Italy should be devoured! Piedmont with its mountains and Tuscany with its hills: fill your senses with tastes from award-winning vintners, wines that range from robust to comforting, old to young, and food that sings and melts in your mouth, all with medieval towns at your fingertips. Italy allows you to slow down, smell the grass, smell the food, smell the wine, see the land, touch history, and devour it all.
La Morra - Brace Yourself for the Feast
Arrive at the Milan airport, meet the driver and prepare to be transported to a world where taking the time to enjoy yourself isn’t an indulgence: it’s a way of life. Enjoy the ride from Milan to La Morra as you pass the green mountains and high hills into the Piedmont region. Take time to notice the hillsides covered in grapevines from top to bottom, with the remnants of a medieval town looming over it all. Check into your intimate home away from home nestled in the Nebbiolo vineyards. Enjoy the heartwarming and welcoming aperitif that will not only kick-start your appetite, but also the insatiable need to know, taste, and touch all that Italy has to offer.
Your private guide will ensure that your tastes in Piedmont, whether with food, wine, history, or culture, are satisfied. That satisfaction begins with meeting Elio Altare, acknowledged globally as one of the world’s greatest wine makers. He is also a leader of the revolution in cellar and vineyard technique in the Barolo area. He is a sweet and humble person that might remind you of your favorite uncle. You will be guided through his small family cellar where you will have an exclusive tasting session, full of wines that can range from full bodied and smelling of roses to tannic and tasting of blackberries. Enjoy typical Piedmontese fare: the pungent delicacy of Grana Padano cheese and gnocchi alla bava, velvety and supple potato dumplings garnished with melted cheese and butter.
La Morra - A Burst of Flavor
Stroll through the narrow and concentric streets of the La Morra commune, where you can see and touch the history of this charming medieval town. Buildings and towers made of stone stretch above the vine-covered hills, where the scent of growing grapes is never far away. Explore La Morra until your tour of the Benedictine Abbey of S. Martino di Marcenasco— an abbey so famous for its wines that Pope Pius VII requested it for his personal consumption. Today, instead of monks, you’ll find the Ratti Museum located deep in the cellars of this Roman Baroque building. The Ratti is a museum dedicated to the history of wine and the vine. The contents of the museum range from wine bottles that date back to the early 1700s—some are hand-blown—to antiquated vintner tools.
Pay a visit to the Wine Estate Fratelli Oddero, founded in 1878, in the Langhe hills, and positioned like an island in a sea of vines. Determined to keep their wine flavorful and traditional, they only use grapes from family-owned vineyards to make their wine, the Barolo, also known as “The King of Wines.” You will smell violets and licorice, and its taste is dry, full bodied, and strong. Delight in the wine as the Italian lifestyle allows you to do.
In the village Barolo you can see the Castello Falletti di Barolo—where the legend of the “King of Wines,” was born—looming large above the village. Finish the day with a tasting at the Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Winery, where you will enjoy Barolo Classico, made according to tradition with proper oak barrels and aging techniques. Satisfy your hunger with a quick food demonstration on Piedmontese cuisine about foods like fiori di zucca ripieni, fluffy, lightly fried stuffed squash blossoms, and crocchette, crisp rice or potato croquettes that are stuffed with cheese.
La Morra - Wake Up and Smell the Vineyards
Today you’ll spend time in Alba and Barbaresco. Pass through the deep purple of the Nebbiolo grapes and past estates into the quaint village of Barbaresco, where you can sit in the shadow of a 10th-century tower that was built for battle and has been fought over for supremacy. Its height and construction still inspire awe. In a deconsecrated Baroque church where the glimmer of gold is still visible, the Enoteca Regionale is devoted to present the efforts and contributions of the Barbaresco region to the ingenuity of the vineyard and the cellar. You can see bottles from 130 different wineries and 250 labels. Venture into I Produttori del Barbaresco, where you will taste the Barbaresco, see the brilliant ruby red fade to maroon with age. Taste the dry, warm, tannic flavor, and smell the hints of vanilla. You can learn about the “terroir” and how the area of Barbaresco affects the grapes—in particular, how the soil, climate, sun, and air can shape different flavors on the same hill—along with the history of the beautiful wine.
Stroll through the center of medieval Alba, the White Truffle Capital of the World. Alba can satisfy all tastes, whether for culture, food, or shopping, with classic architecture, chic clothing, deliciously strong espresso, and the smell of fresh pastries permanently in the air. If visiting Alba in the autumn, do not miss the White Truffle Fair, usually between the end of October and beginning of November. It is a chance to enjoy the white truffle in its earthy scent and strong taste in various forms, from shavings in everything such as delicate pasta and creamy risotto to dark chocolate and silky ice cream. The end of the day brings a visit to the historical cellar of Pio Cesare, where a tasting of Barolo and Barbaresco await. Take this opportunity to assert the knowledge you’ve gained so far about the atmosphere and flavors of the delicious wines you are experiencing.
