An Eaters Journey in Italy: Venice, Florence, Bologna & Rome
10 Days / 9 Nights
Day one: Arrival in Venice, Discover the Magic of Venice's Islands: Murano & Burano
Welcome to Venice! Upon arrival, a water taxi driver will collect you from the airport and take you to your accommodation in Venice. Along the way, enjoy cruising through the beautiful Venetian canals as you pass impressive buildings and bridges.
Embark on an enthralling private Venice boat trip, your guide will share the rich history and culture of these iconic Venetian islands. When you reach Burano, a vibrant fishing village awaits. Renowned for its delicate lace-making industry. It’s a local tradition that dates back to the 16th century. The colorful island exudes charm with its colorful houses, quaint streets, and picturesque canals. The village’s distinct, vibrant hues were once used by local fishermen to identify their homes through the mist of the lagoon.
Later, you’ll journey towards the world-famous island of Murano, synonymous with a traditional glassblowing production that has brought it global recognition. You’ll explore a glass gallery renowned for its exquisite creations and skilled artisans.
Day two: Explore St. Mark's Basilica and The Doge's Palace, Italian Foodie Experience; Rialto Market & Cicchetti
Experience two of the highlights of the «City of Water», St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. In St. Mark’s Square you can admire the amazing view of St. Mark’s Basilica. As you stare at the magnificent golden façade you will begin to understand the number of treasures this church holds. For centuries, Venetians called it “Basilica d’Oro” or the golden basilica.
After exploring the heart of religious Venice, you will continue the adventure and explore the home of the city’s political power. The Doge’s Palace stands next to the Basilica and was the home of 120 Doges (Dukes) who ruled Venice. Walk through the imposing halls that housed the city’s independent governments, luxurious apartments where the Doge lived his daily life, grand rooms, and more. In the palace’s prison, you’ll learn about another side of Venice, one that is unpolished and sometimes even cruel.
After that, your experienced guide will lead you to discover the gastronomic history of the city: enjoying the little succulent cicchetti, paired with the only and original “Spritz”, which was first invented in the Veneto Region.
The culinary tour will be enriched with a huge variety of seafood and meaty specialties which will leave you with an unforgettable savory memory of Venice, while you’ll smell the magic atmosphere and flavors that surround the city. Quality drinks will be served at some stops!
Day three: Venice to Bologna, Highlights and Tastes of Bologna
Today make your way to Bologna and then head out for a half-day on a walking tour of Bologna. You’ll be led through the city center by a guide with expert knowledge of local history, architecture, and food. Experience the sights, smells, and tastes of the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region.
Walk through the downtown area to see many of the city’s notable landmarks. The Piazza Maggiore is a sprawling central plaza surrounded by the city’s oldest buildings. You will visit the City Hall, the 14th century Basilica di San Petronio, and the medieval Asinelli and Garisenda Towers, which flank the Piazza.
Head to the 11th-century University of Bologna to view the Anatomical Theater and stroll the medieval university grounds. On the way, stop to see the former Jewish Ghetto, then continue to the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, the National Art Gallery.This building also houses the Academy of Fine Arts.
Bologna is famed for its bustling markets and food scene. The Mercato di Mezzo is well worth a visit in the Quadrilatero area. Explore the local markets and shop for regional delicacies, such as artisanal tortellini, mortadella, and a variety of cheeses. Visit traditional food shops like a bakery and pasta maker to see the handcrafting process and to sample the final products. Tip: Here you can buy tasty foods for a picnic and find a piazza or park to eat and people watch.
Day four: Foodie Excursion to Parma
Head out for a day trip to the capital of Parma ham and Parmesan cheese—the city of Parma, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. The city is famous for its ornate medieval architecture, the beautiful countryside, and, of course, the food. The easiest way to travel from Milan to Parma is by train from Milano Centrale Station, taking in the countryside views for around 1.5 hours. After you arrive, you will meet your guide in the center of Parma to begin the tour.
Whether you are a real foodie or simply enjoy Italian delicacies, you will love this experience as you visit the local production sites of Parma prosciutto and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. You will learn about and see the production processes in action and have a chance to taste the final products as you discover the traditional way of producing these foods, and the hard work that goes into ensuring they meet high regional standards. The tour will last around 5 hours, and at each stop, you can also shop for your favorite selections to bring home as a gift to yourself or for your family.
Get a feeling for the local pace of life with lunch at a small family-run trattoria, then spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying the city.
Day five: Bologna to Florence, Local Market Visit and Ligurian Cooking Class, Gelato Making Class
Today starts with a short stroll through La Spezia and a visit to its beautiful market: see the fish sellers with the fresh fish and seafood, find the regional vegetables: depending on the season there are juicy tomatoes, green asparagus, aromatic mushrooms, or the precious artichokes. With your cook, you buy freshly the things you’ll need to prepare your lunch.
After the market visit in the morning, you go on to the nice little restaurant where this beautiful lesson takes place. During the preparation of delicious seafood meals, the chef gives you the idea of this particular work: to create traditional dishes using local ingredients as much as possible and with the lowest environmental impact.
You will be surprised by the simple finesse of the dishes you are going to prepare – using only few but high-quality ingredients. At the end, you will enjoy one of the most delicious lunches of your life – prepared by yourself!
