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Italy - A Foodie Adventure

Discover the culinary wonders of Italy on a journey through Rome, Florence, Tuscany and Emilia Romagna, tossing authentic pizzas with an expert pizzaiolo; sampling Chianti at a vineyard in the Val D’Orcia; tasting mortadella, ciccioli and salsiccia passata in Bologna; and touring an acetaia (vinegar producer), where you marvel at the flavors of sweet, thick balsamico.

DAY 4, 5 & 6: FLORENCE

WHEN TO GO: Each season has its unique highlights in terms of weather and events. The best times of year are May to October.

LENGTH: 10 Days

COST: Available on request

The next morning, privately transfer to the Rome train station, where your pre-arranged train tickets await. After travelling independently to Florence, you are met by your local driver and privately transferred to your hotel. Take some time to settle in before lunch and a wine tasting in a local enoteca near the Duomo. Continue on foot to a family-run bakery, where you make authentic cantuccini (almond cookies). Return to your hotel to freshen up. This evening, join your local guide — an expert in local food customs — for an aperitivo (apéritif).

From Florence, head south into Italy’s Val d’Orcia region, pausing en route at biodynamic Podere le Ripi winery, managed by Francesco Illy of the Illy coffee family. Tour the winery and see its impressive organic vegetable gardens before sitting down to lunch with wine pairings. Continue along country roads to the picturesque towns of Montalcino and Pienza, with a chance to taste local Pecorino cheese. Return to Florence by late afternoon.

Begin the day at a local food market, touring it alongside a local chef who accompanies you from your hotel. After learning about Italian produce and ingredients, proceed to a cooking school in the heart of Florence, where you take a private, hands-on Italian cooking class that is tailored to your interests and expertise. After sitting down to the meal you helped prepare, take an afternoon walking tour of the city’s lovely piazzas, churches and palaces. Pass the Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, its dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. Next, see the Galleria dell’Accademia, where you behold Michelangelo’s David. Admire medieval, stone Ponte Vecchio bridge and explore the neighborhood of Oltrano, set on the south side of the River Arno and full of small artisans’ workshops.

DAY 7: BOLOGNA & MODENA

Depart Florence and head to the historic town of Bologna, affectionately known as La Grassa (the Fat One) for the hearty, filling dishes that originated here. Upon arrival, set out on a gourmet adventure to bustling markets, including the Quadrilatero, Mercato di Mezzo and Mercato delle Erbe. Pause at some of the city’s most beloved food stores and stalls to sample mortadella, ciccioli, salsiccia passita and chocolate. Then, watch a pasta-making demonstration and try your hand at making tortellini, with the opportunity to taste your creation. Continue to Modena, where you visit the Museo del Balsamico Tradizionale. Learn about the art of crafting balsamic vinegar; visit its acetaia (subject to availability); and sample the thick, savory product right from the source. Next, venture into the countryside outside Parma to settle into your amazing accommodation, set in a 14th-century castle.

DAYS 8, 9 AND 10: PARMA

Today, explore the exceptional amenities of your hotel, Antica Corte Pallavicina, a gastronomic destination in its own right, complete with a Michelin-starred restaurant. See its medieval meat-curing cellar and learn about prized culatello salami dating back to the 15th century, for which they have a dedicated museum on-site. Learn about the cooking traditions of Parma with one of the hotel’s expert chefs. Don’t miss the chance to dine here; we can secure a reservation in advance of your departure.

Depart your hotel for an excursion to explore the city of Parma. Upon arrival, meet your private guide for a half-day sightseeing tour. Stroll around the piazza at the heart of the city and see the stunning 12th-century Duomo di Parma and its pink marble Baptistery, considered to be among the most important medieval monuments in the country. You may also wish to visit the Pilotta Palace, which currently houses the city museum complex, including the National Gallery, the Archaeological Museum and the amazing Farnese Theatre. Constructed as the largest theater in the world in 1618, it was built entirely of wood and could seat 4,500 people. After your tour, you have some free time at leisure before transferring back to your hotel.

After breakfast, transfer to either the Bologna or Florence airport and board your international flight.

In partnership with Abercrombie & Kent.

DAY 1, 2 & 3: ROME

Arrive in the “Eternal City” of Rome, where you are met by your driver and privately transferred to the First Roma Dolce Hotel.

The next day, explore Rome from the back of a Vespa, zooming nimbly through age-old cobblestone streets and alleyways. Pause with your culinary expert to visit local shops, bars and markets, learning about Rome’s legendary food culture as you sample espresso, authentic pizza bianca and Roman street food. Alternately, privately explore the city’s narrow, labyrinthine streets and wide-open piazzas with a private guide, learning about its storied fountains and monuments, seeing a Roman athletic track and marveling at Bernini's Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. Continue to the Trevi Fountain and toss in a coin to ensure your future return to Rome, and then finish at the Piazza di Spagna, where the Spanish Steps rise to the Trinità dei Monti and overlook the hills of Rome and dome-topped St. Peter's Basilica.

On your second full day in Rome, master the art of pizza-making, donning an apron as you learn to toss your own dough, top your pie and bake it in a wood-burning oven alongside a professional pizzaiolo. Then, sit down to the lunch you helped prepare. Later, set out on a pre-sunset stroll through the lively, artsy Trastevere neighborhood, where an unforgettable food and wine adventure awaits. Peruse fresh produce at a local market as you sample local cuisine. Continue to some of the city's most beloved food stores, where you talk with owners who have preserved culinary traditions for generations.

Highlights
  • Experience Italy’s unique hospitality while staying in luxurious boutique hotels in Rome, Florence and Parma

  • Taste the flavors of Rome, from espresso to pizza bianca, and meet local shop owners on a foodie tour of the Trastevere neighborhood

  • Bake cantuccini (Italian almond cookies) before enjoying an aperitivo during a night on the town in Florence

  • Tour a biodynamic boutique winery managed by the Illy family, where an interactive garden reveals the secrets of Italian gastronomy

  • Visit a local market in Florence, followed by a culinary class that’s tailored to your interests

  • Sample the delicacies of Bologna — including mortadella, salsiccia passita, ciccioli and chocolate — before watching a pasta-making demonstration and making your own tortellini

  • Venture into the Emilia-Romagna region, where you discover authentic balsamic vinegar and prized culatello

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