True Flavors of Northern Italy: Food & Wine Tour of Veneto

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Total Trip:

8 Days
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Countries Visited:

Italy
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Places Visited:

Mira, Venice, Verona, Lake Garda, Bassano del Grappa, Bardolino, Padua, Vicenza, Dolomite Mountains, Marostica
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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
The cuisine of a region explains much of its culture, tradition, and respect for the landscape. Sip a glass of indulgent wine with a view of the snow-capped peaks of the Dolomite Mountains, just before you sit down to a gourmet meal. Wander the cobblestone streets of a Renaissance city adorned with shining frescoes as the aromas of olive groves and grapevines sweep across the landscape that connects the foothills to the lakeshores. The marvels of the wine and food in Veneto are at your fingertips

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Day 1

Mira – Arrive at Venice Airport and Transfer to the Small Town of Mira

The region of Veneto is home to the Dolomite Mountains as they sweep down to the edges of the Venetian Lagoon. The stunning architecture and artistry of the Republic of Venice brush the towns and cities across the region. Your flight will land at Marco Polo International Airport, and your private transfer will meet you at baggage claim. The iconic image of the lagoon shores fades to the waterways that lead you to the commune of Mira, connected to the larger expanse of the Metropolitan City of Venice. Settle into a luxurious villa lined with lush cypress trees; the idyllic location will provide a touch of elegance to the remarkable countryside that surrounds the estate with views that overlook the banks of the Brenta River as it feeds into the Adriatic Sea.

You will pass the 17th-century grounds of the Villa Foscarini Negrelli, a neoclassical structure with Ionic columns that support a triangular tympanum adorned with statues and pinnacles along the façade. In the evening, you will venture to a celebrated restaurant famous for its connection to the Slow Food Movement and principled belief of local, seasonal cuisine. The untraditional location contrasts with the impressive dishes served from the kitchen. Once you enter the restaurant, the aroma of ragu and seafood fills the dining room. The sweet and savory combination of prawns served with black sesame and pumpkin puree creates an unforgettable dish you will wish to emulate for any dinner party you ever have. You will end your dinner with a flaky, cream-filled zabaglione, which offers the perfect introduction to a sweet Veneto treat.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Activity

included

Dinner

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Day 2

Venice – Delight in a Half-Day Guided Tour of Venice to View the Iconic City

The sunlight will bring the emerald hues of the villa gardens back to life. The water of the nearby Brenta River shimmers against the rosy facades of the homes on the riverbanks. Your guide will meet you at your hotel and escort you to the edge of Venice where you will step onto a private vaporetto to reach the heart of the famous city on the water. The towering bulbous domes of St. Mark’s Basilica have become an iconic image of Venice, connected to the Soaring Campanile di San Marco, the bell tower that reaches a height of 323 feet above the stone pizza.

Thin pillars support the dramatic Doge’s Palace that borders the square with an elegant arcade. Inside the palace, you will set upon the Grand Staircase. The marble steps narrow at the top to guide your eye to the opulent gilded coffered ceiling. The window at the head of the staircase fills with natural light that causes the golden edges of the ceiling to glint. You will find a herbaceous aroma that lingers among the polished floors of the stunning galleries. The Hall of Great Council was erected in the 14th-century as the seat of the Venetian Parliament.

The gallery creates a dramatic effect due to its size of 177 feet by 82 feet, along with its incredible symmetry. The master artist Tintoretto painted the entire wall that is situated behind the seats of the Doge and his council to culminate in his masterpiece known as Paradise. The combination of dimension, color, and shadow form a captivating piece that remains the largest oil painting ever done on canvas. For lunch, your guide will lead you to a local restaurant celebrated for its traditional Venetian cuisine.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 3

Verona – Explore the Cities of Padua and Vicenza en route to Verona

The narrow streets of Padua open to the grandeur of the main squares in a city adorned with Byzantine domes and statues that line the banks of the Prato della Valle. Your private transfer will lead you away from the opulence of Venice to discover the grandeur of Padua and Vicenza. The University of Padua was founded in the 13th-century and continues to bring a youthful ambiance to the historical streets. Outside of Padua, the plains of Veneto reach the horizon with grass that shines emerald. The morning market at Piazza della Frutta e delle Erbe comes to life with vendors that sell regional specialties and local produce.

