The Po Valley Towns Food Tour | 9 Nights/10 Days
Day 01: Bologna Arrival | Welcome to Italy! Upon arrival at Bologna airport please proceed to collect your luggage inside the customs area. Meet your driver and transfer to Parma. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Parma.
Day 02: Parma Full Day Guided Tour | Breakfast at the Hotel. Parma is known all over the world for three things: Ham, Parmesan cheese and Verdi, associated both in Italy and abroad with savoir-faire and the good life. In the morning visit the historical city center of Parma where you’ll admire unique monuments such as Farnese Theatre, “Camera di San Paolo”, “Ducale” Park and “Steccata” Church. Lunch in a characteristic restaurant. In the afternoon, with the help of your expert guide, you will venture in some of the traditional food shops where you’ll taste our local products, discovering their legends and stories. Late afternoon return to your hotel. Overnight in Parma.
Day 03: Parma – Lunigiana Castles & Borgos – Parma | Breakfast at the Hotel. Today you will venture into the Lunigiana, The Land of 100 Castle. Your Lunigiana tour starts at one of the most fascinating of all the castles in Lunigiana, Fosdinovo castle. It is strategically placed halfway between the peaks of the Apuan Alps and the coast. Today, the descendants of the ancient feudal Malaspina family still live in the castle. The Malaspinas built the castle in the Middle Ages and their fortunes are interwoven with its history. Inside, the frescoed walls and furnished halls reflect what life was like during those times. From Fosdinovo, we head towards northern Lunigiana. After lunch (not included), you arrive at Malgrate castle (Villafranca in Lunigiana). This small castle, with it wonderful cylindrical tower and projecting battlements, was one of the most important fiefdoms of the Malaspina family in the 15th century. You proceed to Pontremoli, the door of Tuscany. It is a typical medieval town on the Via Francigena, full of history and traditions. Crossing the Cresa bridge, you enter the walled town and head for Piagnaro Castle, the magnificent fortress that dominates the town. In the castle, you visit a small but extraordinary museum, the Stele Statue Museum. The stele statues are prehistoric, anthropomorphic sculptures dating from between the first and fourth millennia BC, and represent warriors and women with a typical semi-lunar head, which is now the symbol of Lunigiana. Late afternoon return to your hotel. Overnight in Parma.
Day 04: Parma – Parmigiano Reggiano & Balsamic Vinegar – Ravenna | Breakfast at the Hotel. Meet your driver at the Lobby and travel through the Food Valley (Parma to Bologna) to discover the gastronomic treasures of Emilia region. Your first visit will be to a Parmigiano Reggiano cheese dairy to see all the stages of the Parmigiano Reggiano production, you will learn all about Parmigiano that is “made” today like nine centuries ago with essential and genuine ingredients: high quality milk from the typical area, natural rennet and salt, and using the ancient methods, the artistry and expertise of the cheese master. Then it matures naturally for two or more years. You will taste some various ages maturation Parmigiano. Then you will travel to Modena, where you will visit a ” boutique ” Balsamic Vinegar producer. The owner will explain where and how balsamic vinegar is produced. We will have a tasting of various ages balsamic vinegar, and we will learn how to use them. Late afternoon transfer to your Hotel in Ravenna.
Day 05: Cooking Lesson and Ravenna | Breakfast at the Hotel. This morning meet with the chef; visit of the food market and cooking lesson followed by lunch. The Cooking lesson will take place in the kitchen of the home of Angela, your teacher. We will prepare: handmade pasta. Lunch will follow. In the afternoon meet with the guide for a walking tour of this true jewel of art in Italy, famous for its Byzantine mosaics. In the town are eight UNESCO monuments, seven of which are decorated with beautiful mosaics and this art is still handed down and taught in schools and workshops of craftsman-artists. This tradition, which is unique, is still lively at international level, thanks to creators, artists and restorers. You will visit Basilica di S. Apollinare in Classe e il Mausoleo di Teodorico, Chiesa di S. Vitale. Dinner at leisure. Overnight in Ravenna.
Day 06: Ravenna at Leisure. Today spend the day at leisure. Overnight in Ravenna.
Day 07: Ravenna – Faenza, Aromatic herbs, Cheeses & Olive oil – Bologna | Breakfast at the Hotel. In the morning, on route to Bologna, drive to the Romagna hills close to Tuscany, where you will visit a private aromatic herbs with more 40 different kind of plants. The owner will explain how the aromatic herbs are used in the Romagna cuisine and you will enjoy a light lunch, tasting delicious sampling of her products. Then you will visit a cheese factory producing typical local cheeses. Then, on to Brisighella, and in a olive oil farm in the countryside you will taste the extra virgin oil ” Brisighello” the first one D.O.P. extra virgin oil in Italy. In the afternoon guided excursion to Faenza, visit of a ceramic workshop and of the Ceramics Museum. The town of Faenza is worldwide the symbol of pottery. Here the spirit, creativity and skills of the guardians of this very old and modern art survive and develop themselves. Inside the Carlo Zauli Museum it is possible to discover, in the ancient workshop of the master potter, the fascinating creative atmosphere of the handicraft laboratories: the typical atmosphere of an “old craft” that survives, unchanged, in the several pottery workshop in town. you will visit the workshop of a famous ceramist who will be happy to show us her masterpieces. Transfer back to Bologna. Dinner at leisure. Overnight in Bologna.
Day 08: Bologna Gourmet Full Immersion | Breakfast at the Hotel. A guided cultural tour of the town that focuses on food aspects. During the tour we’ll stop in some ancient food shops and we taste our local products, telling their legends, stories and jokes. Walking round the medieval market we can taste mortadella, ciccioli, salsiccia passita, chocolate, etc.). All the different tastings will make your lunch! To follow: demonstration from the traditional pasta-makers, the “sfogline” of Bologna. With skill and patience, these ladies with their magic touch will teach the curious visitor the secrets of making and rolling out the pasta. As a kind of magic: tortellini, tagliatelle and lasagne will appear. Discovery of the ancient taverns of Bologna. A lovely walk through the ancient pubs in the historical city centre. The presence of university students has helped the opening of this kind of “shops” since the XIIIth Century and also today, among the narrow streets of the medieval town, some XIVth Century pubs are still very crowded. This kind of reality didn’t change during the centuries and today, like ever, Bologna night life is peculiar for its vivacity and innovation. It is a pleasant walk during the late afternoon and evening to taste better the most typical Bologna atmosphere, where you’ll visit different locations with a tasting in each one. Overnight in Bologna.
Day 09: Bologna at Leisure. Today spend the day at leisure. Overnight in Bologna.
Day 10: Bologna – Airport | After breakfast at the hotel enjoy a Private Transfer to Bologna Airport.