In this one-hour experience, you will visit an authentic family-run Gelato Academy and learn all the ins and outs of gelato making from a pro. Discover the differences between gelato and ice cream. Learn about how it is made, the ingredients used, and the special process that makes it so creamy and delicious. Make your very own flavor from scratch and then enjoy eating it all up!
Day six: Excursion to Tuscany: Chianti Winery Visit & San Gimignano
This experience takes you into the Chianti hills, Italy’s finest wine region, and the birthplace of the famous Chianti red wine.
You will enjoy the comfort of your own private car and driver, taking you to two gorgeous (and very different) vineyards. Your first stop takes you to a renowned historic vineyard, where you will enjoy a tour of the grounds and taste some of the best Chianti wines of the region. The second stop will take you to a smaller traditional vineyard, where you will enjoy a light lunch coupled with beautiful wines produced on site, and gorgeous views of the nearby ancient town of San Gimignano.
After your Tuscan lunch visit at the second vineyard, you will enjoy a quick visit to the ancient town of San Gimignano as your final stop. Your driver will take you directly to San Gimignano where you will be left to explore the town at your leisure. After your day of exploring this charming hill-covered region, your private driver will take you back to Florence. Experience the Italian countryside and wine culture at its finest!
Day seven: Florence to Rome, Exclusive Private Guided Visit of Rome Highlights
Today you make your way to Rome. Enjoy the Italian «passeggiata», a walk in the heart of Rome to see the highlights during this privately guided visit of the eternal city. Throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain & learn the legend behind this iconic fountain; See why Bernini was one of the most prominent architects of Rome; Enjoy an Italian gelato and find out what makes gelato different from ice cream.
You will start at the picture-perfect Spanish Steps and enter Rome’s maze of charming cobblestone streets. As you weave in and out of the labyrinth of narrow streets, you will suddenly find ourselves in front of the breathtaking Pantheon. This is the only completely intact pagan temple left in Rome. The tour will continue on to arguably the most famous fountain in the world, the Trevi Fountain. Marvel at its beauty and toss a coin in to assure that this is not your last visit to the Eternal City! Next, you will stop for gelato at our favorite authentic Roman gelateria. The tour will conclude with a visit to Piazza Navona, host to Bernini’s fabulous Four Rivers Fountain and Rome’s many talented sidewalk artists and musicians. Your guide will be happy to recommend a nice restaurant in the area for your dinner.
Day eight: Pizza Making and Wine Tasting in Frascati
The town of Frascati, which has been famous for its wines since the era of ancient Rome, is an easy 25-minute train ride from central Rome. Your guide, who is a Frascati local, will first take you on a tour of the most beautiful, authentic, and quintessential sites in town. You’ll then visit a bakery where you’ll have the opportunity to make your own pizza in one of the last wood-burning pizza ovens in Frascati: see the chestnut branches used in the oven and smell the delicious smoky aroma that fills the piazza as you enjoy the fresh air, cool breeze, and beautiful view of Rome in the distance.
Just five ingredients are all you need to make pizza dough from scratch. Your master Pizzaiolo is passionate about his craft and will teach you how to make a pizza with a recipe you can remake back home for your friends. He will show you how to knead, stretch, and flatten the dough, and which toppings to use for authentic Frascati pizza. You will also learn how to put it into the wood-burning oven. When your pizza is ready, you will eat it paired with local seasonal vegetables, Roman pasta, and more!
While you sit in the bakery enjoying your pizza, you’ll learn about and sample three local wines from your guide who is an ONAV-licensed sommelier. All three are perfectly paired with your pizza and local specialties. After you enjoy your pizza and wine, you’ll take the train back to Rome.
Day nine: Excursion to Visit Roman Castles and Medieval Hilltop Villages
Visit some of the most beautiful hill towns near Rome following the road of the Castelli Romani, south of Rome. In picturesque Monte Porzio Catone, renowned as the city of wine, enjoy a wine tasting of the local wines, while in the lovely and magical town of Ariccia, filled with architectural gems, taste the mouth-watering Porchetta. In Castel Gandolfo, set in a beautiful setting you’ll admire the numerous villas built through the centuries by wealthy Roman families. In all the cities, you’ll enjoy free time to wander around these lovely hilltop villages
Today you will discover the Castelli Romani (Roman Castles) – a group of small villages located just a one hour drive from the busy city. Monte Porzio Catone is the first village you’ll visit. It is nestled between hills covered by olive groves and vineyards. Growing on this unique volcanic territory the grapes have a very distinctive flavor that can’t be found in any other place on the planet. Stop at a local traditional winery for a full wine tasting with some typical homemade delicatessen snacks.
Back on the road, drive along the famous Via Appia, ancient Rome’s gateway to the east, in order to reach Castel Gandolfo. This Apostolic Palace is still in use today, specifically by the Popes who have their summer residence here to enjoy the cooler climate. The next town is a short drive away. Ariccia was once the main residence of the powerful Chigi family, but today it is famous for roasted pork, known in Italian as porchetta. In the center wander the charming streets and check out Bernini’s Baroque Square, Palazzo Savelli-Chigi, and the Santa Maria Assunta church.
Day ten: Depart Rome
Your trip finishes here! At the designated time, a driver picks you up at your hotel for transfer to the airport. Today you catch your flight home full of memories of Italy and wishing your stay had been longer.
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