The eggplants have a bright purple glow and the aroma of fennel sweeps across the cobblestones. The rainbow colors of the fruit contrast with the pearled arcade of the 13th-century Palazzo della Ragione, which extends up to nearly 270 feet long. Venture to Cappella degli Scrovegni to view the Renaissance masterpiece crafted by Giotto in the early 14th-century. Historical figures such as da Vinci and Dante Alighieri attribute the end of the “Dark Ages” to Giotto’s work that humanized the biblical figures. In one panel, the artist shows Judas puckering for his fateful kiss as onlookers gossip and Jesus stares down at the famous traitor. In Vicenza, you will stop at a local delicatessen famous for its selection of cheeses, meats, and fresh salads. The aroma of garlic, olive oil, and artichokes accompany the unforgettable scent of the variety of cheeses on offer.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 4

Verona – Indulge in the Beauty of Verona and its Celebrated Cuisine

The Italian city of Verona is known around the world as the home of Romeo and Juliet. The star-crossed lovers have captivated hearts and minds of visitors from around the world, enough that people write letters to the spirit of Juliet asking for her help in their love life, and the local community responds. Today you will step beyond the Shakespearean tale to discover the true culture of Verona, beginning with your visit to the Ponte di Pietra. Romans erected the stone bridge along the northern edge of the city center in the 1st-century BC. After World War II, the community collected the fallen stones and rebuilt the structure.  Across the waters of the Adige River, the Old Castle continues to watch over the city.

The 14th-century edifice provides dramatic walls that embody the power of the della Scala family. Locals stroll along the 14th-century bridge of Ponte Caligero beneath the shadow of the castle’s main tower. The interior includes the Civic Museum, which exhibits Veronese sculptures and paintings by Renaissance masters, including Bellini and Pisano. After lunch, your tour will turn from architectural monuments to the celebrated cuisine of the city. You will venture out for a stunning exploration of the sweet treats, both traditional and those with a contemporary twist. The flavors of gelato differ by season, with September offering fig and strawberry, and while December brings apples and pear.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 5

Lake Garda – Visit a Local Olive Mill and Winery on the Banks of Lake Garda

The Renaissance landscape of Giardino Giusti opened to the public in the late 16th-century. The manicured hedges frame the towering cypress trees that once inspired the German poet Goethe. The rural scenery inside the heart of the city imitates the landscape in the countryside. Your private transfer will meet you at the hotel and lead you out of Verona towards the shores of Lake Garda, a body of water that encompasses more than 142 square miles. The breeze rustles the water of the northern shore and brushes across the leaves of the vineyards along the southern shore. Farmhouses emerge from the undulating hills with pearled facades that stand out from the emerald trees and vines.

Before you reach the town, you will stop at a boutique olive farm. The groves cover more than 34 acres and include 4,000 olive trees. The herbaceous scent of the leaves and branches sweeps through the farmland as your guide takes you through the groves to explain the process of olive cultivation and oil production. Follow the history from soil to tree to mill and culminate your tour in the tasting room. The scent of cedar fills the room, and your guide will pour you a sample of the first olive oil offered by the mill. You will continue as if at a wine tasting to capture the aroma of the oil and finding white fruit notes accompanied by almonds.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 6

Lake Garda – Discover the Medieval Town of Bardolino and the Local Wines

The light reflects of off the morning waters of Lake Garda and there is a calm bustle to the streets. The breeze carries the aroma of rich espresso that emanates from the cafes along the lakeshore. After breakfast, you will wander through the local wine museum that connects to a historical winery along the slopes of the town’s bordering hills for a different view over the streets and waters of Lake Garda. The museum contains an aroma of cedar and soil to capture the vast history that the galleries display. Each room is dedicated to a different stage of the wine process to illuminate the past and contemporary differences of winemaking, from soil to bottle.

You will come across clay jugs that are painted with elaborate caricatures, and instruments used to till the land as antique pumps and ploughs that showcase the grafting systems. In the fourth room, you can see the mastery of coopers and their tools that shape the wooden barrels in which the wine rests for months to years at a time to absorb the flavors of the container. The museum provides an all-encompassing tour followed by a tasting of the wines produced on the property. The Bardolino Classico has an intense ruby hue as the aroma hints at flowers and delicate red fruit. The velvety texture leads to a bold, full flavor that lingers on your palate.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 7

Bassano del Grappa – Enjoy Majesty in the Dolomites and Historic Towns

The 15th-century outline of Palazzo Ducale rises above the shoreline of Lake Garda. The 500-room structure features lavish frescoes, including a trompe l’oeil painting that depicts the court pranksters ready to drop a potted plant atop wandering tourists. After breakfast, your private transfer will escort you to the foothills of the Dolomites to reach the marvelous town of Bassano del Grappa, located near the confluence of the Po and Brenta Rivers. Cross over the 16th-century Ponte degli Alpini, a carved wooden bridge that leads into the historical center of town.

