Immerse yourself in a truly local experience. Discover the hidden gems of Lombardy and
Piedmont on this Italian small group tour.
"We would say in all our travels this must be the tour that offers the most diverse experience!" Tony and Sue
2017 June 15th - June 22nd / Aug 24th - Aug 31st
2018 May 24th - May 31st / June 7th - June 14th / Oct 11th - Oct 18th
Tour Cost – AUD $3,450.00 per person, twin share,
(AUD $220.00 Single Supplement)
Experience the real 'La Dolce Vita'! On this tour you will be living life like a local. Explore picturesque towns in the beautiful and untouched region around Jim's dad's home town of Varzi, along with the famous city of Milan (with an optional walking tour including skip the line viewing of Da Vinci's Last Supper fresco). Enjoy the gastronomic delights of Lombardy and Piedmont and marvel at charming medieval towns and castles, monasteries and local markets.
Milan - the stunningly beautiful Gavi and Oltrepo Pavese wine regions - Western Europe's Largest Designer Shopping Outlet - Bobbio - Pavia and its stunning monastery the Certosa di Pavia and much, much more!
Arrival: Milan/Voghera to San Sebastiano al Curone
You will be met by our guide at Milan’s Malpensa Airport between 1-2 PM, or alternatively at the Voghera train station between 3-3.30pm. A well-appointed private, air-conditioned 9 seater vehicle will transfer you to the Agristurismo "La Cascina Ca' Bella", in time to enjoy your welcome drinks and unwind in your room or the farmhouse grounds for the afternoon. In the evening we head off for dinner at a local eatery with a menu composed of both national and local dishes.
Day Two – (Market and Shopping Extravaganza Day!)
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Varzi – Piedmont (Serravalle/Walk and Villa Sparina Winery-Gavi)
Today we start off by relaxing and unwinding in the sleepy medieval town of Varzi. In the morning we visit Varzi’s local market and have the opportunity to see the delicious produce on offer, along with an interesting assortment of other wares. The market or "mercato" was traditionally a cattle and produce market, and cattle farmers from the surrounding hills would congregate once a week, not only to trade in their produce, but also to meet with their friends and fellow farmers. Today, even though the cattle are no longer there, one can still imagine what it may have been like, as older townsfolk gather and converse in their local dialects amidst the market’s shoppers. After experiencing "il mercato di Varzi", you will be taken to another world altogether - a contemporary designer shopping village in nearby Serravalle della Scrivia (there's an optional country walk if you don't want to shop). At Serravalle you can literally “shop till you drop” in an outlet containing a magnificent array of famous Italian brands, including of course the iconic Prada and Dolce & Gabbana. After our designer shopping spree/walk we will explore a centuries old Piedmont wine cellar, Villa Sparina, which houses international awardwinning wines. After the cellar tour we will dine at “La Gallina”, its delightful Michelin starred restaurant which offers glorious views over the vineyards.
Day Three – (Classic Architecture Day)
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Pavia - Certosa di Pavia
We begin the day in the classy university city of Pavia, once the capital of Lombardy, which is located on the banks of the Ticino river. After our morning stroll we enjoy lunch together at one of Pavia’s traditional restaurants for a sample of the local fare. After lunch we head to another hidden gem of Italy, the Certosa di Pavia, a stunning fourteenth Century monastery hidden deep in the countryside between the cities of Milan and Pavia. After our visit to this stunning piece of Italian history we return for a free late afternoon/evening at Cascina Ca' Bella.
