Italy is made for indulgence. Your customizable Italy itinerary will treat you to the culture and cuisine of the north and allow you to experience geography’s influence on history. Your journey will bring enticing food, wine, and art as you explore Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, and Tuscany. Scour the woodlands in search of white truffle, and then bask in the beauty of the rolling hills while sampling a Brunello di Montalcino. Stroll through vibrant aisles in a local market and taste the decadent...
Santo Stefano Belbo – Arrive in Piedmont for a Tasty Introduction to Italy
Regal palaces rise out of the pastoral landscapes of Piedmont as cypress, oak, and chestnut trees cast shade over the roadways. Medieval towns made of silver stone once fought against their neighbors under the rule of feudal lords as farmers tend to their cows and sheep, while hunters scour the woods in search of prized white truffles. Your flight will land at Turin Caselle Airport, where your private transfer will greet you upon your arrival.
Trees shade elegant boulevards as stately cafes emanate art nouveau style amongst the image of the fringing Italian Alps. The city is proud of its heritage as the home of the Italian Risorgimento, which unified Italy under the House of Savoy. The aroma of rich espresso drifts from the cups of patrons that linger in the cafes in front of the 18th-century Basilica di Superga. Cross the Po River en route to your luxurious accommodation in the hamlet of Santo Stefano Belbo. The 17th-century monastery was renovated to embody the rustic charm of the countryside with the elegance of history and modern luxury.
Lilacs grow wild along the landscape on the outskirts of the precious vineyard. After settling into the comforts of your accommodation, your concierge will lead you on a tour of the cellars of the former Cistercian monastery. The cavernous subterranean cavernous space keeps a consistently cool temperature throughout the year to protect the wine. The collection has become the jewel of the resort and offers the beautiful wines of Piedmont to the celebrated labels from Bordeaux, and even select varietals from South Africa and California.
Santo Stefano Belbo – Enjoy a Truffle Hunt, Wine, and Gastronomy Tour
The scent of lilacs is strongest in the morning after the early mist has turned into a layer of soft dew. The aroma of frothy cappuccino emanates from the dining room as Piedmont has a serious love affair with coffee, due to the first steam-driven espresso machine having been engineered in Turin in the early 1880s. The proper Italian cappuccino has a layer of frothy milk topped a sprinkle of chocolate. After breakfast, your guide will greet you in the hotel eager lead you on a fascinating culinary tour of the region beginning with a truffle hunt.
You will set out into the cool morning air surrounded by the rolling hills and growing oaks. The dogs sniff through the beech trees in search of the powerful aroma of the truffle. The soil is rich in minerals and provides a perfect atmosphere to grow truffles, olives, and grapes. The dogs will start to dig and nuzzle their noses into the soil along the exposed roots of a tree. Your guide will move some of the soil aside to find the marbled brown and white exterior of a firm truffle.
After experiencing the soils in search of the best regional flavor, you will continue into the towns of Piedmont to discover the layers of tastes beginning in the town of Alba. The remaining towers of the medieval city harken back to its heyday as a wealthy city-state. The decadent aroma of dark chocolate emanates from the boutique shops around the core of the historical city center and promotes the town’s reputation as a gastronomic powerhouse. Confectioners display gianduja, a local favorite made of chocolate and hazelnut, in their windows to entice passersby.
Bologna – Discover Epicurean Delights on a Full Day Tour of Bologna
The vines fill the hillsides outside of your luxurious hotel room as the grapes grow plump and waxy against the hazelnut trees. You will indulge in the warm taste of your morning cappuccino before taking to the road that leads to Bologna, the celebrated culinary capital of Emilia-Romagna, and all of Italy. Colonnades frame the cobbled streets as regal theaters overlook lush Po Valley. The University, which opened in the 11th century, continues to provide a youthful ambiance with students found amongst the historical arcades and café-clad piazzas. The terracotta medieval structures shimmer with paste red hues and elegant porticos.