The charms of the main street known as Viale dei Martiri emanate from the benches offering views to a horizon filled with mountain peaks. In the spring and summer, the markets will fill with the enticing color of white asparagus, one the prize dish of Venetian nobility. Venture to the local Grappa Museum to learn about the deep roots of the liqueur located inside the Palazzo delle Teste. Follow the known beginnings of Grappa, which was noted in the 14th-century and lead to the contemporary process of aging the drink in wooden barrels.

Much of the flavor of the liqueur is derived from the natural qualities of the grapes, stems, and leaves, however, many producers soak medicinal plants in Grappa to release aromatic properties during distillation. At the end of your tour, your guide will pour you a selection of samples that span the various characteristics, from pale hay hues to molasses. You will find an aroma of licorice that blends with sweet blueberry, and the distinctive flavors offer an unforgettable tasting in the unique historical location.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 8

Bassano del Grappa – Depart for Home

In the morning, you can view the snow-capped peaks of the Dolomites from the cobbled streets of town. Sip a frothy cappuccino to warm the cool air of the early hours. Stroll along the quiet streets to view the 15th-century Palazzo del Comune, which features a large clock face that adorns the façade. One of the many former frescoes that decorate the façade remains and depicts St. Christopher. The shops set out their tables along the linked piazzas, and the castle complex of Castello degli Ezzelini adorns the nearest hill to overlook the town. After breakfast, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you back to Venice. You will reach the Marco Polo International Airport with plenty of time to check-in for your flight home.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Discover the tremendous wines of Veneto with a tour of a wine museum and a private tasting of Bardolino vines
  • Indulge in the succulent flavors of the slow food movement in the region, embraced by chefs eager to share seasonal and regional cuisine
  • Visit the home of Juliet from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet you enjoy a pastry and sweets tour of a shop celebrated by locals
  • Sample the flavors of grappa in a town along the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains
  • Enjoy an in-depth tour of a historical olive mill to learn the process of olive oil production from soil to bottle, followed by an olive oil tasting
  • Relish in the rich history of Venice embodied in the remarkable architecture and incredible artwork
  • Witness opulent works of Giotto in the Cappella degli Scrovegni, often referred to as the Sistine Chapel of the North
  • Bask in the majestic scenery of the shores of Lake Garda, from the vineyards and hills to the distant mountains that overtake the horizon 
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Detailed Description

There is no better place to immerse yourself in culture than in Italy. The region of Veneto embodies the wealth of the cuisine and wine of the country, as well as the art and architecture. Your 8-day tour will take you to the lowland cities, and then highlight the villages and lakeside towns of the region. You will experience the vineyards, orchards, restaurants, and pastry shops that produce the mouthwatering foods of regional heritage. Arrive into Marco Polo Airport where your private transfer will meet you at baggage claim. You will then leave behind the lagoon for the inland commune of Mira, home to lavish villas and estates that overlook the Brenta River.

Relish your first taste of Veneto with a dinner at a celebrated restaurant that prides itself on its role in the Slow Food movement, which produces dishes based on region and season. Next day, your private guide will lead you on a tour of Venice to take you through the iconic architecture and piazzas of the city. At lunch, you will indulge in traditional fare at a local favorite. Next day, you will leave behind the Municipality of Venice for Verona. Stop at the city of Padua to see the medieval structures, remarkable palaces, and fabulous markets of the city. Witness the breathtaking frescoes in the Cappella degli Scrovegni before you continue to the town of Vicenza. The main street leads you to a local store filled with regional cheeses, cold cuts, and specialties particular to the province.

Next, you will explore the wonders of Verona, from a visit to the courtyard of Juliet from Shakespeare’s play of star-crossed lovers, to the sampling of sweet treasures at a pasticceria and gelateria in the neighborhood of San Zeno. Transfer next to the shores of Lake Garda with a stop at a popular olive oil mill along the way. Your guide will lead you through the groves to offer an in-depth tour of the production line. The tour ends with a selection of samples of the olive oils produced on the property. You will then continue with a tour of a winery closer to the shores of Lake Garda before you arrive in town late afternoon. Next day, immerse yourself in the wine culture of Lake Garda and begin with a tour of the wine museum.

A tasting will follow your exploration of wine’s history in the region, this time to highlight regional techniques and celebrated local flavor in the Bardolino. In the afternoon, you can enjoy a cruise on the lake or relax with a walk along the shore. Next, your private transfer will escort you into the foothills of the Dolomites to visit the town of Bassano del Grappa. Wander along the cobbled streets before you tour the Grappa Museum. Taste the variety of grappa produced around town and then stroll through the remarkable history of the palaces to relish the view of the mountains. Next day, your private transfer will lead you away from the mountains and back to Marco Polo Airport for your flight home. 

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Starting Price

$2195 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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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.

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