Veneto Region Wine Tour: Indulging in Tradition

A 8 day trip to Italy 
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The vineyards of Italy’s Veneto region spread from the edges of the Venetian Lagoon to the foothills of the Alps and produce unforgettable flavors that are influenced by the sea breeze and undulating terrain. Wine trails crisscross the region to connect the vines to the local villages that brim with historical culture and preserved architecture. During your custom tailored tour you will traverse the countryside to sample celebrated wines, from hidden accumulations of Malbec to the offerings of effervescent Prosecco. Castles decorate the hillsides as bell towers chime at midday and gondolas glide down the narrow canals. You will find the wines of Veneto are as iconic as the monuments. 

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Venice, Bardolino, Valpollicella, Soave, Colognola ai Colli, Illasi, Carlotti, Cazzano di Tramigna, Arqua Petrarca, Friuli, Portogruaro, Valdobbiadene

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Venice – Arrive in Venice and Relish an Introductory Tour of the City 

Venice embodies the majesty of the Veneto region with its architectural, artistic, and cultural grandeur. The shores of the canal offer a sweeping view of the domed and spired skyline of the city that leads outward to the rolling mountains in the distance. Gondolas and vaporettos cruise along the water. The city harkens back to the day of maritime might and regal opulence when a structure meant prestige and Venice acted as a center of the world’s trade. You will land at Marco Polo International Airport where your private transfer will meet you.

Once on the shores of the city, you will step aboard a private boat ready to embark on an introductory cruise of Venice’s famous canals. The waterway acts an artery in the same way that roads crisscross in other cities. The scent of grilled fish with lemon and thyme emanates from a waterside restaurant as gondolas moor alongside the cobblestone walkways and wade in the water’s gentle current. Bridges arch overhead to connect the lanes of the city. Old women dressed in black watch the movement of the streets and canal from the comfort of their open window.

The Ponte dell’Accademia was erected in the mid 19th-century to connect San Marco to Dorsoduro and take away the Ponte di Rialto’s claim as the only bridge to cross over the Grand Canal. The Ponte dell’Accademia connects to the 16th-century structure of the Monastery of Santa Maria della Carita, which now contains the Academy of Fine Arts.  Your guide will point to the opposite bank and the three-storied Palazzo Grassi. The façade includes elements of Classical and Baroque architecture, and the palace was the final structure erected during the reign of the Venetian Republic before the city-state’s collapse in the late 18th-century.

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

Day 2: Bardolino – Travel to Bardolino and San Zeno for Culture and Wine Tasting

After breakfast, you will step aboard your private transfer and view the towering bulbous domes of St. Mark’s Basilica as they rise over the elegant architecture of the city. On the shore of mainland Italy, you will continue to the province of Verona to begin your discovery of the Bardolino Wine Trail. Hills roll along the landscape all the way to the horizon as cypress trees climb above vast vineyards. Olive groves provide a herbaceous aroma to the breeze, and the greenery opens to the turquoise blue water of Lake Garda.

The microclimates around the hills and lakeshores provide unique differences in the wines produced in the area, most notably the Bardolino red. More than 70 vineyards and wine cellars overtake the hills that roll east from the shoreline. In the light of the mid-morning, you will first visit the nearby town of Lazise, known for its preserved ancient walls. The five towers of Rocca Scaligera continue to rise over the cityscape. A large hole in the north wall was the product of canon fire during a 15th-century war between Venice and Milan.

The bas-relief lion on the south gate of town depicts the Venetian symbol with prominence. You will visit your first vineyard and stroll through the lanes framed by vines with a pristine view of the lake that leads to the snowcapped mountains. Your guide will take you into the cellar where they keep barrels of wine at a temperature averaging 60 degrees Fahrenheit. In the tasting room, your guide will pour you a sample of traditional Bardolino and the aroma will provide hints of strawberries, cinnamon, and even black pepper, to entice your palate.

