Italy Circle Of Flavors

12 Days / 11 Nights

A Food and Wine Tour of Piedmont, Liguria and Emilia Romagna
This amazing culinary trip will let you discover the culture of 3 different Italian regions through their food and wine. Within a few miles, you will discover radically different ingredients, culinary traditions and wines while immersed in breathtaking landscapes. Connect with local people and travel off the beaten path to get in touch with Italy’s most authentic side.

Day 1

Welcome to Piedmont Hills!

Welcome to Piemonte! Are you ready to discover its greatest wines?
Nebbiolo is the most noble son of this land, a species of vine with a red grape berry which has chosen the hills of Piedmont, as its only home. Some of the best red wine in the world is grown here, most notably Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero, all lying in a radius of just over 9 miles from the town of Alba.
Arrival at the Milan Malpensa airport– meeting with our driver and transfer to the hills of Langhe, Monferrato, Roero – Piemonte’s Wine and Food Valley.
Check-in at your charming accommodation and free time to relax. Transfer for dinner in a characteristic osteria to start savoring the local traditional dishes.
Overnight in the Langhe area
Day 2

Enjoy the Langhe Hills and their food and wine - learn local recipes

After the delicious breakfast, departure with your guide and driver.
Transfer to the Barbaresco wine area for a visit to a family-run wine cellar with tasting. The clay-limestone composition of the soil here is enriched with sand and blue marl, making the wines in this area famous for their natural elegance and feminine persuasive touch.
Next, you will visit a small traditional cheese producer to explore the pasture, sheepfold, milking room, cheese-making process and aging. You will enjoy a tasting lunch in the wooden hut, experiencing the life of our countryside people. A truly authentic experience.
Later in the afternoon, it is time for a hands-on cooking class to discover the roots of our local food and wine culture. This will be in a home setting in a panoramic location on the hills. After you will have dinner with the dishes prepared.
Overnight in the Langhe area
Day 3

Go truffle hunting and discover the Barolo Hills

After a delicious breakfast, depart with your guide and driver.
You will head to an outing in the woods for an exciting excursion looking for the prestigious local truffle with the truffle-hunter. This is the most exciting of experiences for truffle enthusiasts. A hunter accompanied by his dog will lead the group into the woods to seek out the precious underground tuber, guided only by the dog’s sense of smell and the intuition resulting from years of experience. Light lunch at the truffle hunter’s house with typical local products and Roero wines. 
In the afternoon, time to discover the Barolo hills, which roll through eleven municipalities and run parallel to the river Tanaro. The composition of the soil here is so particular as to change from hill to hill for different blends of elegance, longevity and majesty – the elements typical of Barolo. Enjoy the beauty of the landscapes, where every hill is an ode to Bacchus, where cellars are temples and farmers are vestals. You’ll learn about the history of Barolo wine making, in which the Countess Juliette Colbert and the Count of Cavour Camillo Benso played great roles.
Great wine experience with a passionate wine maker: a full immersion in this fascinating world to understand the hard work and passion for the land.
Dinner in an elegant local restaurant to toast to Langhe hills. Overnight in the Langhe area.
Day 4

Welcome to Liguria: Discover the picturesque Camogli and enjoy an Italian “aperitivo” experience

After a delicious breakfast, private transfer towards the Italian Riviera, (about a 2 1/2 hour drive).
You will stop in Camogli, one of the most picturesque villages in Liguria with its tiny fishing harbor and the tall and colorful houses lined up along the beautiful pebble beach. Here you will meet your local guide hand start exploring this hidden gem.
At lunch, you will get to know the Ligurian cuisine, very different from the Piedmontese one, with a typical lunch in a lovely restaurant overlooking the water.
In the early afternoon, you will reach the elegant coastal town of Santa Margherita Ligure (20 min drive) and check in at your charming accommodation. Take your time to settle and unpack.
In the late afternoon, meet your driver and reach the nearby town of Rapallo. Here you will meet Guido, our food and wine expert and enjoy a unique Italian “aperitivo” experience. You will take a walk along the narrow alleys of the old town combining food and wine tasting on the go. There will be 5 stops: at each stop you will taste different Ligurian delicacies paired with different, local, artisanal wines of excellence. It will be a very fun and authentic experience that will make you feel like a local.
Back to Santa Margherita by private driver. Overnight in Santa Margherita Ligure.
OPTION B: an alternative proposal is stopping along the way in the Gavi wine area visiting a 200 years old cellar and having lunch at the cellar. (The decision as to which Option can be decided at a later time before itinerary is finalized.)
Day 5

