Italy’s Bella Vita Featuring Florence, Bologna and Lake Como
The allure of Italy beckons with saturated vistas that inspired the Masters. Discover a majestic wine country where vineyards dot the valleyed landscapes, calling you to enjoy the flavours of their soil ripe with vintage character. Discover Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance and home to MichelangelosDavid. On a Vespa, zoom through olive groves, hillsides and vineyards to a castle for a wine tasting. Learn to make pasta in Bologna and see the city your way on foot or from the seat of a bicycle. Stop and celebrate the gastronomic adventures afforded by Bologna and Parma, and explore the Alps-laden Lake Como and its legendary villas. This is Northern Italy, wherela bella vitais alive, well, and mandatory.
Day 1:Florence, Italy – Tour Begins
Benvenuti a Firenze! You arrive in Florence Cradle of the Italian Renaissance, home of the Medici, Gucci and il Duomo. Mangiare and mingle at one of the citys best local restaurants this evening and settle in for a true Italian experience the aperitivo, when you learn to craft one of Italys most famous cocktails, the Spritz.
The streets and piazze of Florence await you. A walking tour through Florentine history showcases four pillars of life in this city: art, architecture, food and fashion. Then its off to the Chianti Rufina region and the stunning Castelo di Trebbio, a countryside retreat once owned by the wealthy Pazzi family. Feeling adventurous? Join your local expert on a Vespa tour* through Tuscany’s olive groves and vineyards. Or, stay back and explore the castles family-run vineyard on foot. A trip to one of Italys best wine regions wouldnt be complete without a tasting, so against a pastel sunset, enjoy a tasting of the very best Italys wine region has to offer.
Day 3:Florence – Bologna
This morning, join your fellow travellers for a visit to the Galleria dellAccademia (Gallery of the Academy). An expertly-guided journey through the museums halls reveals perhaps the greatest collection of Renaissance art on Earth, not to mention Michelangelos marble masterpiece, the David. Afterward, depart Florence on a train to Bologna, capital of the Emilia-Romagna Region. Upon arrival its your choice! Whether you decide to join an expert-guided walk of this medieval city -OR- pedal the city streets on a bicycle tour, you will be immersed in the narrow lanes and winding alleys of this iconic market town. This evening, relax in the homey surroundings of a private apartment in Bolognas historic centre during a home-hosted cooking lesson. Learn the secrets of making three traditional pasta recipes and enjoy the fruits of your labour over dinner, replete with locally-selected wines and the requisite espresso with dessert.
The entire day is at your leisure to explore the regions thriving capital city, virtually unchanged since the Renaissance. Defined by its past but very much alive in the present, Bologna is an eclectic cultural city waiting to be explored.
Day 5:Bologna – Parma Region
Bid arrivederci to Bologna and head north to Parma. Stop to experience the workings of a local cheese shop and sample the Parmigiano-Reggiano this region is famous for. Venture to the Castello di Tabiano, a medieval castle rising over rugged hills. Take time to explore the grounds on your own before embarking on a private tour. An expert guide leads you on an intimate sojourn through the castles elabourate stuccos, frescos, private rooms and grand reception. Gain insight to the castles rich history, including the role it played as one of the feudal periods most vital defensive monuments. Overnight on the grounds of the castle this evening.
Day 6:Parma Region – Lake Como – Bellagio – Lake Como
After a leisurely morning, depart for Lake Como, the world-famous resort area thats charmed visitors for over a hundred years with its legendary villas, monuments and Alpine vistas. At the lake, depart for an afternoon cruise to Bellagio, affectionately known as the Pearl of the Lake. Learn the citys rich history during an orientation tour; then spend time independently exploring the cobbled streets, Romanesque churches, and traditional Italian trattoria. Enjoy the evening at leisure as you take in the picturesque shoreline guarded by the towering drama of the Rhaetian Alps.
Day 7:Lake Como
Relax amongst the natural beauty of Lake Como. For early risers, catch a sunrise funicular ride and watch the lake wake up. You may wish to join your guide to explore Comos lakeside trails and frescoed hamlets on foot or remain at the hotel to enjoy the amenities. This evening, gather with your fellow travellers over a farewell dinner to say Addio Italia!
Day 8:Lake Como – Tour Ends
Your tour ends today.