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

Day 3: Soave – Explore the Wines of Valpolicella and the Medieval Town of Soave

The aroma of espresso will brighten the morning light of Bardolino. The lush hills and shimmering lake return to the picturesque landscape. After breakfast, you will make your way to the town of Valpolicella, nestled into the foothills of the Monte Lessini. The lake waters lap against the shore to the west to encompass 143 square miles. The Alps rise to the north and provide a cool breeze that brushes over the soil. Your guide will lead you once more through the vines, and you will dig your hands into the soil to capture the aroma of the rich mineral that fills the earth.

The grapes have a tart and sweet scent that permeates the skin. The grapes for the Amarone wine are harvested in October. The farmers fill crates, in which the grapes rest to dry out and concentrate the natural sugars. Your guide will show you the towering crates in the warehouse filled with the drying fruit as the saccharine fragrance fills the vast room. After pressing, the Amarone wines ferment in steel vats for two months before moving to barrels. The tasting room at your first vineyard provides a pristine view of the lush countryside, from the verdant hillside to the soaring cypress trees, and a glimpse of the mountains to the north.

The full-bodied wine has a soothing, velvety texture and the aroma contains leathery notes for a complex combination of scents. Venture to the charms of Soave in the afternoon to find the preserved medieval fortification that encircles the city. The 24 watchtowers accentuate the seasoned atmosphere and for a perfect end to the satisfying day, you can venture to the top of the castle for a view of the countryside or partake in the local’s favorite cult dish of risotto with scallops and porcini mushrooms.

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

Day 4: Arqua Petrarca – Sample the Flavors and History of the Euganean Hills

The historical stones of the medieval city contain a golden glint in the passing morning light. The winery beside the old church emanates an aroma of lemon zest brought upon by the lingering tannins of the Soave Classico. After breakfast, your private transfer will escort you into the Euganean Hills to follow the trail lined with lush vegetation. Wild berries, pomegranate, and fig add to the ripening grapes of the countryside. The sweet, fruity aroma creates a theme for the day.

The wine road along the hills contains a litany of celebrated restaurants and wines, notable for the seasonal use of products often taken in harvest from local gardens. Historical restaurants serve creamy risotto accentuated with wild greens picked from the fields, including peas and chicory. The cool climate inspires savory, comforting dishes. Rustic farmhouses rise out of the meadows and vineyards with gray stones that contrast with the verdant landscape. Before you visit the wineries of the day, you will venture first to Valbona Castle. The structure was erected in the 13th-century under the rule of the count of Lozzo.

The coat-of-arms of the Da Carrara family adorns the entrance as the rectangular curtain wall contains pentagonal towers erected from stone bricks quarried from the hillside. The central keep dominates the entire castle to form the fairy tale ambiance produced by the architecture. The refreshing white wines of the region include Pinto Bianco, Chardonnay, and Tokay. The first vineyard you visit offers a sample of both white and red wines in the area, which accounts for up to 13 different types of DOC wines.

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

Day 5: Friuli – Delight in Village Ambiance and Bold Vineyards of the Dolomites

The day begins with a visit to the charms of Portogruaro, considered one of the several towns in the region akin to a “Little Venice.” Portogruaro rises along the banks of the Lemene River with 15th-century Venetian palaces that line the main street. The Duomo contains a tall, sleek, and lilting bell tower. Old mills line the riverbanks and date back to the 15th-century. Frescoed facades decorate the cobbled streets, along with arcades and elegant arches. Gothic and Renaissance elements make an unforgettable impression. You will continue to the Lison Pramaggiore Wine Route to satisfy your curiosity of the region’s celebrated varietals and vintages ranging from Tokay to Malbech.