Live la dolce vita in Portofino and discover the Ligurian extra-virgin olive oil

After breakfast, meet your guide and start living the Italian Riviera Dolce Vita atmosphere with a guided tour of Portofino and San Fruttuoso.
Take a panoramic trip by public boat and reach the post-card perfect village of Portofino. You'll be fascinated by the arch of colorful houses and the lovely 'piazzetta' overlooking the water. Then reach San Fruttuoso by boat. It is an amazing cove with a medieval abbey built right on the beach, restored and protected by FAI, the Italian National Trust. Here you will enjoy a typical lunch in a beautiful restaurant overlooking the bay. You’ll fall in love with these unique towns!
In the early afternoon, you will go back to Santa Margherita by boat.
Your day continues with a very authentic and exclusive experience on the slopes of Portofino Mountain. You will be welcomed in the olive farm of a local family, who has resumed with passion the traditional activity of olive growing and oil making.
The location is breathtaking: a beautiful country estate surrounded by terraced gardens and olive trees. From here the view extends over the whole Gulf of Portofino. And it will be just for you since the family opens the doors of their gorgeous house just for our guests. Accompanied by the producer, have a walk among the olive trees and taste the unique olive oil they produce. Then, your host will show you how to prepare the typical farinata, a sort of big pancake prepared with chickpea flour and cooked in the wood fire. You will taste the farinata, a farm-to-table salad, fruit, local cookies and coffee, all accompanied by local wine! Definitely a one of a kind experience!
Overnight in Santa Margherita Ligure.
Day 6

Explore the picturesque Cinque Terre Villages

A full day to immerse yourselves in the picturesque atmosphere of the Cinque Terre accompanied by your local insider. 
After breakfast, you will be taken by private transfer to the Cinque Terre area (about 1 hour). The bus will deliver you to Levanto, where you will take the Cinque Terre Express train calling at all the villages. Visit Monterosso, the largest of the 5 villages, with its beautiful beaches, the striped church and the picturesque alleyways and small squares.
Then reach the beautiful wine estate of a local producer, just above the village (5 minutes walk uphill). In front of the amazing amphitheater of vineyards, you will have a tasting lunch with local specialties paired with different local wines and learn about the Cinque Terre “heroic” viticulture.
In the afternoon you will visit 1 or 2 more villages depending on your pace. At least the postcard-perfect Vernazza and, if you aren't tired, Manarola.
Back to Levanto by train and to Santa Margherita by bus.
Dinner at the very good restaurant of your hotel. Overnight in Santa Margherita Ligure.
Day 7

Fall under the spell of Genoa’s authentic charm

Today your local guide will take you to discover Genoa’s medieval historical center with its ancient food and artisan's shops. 
You will spend the morning discovering the oldest Medieval center in Europe (after Venice) with its noble palaces, the maze of narrow alleys called “Caruggi” and the fascinating waterfront designed by the famous architect Renzo Piano. Genoa is a town that has preserved its authenticity over time and you’ll be fascinated by the old food shops passed down from generations and still working like they did in the past.
Then you will be welcomed in a noble Renaissance palace where our food expert will teach you to prepare the famous PESTO sauce made with mortar and pestle. In the end, you will enjoy what you have prepared, sipping local wine. 
In the afternoon you will have some time at your disposal to do some shopping and then go back to Santa Margherita.
Dinner in Santa Margheita Ligure. Overnight in Santa Margherita Ligure.
Transportation to and from Genoa by private bus.
Day 8

