Culture and Tastes of Northern Italy

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This tour will take you along some of the most authentic parts of Italy, a real crab for culture and taste. You will discover small villages with enchanting medieval fortresses, producers of excellent “made in Italy” foods and wines.

Type of tour: Self-drive
Min/max people: from 2 pax
Length of stay: 8 days/ 7 nights
Arrival/Departure: Milan/Milan
Dates 2019: Every day from March till November

Description

Map

Highlights

  • Breath the real soul of the fashion capital by sipping a cocktail in the vibrant Navigli district
  • Learn about the ancient art of Violin making from a local artisan in Cremona
  • Discover the most genuine side of the Food valley and visit small villages, castles and food producers of Parma area
  • Meet the local producers of the most excellent Italian products and taste Culatello, Parma ham, Aceto Balsamico, Lambrusco and Valpolicella wines
  • Enjoy the slow life in the beautiful towns of Cremona, Parma, Mantua and Bergamo far from the tourist crowds
  • Visit the hidden corners of Bologna, Verona and Milan thanks to our local buddy guides

Itinerary

Day 1: Milan & Aperitif on Navigli

Arrival in Milano airport. Pick up the car and transfer to the city centre. Accommodation in hotel 3*/ B&B.

Free afternoon to visit the city centre by your own and in the evening enjoy a walk with an aperitif on Navigli – discovering one of the most vibrant part of the city. Return to the hotel and overnight.

Day 2: Milan-Cremona-Parma

After breakfast, departure to Cremona. Visit of the old city centre and to a Violin maker laboratory.

You can stop for lunch in Cremona. Departure to Parma area. Arrival and accommodation in hotel.

In the afternoon guided tour of the town.

Visit to the Cathedral, one of the highest expressions of  the Po Valley Romanesque architecture, rich in masterpieces: the dome with the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Lady frescoed by Correggio and the Deposition, first sculptural work of Benedetto Antelami. You will then visit the Baptistery, one of Antelami’s masterpieces, built on an octagonal piñata in rose marble of Verona. Visit to the Abbey Church of San Giovanni Evangelista (Saint John the Evangelist) dating back to the tenth X century with a Baroque façade and with the dome inside, painted by Correggio, with the Transito di San Giovanni (literally Transit of St. John (1520-24)), completed by the Fathers of the Church and by the Evangelists in the dome-like structures.You will continue towards the Palazzo della Pilotta and visit the exteriors of the Palace which owes its name to the “pelota”, a Basque game practiced in its courtyards. Originally it was the place of service of the Farnese court which was designed to integrate the Duke Residence.

Overnight.

Day 3:  Castles of Parma area, Verdi native town & Culatello Ham Tasting  

After breakfast, you will have an entire day at disposal to discover the magnificent castles of the former Ducato di Parma.

The first stop will be in Fontanellato – proclaimed one of the most beautiful villages of Italy. Have a walk in the city centre with his imponent medieval fortress which dominates the main square.

Then proceed to Soragna and visit to the castle and fortress Rocca Meli Lupi – an incredible castle dating back to XIV century and still habitated by the Prince and his family. You will visit the magnificent interior with paintings, frescos, ancient furniture; the garden and the fortress.

Typical lunch in trattoria.

After a short drive, you will arrive in Bussetothe native town of the musician and composer Giuseppe Verdi. Here you will visit the Theatre Verdi – located in the “Rocca”, or fortress, once the castle of the Pallavicino family, founded in the 1200s. Previously there had been another theatre in the exact same location, where Verdi had performed in his youth, directing a symphony from Rossini’s Barber of Seville.

Proceed your tour with a visit to a “Culatello di Zibello” ham producer, you will visit the cellars, will learn about the production of this special ham and will enjoy a taste of culatello, strolghino and Parmigiano Reggiano, focaccia and a glass of red-wine Lambrusco.

Return to Parma for the evening.

Day 4: Modena Balsamic vinegar tasting- Bologna

After breakfast departure to Modena for a guided visit to an Acetaia, a firm which produces the Traditional Modena Balsamic Vinegar, protected by the “DOP” brand (Protected Designation of Origin).  Tasting menu in the Acetaia.

You can then stop in Maranello for a visit to Ferrari Museum to admire splendid unique models of the past and of the future and the permanent exhibition dedicated to the Formula One Championships (facultative)

Arrival in Bologna, accommodation in hotel. Free time at disposal in town. Overnight.

Day 5: Bologna walking tour – FICO Eataly World Tour from field to fork

Breakfast. Meeting with our guide for an interesting visit of the town.

