Emilia Romagna is both a food lover’s and car lover’s paradise. Dive into the heart of Italian gastronomy by exploring the origins of Parma meats, parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar and various wines. Participate in two traditional cooking classes and also visit the museums of iconic car manufacturers Ferrari and Lamborghini. With a few nights in magical Venice included, the Italian Specialties – Cars, Food & More tour is the perfect recipe for a unique Italian adventure.
Departure from the United States on your overnight flight to Venice to begin your Italian Specialties – Cars, Food & More (Emilia Romagna) tour.
Upon arrival in Venice, you and your English speaking tour escort will meet your private boat for a direct transfer from Venice Marco Polo Airport to your 4* hotel in Venice. Relax and make yourself comfortable for the remainder of the day. Enjoy your first Italian group dinner together at a local Venetian restaurant (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person).
Breakfast included at your hotel. Depart from your hotel with your English speaking local guide for a walking tour of Venice. Its unique location, design and rich history makes Venice one of the most interesting cities in the world. Take in the city’s canals, bridges, piazzas and palazzos as you start your tour in St. Mark’s Square – the iconic center of the city. St. Mark’s Basilica is Venice’s largest cathedral which originally began as the private chapel for the Doge and other Venetian aristocracy. Enter the basilica and marvel at the golden mosaics and Byzantine influenced architecture and historic furnishings. Attached to the Basilica is the landmark Doge’s Palace, the administrative seat of the Venetian Republic and opulent residence of the Venetian doges. Today, this magnificent museum is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture where one’s allowed to explore its large halls, rooms, courtyard, armory and prison. Continue your walking tour with an external view of the famous Bridge of Sighs. This enclosed stone passageway was designed to link the palace’s interrogation rooms to the city’s prison and is thusly named for the sound prisoners would make while getting their final view of Venice prior to their imprisonment. Before the end of your guided tour, view the famous Campanile – the bell tower in St. Mark’s Square, a memorable symbol of the city located just opposite the Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. Perhaps during your free time later, you’ll enjoy climbing the tower to see sweeping views of Venice, the lagoon and out to the Adriatic Sea. Enjoy lunch at a local Venetian trattoria (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person). Enjoy the rest of the day and dinner tonight at your leisure.
Breakfast included at hotel. Depart from your hotel with your English speaking local guide to assist in your departure from Venice. You’ll walk to Piazza San Marco where you will take a boat to the Tronchetto parking area where you’ll then board your private motorcoach. Your luggage will be transferred separately from your hotel to the Tronchetto parking area. Say “Arrivederci!” to Venice as you drive through the regions of Veneto and Emilia Romagna to the magnificent city of Bologna. The city’s nicknames are La Dotta, La Grassa e La Rossa – The Learned One, The Fat One and The Red One. The Learned One refers to the city having the oldest university in the world that dates back to 1088. The Fat One refers to Bologna’s rich food culture which dates back to the Middle Ages. The Red One refers to both the city’s abundance of red-tiled roofs and red brick buildings, but also to its anti-fascist and left-leaning political history. Since the 20th century, the Emilia Romagna and Bologna area has also become synonymous with Italian luxury vehicles. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Ducati all have their headquarters in the region. Upon arrival in Bologna, check in to your 4* hotel and then enjoy a group lunch in a restaurant in the city center. Your English speaking guide will meet with you and take you on a guided tour of Bologna’s main sites that will help acquaint you with the city. The Piazza Maggiore is the heart of the city and this central square appears almost exactly as it did in the medieval 15th century. The Palazzo del Podestà was the seat of the city’s chief magistrate and was built in the 13th century. The Palazzo del Re Enzo was also built in the 13th century as an extension of the Palazzo del Podestà, but it’s notoriously remembered as the place where the Holy Roman Emperor’s son (Enzio) was held prisoner for more than 20 years after being captured in battle. The Palazzo d’Accursio was the seat of the city council from the 14th century up until 2008. Today, it houses art museums and a library. The 16th century Neptune Fountain is a city landmark depicting an oversized Roman god Neptune surrounded by cherubs and lactating sea nymphs. The trident held by Neptune eventually became the logo for the Maserati car company which was founded in Bologna. The Basilica of San Petronio is the 6th largest church in Europe and the largest in the world made out of bricks. Construction began in the 14th century Gothic style, but its two-toned marble and brick façade remains unfinished to this day due to centuries old money problems and disagreements on the design. The beautiful Palazzo della Mercanzia had governed the city’s trade and business starting in the late 14th century. Take note of the tiny marble balcony above the two arches. It’s from here that judges would read aloud their sentences to the public. Enjoy some free time this afternoon to further explore the city and tonight you’ll have dinner at a local Bolognese restaurant (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person).
Breakfast included at hotel. Depart from your hotel with your English speaking guide for a day trip to Parma. Someone once said that if reincarnation exists, pray you come back as a citizen of Parma. With its slow-paced city life, exquisite prosciuttos and cheeses, local Lambrusco wines, beautiful cafes and opera houses, art, history and culture – for some it’s heaven on earth. Upon arrival in Parma, your local guide will give you a short tour before taking you for an exciting culinary experience. Visit the local companies that produce the traditional prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Learn about the production of these famous delicacies along with their history and how they’ve been granted special designated status which helps to protect their authenticity. Indulge in tastings of these local prosciuttos, cheeses and wines. In between visits to the factory and cheese/dairy farm you’ll enjoy a lunch at a local Parma trattoria (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person). Return to Bologna and have some free time before having dinner tonight in a local pizzeria (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person).