Liguria’s hidden gems: Sestri Levante and the wine of the abyss

Today you will discover Sestri Levante, a lively village built on an isthmus among two beautiful bays, the Silence Bay and the Fairy Tale Bay. You will be fascinated by the colorful houses that crown the arch of the beautiful sandy beach.
Here, in a very nice trattoria, you will enjoy a very special cooking class where you will learn to prepare the famous Ligurian focaccia. After the lesson, you will taste “your” focaccia and other local recipes for a delicious lunch.
In the afternoon you will visit a very well-known cellar producing excellent wines among which a very special Spumante aged underwater in the Gulf of Portofino.
Dinner and overnight in Santa Margherita Ligure.
Day 9

Toward Parma with a special cooking class at the castle

Enjoy the morning to relax by the sea or do some shopping in Santa Margherita.
In the early afternoon, private transfer to Parma. Check-in at your special accommodation, an ancient castle nestled among the green hills of the province of Parma (22 miles from Parma). The castle dates back from the XI century and was built on the ruins of an old Roman settlement.
This evening enjoy a cooking class to learn some of the most typical recipes of Emilia Romagna region followed by a delicious dinner in a really unique setting.
Overnight at the castle in the Parma area
Day 10

Immerse yourselves in the Emilia Romagna flavors: parmesan, ham and balsamic vinegar

Discover the treasures of the Italian Food Valley: visit a dairy producing Parmigiano Reggiano, a historical “acetaia” where you will learn the secrets of balsamic vinegar and a producer of the famous Prosciutto di Parma. 
The morning will begin with a visit to the dairy that will show you how one of the most famous Parma gastronomic delicacies in the world is produced. You will see how the milk is processed and transformed into Parmigiano Reggiano. You will discover why this cheese, without any chemical additives, can be preserved for years improving its quality. Finally, you will learn to distinguish the various maturations thanks to the tasting guided by our expert.
Then you will reach the Castle of Torrechiara, one of the most evocative and significant examples of Italian castle architecture, the kingdom of the love story between Pier Maria Rossi and the beloved Bianca Pellegrini. Everything speaks of their passion in epic-chivalrous style. After the visit of the castle it will be like stepping back in time, walking through the narrow streets of the ancient surrounding village, from which you can admire the enchanting landscape of the hills.
Lunch in a traditional osteria with a tasting of local specialties.
In the afternoon, reach a family-run ham factory where the real Parma Ham is born. You will visit the various departments and see the phases of the work in progress. From the raw material to the aromas of the seasoning rooms, you will discover the secrets of this famous ham and savor its incredible rich sweetness, accompanied by a glass of local wine.
Your day dedicated to the three flavors of this area continues with another gastronomic delight of the region, balsamic vinegar. You will visit a characteristic acetaia (vinegar factory) where the passionate owner will personally tell how the precious 'Black Nectar' is produced and show the most unusual and tasty pairings, also offered in the tasting.
Back to the hotel, if you are still hungry, you can try the very good restaurant in the hotel (dinner is not included). Overnight at the castle in the Parma area.
Day 11

Parma and the hidden gem of Fontanellato

After breakfast, check-out from your hotel.
You will dedicate the morning to the visit of Parma starting from the imposing ducal palace that housed the Farnese court. Inside, you will visit the splendid Farnese Theater, a unique theater built entirely of wood and marble. You will continue the journey among the art jewels of Parma, painting, frescoes and the amazing Piazza Duomo where the Cathedral and the Baptistery await you.
During the tour, your guide will share some fascinating anecdotes, such as why the violet has become one of his symbols of Parma. You will also stop to taste it candied in one of the most famous pastry shops in the center.
From Parma you will reach the hidden gem of Fontanellato with the Rocca di San Vitale, an enchanting manor still surrounded by a wide moat filled with water that rises in the center of the village. 
Here you will have a typical lunch in a nice restaurant tasting local specialties such as the tortelli hand made pasta stuffed with herbs and pumpkin. 
After lunch, you will visit the amazing castle and leave for Milan (about 1h20min drive).
Farewell dinner in Milan. Overnight in Milan.
Day 12

Arrivederci day

Check-out and departure.
Private transfer to Milan Malpensa airport.
Have Questions? Email Us or call us at (805) 701-7119
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.

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