La Morra - A Hunt Can Be Satisfying
Casa del Trifulau means “Truffle Home,” and it will be more than just a home for you while you scour through the green of trees, large vines, and guarded earth. Join in the excitement of the hunting party, the bark of the dogs, the jokes of the crowd, the heart-pounding exhilaration of finding an illusive white truffle, and feel your mouth water in the knowledge that soon you will be able to taste its powerful yet delicate flavor.
Lunch brings a beautiful tasting menu and wine pairing at Castello di Grinzane, with a faded brick interior and the smell of fresh pasta and bread filling the dining room. Afterwards, a tour of the Cerreto vineyard will indulge more than just the palate but will be a feast for the eyes, as well.
Sitting between the villages of Barolo and La Morra is the colorful, quadrangular creation of Cappella delle Brunate, also known as the Brunate Chapel. Enjoy a guided tour of the chapel, whose squares of blue, red, and yellow make it look as if the structure was made from a deconstructed rainbow instead of a dilapidated church. With a visit to the cellar of Bricco Rocche Winery and to the glass cube amongst the vines, you’ll absorb and indulge in the taste of divine Ceretto wines. The sweet smell of the Piedmont air, the beauty of the modern art, and the diversity of the culture ensure your final evening in the region is an unforgettable one.
Greve - A Different World of Flavor
Depart for Tuscany where—even though it may be geographically close—a different world of wine and food await you. Watch the mountains of Piedmont give way to the rolling hills of Tuscany as you make your way to Greve in Chianti. Have lunch at La Scuderia in Badia a Passignano, a beautiful restaurant located at the top of a hill in a medieval castle. Enjoy the tart earthiness of porcini mushrooms and artichoke on crostini, or have your first taste of the decadent bistecca alla Fiorentina, a luscious Florentine t-bone steak that’s seasoned with olive oil and salt.
Meet Valentina Lami, your guide through Tuscany, a sommelier with a Masters in Aesthetics. She will escort you through the best of Tuscany, beginning in Greve at a charming piazza surrounded by buildings of pink, white, and yellow. In the mornings here you can smell the pastries, and in the evenings, you can smell the candle smoke and salumi. Stroll through the piazza, and visit the local butcher to grab some panini. Top off your afternoon with a visit to Casaloste, a small winery with international recognition, where they concentrate on quality (not quantity) through intense supervision of the grapes during harvest and a continuous monitoring of fermentation. Their concern for their product, and for sustainability, mixes tradition with creativity. The outcome is a harmonious wine with an intensity that everyone can enjoy.
Greve - Here You Taste Innovation
Today you break from the traditional ruby and tannic Chiantis. Treat your palate to Super Tuscans in the Chianti Classico area. Venture to Castelnuovo Berardenga where you will find the Felsina Winery near Siena, the sleepy medieval town that explodes twice a year in the summer for Il Palio. This bareback horse race encompasses the entire main piazza and was the background festivities for the beginning chase scene in the 2008 James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace. Felsina Winery is in an area the Romans thought to be blessed by nature, and you will see why: in the bright blue sky, the green and gold hills covered with vines, the air that smells of grapes, and the richness of the earth. Felsina wines will refresh your senses with a variety of dark berry and peppery scents. See if you can smell the barrels, their potency infused into each wine.
At the vineyard of Montevertine you can revisit your knowledge of terrior and its affect on the various grapes on this nearly 45-acre property, like the Montevertine, made with Sangioveto and aged in Slavonian oak. Enjoy your lunch at Le Panzanelle in Radda, Chianti. The Pici all'aglione is a traditional Tuscan pasta, made of tender and firm, fat spaghetti that’s often tossed in a refreshing, citrus tomato sauce with a zip of garlic. Settle into the scent of fresh tomato sauce, simmering all morning for you to savor.
Next, you will visit Fontodi, south of the town of Panzano, called “the Golden Shell” because of its amphitheater-like shape. Fontodi is known for the plush and herbaceous Case Via Syrah and their famous Flaccianello della Pieve, a classy red with cherry and raspberry accents and a vibrant finish. Have a guided tour of Radda in Chianti. The city’s been enclosed in defensive walls since the Middle Ages and is located high up on a hill between the valleys of Arbia and Pesa. Walk through the cobblestone streets. Duck into local stores that sell handmade and well crafted clothing, or incredible panini. Do as the Italians do, and sit in the piazza with a caffe, a robust shot of espresso with a side of bottled water to round out the flavor of the dark coffee.
Greve - Here You Taste Tradition
High quality—as a tradition of Tuscan wine—originated in Brunello, notably at the Biondi Santi Winery. Known for its aroma of blackcurrant and a full bodied, sapid taste, Biondi Santi is a cathedral of Brunello, with vines that run over the tasting room, letting the façade blend in with the hills. At Cerbaiona Winery, you will relish the traditional flavors of a Brunello di Montalgino, with layers of smoke, menthol and licorice; it is elegant and graceful. At Enoteca Osticcio, you will be treated to a special tasting menu full of Montalcino and Chianti Classico, and the variety of aromas and flavors that come with them.