The latter is a rare wine of French notoriety also popular in Argentina. The trail crisscrosses the heart of the Italy’s wine production, which boasts of ancient roots. At the vineyard, your guide will explain the important standards required for the production of wine in the DOC province.  The vineyard encompasses nearly 10,000 acres of vines as the vintners age the Malbech for 12 months in small new oak barrels before they transfer the wine to the larger barrels to develop the spicy notes. The ruby red hues offer a nose of dark fruit and tobacco as the balanced texture offers an elegant, lasting finish.

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

Day 6: Venice – Visit the Home of Prosecco near Valdobbiadene en route to Venice

Today you will toast to the end of the wine trails of Veneto as you sample the famous Prosecco produced in the province of Prosecco di Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. The green hills once again roll across the landscape with emerald luster as the Alps slope down to touch the edges of the town of Conegliano. The heart of town contains the Scuola dei Battuti, a monastery known for the inhabiting religious group of self-flagellators. The interior contains lavish 16th-century frescoes painted by Pozzoserrato. Outside of town, you will venture along the White Wine Route to follow the meandering path to Valdobbiadene.

Vineyards of pale grapes drape the landscape to provide the base ingredient of spumante and frizzante. The latter is the favorite summer drink of locals in Veneto to accompany light seafood or just to refresh body and soul on a warm day. The second vineyard you visit will include segments of grapes that overtake the swirling hills of the estate. Your guide will lead you along the charming footpaths for a view of the grounds, which glow from the vibrant vines, the rising cypress trees, and the bordering Alps on the distant horizon. The tasting room offers an elegant place to enjoy the comforts of the countryside as the aroma of your first sample is the estate’s extra dry Prosecco. Aromas of wet stone, peach and white cranberry emanate from your glass, and the robust, long finish makes your time in the vineyard feel like a celebration.

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

Day 7: Venice – Indulge in a Tour of Venice’s Architecture and Cultural Cuisine

You could recognize the beauty of Venice in the hazy glow of the street lamps or the shining light of daybreak. Opulent palaces glint in the drifting sunlight as the cobbled lanes fill with the aromas of freshly baked brioche and brewing espresso that drifts out of the local cafes. Your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel after breakfast ready to take you through the treasures of Venice that have shaped the entire region of Veneto. You will begin in St. Mark’s Square, the iconic image of the city bordered by St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace.

The extraordinary palatial façade includes the thin pillars that support the arcade and the upper stories. The restrained finesse of the exterior is enough to impress passersby.  However, the opulence of the interior is breathtaking. The Scala d’Oro, also known as the “Golden Staircase,” makes an immediate impression on visitors, including dignitaries that visit from around the world. The 16th-century construct contains a gilded, stucco ceiling and marble steps that are backlit by the natural light that pours through the window at the top of the stairs.

After your exploration of the city’s monuments, your guide will immerse you in the true culture of Venice as you visit some of the Bacari, small bars and restaurants that serve local wines and traditional cuisine hidden in the labyrinthine streets of the city. The Bacari gained prominence in the 18th-century and continue to provide celebrated cultural dishes such as fried meatballs or a selection of cold cuts with cheese. Wine bottles decorate the walls, and a scattered number of stools allow a limited amount of people to sit near the bar or around the small tables. The room quickly fills with laughter and the sound of glasses clinking against one another.

What’s Included: accommodations, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Venice – Depart for Home

The 14th-century Gothic church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frarihas a rosy, golden hue in the morning light. The bell tower was erected in the 14th-century and remains the highest second bell tower in the city, after the 323-foot tall Campanile in St. Mark’s Square. The interior features a 15th-century wood statue that depicts St. John the Baptist, as sculpted by the remarkable Florentine artist Donatello. In the morning, you will traverse the maze-like streets of Venice and discover the lagoon. Your private transfer will meet you at your hotel when you are ready to take you to the mainland shore before you continue onward to Marco Polo International Airport. You have traversed the wine trails, foothills, and hillsides of Veneto to arrive back on the watery shores of Venice to uncover the subtle and bold flavors of northern Italy’s cherished wines.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer 

Price

Starting Price 

$2,195
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.