6th century BC remains in the Agora and reaches 60 feet long. It was most likely present during the trial of Socrates in the 4th century BC. Walk through the ancient neighborhood of the Plaka, and you will find the aromas of roasting lamb and grilled vegetables. You climb the marble stairway leading to the top of the Acropolis on the plateau that supports the Parthenon. The fabled Porch of the Caryatids decorates the Erechtheion, a complex consisting of a number of sanctuaries built between the 5th and 4th centuries. The decorative porch hosted the infamous six columns sculpted to look like maidens instead of ordinary pillars.
Santorini – Santorini with a Food, Wine, and History Tour
The island of Santorini is famous for the marvelous cliffs that soar above the shimmering caldera between 656 feet and 1,312 feet above sea level. The elegant whitewashed walls of the architecture glint against the sunlight and juxtapose the colorful window shutters and rooftops draped in blue. The morning fills with the aroma of freshly brewed Greek coffee and the slight scent of the briny sea. Your guide will greet you after breakfast, eager to lead you on a stunning culinary excursion across the island. Begin at an award-winning winery that mixes traditional vintner methods with more contemporary winemaking techniques.
Proof of wine’s existence on the Cycladic Islands has been traced back to the 15th century BC with grapes grown in the fertile volcanic soil since the 17th century BC. After touring a historic family winery, your guide will pour a sample of an award-winning wine made from a mixture of Assyrtiko, Athiri, and Aidani grapes. The light-yellow hue of the wine has a distinctive aroma of jasmine, citrus fruits, and pear that gives way to full body and lingering vanilla flavor. Near the end of your tour uncovering the tastes of the island and greater Cyclades, you visit a local farm for better insight into the luscious historic recipes, such as tomato keftedes.
Santorini – Depart for Home
Fishing boats set sail across the caldera in the morning as sailors search for the freshest catch to take to market. They pass the rugged textured walls of Red Beach, named for the crimson cliff reflected in the crystal-clear water. The nearby ruins of Akrotiri reflect the once-prosperous position of Santorini during the Mycenaean period. Excavations have revealed a portion of the bustling port city’s extent and prestige in the form of grand villas, mosaics, and preserved jars of oil and wine. After breakfast, your private transfer will greet you in the hotel lobby and escort you to the Santorini airport, where you board your flight home.
- Sip distinctive and celebrated local wines in the small municipalities of Côte d’Or in France, Montepulciano in Italy, and Santorini in Greece
- Wander the grand galleries of the Louvre Museum in search of the masterworks of great European artists and ancient artifacts
- Sample the marvelous flavors of Emilia-Romagna’s most popular ingredients when visiting Parmigiano Reggiano and balsamic vinegar factories
- Indulge in the robust, earthy notes of truffles after exploring the forests outside of Bologna on a guided truffle hunt
- Discover the true heart of Italian cuisine by learning the traditions, merits, and ingredients of local pasta specialties in Bologna and Tuscany
- View the captivating preserved architecture of ancient Athens decorating the plateau of the Acropolis, the setting of the Parthenon and Erechtheion
- Witness the medieval splendor of Dijon’s famous ducal palaces and St. Germain’s narrow alleys before crafting tradition French foods and tasting divine chocolates
- Bask in the seductive flavors of Florence’s best gelateria on a combined gelato and monuments tour through the Cradle of the Renaissance
- Spend time relaxing in the gorgeous scenery of soaring cliffs, shimmering waters, and the marvelous whitewashed homes of Santorini
Savor the authentic flavors of France, Italy, and Greece during your 12-day culinary and culture tour. Your vacation will be an introduction to the depths of ingredients and tastes integral to the heritage of Paris, Burgundy, Bologna, Tuscany, and Santorini. Get to the heart of the culture by sampling the customary cuisine in tandem with uncovering the history of a space through a combination of architecture, art, and mythology. Indulge in the splendors of the ancient worlds, the grandeur of ducal palaces, and the majesty of renowned natural scenery that emphasizes the brilliant gastronomy of France, Italy, and Greece.
Your culinary excursion into the heart of France, Italy, and Greece will begin with your arrival in Paris. Your time in the City of Lights will engage all your senses with the visual charm of Belle Époque architecture and sensational flavors of the famous cuisine. The monuments of the city act as emblems that anchor you to the dreamy ambiance in the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame de Paris. Meanwhile, the gastronomy celebrates sophisticated flavors and remarkable history seen in chocolates and homemade macarons. The masterpieces in the kitchen mirror the masterworks of the art on display in the Louvre Museum.
Your visit to Burgundy will bring to light the joys of food and wine in the popular region known for indulging in culinary delights. The ducal palaces of Dijon reflect the former grandeur of the Medieval city and the wine cellars in Beaune capture the refined ideals of winemaking passed down through the generations. Cooking classes possess a sense of the rural comfort and the vineyards produce wines with a tantalizing flavor, unlike any vintage you have tasted before.
Bologna offers a special stay in the capital of Emilia-Romagna, Italy’s gastronomic center. The city blends Medieval allure with a culinary heritage steeped in flavor and deceptively simple dishes. Master artists take the form of chefs, cheese-mongers, and producers of balsamic vinegar in the cities of Parma and Modena. Heritage and the Renaissance take center-stage in Ferrara where captivating architecture reflects the growth of artistry in the city. Truffles grow in the woods and, once discovered, add tremendous, elevated flavor to the simplest dishes.
The majesty continues in Tuscany, the famous region of Central Italy known for lush rolling hills and untouched medieval towns. Florence remains a sensational starting point to connect with the beauty of the countryside and the flavorful inspirations of the cuisine from gelato to Bistecca Fiorentina. Explore the smaller towns of Tuscany and unearth stunning cuisine that adheres to traditional recipes and wines nearly forgotten by the outside world, yet treasured in the area.
The final leg of your culinary adventure leads you to Santorini, Greece. Spend time in Athens for the opportunity to wander through the excavated charms of the ancient city-state dating beyond the Golden Age of philosophy and thought in the Western World. The majesty of Santorini’s natural and artistic splendor emanates from ancient traditions of crafting wines, Cycladic architecture, and distinctive cuisine shaped by the volcanic soils and glistening Aegean waters. You can extend your culinary and cultural discovery tour with a longer stay in Greece or perhaps continuing onward to Spain.
$3,187 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
Reviews of Zicasso's Referral Service
4.69 stars based on 16 reviews
Reviewed By Milagros M.
Reviewed By Ryan N.
Reviewed By Suzanne M.
Reviewed By Curtis H.
Reviewed By Tess K.
Reviewed By George V.
Get Weekly Inspiration and Expert Advice on Travel
during the COVID and post-COVID era