This luxurious private tour is the ultimate food and wine adventure in Italy! You will tour and taste the best of Bella Italia including Aceto Balsamico, Culatello, Parmigiano Reggiano, Piacenza wines, Amarone, sparkling Franciacorta, and various starred gourmet gems. You’ll visit the most beautiful places in Northern Italy from Bologna to Ferrara and Tuscany. Looking for the food and wine tour of a lifetime? Read on…
Overnights: 4 nights in Bologna, 4 nights in Florence
Note: this itinerary can be customized according to your needs
Your own private driver will pick you up at Milan’s airport. You will head south into the Ancient Roman winemaking region of Piacenza, known for its sweet malvasias and juicy Gutturnio based reds. You´ll first visit will be to one of the emblematic wineries of Piacenza such as beautiful Torre Fornello. You´ll have a private tour of the estate and vineyards and finish with a tasting of their best wines. After a morning of wine tasting, you´ll be famished and lunch is in a medieval village near the Rivalta Castle in a historic trattoria. Enjoy various local dishes, paired wine great wines from the Piacenza region. After lunch, take a walk around the pretty little hamlet to get some fresh air. You´ll next head for Bologna, which is where you´ll be based for the next few nights. Bologna is one of Italy’s most fantastic cities with a real bohemian atmosphere and you´ll love the array of charming restaurants and wine bars. Free evening on your own with our suggestions for dining.
Today you will taste a little slice of heavan- Culatello ham, the Crème de la Crème prosciutto of Italy. Head towards Colorno in Parma province and visit a small and upmarket producer´s Culatello cellar and finish with an elegant lunch focusing on local specialties. Sample dishes include crema ai carciofi (artichoke soup), flan alle tre ricotte e salsa alla carbonara (Cheese and cream custard), Culatello di Zibello d.o.p. e selezione di salumi da noi prodotti e stagionati (a selection of the best charcuterie including culatello) and Risotto con radicchio veronese, Montasio e aceto balsamico (Risotto with chicory, cheese and real balsamic). Superb wines will be chosen for you from the encyclopedic wine list. After lunch enjoy a digestive “passeggiata” in Parma, a small gourmet town that was also the home of Italy’s famed composers Giuseppe Verdi and Arturo Toscannini. Don’t miss the wonderful Duomo. Before returning to Bologna, you have a fun visit in store at the Galleria Ferrari in Maranello, an actual museum dedicated to Ferrari (this is the birthplace of this mythical car!) Learn all about the “prancing horse” and visit the museum, which is quite large and you can see over 40 real models such as Formula 1 racecars from many different decades. For Ferrari-philes, there is also a Ferrari shop! Return to your hotel and the evening is yours to explore Bologna on your own. It´s a fantastic city to just enjoy a stroll, it is small and easy to maneuver and there are endless churches, palaces, and charming squares to find on your own.
This morning, you will leave Bologna extra early in order to get to an authentic Parmigiano Reggiano producer by cheesemaking time (roughly 8AM). There are dairies in an array of cities and you´ll visit a dairy in Reggio Emilia, about one hour from Bologna. The visit is complete and you will be an expert by the end of the cheese tour. You´ll see all elements of the Parmigiano production from the processing of milk in the vats, the moulding of the curd, the salting and then the ageing process of the photogenic cheese wheels. After this fascinating visit you´ll head into the wealthy little town of Modena for a visit to the 11th century Unesco heritage preserved Duomo, and relax over an aperitif of bubbly or vino bianco, outside if weather permits. Lunch today is at a top rated restaurant, right in Modena. A complete contrast to the traditional cuisine you’ve had until now, this exciting restaurant is a unique experience. This will be a convivial nearly three-hour affair, so sit back, relax and dig in! After lunch, you will probably want to enjoy a short little digestive walk! Before heading back to Bologna, you will visit a beautiful “Acetaia”, a real “Aceto Balsamico” cellar, where you´ll learn about the interesting history and production of this liquid gold and taste a few aged balsamics. Arrive back to Bologna in the early evening and enjoy free time on your own.
Enjoy a later start today, and around 11AM you´ll have your very own pasta making class right in Bologna. Learn how to make pasta such as the famed local specialty of Tagliatelle al ragù (this is an ancient Bolognese recipe). Other local specialties include Lasagne al ragù, Tortellini in Brodo, Tortelloni Burro e Oro, Cotolette alla Bolognese (Veal Cutlets), and then for desserts- Torta di Mele (stunning homemade apple pie) and Raviole stuffed with “Mostarda” (a kind of jam made with quince, pears, sultanas, almonds, dried prunes, etc.). After a private cooking class, sit down and enjoy the results of your efforts! After some free time, you will enjoy a private guided walking tour of Bologna with a local art guide to take in some of the highlights such as the Two Towers, the Piazza Maggiore and Piazza del Nettuno, the Jewish Ghetto, and the fascinating 16th century Anatomical theatre of the ancient university (your guide will have a lot of anecdotes during this visit!). The evening is yours to enjoy the wonderful osterie of Bologna, many with live jazz music.
