12 DAY LAKE GARDA AND NORTHERN ITALY CULTURAL AND CULINARY DELIGHTS TOUR
12 Day Lake Garda and Northern Italy Cultural
& Culinary Delights Tour
On this delightful itinerary, nature, art, history and tradition merge with some of the best food in all
of Italy to create a truly memorable small group tour!
I experienced parts of Italy that are away from the usual tourist destinations; that provided a variety of places from the historical and cultural, from lakes to mountains, from cities to rural scenes with rare beauty and surprise. The food and accommodation was also of superior standard." Lee
2016 Oct 4th -15th
2017 Apr 25th - May 6th / Oct 3rd - Oct 14th
2018 Apr 24 - May 5th / Sep 4th - Sep 15th
Tour cost – AUD $5050.00 per person, twin share
(AUD$600.00 Single Supplement).
This tour of Northern Italy takes you on a fascinating journey through the stunning Veneto, Lombardy and Emilia Romagna regions. From the stunning Alps north of Lake Garda to the fertile plains of Emilia Romagna, this tour is truly a feast for all the senses! Enjoy some of Italy's finest landscapes and cuisines on this delicious itinerary. Stay in an historic Palazzo that has been running as a hotel for over 500 years! You will also reside in a beautiful farm house that produces aged balsamic vinegar and a winery in the Valpolicella wine Region. Emilia-Romagna is widely considered to be the best food region in all of Italy. Enjoy Parmigiano Reggiano, prosciutto, aged balsamic vinegar and the enormous array of fresh pasta on offer in this foodie paradise!
Lake Garda (Riva del Garda where we enjoy lunch in an historic castle, Sirmione and Malcesine) - Verona - The Valpolicella wine region - Bologna - Modena - Parma - Reggio Emilia –Tours of Parmigiano Reggiano and Balsamic Vinegar producers and much more…
You will be met by Jim at Milan’s Malpensa Airport between 12.30 and 1pm, or alternatively at the Verona train station between 3.30 and 4pm. A well-appointed private, air-conditioned 9 seater vehicle will transfer you to the Hotel Ca' Dei Maghi, in time to unwind in your room or the hotel grounds for the afternoon. In the evening we enjoy dinner at Ca Dei Maghi’s delightful and lively restaurant with a menu composed of both national and local dishes.
Day Two – (Sublime Lake Garda)
The Italian Alps and a Castle dining experience!
B | L
Riva del Garda – Castel Toblino Lunch – Lake Garda.
Today begins with a free morning in Riva del Garda, located on the stunning northern shore of Lake Garda. Here guests can enjoy a lakeside-stroll or sip on a cappuccino by the lake, or in one of the town’s many cafes. For lunch we head off to the spectacularly located Castel Toblino, which is situated on a promontory of Lake Toblino, whose backdrop is the mountains of the Sud Tirol / Alto Adige region. Upon our return to Ca’ Dei Maghi Guests will again be free to enjoy the shores of Lake Garda as we pass by for an afternoon gelato, cafe or a leisurely passeggiata before returning to our lodging for the evening.
Day Three – (Vibrant Verona and Valpolicella Wine Tasting)
Verona – Valpolicella Wine Tasting
Today we visit the beautiful city of Verona. Verona is most famous for its Arena di Verona, and Romeo and Juliet’s balcony. However, it is a truly splendid and manageable city with great shopping, fantastic bars, restaurants and trattorias, along with a stunning Castle located on the Adige river. It is a lovely place to spend a free day out and guests will have plenty of time today to explore this most fascinating and beautiful city. A walking tour option is also available for those wanting to enjoy a guided tour of this lovely city. On our way back to Ca Dei Maghi we will be stopping in the Valpolicella wine region at the Allegrini Winery, a family-run estate that has been working the land here in this beautiful part of Northern Italy since the 16th century. After our wine tasting we will head back to Ca dei Maghi for a free evening where guests can eat at Ca’ dei Maghi or a nearby local eatery.
Day Four – (Return to the Shores of Beautiful Lake Garda)
B | D
Lake Garda – Sirmione – Malcesine (Cable Car ride option)
Today begins with a free morning and lunch on the southern shore of Lake Garda in Sirmione. Here guests can enjoy the morning in this very pretty and lively fortified town, which was a very important location in Roman times and is now a favourite holiday area for international tourists and wealthy local Veronesi. After our free morning and lunch in Sirmione we head up the north-eastern shore of the lake to Malcesine, a lovely village surrounded by olive groves that meanders towards the lake and sits at the bottom of Monte Baldo (2250m). In Malcesine guests can choose, as an optional side-trip, to take a cable car ride up Monte Baldo to enjoy the stunning views on offer from high above, or simply enjoy this charming medieval lakeside town prior to returning to Ca’ dei Maghi for our last dinner together before heading off to Emilia Romagna tomorrow.
Day Five – (Emilia Romagna – a Foodie’s Paradise!)
Transition Day – Borghetto sul Mincio – Reggio Emilia
Today we say goodbye to Lake Garda and the beautiful Valpolicella wine region and make our way to the foodie paradise of Emilia Romagna! Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma and Aceto Balsamico are the 3 most famous products of this region. Emilia Romagna is well known amongst Italians as a region where one simply eats well or “Dove si Mangia bene!”. Before we arrive at our next lodging, Reggio Emilia’s Hotel Posta (Italy’s oldest continuously- operated hotel), we soak up the ambience of Veneto’s Borghetto sul Mincio, a charming town literally situated on top of the Mincio river. Characterised by its traditional water mills, the town now presents a perfect opportunity for guests to enjoy a couple of hours of free time and lunch, as we break up our journey down to Reggio Emilia. Upon our arrival at Reggio Emilia guests can enjoy a free evening mixing it with the locals in lively Reggio, with its great choices of eateries on offer.