Day Four – (Fine Dining and Natural Beauty Day)
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Bobbio – Medieval Town, Roman Bridge, Ancient Monastery, Beautiful Scenery
Today begins with a scenic drive through the stunning countryside of the Staffora and Trebbia Valleys in Southern Lombardy and Emilia Romagna respectively. After crossing the Monte Penice pass we head down to the charming medieval town of Bobbio, in the Emilia Romagna region. Lunch is in the town’s most elegant restaurant - "Il Piacentino", which is well known for its delicious anti pasti and "primi". Afterwards you get the chance to explore this little gem of a town. Two beautiful churches, a fourteen hundred year old monastery and a beautiful Roman Bridge that is full of character, are just some of the delights of Bobbio waiting to be discovered! Later this afternoon we may also be able to catch up with Jim and Lynette's good friends, Oliviero and Adelaide Masi. If Oliviero and Adelaide are at home, we can experience the gorgeous grounds of their stunning house and property, and guests are also able to peruse and purchase a range of artwork produced by them both. Oliviero and Adelaide are professional artists who have exhibited work internationally over a period of over 30 years. In the evening you can simply unwind at "La Cascina Ca' Bella", or take a leisurely passeggiata to San Sebastiano, where you can enjoy a gelato, coffee, or delicious glass of wine (or two!), before retiring for the evening.
Day Five – (Walk, Picnic and Pamper Day)
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Abbey of San Alberto Di Butrio and Salice Terme/ Nazzano Optional Walk.
This morning we explore the Abbey of San Alberto di Butrio, a place that exudes spirituality and serenity. It is a medieval gem nestled in a green, lush landscape high in the hills above the Staffora Valley. The Abbey was built nearly a thousand years ago by the noble Malaspina family, for San Alberto, the cave-dwelling hermit-turned Saint who cured their mute son. There is also a most curious tomb located here that is said to have been a temporary resting place for the body of an English King! After our abbey visit we enjoy a delightful picnic together in the surrounding countryside, and after this there is an optional afternoon visit to the nearby town of Salice Terme, which is historically famous for its thermal springs and health spas. Over the years it has been frequented by luminaries such as Julius Caesar, who rested and bathed here on his way back from battle in Gaul. Here you can be experience the spa pools and salt room, enjoying the benefits of its healthy sulphurous water. If you don’t want to have a swim at Salice Terme, you can choose to take a delightful walk in the surrounding countryside. The evening is free and will be spent at Cascina Ca Bella.
Day Six – (Fashion and Style Day- Optional Walking tour with Da Vinci's
Last Supper Fresco visit)
Today we have a free day in Milan, the capital of the region of Lombardy and arguably the fashion capital of the world! After being dropped off in the morning guests will have the whole day to explore the varied and interesting sights of this unique city. There is also a walking tour with a visit to Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper fresco on offer for today. Several interesting itineraries will also be available to guests, depending on whether one is keen on shopping, art or food. Regardless of your desires we will help you to make the most out of your day! After our day out the the late afternoon/evening is free at Cascina Ca Bella.
Day Seven – (Wining and Dining Day)
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Visit to Medieval Town and Castle – Winery Visit - Farewell Dinner!
Today we spend the morning in the hills of the Oltrepo Pavese, a wine production region that is home to almost 500 producers and some very drinkable vino! However, first we visit the quaint township of Zavatarello, where an imposing, centuries old castle is perched right above the town. In the mid morning we move on to an artisan and family- run winery called Ca Del Ge, which is situated 300 metres above sea level and on the 45th parallel. The owners, Sara, Stefania and Carlo Padroggi, are passionate about their business , and their pride and joy is their“Passito” - a sweet, still wine made from either Moscato (Muscat) or Croatina grapes. After our morning winery visit we head back to the Cascina Ca Bella for a relaxing afternoon for guests to prepare for tomorrow's departure, and our farewell dinner at the Tenuta Terensano farmhouse. Tonight we sample some delicious local wine in conjunction with some local dishes especially prepared by the owner, Valentina, who is a veritable expert in local wine and produce!
Day Eight – (Farewell Day)
Departure for Milan Malpensa Airport and Voghera train station - End of Tour
Today we say farewell to the lush rolling hills of Southern Piedmont and Lombardy. After breakfast, you will be taken either to Milan’s Malpensa Airport, or the train station at Voghera. Alternatively you can make your own arrangements for your onward journey.