A Gourmet's Sojourn Through Northern Italy Tour

A 11 day trip to Italy 
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From the garnet hue of a rich red wine to the delicious aromas of garlic and onion sizzling in olive oil, Italy’s food scene is characterized by a richness unlike any other. If you can’t get enough of your local trattoria’s ravioli or always push for pizza from the neighborhood parlor; if you drink Chianti by the liter or revel in the summertime pleasure of a fresh Bellini; if you’ve ever longed to experience food in a truly one-in- a-kind way, this trip is for you.

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General Information

Bologna is located in the northeastern region of Emilia-Romagna, Italy.
Aerial view of Bologna.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Venice, Bologna, Emilia Romagna, Verona, Veneto, Varenna, Bellagio, Lake Como, Isola Comacino

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Arrival in Northern Italy

This morning, you arrive on the outskirts of Venice, the romantic and incomparable Queen of the Adriatic, the City of the Canals and the home to some of the most awe- inspiring architecture and finest food in the country. A private water taxi will collect you and your bags and take you to the door of the fantastic Hotel Londra Palace, mere minutes from the incredible sights and sounds of the Piazza San Marco, where you’ll be thrilled by the modern amenities and delighted by the incredible views from your lavishly appointed hotel room.

Spend the afternoon touring Venice, stopping at one of the bars near the Piazza San Marco for a first-hand look at the sensual experience that is a Venetian cocktail: the Bellini, a delicious peach concoction named after the Renaissance painter because of its gorgeous hue, was invented right here at Harry’s Bar, the Venetian haunt of writers like Hemingway and European royalty alike. Dinner this evening is at the splendid Do Leoni Restaurant back at the Hotel Londra Palace, where traditional Venetian fare is given a unique twist from the executive chef, and where the wine and champagne list is truly world-class.

What's Included: transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Winding Your Way Through Miraculous Venice

Today features a unique and unforgettable tour of this phenomenal city, taking in the best sights and hearing the best stories from this enchanting city by the sea. Begin by exploring the incomparable opulence of St. Mark’s Basilica, an icon of Venice and a building of such incredible luxury that it has been known as the Church of Gold since the eleventh century. The interior mosaics are truly stunning, the horses of St. Mark’s that overlook the entrance are stirring and the entire scene of the Piazza San Marco awash in the light of a Venetian noontime sun is enough to make anyone marvel at the beauty of this singular place. You might also want to head further out from the city center to visit the excellent Peggy Guggenheim Museum, where you’ll Lind a beautiful and serene sculpture garden and works from the heiresses private collection, from Picasso to Kandinsky to Duchamp.

The afternoon is spent discovering the city in true Venetian fashion as you climb aboard one of the sleek, black gondolas that have become synonymous with this one-of-a-kind city. Your captivating and skilled gondolier will take you along the maze of canals that make their labyrinthine way through the city, passing by some of the city’s most famous landmarks like the imperious Palazzo Ducale and the tragic Bridge of Sighs, where Renaissance criminals were afforded their last glimpse of the Most Serene Republic before being sent deep into the bowels of the prison below.

What's Included: breakfast, gondola ride, accommodation

Day 3: Exploring Venice’s Environs

This morning, enjoy a cappuccino or a latte and a freshly made breakfast pastry at one of the city’s best cafes, getting a glimpse at the way that a regular Venetian goes about their day in this singular city, or make your way to the famous Rialto Bridge, the oldest in the city and the home to some excellent artisans selling everything from leather-bound travel journals to Line glass to souvenirs. Lunch can be had at the nearby Antico Dolo, a restaurant specializing in fresh seafood with most of their ingredients coming daily from the adjacent Rialto Market.

In the afternoon, you can cross the lagoon to visit some of the hundred-plus islands that fringe the water’s edge. The glassworks of Murano are known throughout the world for their high quality and unique expression, while the multicolored houses and intricate, delicate lace of Burano is surely not to be missed. A Linal stop at historic Torcello, one of the longest continually inhabited areas in the city, offers the perfect conclusion to this stirring excursion, and primes your appetite for an unmatched dining experience at the Osteria Antico Giardinetto, where you’ll Lind fantastic fare in a charming and cozy setting in the heart of dreamy Venice.

What's Included: breakfast, accommodation

Day 4: A Day in the World’s Oldest University Town

Today you turn west to the heart of Italy, bound for the famous city of Bologna, where you’ll find an impeccably preserved historic city center and the campus of the oldest institution of higher learning on the planet. After making your way through the gorgeous Italian countryside by first-class train, you’ll be picked up at the train station in Bologna by a private driver, who will escort you to the sensational Corona D’Oro, located in the Piazza Assoguide in the very center of the city and offering an eclectic mix of architectural styles that leads to an unparalleled atmosphere of elegance and style.

Enjoy lunch at one of the city’s charming eateries – Da Leonida is very good, and excellent home-style fare can be procured at Da Gianni, Mariposa and Meloncello – before setting out to discover the allure of this oft-overlooked city. You can perambulate along the main quads of the University of Bologna and visit some of the school’s excellent museums, take in the impressive art collection and immense staircase at Palazzo Comunale, or turn a little bit outside of the city to visit the fabulous Lamborghini Museum before enjoying an evening of excellent food and exciting entertainment.

What's Included: breakfast, train, transfer, accommodation

Day 5: The Incomparable Offerings of Italy’s Best Culinary Region

An all-day excursion into the very heart and soul of Italian food awaits you today as you set out to explore and savor Emilia Romagna’s most important fare. The day starts early, as you head out to visit a local cheese factory, where you’ll learn all about the time-honored method of making the best Parmesan cheese on the planet, topped off with an extensive and informative cheese tasting session accompanied by a glass of Line local Lambrusco wine.