Day Six – (Mantua and Sabbioneta- Two True Jewels of Lombardy! )
B | D
Mantua – Sabbioneta(walking tour option)
This morning we head off to the beautiful towns of Mantua and Sabbioneta in Lombardy. Both of these locations are classified as UNESCO world Heritage sites and Mantua, in particular, is known for its architectural treasures and artifacts, elegant palaces, and its medieval and Renaissance cityscape. Mantua’s historical power under the influence of the Gonzaga family has made it one of the main artistic, cultural and musical hubs of Northern Italy and the country as a whole. Sabbioneta is a charming town close to Mantua and was built as the fortress for its Duke – Vespasiano Vincenzo Gonzaga. During our stay here guests will have the option of a walking tour of the town and its important monuments and palaces. Later this evening dinner is provided in Reggio Emilia.
Day Seven – (Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Tour – Rest and Relax Day)
B | L
Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Tour – Rubiera Lunch – Rest and Relax in Reggio Emilia
We begin today with a tour of a traditional Parmigiano Reggiano cheese operation close to Reggio Emilia. It is a fascinating journey of the production and storage of this world class cheese, and arguably Italy’s most famous exported international food product! We will dine together for our provided lunch at Trattoria Toschi in Rubiera, only a short drive from Reggio. We return to Reggio for the late afternoon and evening, where guests have the chance to rest and enjoy the non-touristy atmosphere of this lively town.
Day Eight – (Classic Cremona and Castell’Arquato!)
B | D
Today we visit the charming town of Cremona in Lombardy, which is famous for being the home of the Stradivarius violin. It is a very pleasant and manageable place and here guests can enjoy a lovely long lunch, visit numerous violin makers’ workshops, and also experience the recently opened Museum of Violins, which is a most enjoyable experience! We will return to our lodging later with a stop in the charming hillside town of Castell’Arquato along the way. Our provided dinner will be enjoyed later this evening in Reggio Emilia.
Day Nine – (Views, glorious views – Stunning Bologna!)
Today we say ciao to the beautiful hills above the City of Reggio Emilia, as we transfer our lodging for the last three evenings to the stunningly located Agriturismo Cavazzone. During the morning we will be leaving the Hotel Posta and settling into the Cavazzone farmhouse. We then head off to Bologna, Italy’s seventh largest city, and also the location of the world’s oldest University. The city of Bologna is a fascinating place to spend some free time to explore its numerous sites and experience its lovely atmosphere. It is one of Italy’s most liveable cities and is a centre of cultural excellence. Historically the city was characterised by its towers (at its peak in the 12th to 13th Century there were up to 180 of them), and it even has its own leaning tower, the Garisenda, which is the smaller of the two Twin Towers of the city. Guests will have a free afternoon and early evening in Bologna and an aperitivo experience here is an absolute must! Before we arrive though, a typical local lunch is provided in the lovely nearby hilltop town of Monteveglio.
Day Ten – (Ferraris and Marvellous Modena!)
B | D
Maranello – Ferrari Museum – Modena
Day ten begins with a visit to the home of Italy’s most famous supercar – the beloved Ferrari! Guests have the opportunity to spend the morning in Maranello at the Ferrari Museum, and later spend a few hours for a free lunch in the UNESCO World Heritage listed town of Modena. Lonely Planet sums Modena up perfectly by saying – “If Italy were a meal, Modena would be the main course!” They continue to praise Modena by stating it is one of Italy’s “..great gastronomic centres, the creative force behind real balsamic vinegar, giant tortellini stuffed with tantalising fillings, sparkling Lambrusco wine and backstreets crammed with some of the best restaurants no one’s ever heard of.” After lunch we have a restful afternoon at the Cavazzone farmhouse before dining out together for our provided dinner at the Trattoria del Cacciatore in the nearby hamlet of Ca’ Bertacchi.
Day Eleven – (Parma and its Perfect Prosciutto and Balsamic Tour!)
B | D
Parma (walking tour option) – Balsamic Vinegar tour and Rest afternoon at Agriturismo Cavazzone
The final full day of our gastronomical journey of Italy’s food basket of Emilia Romagna takes place in the charming provincial city of Parma. In gastronomic circles Parma is primarily known for its Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (whose DOP appellation it shares with the Parmigiano Reggiano made around Reggio Emilia). However Parma is also a charming place to spend some free time meandering through its classy streets and lanes perusing the wares in the smaller shops, and also the abundance of food that is on offer at its local cafes and trattorias. There is also an option this morning for guests to take up a walking tour of Parma prior to lunch to discover the majestic history of the town and also its heritage of superior food products. Upon our return to the Cavazzone Farmhouse we will have a personal tour of the family’s Balsamic Vinegar operations and attic cellar, prior to our provided farewell dinner together.
Day Twelve – (Farewell Day)
Reggio Emilia AV train station – Venice’s Marco Polo Airport
Today we say farewell to the beautiful region of Emilia Romagna. After breakfast, you will be taken either to Venice’s Marco Polo Airport for any early-mid afternoon arrival, or a mid morning drop off at the Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana train station, which services Milan, Rome, Florence and Bologna on the fast train Freccia network (Milan approx. 40 mins, Rome 2 1/2-3hrs, Florence 1hr and Bologna about 20 mins). Alternatively you can make your own arrangements for your onward journeys.