Italy Food & Culture Tour for Seniors: Turin to Bologna

A 10 day trip to Italy 
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History and culture surface through traditional cuisine and celebrated wine during your personalized senior tour of Italy. Indulge in the exceptional flavors and the local specialties of Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna. Savor the distinct taste of white truffles, craft the elegant stuffed shells of tortellini pasta, and experience the excitement of driving a Ferrari on a search for authentic heritage spanning more than two millennia. From forested countryside to magnificent medieval towers and charming city skylines, travel from Turin to Bologna for an immersive tour at your pace indulging in passionate history, flavorful cuisine, and captivating tradition.

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Turin, Bologna, Ferrara, Ravenna, Parma, Modena, Acqui Terme, Asti, Alba

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Turin – Arrive in Turin with an Introductory Tour of Italy’s First Capital

First-time visitors to Turin become enchanted with the surprising elegance ingrained into Italy’s 20th-century industrial center. Lavish arcaded buildings edge wide, gorgeous piazzas and trees shade the long, elegant boulevards returning the grandeur of the House of Savoy reminiscent of famous European cities like Paris and Vienna. As the original capital of a United Italy, the art nouveau cafes and outline of the Alps fringing the skyline accentuate the past and continued grandeur also celebrated in delectable chocolates and an innovated culinary scene. Your flight lands at Turin-Caselle Airport, where your private transfer welcomes you to the sophisticated city.

After settling into the comforts of your luxury hotel, your guide eagerly escorts you on an introductory tour of the fascinating capital of Piedmont encapsulated in the Palazzo Reale. The stunning palace overtakes an entire side of Piazza Castello with a revelatory Baroque façade erected in the 17th century. Statues of the twins Caster and Pollux guard the entrance and leading to a collection lavish rooms decorated with period furnishings, delicate porcelain, and fascinating artifacts embodying the grace and grandeur of the former House of Savoy. Your initial impressions will likely be that of delight, and there is so much more in store as your journey begins.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Turin - Navigate the Charming Culinary and Wine History of Asti and Alba

After a chance to sleep in and enjoy a leisurely breakfast, your guide will greet you in the hotel lobby and escort you into the countryside to visit the guardians of Piedmontese flavor, Asti and Alba. During medieval times, the small towns competed for supremacy over the hills but have since become sisters in their connection to the landscape and culinary allure for both locals and tourists. The lush hills shimmer with an emerald green around town as the vineyards glint with red and green grapes spanning the vast fields. The 18th-century squares and cobbled lanes of the small town retain their historical ambiance accentuated by the aroma of handmade pasta topped with butter and sage.

You step into a winery cellar where the owner will welcome you with a selection of locally made salamis and goat cheese. The owner will pour a sample of the Spumante, a white wine made from muscat grapes. The scent of Asian pear and honeysuckle drift upwards from the glass, and you will begin to feel yourself relax into your Italian adventure.Continue to Alba, home of the beginnings of the Slow Food Movement, as well as popular grape varietals like Nebbiolo and the famous, elusive white truffle. Medieval towers and antique walls once used as defenses now act as quaint symbols of the historic character. Shops shine with local offerings like dishes flavored with white truffle or sweets highlighting local hazelnuts, in addition to wineries providing samples of famous Barbaresco and Barolo.

After tasting the remarkable Barolo Riserva, aged for a minimum of five years, you stop in a restaurant known for its commitment to the Slow Food Movement for a five-course meal.  The food will focus on the balance of flavors between the elegant dishes and fantastic wines to highlight simple, yet illuminating dishes like eggs cooked in a cocotte and topped with shaved white truffle. If visiting in autumn, you can attend the White Truffle Festival and hone in on the specialty.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Turin – Enjoy a Thrilling Truffle Hunt and Delicious Cooking Class

In the morning, the mist spreads through the hills and along the sloping forests of Piedmont supporting the perfect conditions in the region for moisture to permeate the soils and maintain new truffle growth. You will begin your fascinating exploration of the countryside at the house of your guide, who will introduce you to the special hunt needed for finding the elusive delicacy. White truffles grow during autumn and black truffles in summer. They typically develop along the roots of specific woods, such as oak.

The scent of earthy bark fills the air and the morning mist has left dew scattered across the forest floor. You will follow a trained dog who can catch the scent of a growing truffle three feet below the surface. You walk at an easy pace before the dog barks and starts digging, and the hunter helps move away the soil revealing a small cluster of white truffles.