Your next stop is at regional acetaia, where the owners will show you the secrets and teach you all about the famous concoction known simply as Modena Balsamic Vinegar, a sweet, rich substance that is aged for at least 12 years before it ever gets bottled. You’ll sample some of the various ages of this delicious elixir and even try it on ice cream to give your palate a new sensation of a brilliant harmony between sweet, salty, sour and bitter.

After a delicious lunch at a local dining establishment, you’ll tour the villa that served as the set for the movie 1900, starring Robert de Niro and Gerard Depardieu, before a quick stop at a traditional Italian wine cantina that is housed in the remains of a 16th century monastery. You’ll catch a splendid view of the undulating hills and sweeping fields of the surrounding scenery, a glimpse into the history of viticulture in the region, and, of course, sample some of the wines from this first-rate venture. Later this afternoon, you’ll stop by a family farmhouse where they’re making some of the best prosciutto in the area, lesser known than its famous cousin from Parma, but just as delicious.

What's Included: breakfast, tour, lunch, accommodation

Day 6: Visiting the Home of Shakespeare’s Famous Lovers

Turn north from Modena as you head to the mythical home of Shakespeare’s best- known tragic couple, the quaint and quiet village of Verona. While in Verona, you’ll stay in the romantic accommodations of the Sogno di Giulietta, right outside the famous Capulet balcony and nestled in the heart of Verona’s charming downtown. Your room features a comfortable king size bed, views over the delightful Via Cappello and all the conveniences of modern life, all while keeping you right in the heart of the action.

Spend the afternoon enjoying this darling town, from the remarkable Arena di Verona – one of the best preserved Roman amphitheaters in the country and the current home of Verona’s opera company – to the enchanting Piazza delle Erbe, lined by magnificent buildings and spectacular sculptures and filled with the bustle of a local market on the weekends. You can check out the exhibits at the well-kept Museo di Castelvecchio or climb the Toree dei Lamperti to gain spectacular vistas of the Alps on the horizon before enjoying a typical Veronese meal at one of the town’s great rustic restaurants.

What's Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 7: A Unique Tour of Italy’s Wine Regions

Wine is an obsession in Italy, and today is dedicated to exploring the origins of the best varietals on the peninsula, from rich and bold reds to fruity, delicate and mineral-filled whites. Start at a renowned vineyard known for their delicious Amarone wines, a beverage made since at least the Roman times and a traditional wine of the area, before turning to a world-class maker of valpolicella, a blended red wine that offers the best that Italian grapes have to offer, from the supple tanins of the sangiovese to the elegant smoothness of the corvina. You’ll learn more about Italian wine than you ever could have thought existed, and you’ll be sure to leave the wine regions of Northern Italy with a thorough appreciation of those Italian wines that don’t come from the heart of Tuscany.

What's Included: breakfast, vineyard tour, accommodation

Day 8: Luxury and Grandeur on the Shores of Lake Como

Make your way through the foothills of the Dolomites and the beginnings of the mighty Alps as you wind north and west to the shores of majestic Lake Como and your incomparable accommodations at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. You’ll be entranced by the frescoed ceilings, opulent furnishings and sweeping marble staircase that grace the public areas and delighted by the excellent service, where friendly and engaging staff members seem to know what you want before you do.

Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the hotel’s park-like grounds or take a quick dip in one of the indoor pools before enjoying an evening meal at one of the hotel’s excellent restaurants and a star-filled vista over the captivating alpine lake that waits just on the horizon.

What's Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 9: The Prettiest Resort Town in Northern Italy

There is nowhere in Italy quite like Bellagio, a town dedicated to living the relaxing life and taking in the idylls of the Italian countryside, where elegance goes hand-in- hand with frivolity and where the grandeur of the scenery is matched only by the personalities of the locals. Begin the day with coffee and breakfast with Luigi, the highly-acclaimed chef of the Salice Blu restaurant before embarking on an exploration into Northern Italian cuisine as Luigi teaches you how to make home made pasta, risotto and ravioli using only the freshest ingredients and the most time-honored methods and techniques. Make sure you pay close attention: after all, today you make your own lunch!

The afternoon is spent reconnoitering Bellagio, nestled scenically on a dramatic peninsula that separates the two southern arms of Lake Como and dominated by the soaring Alps beyond. You’ll make your way through the winding, narrow streets and past the elegant mansions of the northern nobility and walk along the delightful waterfront, taking in the spectacular homes and wonderful shops that line the lake front.

What's Included: breakfast, cooking class, lunch, accommodation

Day 10: Cruising the Lake

Your last full day in Italy is spent on the azure waters and along the rugged shores of Lake Como, filled with the glory of Italy’s landscape and the intoxicating fun of its people. You’ll ride the ferry to Isola Comacino, where you’ll be met by Benevute Puricelli, a local oste or pub-owner that is anxious to show you the highlights of his inimitable home. 

Enjoy a mid-morning beverage at La Botte, Puricelli’s bar, before enjoying a delicious meal and sensational service at the Locanda, one of the greatest restaurants on Lake Como, whose menu has remain unchanged for nearly seventy years.

The afternoon sees you back in Bellagio, where you can spend one final afternoon in the bosom of Italy’s natural glory before enjoying your last night in this unmatched nation.

What's Included: breakfast, ferry, tour, lunch, accommodation

Day 11: Returning Home

After a leisurely morning, a driver will take you from the hotel to the airport, where you’ll board the flight that will take you back to your home country. You’ll never forget this eleven-day adventure that took you to the roots of Italy’s famed culinary culture and tradition, and you’ll always remember the enchanting places you visited and the engaging people you met along the way.

What's Included: breakfast, transfer


Starting Price 

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.