The itinerary starts in Piazza Maggiore overlooked by the Palazzo di Re Enzo (Palace of King Enzo), the Town Hall, the Palazzo dei Notai (Palace of the Notaries), the Podestà Palace, the Fountain of Neptune, the Gothic-style Basilica of S. Petronio, with the major portal framed by the sculptures of Jacopo della Quercia, and inside of it the Bolognini chapel and Cassini’s Sundial. Through the picturesque alleys of the Mercato di Mezzo you will reach S. Stefano Square, with the Medieval monastic complex of S. Stefano. You will then arrive at the Gothic Palazzo della Mercanzia (Palace of Merchandise), flanked by houses of the twelfth century with wooden porticoes, to end at the Two Towers, symbol of the city.

Time at disposal for a pleasant walk in town and for lunch.

H 15.00 Discover the real soul of FICO Eataly World on a journey through its fields, factories, restaurants and kiosks, markets, and shops.
Follow FICO Biodiversity Ambassadors on a comprehensive tour of the park and its premises.

Start your journey from field to fork! The Biodiversity Ambassadors are qualified professional guides ready to engage you in an exciting and unique experience inside the park and to answer all of your questions.  The tour starts from the fields: 20,000 sqm of outdoor areas to learn more about the main Italian crops and the most representative local animal breeds. Then, our Biodiversity Ambassadors will take you to the heart of FICO Eataly World: the 40 farming factories, where you can meet and speak with artisans to learn about the process of making iconic Italian products.

Hungry enough? It’s time to stop by the world’s largest Italian culinary offer! Over 40 restaurants, trattorias, bistros, and street-food kiosks to taste the Italy’s most traditional and innovative recipes. Finally, take a walk through FICO’s 9,000 sqm area dedicated to markets and shops and, why not… take a little piece of Italy home with you!

Possibility to book and additional activity (cooking class, tasting laboratory)

Return to the hotel and overnight.

Day 6: Bologna-Mantua -Verona walking tour

Breakfast. Departure to Mantua. Free time to explore this magnificent city by your own.

After lunch proceed to Verona. Check in and meeting with our guide for a tour of the city,

You’ll explore the old town visiting the famous Arena (UNESCO World Heritage site) that hosts every summer the Opera festival , the Roman ruins, enchanting churches and architectural gems from all periods. And of course the Juliet’s House (Casa di Giulietta) and its famous Balcony, that inspired Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”.

Free time for dinner and overnight.

Day 7: Garda lake – Valpolicella tasting – Bergamo

Breakfast. Departure to Garda lake, on the way stop  in the wine region of Valpolicella for a visit to a wine producer including a guided tour of the cellars and the tasting of the famous red wines Valpolicella, Valpolicella Ripasso and Amarone.

Proceed toward Garda lake and a visit of Sirmione. Here you can stop for a lunch in panoramic restaurant overlooking the lake. Proceed towards Bergamo.

Visit of the old town “Bergamo alta” accessible by a funicular. Tasting menu for dinner in historical wine shop, where you will discover dishes of the typical tradition with different local wines. Overnight in Bergamo.

Day 8: (Bergamo)-Milano & departure

After breakfast, time to explore the city and end of the services. Depending on the aiport of departure transfer to Bergamo or Milan airport. Drop off the car and departure.

The tour can be extended with extra nights in Verona/Garda lake/Milan

We suggest to rent a car for this tour, but with some modifications it can be offered also with transfers by train.

Price per person: 995 euro (min. 4 partecipants)/ 1260 euro (min. 2 partecipants)

The tour includes:

  • 7 nights accommodation in hotel 3* or B&B/countryhouse in double room (1 night in Milan, 2 nights in Parma, 2 nights in Bologna, 1 night in Verona, 1 night in Bergamo)
  • Breakfasts
  • Guided tour “Navigli walk with aperitif” in Milan
  • Visit to a violin maker laboratory in Cremona
  • Private guided tour of Parma
  • Visit to Soragna castle
  • Visit to the Verdi theatre in Busseto
  • Visit to a ham producer and tasting
  • Visit to Parmigiano Reggiano diary
  • Visit to a Balsamic vinegar producer with tasting lunch menu
  • Private guided tour of Bologna
  • Private guided tour of Verona
  • Visit and tasting in Valpolicella winery
  • Tasting dinner menu in wine shop in Bergamo

The tour does not include:

  • City tax (to pay on the spot)
  • Flights and transportation
  • Entrance tickets to Museums, Castles etc
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