You will return to your guide’s home for a lunch of fresh pasta, local cheeses, delicious meats, and a sampling of the truffles you found in the woods. Continue to the home of a private chef who will bring new insight into the delicacies of Piedmont beginning with the important egg-based pasta stuffed with meat known as Agnolotti. The first documented recipe of the dish dates back to the 12th century. The filling often consists of roasted meat leftovers and a sauce consisting of hardy ragù or a savory meat broth, as well as butter and sage.   Over the course of the day, you will enjoy a lot of incredible food with new insights into Italian cuisine.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Turin – The Spa Town of Acqui Terme and the Specific Local Flavors

The café connected to Palazzo Reale stands in the shadow of the elegant palace near the main entrance.  The building has a sense of history inside the restored library that is decorated with wood paneling and dangling chandeliers. Instead of books, the library shelves now display antique dinnerware, and you will enjoy looking at it. You will then set out with your guide to the town of Acqui Terme, a popular escape for locals desiring a relaxing spa treatment since the Romans erected a connecting road around the 2nd century BC.

The enchanting town has cobbled lanes leading to the central thermal baths of Piazza Bollente. Shops and cafes line fill with light chatter as the scent of traditional dishes drifts through the doors of local restaurants including the sweet aroma of freshly made gelato. You can step into a local winery for a sampling of the unique wine Brachetto d’Acqui, made only in the surrounding area. As the perfect aperitif, the sparkling wine is made from the Brachetto grape and harvested in late August to early September. The must soaks into the sugars with the skins for up to three days resulting in a fabulous ruby color. The scent of strawberries and raspberries with hints of rose petals spills from the glass leading to a light effervescence on your palate softer than familiar Champagne.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Turin – Delight in a Day of Exploration at your Leisure in Turin 

The family-run chocolate shop in Piazza Carlo Felice brings visitors back in time with delectable recipes hidden inside the antique décor. Display cases fill with the luxurious creations with local cherries soaked in maraschino liquor or chocolate and hazelnuts shaped like miniature pyramids. The history of the shop contrasts with the many new chocolateries scattered across the city continuing the traditions begin by Duke Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy in the 16th century after returning from Spain with a sample of what would become a sweet treat.

The day is yours to indulge in the marvels of Turin at your preferred pace taking to the chocolateries overlooking the elegant boulevards or basking in the enchanting ambiance of a quiet café in view of a tranquil piazza. The Museo Egizio is a fascinating relic of Italy with the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts outside of Cairo. The unique galleries intertwine with the history of the Italian Peninsula through a legend in which the king of the House of Savoy needed to legitimize his power and by amassing the original 5,268 artifacts excavated in Egypt, King Carlo Felice would become king of a united Italy.

The collection has grown over the years to include more than 30,000 artifacts including objects pertaining to Ramses II and King Thutmose III. The galleries quickly absorb you into the narrative of elapsed time over the course of Egyptian dynasties. You arrive at the Tomb of Kha and f Merit, which was uncovered in 1906 and represents works from the 18th dynasty. Objects found inside the tomb reflect the couple’s wealth in life and the planning needed to carry out their interments. The mummy of Kha was wrapped tightly several times before being dressed with elaborate jewelry.    

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Bologna – Transfer to Emilia-Romagna for a Cheese and Balsamic Tour

At breakfast, the aroma of bignoline fills the hotel dining room. The decadent flavors of choux pastry balls stuffed with vanilla cream, hazelnut, or coffee accompany the refreshing aroma of fresh espresso. Your private transfer will greet you in your hotel lobby ready to escort you out of Turin and the region of Piedmont to reach the food capital of Italy, Emilia-Romagna, and Bologna. The mountainous edges of the landscape tame around the plains and hills of the Po River leading to the municipality of Parma.

The gorgeous city follows in the gastronomical heritage and will entice your palate with explosive flavor in the form of Parmigiano Reggiano. Learn how workers craft the delicious delicacy when visiting a factory. The staff uses milk gathered the previous night to rest so that the natural fats rise to blend the mixture with newly collected milk. After witnessing the elaborate process of making cheese, you can see the warehouse where a staggering number of wheels rest and mature on wooden shelves.  A slight nutty scent permeates the air. Your guide will cut open a small wheel and slice a piece away from the larger mound as tidbits crumble away. Salt crystals burst on your tongue, and you notice the delightful flavor deriving from an aging process taking between 12, 18, 22, or 30 months. 