Asinelli Tower adds dimension to the skyline with a 12th-century edifice reaching nearly 320 feet above the streets. Nearly 500 steps lead to the lookout and offer a sensational view of the rooftops and shimmering red-tiled rooftops. The oldest market in the city continues to fill Piazza Mercato with up to 400 vendors displaying artwork, handmade clothing, books and even artisan soaps. In the evening, you can enter into the casual atmosphere of Osteria dell’Orsa where communal tables fill with locals eager to enjoy the rich, meaty broth of tagliatelle al ragu. The classic sauce contains pieces of bacon, turkey, and cheese for an extravagant flavor in every bite.
Bologna – Indulge in Full Day Culinary Excursion to Parma and Modena
In the morning, local students shy away from the traditional and choose to enjoy the adventurous at an unusual café where the interior fills with the aroma of fresh espresso and melted chocolate from their signature drink brewed with chili peppers. Your guide will greet you at your hotel and escort you out of Bologna for the day to visit the charming streets and decadent flavors of Parma and Modena, known for cheese and balsamic vinegar.
The palaces and churches around Parma’s historical center speak to the grace and prestige of the House of Farnese under the legacy of the French occupation. The Cathedral overtakes an entire edge of the central piazza with Romanesque architecture dating back to the 12th century. The Campanile reaches a height of more than 200 feet, casting a shadow over the octagonal baptistery. Wander the cobbled streets of Parma, adorned with the Royal Theater and boutique shops offer tastings of local wine, olive oils, and cheeses, before making your way to a private tour of a cheese factory.
Cheese fills your entire view in the factory as your guide leads you through the process of workers heating the milk and separating the whey. They will salt the cheese before shaping the hardening product into a wheel for aging. The climax arrives in the form of the warehouse where rows of wheels are branded with the date and set onto the tall shelves. Your guide will break open a fresh wheel and offer you the first taste of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Montalcino – Relish in an Introductory Wine Tour and Secluded Luxury Villa
The aroma of pinza, a traditional Bolognese pastry filled with apple or pear marmalade, drifts through cafes near Piazza Santo Stefano. Students indulge in a morning pastry, and rich espresso before class and your private transfer will greet you in the hotel lobby and escort you into the heart of Tuscany, a region famous for rolling hills, country roads lined with cypress trees, and vineyards that stretch to the horizon.
You will arrive at your villa-style accommodation located near the historical village of Montalcino. Settle into the luxuries of your accommodation before enjoying a guided tour of the estate first founded in the 8th century AD. They vineyard’s legacy restores and preserves the traditions of regional heritage and passes down the living history of the vines, cuisine, and craftsmanship. The estate, in its current form, was established in the 13th century, and your guide will lead you through the vineyards to dig your fingers into the rocky soil that is perfect for creating complex wines.
The estate contains nearly 4,950 acres of forested land with more than 150 acres dedicated to wine production. You can feel the rough texture of the soil against your fingertips, along with the waxy texture of the grape peels. Pass the steel tanks in which the wines ferment before venturing into the cellar to view the rows of barrels set beneath the vaulted ceilings. In the tasting room, your guide will pour you a sample of a celebrated Brunello di Montalcino, and the aromas of violets and herbs, with hints of plum, will emanate from the glass.
Montalcino – Visit Pienza and Montalcino on a Tuscan Wine and Food Tour
The morning light will wash over the Tuscan landscape and bring the vineyards and oak forest back into view. After breakfast, your private guide will meet you in the hotel lobby and lead you on a remarkable culinary exploration of the celebrated region beginning at an olive farm. Olive groves overtake the hillside attached to a 19th-century estate, and the canopy gives way to tufts of pale green branches. Your guide will explain the importance of olive oil in Italy and across the Mediterranean, as it remains a necessary ingredient to every meal.
During the harvest, the farmers set out their nets beneath the trees to catch the falling olives. In the tasting room, your guide will explain the delicate details of each type of olive oil, and pour you a sample where you will find the aroma of tomato leaves and artichoke drifting upwards from the glass. Your olive oil tasting will remind you of wine tasting, as you seek out the different flavors that linger on your palate. Continue to the town of Pienza to wander amongst the Renaissance streets that were built under the 15th-century patronage of Pope Pio II. Three palaces and a fascinating Cathedral frame the piazza named for the pope, who was born in Pienza, a town known as much for its beauty as its pecorino cheese.