Breakfast included at hotel. Depart from your hotel with your private motorcoach and English speaking guide for an excursion to the city of Reggio Emilia. Long known for its agricultural and food history, Reggio Emilia is also known as the home of the modern tricolore Italian flag. Today, you’ll participate in a private cooking class to learn about the traditions and techniques used in creating dishes from the Emilia Romagna region. For lunch today, you’ll eat the meal you’ve prepared together. (beverages included). Enjoy some free time in the afternoon. Later this evening, enjoy a dinner in a local Reggio Emilia restaurant (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person). After dinner return to your hotel in Bologna.
Breakfast included at hotel. Depart from your hotel with your private motorcoach and English speaking guide for an excursion to Modena and Maranello. Continue your discovery of Emilia Romagna’s culinary gems with a trip to the city of Modena – famous as the birthplace of Luciano Pavarotti, Enzo Ferrari, tortellini and balsamic vinegar. Modena is also home to the “best restaurant in the world” – Osteria Francescana. Voted #1 in 2016 and #2 in 2017, this 3 star Michelin restaurant is fully booked for 4 to 5 months in advance. Today, you’ll experience the production of Modena’s famous balsamic vinegar. Produced in an acetaia or vinegar cellar, you’ll learn about the history of the balsamic vinegar production, the grapes used and the aging processes used for this local delicacy. Follow your tour with a balsamic vinegar tasting and light lunch (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person). After lunch, travel to the small town of Maranello just outside Modena. Here you’ll have a guided tour of the Ferrari Museum. Learn about the history of this iconic sports car manufacturer and see the largest display of Ferraris. Learn about the technical innovations first created by Ferrari that have since been adopted for use in the average automobile. You’ll also see displays on Italian motor car racing with historic photographs and trophies. Return to Bologna and relax with some free time. Enjoy dinner tonight at a local restaurant in Bologna (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person).
Breakfast included at your hotel. Depart from your hotel with your private motorcoach and English speaking guide for a tour of the Lamborghini Museum in Sant’Agata Bolognese. Located on the outskirts of Bologna, the Lamborghini Museum is located right next to the factory currently making these world class automobiles. You’ll have a guided tour of the museum and learn about the first model built by Ferruccio Lamborghini in 1963. Explore the history with displays of vintage cars to race cars to concept cars. Learn about the stages of technological development with special attention paid to the jewels of Lamborghini autos – their engines. After your visit to Lamborghini, return to Bologna for some lunch and free time on your own. Early in the evening, depart with your private motorcoach and English speaking guide for a drive outside of Bologna to the Monteveglio Abbey Park area. This protected area is home to vineyards, orchards, trails and a historic abbey. Here you’ll visit the Corte d’Aibo winery for a guided tour of its vineyards and cellars followed by a wine tasting and dinner in their lovely farmhouse. Return to Bologna after dinner.
Breakfast included at your hotel. Today you’ll have a very special cooking class right in the heart of Bologna. Your private motorcoach will transfer you to the cooking school where you’ll prepare your own lunch under the direction of local culinary experts. Wine will be served with the food you’ve prepared. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at your leisure. This evening, enjoy a dinner at a local Bolognese restaurant (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person).
Breakfast included at hotel. Say “Arrivederci!” to Bologna and depart from your hotel with your English speaking guide. Transfer to Venice Mestre with a stop in the city of Padova – a medieval city-state and university center since the 13th century. Stop for a local lunch (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person) in Padova prior to having a short tour of the city. Your local guide will accompany you on a tour of Padova to see the city’s main sights such as: the 2nd oldest university in Italy – the University of Padua and the famous Café Pedrocchi – the cultural center for famous writers, artists and students since it opened in 1831. See some of Padova’s famous squares and learn of their histories and varying architectural influences: Piazza alle Erbe (Herbs), Piazza dei Signori and Piazza Insurrezione (Uprising). See the city’s most famous church, the Basilica of St. Anthony. The Basilica, dating back to the 1200’s, is designed in multiple architectural styles. It houses both the tomb and the relics of St. Anthony. See the famous statue in front of the Basilica by sculptor Donatello of former military leader Gattamelata “The Honey-Cat”. A visit and entrance to Padova’s most famous site is included – the Scrovegni Chapel. It’s a small unassuming building from the outside, but the interior walls and ceilings are entirely covered in frescoes completed by painter Giotto in 1305. The Biblical depictions and numerous scenes depicting Christ’s life are considered one large masterpiece of the Early Renaissance. Enjoy some free time this afternoon to further explore Padova. Take the short drive to Venice Mestre, the mainland area of the Metropolitan City of Venice. Check into your 4* hotel and tonight celebrate with a 4-course gourmet Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person).
Breakfast included at your hotel. Transfer with assistance by your private motorcoach from your hotel in Venice Mestre to Venice Marco Polo Airport. Say “Ciao Italia!” as you return home with cherished memories of your time in Venice and Emilia Romagna.