Continue to Modena, a town glowing with a Romanesque appeal emanating from the 1,000-year-old cathedral with elements of marble taken from ancient Roman villas. The surrounding countryside thrives in the production of balsamic vinegar using ancient recipes for producing the sweet, dynamic condiment. The traditional balsamic can mature like wine aging in certain instances up to 25 years resulting in a more complex, enticing flavor and thicker consistency. After exploring the family-run factory crafting delicious balsamic vinegar, your guide pours an array of samples having you first try the youngest balsamic aged 12 years in oak barrels resulting in aromas of dark cherry for a perfect accent to savory and sweet dishes including pouring over a wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Bologna – Indulge in the Beauty of Bologna before a Tasty Food Tour

The city of Bologna is celebrated for its connection to the culinary delights earning the nickname La Grassa, meaning “The Fat One,” in Italian. Beyond the exceptional flavors of the cuisine emerge the enchanting ambiance of the city itself stemming from elegant colonnades, captivating towers, and the oldest university in Europe, which dates back to the 11th century.

Follow your guide on an engaging tour of the city’s mixture of modern culture and antique design with a touch of political edge embellishing the Gothic flair. The unique symbol of the city center stands tall as a tower reaching nearly 319 feet tall and dates back to the 12th century. Once a status symbol of the city’s elite, Torre degli Asinelli remains an emblem of the past while also leaning over seven feet between the base and top.

After exploring the preserved history of Bologna, you can continue your education of the heritage with a culinary tour. The traditions of food reveal the ways immigrants, emigres, and changing kingdoms have changed the nature of the cuisine and the legacy of the recipes. True Bolognese chefs, both at home and in prized restaurants, use only local, seasonal ingredients for a comprehensive understanding of flavor also revealed in the more than 40 consortium products safeguarded by the DOP—Protected Designation of Origin—status. Walk through the vibrant Quadrilatero where the market stalls brim with colorful fruits and gourmet delis before trying your hand at making traditional tortellini in broth and tagliatelle topped with ragù.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Bologna – Experience Proper Prosciutto and Visit the Ferrari Museum

The famous cured prosciutto of Italy thrives in the damp weather along the plains of Emilia-Romagna’s Po River delta. Prosciutto di Parma embodies perfection in both tradition and technique resulting in the best possible flavor of cured, aged ham celebrated around the world. You arrive at a family-owned farm producing up to 60,000 hams annually. The farm and factory have been in business for over 20 years carrying on the tradition of raising and producing prosciutto ensured by the Protected Designation of Origin status ensuring quality, authenticity, and regulations serving both consumer and craftsperson.

Your guide introduces you to the layered process of crafting the prosciutto in a traditional started approximately 2,000 years ago. The weather and climate affect the flavor of the prosciutto, much like the terroir can change the flavor of a wine, and you will be able to take in the whole process on a very engaging tour.  After you are done, you can continue to the Ferrari Museum for a distinct experience of contemporary Italian culture as you step into the cockpit of a semi-professional Formula 1 race simulator for an unadulterated taste of hitting the pavement in an exhilarating grand prix.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Bologna – Discover the Luster of Ravenna and Beauty of Ferrara

The city of Ravenna has an intense glimmer emerging from the various religious structures decorating the city and dating back to the golden age as the capital of the Western Roman Empire beginning in the 5th century. Devotees of epic poet Dante Alighieri venture the church-clad city to pay homage to the artist’s tomb inside the churchyard of Basilica of San Francesco. The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is located beside the soaring golden grandeur of Basilica di San Vitale with striking contrast in the decorative aesthetic. The captivating artwork features more blues and whites and less of the striking gold pavement than the neighboring basilica for a subtler, sophisticated beauty.

You will then continue to Ferrara, a city that once rivaled Florence for the title of cultural capital during the Renaissance and the powerful reign of the Este family. The medieval ambiance emanates from dramatic palaces conjuring myths of Casanova and impressive city walls spanning more than five miles. The magnificent castle at the heart of Ferrara during the reign of Nicolò II d’Este was both a stronghold against invaders and the local population. The Chamber of Dawn sits in the Lion’s Tower decorated with a fascinating ceiling fresco depicting the four parts of the day. A young winged goddess pulls horses attached to the sun alluding to Dawn and moving clockwise across the series until Diana stands with a lunar flash shining across her forehead as she joins Endymion, her lover.  You will get to discover the city alongside your guide, likely with a stop for a coffee at a charming café.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Bologna – Depart for Home

The Quadrilatero is most active in the morning with locals pouring through the market aisles in search of the freshest produce. The scent of simmering ragù is already drifting through the streets from the classic restaurants across the city. The sunlight washes over the hilltop Basilica Santuario della Madonna di San Luca, which offers a sensational view of the city glowing with slight red hues in the spreading light. After a leisurely morning and breakfast, your private transfer will greet you in your hotel lobby and escort you to Bologna International Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Price 

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.