Florence – Enjoy Charming Siena and Antinori Estates en route to Florence
In the morning, you cannot help but think back to your culinary excursion the previous day where you sampled an array of herbaceous and nutty cheeses, indulged in the celebrated wines of Montalcino and Montepulciano, and engaged in the intricacies of olive oil. Your culinary and cultural adventure of Italy will continue today in Siena, a former rival of Florence in artistry and power. The walls of the city continue to protect the cobbled streets of the historical city center which preserve the Gothic spirit of the architecture and art. Enotecas offer locals a variety of regional wines and small gelato shops fill the narrow lanes with a sweet, vanilla aroma. Modern stores fill antique spaces and offer a unique blend of the past and the present as the streets overtake the three hills with the Piazza del Campo at its core.
The Torre del Mangia was erected in the late 13th century and stands nearly 335 feet tall to offer stunning views of the city and surrounding countryside. The interior of the Palazzo Pubblico features the Museo Civico. You can see the remarkable fresco that is spread over three walls to depict Good and Bad Government as the figure of justice stands as an allegory at the center of the fresco. In the countryside near Siena, you can spend time at an award-winning vineyard to sample the delicate and spiced flavors of a dessert wine. Your guide will pour a tasting of an amber colored wine, accentuated by the hazelnut, honey, and citrus aromas.
Florence – Traverse the Markets and Culture of Florence on a Half-Day Tour
Florence radiates artistry in the morning light with the redbrick dome of the Cathedral towering over the medieval and Renaissance homes. Students and artists in the Oltrarno neighborhood enjoy the charm of the books and coffee in the cafés, and you will enjoy wandering amongst them. In the afternoon, the same space offers wine and live music that continues well into the night. Your guide will meet you at your hotel and lead you through the cobbled lanes and boulevards of the morning to find the bustling marketplace of Mercato Centrale. The edifice was erected in the late 19th century during the brief time Florence was the capital of Italy, before the liberation of Rome.
Fresh produce provides bursts of color in the form of radiant eggplants and artichokes as fishmongers display their fresh catch of the day and butchers offer views to their delectable cuts of meat, from the cured prosciutto to the thick Florentine steaks. The aroma of mozzarella cheese and basil drifts from the panini stands as locals and visitors indulge in the local flavors of the daily market that combines rustic tradition with modern style. Continue into the Medici Chapel, connected to the Basilica of San Lorenzo. Michelangelo decorated the New Sacristy, opposite the Old Sacristy designed by Brunelleschi. Wander beneath the large dome in the Chapel of the Princes, which took nearly 500 years to complete. Six of the Grand Dukes of the Medici family have their tombs within the chapel.
Florence – Revel in the Flavors and History of Florence with a Cooking Class
Before the city officially wakes, you can make your way to the Galleria dell’ Accademia to view the iconic image of Florence, Michelangelo’s David. The chocolate and coffee aromas of fresh cappuccino filter through the streets as the cypress trees and rolling hills of the countryside become visible along the elevated edges of Piazza Michelangelo across the Arno River. After viewing the pristine marble statue, you will meet your guide for a day of cooking Tuscan cuisine. Return to Mercato Centrale to buy the ingredients common to Florentine daily life, from eggs to zucchini and enjoy the array of heavenly aromas that rise from the cheese stand.
Continue into a private professional kitchen where your guide will turn into the head chef, keen to teach you the traditional staples of Florentine foods. Begin by making handmade pappardelle, a long, flat, and wide pasta able to stand up to a rich, heavy sauce. You will dig your hands into the soft flour to sprinkle the ingredient over a flat surface, and then turn a mound of flour into a volcano before adding eggs to the center and mixing the flour and egg into a dough. As the decadent meat sauce is cooking, your guide will introduce you to the flavors of panzanella, a rustic salad of diced tomato, onion and basil with a dressing of olive oil and thick chunks of bread often soaked in oil and vinegar.