After breakfast you’ll leave this beautiful city and your personal driver will transfer you to Florence in about 1 hour. Upon the arrival, we’ll drive you to a relaxing panoramic tour of the city. Check in and a little time for relax. In The early afternoon your private art guide will meet you in the hotel and you’ll enjoy an entertaining walk to the Uffizi gallery. “Gallery” is something of a major understatement as this museum has one of the most incredible art collections in the world with nearly all the great European masters represented. A few of the many highlights include Sandro Botticelli´s Birth of Venus, Albrecht Dürer´s Adoration of the Magi, Caravaggio´s Bacchus, and Jacopo Tintoretto´s Portrait of a Venetian Admiral. Your walking tour continues on through Piazza Signoria, the Duomo Square and the gourmet shops of Florence. You’ll learn about art and Florence´s fascinating history while having a Campari Fizz aperitif at the literary café “Giubbe Rosse”; nibbling on some gourmet goodies at the gorgeous Procacci deli, dating back to the late 1800´s. In the late afternoon your guide will walk you back to your hotel to freshen up and relax before dinner. Tonight you will have a superb welcome dinner in a local rtestaurant, a tasting menu with surprise wine pairings await, this is a great way to start your culinary tour of Tuscany!
Enjoy your breakfast and after your driver will collect you and take you into the Chianti countryside. This morning you have a private cooking class with an emphasis on traditional Tuscan cooking, “Cucina Povera”. Simple ingredients, extraordinary tastes- this is the essence of Tuscan cuisine. Dishes you might cook today include Crostini di polenta fritta con salsa di fegatini (Fried polenta with chicken liver pâté), Pappardelle all’uovo con sugo di cinghiale (Pappardelle pasta with wild boar sauce), Pici all’anatra (Pici pasta with duck sauce), Bistecca alla fiorentina con fagioli all’olio (Florentine steak with white beans in olive oil), Agnello all’aceto balsamico e menta (Lamb with balsamic vinegar and mint), Polenta alla erbe con baccalà e porri (herbed polenta with cod and leeks) and Risotto radicchio, zucca e scamorza (risotto with chicory, pumpkin and scamorza cheese). After the cooking class, sit down with your chef and taste the fruit of your labors. It will be a three course meal, squared off with delicious homemade Biscottini washed down with Vinsanto, delicious! After lunch, enjoy a digestive tour through Chianti´s lovely hamlets like Greve, Montefioralle, Panzano… Before returning to Florence, stop into a beautiful wine producer for a guided visit of the property and of course a wine tasting. The night is yours in Florence, if you want we’ll recommend some very good restaurants for dinner.
Today our driver will pick you up at 9.30am for go to San Miniato, one of the most productive truffle-rich areas of Europe. The white truffle (which is usually a pale ochre in colour) that grows in the San Miniato hills is the most valuable type known. Meet the owner of the farm house and take part in a once-in-a-lifetime experience searching for truffles with a truffle-hunting dog through the woods around San Miniato. Follow the dog hurriedly through the forest as he sniffs about and experience the surge of excitement as he starts digging for this edible treasure (white truffles go for nearly $15,000 per kg). Once it is found, you will be treated to a delightful meal that incorporates the truffle that you just discovered! Leave the farm house after lunch for go to Pisa for relax and to admire the famous Leaning Tower. Back to your hotel by 5pm.
Meet your driver in the morning and start your day with a scenic drive to the little village of Panzano in Chianti. You are going to meet one of Tuscany’s most interesting culinary personalities- Dario Cecchini. This superstar butcher, called the “world’s most famous butcher” by the Los Angeles Times, is passionate about his meat! You are going to try his “Mac Dario” light lunch today, tasting his specialties like “Sushi del Chianti”, “Tonno del Chianti”, and “Arista in Porchetta”. Great food, great atmosphere, and great showman. Have a walk around pretty Panzano before heading further south to one of our favorite cheese producers…they are most loved for their fabulous Pecorino cheeses. You´ll enjoy a visit to the ripening rooms, learn about the process of Tuscan cheesemaking and of course enjoy a tasting of their cheeses accompanied by spectacular onion based jams they make small quantities of. This is an informal and authentic experience, and always a favorite on our tours. Back to Florence and rest of the day at leisure for shopping and relax. For your last night in Florence we’ll reserve fot you a table in a very good restaurant, a great way to end your gastronomic tour and enjoy a tasting menu paired with top Tuscan wines. The driver will show all the different options!
This morning, depending on the schedule of your flight, your driver will take you to Florence´s international airport.