Arrive in the city of Bologna, the birthplace of the iconic Italian bolognese pasta dish, and stay overnight in a hotel right in the city centre.
On your first full day in Italy, you will be met by your guide after enjoying breakfast in your hotel, and discover the city of Bologna. The capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, this city is thought by many to be the gastronomical capital of Europe, and today will be full of both history and food.
Bologna is home to the oldest university in the world, and has a varied and detailed cultural past that involves inhabitants from across the globe. Visit famous spots such as the Basilica di San Petronio and the Piazza Maggiore, taking in the atmosphere of the city and admiring its architecture.
In the afternoon you will have the chance to take part in a local cooking class, and learn to make either tagliatelle al ragu or tortellini; two iconic Italian pasta dishes. In the evening you will get the chance to sample the city’s world-famous cuisine and enjoy dinner in a classic Italian osteria before another night in your hotel.
The third day of your tour will be spent with a private driver-guide, who will take you to the contrasting cities of Ferrara and Ravenna.
Ferrara is an iconic Renaissance location, which you will get the chance to explore independently. The city is home to a lot of art and architecture from this influential era and was also home to the famous Estense Family between the 13th and 16th centuries, who built magnificent palaces and castles around the area.
Ravenna, on the other hand, is thought of as the Byzantine capital of Italy, and is recognisable by its colourful buildings that are decorated by mosaics. Most worth a visit are the Mausoleo di Galla Placidia and the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, both iconic architectural structures.
You will return to your hotel in the late afternoon and have the evening to yourself in Bologna for another night in your hotel.
You will be met again today by your private driver to travel to Verona, stopping off in the cities of Modena and Mantova (or Mantua).
Modena is another exceptional location for food, and you will be treated to a lunch of local delicacies at a traditional farm in the area. Enjoy ingredients such as tortellini, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and prosciutto ham, and afterwards learn more about the production of balsamic vinegar from the farm’s workers.
Mantua is more of a historic haven, and was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. Built over three lakes, the most famous architectural site in Mantua is perhaps the Palazzo Ducale di Mantova, home to the noble Gonzaga family between the 14th and 17th centuries.
After exploring both cities, you will be driven to Verona and have a chance to settle into your new hotel and explore before dinner.
Today, you can spend the morning exploring the picturesque city of Verona under your own steam. Verona is certainly most famous for being the setting for Shakespeare’s tragic masterpiece Romeo and Juliet, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.
A couple of iconic attractions in Verona include the Castelvecchio medieval fortress, the Scaliger Bridge tombs and the central Piazza Erbe, which has been the heart of the city since Ancient Rome. The city is also home to the remains of a Roman theatre, and at certain times of the year you can see music or theatre performances on the site.
You have the optional choice in the afternoon to visit the wine region of Valpolicella with a private driver-guide and enjoy the beautiful countryside that features villas and vineyards amongst the scenery. This visit provides a change of pace from the busy Italian cities, offering spectacular landscapes and a relaxed local way of life that centres around producing delicious wine.
Return to Verona in the evening if you have been out of the area, and enjoy another night in your hotel.
Your last full day in Italy will begin with a transfer from Verona to Milan by another private driver-guide.
During your journey, you will get the chance to stop off in the Franciacorta territory and enjoy its spectacular landscapes. Famous for its particular brand of sparkling wine, Franciacorta has many different towns and villages between its rolling hills and sprawling vineyards, and is a beautiful place to either drive through or stop and explore.
Lake Iseo is surrounded by mountains and is maybe the best lake in Italy to visit, with a unique atmosphere and romantic charm. Known for its thriving wildlife and natural elements, you can enjoy the scenery or visit the quaint town of Siviano on the island of Monte Isola.
After your tour, you will arrive in the stylish city of Milan in the late afternoon and check into your hotel before enjoying dinner in your choice of restaurant.
After your last breakfast in your hotel, you will depart Milan independently and travel back to the airport.