Florence – Depart for Home
In the morning, locals venture to the cafés for a coffee that has been roasted in-house each day. The aroma of buttery brioche accompanies the scent of homemade muffins influenced by the American students in the city. People enjoy the comforts of the cozy café while basking in the aroma of coffee and the urban view of passersby. The historical shops on the Ponte Vecchio open their doors that overlook the waters of the Arno River. The windows display luxurious silk ties and the intricate work of gold and silversmiths. Cobblers and artisans of all types display their handmade goods along the San Lorenzo Market near the soaring dome of the Cathedral. Your private transfer will meet you at your hotel after breakfast and escort you to Florence Airport for your flight home.
- Indulge in the decadence of white truffle after your guided truffle hunt through the woods of Piedmont
- Sample a unique array of wines during a private wine tour around the celebrated Tuscan town of Montalcino
- Bask in the savory flavor of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on a private tour of the cheese factory outside elegant Parma
- Enjoy the layers of distinct and creamy flavors of extra-virgin olive oil when touring a private olive oil factory and farm
- Discover the enchanting restaurants and dedication to traditional regional cuisine in Bologna, the culinary capital of Italy
- Visit the Renaissance town of Pienza to find a connection to flavorful pecorino cheese
- Wander the aisles of Florence’s Central Market under the guidance of a personal chef eager to introduce you to the proper Florentine cuisine during a private cooking class
- Delight in touring historical towns and cities to see the incredible art and culture found around the regions of Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, and Tuscany
- Luxuriate in the comfort of your unique and lavish accommodations that blend past grandeur and modern comforts with views of the countryside and cityscapes
The pleasures of Italian cuisine have influenced daily life over the course of history, from the profile of contemporary wines to the ways in which farmers tend to their crops and products. Your 10-day culinary itinerary will immerse you in the delights of the slow food movement and the splendors Northern Italy’s renowned gastronomy. The adventure will begin with your arrival in Turin, and your private transfer will greet you at Turin Caselle Airport and escort you to a luxurious 17th-century monastery. The stunning grounds blend Old World charm with modern luxuries in which you will easily settle. The concierge will offer a tour of the historical wine cellar set beneath the grounds to view the collection of wines that the resort keeps from around the world.
The next day, your guide will greet you at your hotel and take you on an early morning truffle hunt through the woodlands of the Piedmont region. Continue to the town of Alba to visit the marketplace before strolling through Barolo, La Morra, and Castiglione Falleto to sample the fabulous wines. The next day, you will transfer into the Emilia-Romagna region to tour the culinary capital of Italy, Bologna. Visit the markets and famous churches, and see the masterful frescoes that adorn the city’s doorways before sampling the decadent and traditional tagliatelle al ragu. The next day, your guide will lead you on a full day culinary tour of the region, taking you first through Parma to view the elegant streets. Enjoy a private visit to a cheese factory to learn about crafting Parmigiano-Reggiano, and then tour a beautiful farm that produces eminent prosciutto. Traverse the town of Modena and the local factories that make balsamic vinegar.
The following day, your private transfer will lead you through Tuscany to a villa located near the hills of Montalcino. Relish a guided tour of the vineyard on the property before sampling the sensational wines. Immerse yourself in Tuscany the next morning with a full day tour of the towns of Pienza and Montalcino. Enjoy a visit to an Olive Oil factory to learn the unique and interesting history that is indelible to Italian culture. In the afternoon, you can continue on a wine tour to visit a selection of vineyards in the distinguished Tuscan region.
Wander next through the medieval streets of Siena and sample the creamy gelato and climb to the top of Torre del Mangia tower. Visit the Antinori wine estate before arriving in Florence. The next day, your private guide will lead you on an in-depth tour of the Renaissance city’s markets, museums, and piazzas. Begin the next morning with a visit to the the Galleria dell’ Accademia to view Michelangelo’s David before partaking in a half-day cooking class that will teach you the distinct flavor combinations and dishes of Florentine cuisine. Conclude as your private transfer will escort you to Florence Airport for your flight home.
$2,745 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.
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