Next stop is Talenti Winery. Named after the proprietor, Talenti is a young and passionate winemaker whose innovation is matched with tradition to produce the best possible taste in every grape. Complete your day with a visit to the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, a beautiful brick structure that stands against the vibrant green Tuscan hills that surround it. The Canons, an order of priests, have called the abbey home since 1992 and are also known as the White Canons because of their dress robes. Enjoy the beauty and grace of the abbey and its surrounding landscape, with the sound of rushing water from the River Starcia and the smell of olive trees nearby.
Tenuto San Guido - Another Day to Relish
Your last day in Tuscany brings with it a taste of Bordeaux along the Tuscan coast. Marchese Incisa della Rocchetta is located in Tenuto San Guido and known for its Sassicaia, a wine that’s full-bodied, with dried berry and coco bean and hints of wood. Like your journey through Piedmont and Tuscany, it’s luxurious. Not just for those who love wine, Tenuta San Guido is also an oasis for wildlife, and is the first WWF Wildlife Refuge in Italy. Don’t forget to look skyward for the variety of birds that soar through the area.
Ornellaia and Masseto Wineries are situated in Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, which overlooks the calm of the Tuscan coast. Not only is the tart scent of grapes in the air, but also the salt of the ocean. Take a moment to feel the sand between your toes. Feel the cool, saltwater on your feet. Let the breeze of the coast rush through your hair. Take a moment to yourself and remember where you are.
Pay a visit to Enoteca Tognoni, a delicious and quaint wine purveyor inside the Castello di Bolgheri. With its large spires and cropped windows, it will make you feel like royalty coming home at the end of a journey, with a tasting menu of local wines.
Full of Life and Full of Experience
Take the morning to explore the Tuscan countryside one last time, with a strong caffe in the piazza and a sweet brioche. Bask in the memories of the trip and let the flavors, smells, and adventures fill you. Depart for either the Florence or Pisa airport. Or if you, like so many others, have been seduced by the majesty of Italy and haven’t devoured enough, extend your trip and get ready for another helping of Italy’s limitless offerings.
- Enjoy the various tastes of award-winning wines in both traditional and innovative wineries
- Be treated to private tasting menus and pairings throughout the Piedmont and Tuscan regions
- Visit medieval walled hill towns and castles in the countryside
- Bask in the stunning views of the rolling Tuscan hills and the towering mountains of Piedmont
- Experience private, guided tours of wineries, hillside towns, and more, from guides experienced in wine and local culture
- Travel through history to medieval castles, towns, and abbeys that pepper the countryside of Tuscany and Piedmont
- Jump into the fun of hunting the white truffle and savor its decadent flavor
A wine-tasting journey from Piedmont to Tuscany is a feast for the senses. Beginning in the mountains of Piedmont, known for wines such as Barolo and Barbaresco, these bold and luscious varietals will compliment the rich, hearty foods, and earthy aromas of the area. Indulge in the array of the wines on offer by Elio Altare, awarded “Vine Grower of the Year 2005,” by the Gambero Rosso guide. The tannic power of the Barolo is the perfect flavor to encourage you to sink into the Italian lifestyle, ready to absorb all that you will experience.
The quaint villages of La Morra, Alba, and Barbaresco will have you dreaming of their medieval roots, with horses trailing the countryside. You can still smell the wetness of the trees in the morning fog as it rolls through the mountainside. The deliciousness of Piedmont is not limited to just wine as it is best known for the white truffle. You will get to know this decadent ingredient firsthand, not only by indulging in the earthy delight, but also by participating in a real truffle hunt, making the fruit of your labor that much more delectable. The smell of fresh agnolotti, a typical Piedmontese pasta similar to ravioli, the crunch of breadsticks, and the sweetness of brioche will never be far from your fingertips.
The drive to Tuscany is among the most breathtaking in the world, with postcard-like views of the cypress trees that have come to represent the Tuscan countryside; you can almost smell the smoky, spice of the trees from the car. The Super Tuscans in Chianti Classico, Montalcino, Brunello, and even the coastal wines, will give you an assortment of herbaceous and zesty aromas and tastes, as well as rolling green hills of the countryside and the calm stillness of the Tuscan coast. The villages that dot Tuscany are stonewalled and numerous, making every second feel like a fairytale with castles, towers, and the almost unreal beauty of villages like Greve in Chianti. As the colorful buildings poke out of the trees, it seems that almost every road leads to yet another vineyard with incredible wine, friendly people, and a table full of food that must be shared. From medieval architecture to modern wine, Piedmont and Tuscany will submerge your senses, and you will joyfully surrender to all that these incredible areas of Italy have to offer. By the final day you may be full from all the delicious food, but you can never have enough of Italy.
$2,470 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.
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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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