We gather at the Milano airport and depart on our private mini-coach for the region of Emilia-Romagna. After approximately one hour we stop in Fontanellato, a small “borgo” containing a little more than 6,000 inhabitants and recognized as one of the “Borghi più Belli d’Italia” (most beautiful hamlets of Italy).
We will have time to walk around the village on our own before sitting down in “centro” to go through the trip itinerary and sip an Aperitivo to begin our 10-day wine and food experience.
We will then depart and check into our hotel in Reggio Emilia where we will stay for 3 nights.
Day 2 - In the Heart of Parmigiano and Balsamic Vinegar Production
After an informative and tasty visit to a Parmigiano Reggiano cheese “caseificio”, we stop in Parma for a few hours and embark on a “gourmet tour” if the town’s tastiest shops! How many different DOP appellations of prosciutto and salami can there be? Well, that is what we will find out while on a walking tour of Parma, where a local guide will take us through a tasty journey of some of the most renowned DOP products such as prosciutto di Parma, Culatello di Zibello, various cheeses and olive oil. You will certainly appreciate the walking aspect of the tour after having indulged in so much amazing food.
We will then move on to the area of the Lambrusco Reggiano DOC, in the valley of the Enza River. We will visit the wine museum, take a look at the balsamic vinegar cellars and vineyards, and conclude our visit with a tasting of wines, balsamic vinegars and local food.
Culatello: The King of Cured Meats
We visit an aging cellar where the culatello (the inner, best part of the prosciutto) spends its time maturing in the fresh air of the region. It is here that it builds all of its flavours and aromas, making it one of the most sought-after food delicacies.
The Town of Fontanellato with our Local Guide
Day 3 - The Legend of the Ferrari Maranello
We arrive at Ferrari in Maranello where we will visit the Ferrari Museum where those that are interested can hit the road driving the Ferrari California (for an extra charge). We will have free time in the trendy Maranello village and then move on to our next experience: a treat of Modena balsamic vinegar (Aceto Balsamico di Modena), which Italy considers to be its “black gold”.
Modena DOP Balsamic Vinegar
The “Visita Golosa” features history, folklore, the Museum, and a visit to the refining and aging rooms, including where the eldest vinegars are aged. We will have a buffet lunch at the acetaia, featuring local products such as Parmigiano, pearls of balsamic vinegar, focaccia, and of course, Emilia-Romagna wines.
Day 4 - From Emilia to Marche
We will check out and head to Le Marche with a stop in Bologna, home of Ragù, Tortellini, Fettuccine, Mortadella, and much more. We will learn all about them during our cooking class in Bologna, and enjoy the fruits of our labour by treating ourselves to Emilia-Romagna wines paired with lunch.
After lunch, we depart for Portonovo on the Riviera del Cornero, on the Adriatic Sea. This drive is approximately two-hours long, depending on traffic, and offers a great chance to nap.
When we arrive, we will settle in for a comfortable three-night stay in an ancient military fortress on the sea. It is located on the most beautiful section of the Adriatic coast: Monte Conero, which also lends its name to a prestigious DOCG wine appellation.
Verdicchio Vineyards Near the Adriatic Coast
Verdicchio is the main indigenous white grape varietal of Marche. It boasts two main appellations: Verdicchio Castelli di jesi and Verdicchio di Matelica. We will taste it and discover its unique characteristics in comparison to other similar crispy white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc.
Days 5 and 6 - Two Days in Marche
These days offer a wonderful blend of culture, history, food and wine.
We will visit the towns of Montecarotto and Ostra Vetere, which are two hidden gems famous for their wine production of Verdicchio and Lacrima – two indigenous grape varieties only grown here. We will experience ancient food such as Cicerchie and Lonzino di fico and learn all about the character of the region, from the spectacular Adriatic Coast to the agriculturally rich hills.
A beautiful fettuccine dish seasoned with fresh artichokes and mushrooms, typical of this region.
Day 7 - From Marche to Umbria and the Magical Town of Assisi
We will check out of our hotel and drive west towards Umbria. After lunch, we cross the Appennini Mountains and reach our destination in Umbria. This region features the towns of Assisi, Perugia and Torgiano, which offer an incredible mix of ancient history and vibrant modernity.
Day 8 - Discover the Best Umbrian Food
We will depart for Lago Trasimeno, site of the famous battle of Hannibal in 217 B.C., which caused the worst military defeat of the Roman Empire in history. The strategy used by Hannibal at the time is still used as a case study in NATO staff colleges for high-ranking officers.
We will also stop at an Azienda Agricola to immerse ourselves in the world of olive oil production and have a chance to have a taste of olive oil with different characteristics on the palate.
Day 9 - Bevagna: The Heart of Medieval Umbria
To celebrate our last full discovery day of the trip, we will embark on a Middle Age excursion to the charming village of Bevagna, located approximately 15km from Assisi. Here we will experience three typical Medieval jobs and the tools and techniques associated with them. This includes the making of paper in an ancient paper mill, the making of candles and the making of silk.
Perugia - Art and Chocolate!
From Torgiano we will drive to Perugia, which is brimming with amazing art, history and chocolate. We will meet our local guide, discover the city on foot for a couple of hours and stop for a chocolate tasting, of course! It will then take us a short half-hour to return to the hotel.
The Fathers of Umbria Wines - Giorgio Lungarotti & Arnaldo Caprai
Umbria has two prestigious DOCG wine appellations: Torgiano Rosso Riserva, which we will experience in the town of Torgiano, and Sagrantino di Montefalco, which is only produced in the small hamlet of Montefalco. Today’s focus will be to understand the myth and world-wide popularity of these two red wines.
Mari Fedele Tartufi - Umbria's Gold
A great lunch-stop and learning opportunity at this family home where they have been proudly researching and hunting for truffles with their trained dogs for generations. Of course, our journey would not be complete without a truffle tasting experience!
The Beautiful Umbria Countryside
Umbria is called the “green heart of Italy” because it is located in the centre of the peninsula and has an abundance of parks and forests. We will have time to sit and relax throughout our journey, just like in the picture above, and enjoy a splendid last dinner at our hotel and say goodbye to all of our fellow travellers and new friends!
Day 10 - From Umbria to Rome Airport
We will check out at 9am and drive to Rome’s Fiumicino Airport where our tour ends. Explore the various opportunities we offer to extend your vacation in Umbria or in the adjacent Tuscany, Florence, or Rome.