You will arrive independently in the city of Bologna, and spend the night in a hotel here.
After a delicious hotel breakfast, you will be met by your private guide for a special tour of Bologna, the capital city of the Emilia-Romagna region. Bologna is also considered by many as the gastronomic capital of Europe, so is an excellent place to begin this food-focused tour of northern Italy.
The oldest university in the western world can be found in Bologna, along with a varied historical culture that was influenced by the Romans, the Etruscans and the Gauls. As part of your tour, you will explore both the quieter side streets of the city and visit some of its top attractions such as the Basilica di San Petronio and Piazza Maggiore.
In the afternoon, you can enjoy a local cooking class in a rustic Bologna building where you will learn to make either tortellini or tagliatelle al ragù. The class ends with a delicious bolognese dinner at an osteria; a traditional, informal Italian eatery.
On your third day, you will leave Bologna and travel to the countryside around Modena for a night.
En route to your accommodation, your driver will drop you off in the city of Modena for a short independent exploration before you visit a traditional balsamic vinegar cellar and enjoy a tasting session. This will be followed by a classic, rustic lunch of tigelle bread and cold cut meat.
After lunch, you will get the chance to visit the city’s Ferrari Museum to learn about the history of the sports car and see both classic and modern models. Your driver will then take you to your beautiful countryside accommodation, where you will be served a gourmet evening meal outdoors, overlooking the surrounding countryside.
After breakfast in the hills, a private driver will deliver you to Pavia. On the way, you will stop at one of the famous Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese factories, and experience a tasting session of the iconic product.
From here, you will journey to the 15th century Torrechiara Castle and its nearby village, where lunch will be served at a rustic farmhouse with views of the surrounding area. You will then travel to the beautiful city of Parma for a guided tour of the town, learning about its art and culture scene as well as its history.
You will arrive in Pavia in the late afternoon, where you will be staying on a wine estate. Here you will enjoy an exquisite dinner, and spend the night in a luxury room.
After breakfast on the wine estate, you will visit the nearby ancient city of Pavia, which is brimming with history and impressive architecture. Every monument and building has a fascinating background, from a church which hides the remains of Saint Augustine to the basilica that has seen the King of Italy crowned.
The University in Pavia was established in the 14th century and is one of the oldest in Italy. Science, history and the avant-garde were studied here when it first opened, and the library and botanical gardens are particularly impressive. You can also explore some of the city’s museums during your visit, including those that have been made inside Visconti Castle.
The last activity of your day will be another cheese tasting experience in a small, nearby village. You will then travel on to Alba, where you will receive dinner and spend the night.
Your journey today will take you south to the Barolo region, home to spectacular countryside that is overflowing with vineyards. Whatever time of year you visit, the colours of the hills will be beautiful, along with the warm scent of the fields on the breeze.
Your morning will consist of truffle hunting with an experienced guide and dog, who will take you into the Roero woods and teach you some of the secrets of their profession. You will learn which trees truffles are most likely to grow beside, the best kind of soil truffles grow in, and most importantly how to spot them as you hunt, helped by the trained dog. Lunch will feature truffles, and the meal will be based around this signature ingredient.
After lunch, your driver will take you to Barolo Castle for a short visit, and then on to the Marchesi di Barolo Winery for a signature tasting session. You will return to Alba in the evening, travelling along one of the most scenic roads in Piedmont from La Morra to Vergne.
On your last full day in the north of Italy, you will be able to explore Turin; the original capital of the united country. Turin was the political centre of the movement that eventually united the different areas of Italy into a unified country in the 19th century.
In Turin, you will get the chance to visit the breathtaking Venaria Reale, which is one of the largest royal palaces in the world. After this, you will enjoy some of Turin’s traditional cuisine in a classic restaurant that specialises in local recipes.
Turin is famous for its chocolate amongst other things, and is not far from the Ferrero Roche factory. After sampling the city’s sweet treats, you can also visit the Museum of Ancient Egypt to witness the second largest collection of artefacts from this area of history.
You will return to Alba in the evening, and receive dinner in a local winery that will perfectly pair each course with a different drink.
You will depart Alba independently, and either travel home or continue your holiday in Italy.