This tour focuses on the superb food and wine of northern Italy, uncovering how geography and history have influenced regional variation. Begin in Piedmont, birthplace of the Slow Food Movement and famous for its truffles, French-influenced cuisine and the world-renowned red wines Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera and Dolcetto.
Milan • Asti • Parma • Modena • Florence • Tuscany
- Milan – the engine room of the country’s economy and home of its stock exchange;
Asti – a wine producer par excellence and the home of Asti Spumante DOCG (sparkling wine), renowned and exported all around the world;
- Parma – a city of Renaissance splendours where even the ham is presented as a work of art;
- Modena – the pleasures of the table are an art handed down over the generations where rich and tasty dishes combine humble roots and a refined culture of gastronomy;
- Florence – It is the most populous city in Tuscany;
- Tuscany – possibly the greatest repository of art in the world, from extraordinary paintings and sculpture to frescoes and architectural masterpieces.
Tour available as:
• Private tour –English-speaking local tour guide and pre-booked accommodation.
Day 2 – Asti
Visit the beautiful market towns of Asti, known for its sparkling white wine. In the afternoon enjoy a cooking class at a villa located amidst vineyards and fruit orchards. During leisure time, try some of the regional specialties such as vitello tonnato (veal with anchovy and caper sauce), agnolotti del plin (a delicate, filled pasta), and gianduja (chocolate with hazelnuts) in a variety of forms.
Day 3 – Alba
During a private tour, visit the beautiful market towns of Asti, known for its sparkling white wine, and Alba, home of the prized white truffle. Drive through the rolling hillside to tour villages such as Barolo, Castiglione Falletto and La Morra and sample the area’s finest wineries. During truffle season, perhaps join a trifulau and his dog on a truffle hunt.
Day 4 – Parma
Continue with your private driver-guide to Emilia-Romagna, arguably the best-known center of gourmet fare in Italy, and famous for its rich cuisine. Also enjoy a tour of old-town Parma, including the Piazza del Duomo, site of a magnificent 12 th-century cathedral—featuring Correggio’s exuberant fresco in the dome— and adjacent baptistery.
Day 5 – Parma & Modena
Stay in Parma and enjoy a cooking class at the acclaimed Academia Barilla Culinary Center. On a private excursion, visit producers of the region’s celebrated Parmesan cheese, Parma prosciutto, and the traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena. Perhaps stop for a tour of Bologna en route to Tuscany.
Day 7 – Florence
Using a luxury hotel on the River Arno in Florence as your base, one day enjoy a full-day tour that includes favorite “insider” spots in the city, and savor the local products available at the Mercato Centrale.
Day 9 – Florence & Tuscany
Continue to Tuscany, where the enchanting landscapes, superlative art and fine wine combine with the simple yet delicious cuisine to create a harmonious experience. Private, full-day food and wine tour of Tuscany. Overnight at countryside retreat.
Despite incessant praise, Italy continues to surprise and delight. If you get it right, travelling in the bel paese (beautiful country) is one of those rare experiences in life that cannot be overrated.
At first glance, Milan (Milano) can appear like one of the models gracing its catwalks: great bone structure (in the shape of historic and striking new architecture), extravagant taste and no obvious soul. But Milan’s style and, yes, substance, are more than skin deep.
Historically, Asti and Alba, both feisty independent strongholds, have been fierce rivals. That rivalry is recalled by the Palio d’Asti, a bare-back horse race on the third Sunday of September commemorating a victorious battle against Alba during the Middle Ages, which today draws over a quarter of a million spectators from villages around.
Rich on the back of its food industry, Parma is the perfect picture of a well-off provincial city. Well-dressed locals cycle through pretty piazzas and drink in elegant cafés; beautifully preserved monuments adorn picturesque cobbled lanes; and sumptuous displays tempt from delicious delis.
Modena – get past the unsightly factories that ring this affluent city and you’ll find a lively medieval centre, thick with market stalls, vibrant piazzas and impressive palazzi. The highlight, and reason enough for a visit, is the stunning Unesco World Heritage–listed cathedral.
Travel writers tend to deploy the word ‘idyllic’ far too often, devaluing it in the process. But here in Tuscany, it really does apply.