Day 1: Sunday, September 30th 2018
Meals included: Dinner
Individual Arrivals; Meet and mingle with your fellow travelers during a Welcome Reception and Dinner at our hotel, the 5-star Royal Carlton Hotel located in Bologna’s historic center and surrounded by a large garden.
Day 2: Monday, October 1st
Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch (lunch is the main meal of the day)
The day begins with our “Discover Bologna” walking tour. Designed to serve as an introduction to the city and its history, we will visit the key sights in Bologna, including Piazza Maggiore, San Petronio Cathedral, the remarkable anatomy theater in the Archiginnasio, the historic market area with its colorful food stalls, Santa Maria della Vita church (with an important sculpture by Niccolò dell’Arca), Piazza della Mercanzia, and the famous Due Torri (Two Towers).
After lunch, we’ll continue for a private guided visit of Santo Stefano, dating from the 4th century and designed in homage to Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This labyrinth of interconnected ecclesiastical structures contains architecture spanning centuries of Bolognese history and incorporating Romanesque, Lombard and even ancient Roman elements. Originally there were seven churches – hence the basilica’s nickname Sette Chiese – but only four remain intact today. The spectacular mosaic brickwork in an inner courtyard is not to be missed!
Dates and Prices
October 7, 2018
from USD $ 3,250
Day 4: Wednesday, October 3rd
Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch
We’re off on a full-day gastronomic excursion to discover Emilia Romagna through its famous flavors: balsamic vinegar, Modena ham, Parmigiano Reggiano, and wines of the Bolognese hills. This special tour will take us to local farms, factories and vineyards where we’ll hear the stories of the regional culinary tradition, abundant with loving passion for quality and excellence. And, of course, we will taste the fruits of that tradition!
The day begins with a visit to a caseificio (artisanal cheese factory) where we experience the entire production process of Parmigiano Reggiano — the KING of cheese! We will be treated to a full tasting of cheeses aged 12 and 24 months. We continue on to one of the region’s historic acetaia, a family-owned farmhouse where the famous traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena is made. We’ll savor the distinct and delightful aroma of this certified “black gold” (aged for a minimum of 12 years) and learn about the methods and wood barrels used to produce this artisanal treasure. Another tasting opportunity allows us to compare different ages and varieties. Then off the beaten path to one of the best prosciutto makers of the region where we’ll meet a family that has been committed to making top quality prosciutto for over three generations. Yet again, another opportunity for a tasting, together with some wine! As if we hadn’t done enough snacking already, we now head to lunch at a trattoria in the countryside, eating and drinking the best food and wine the region has to offer. And after lunch, we will have one more stop for a wine tasting.
Day 6: Friday, October 5th
Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch
A full-day excursion to Parma, where we will visit some of the most important historic and architectural venues of the city. The Cathedral of Parma has stood for over 900 years as a place of art, history and sacred worship. We’ll view the bas-reliefs by Benedetto Antelami, the cathedral’s Romanesque architecture, and the grand frescoes in the cathedral dome by Antonio Allegri, known as Correggio. The Baptistery was designed by Benedetto Antelami and built between 1196 and 1216. It is one of the most important monuments of the transition from Romanesque to early Gothic architecture. We’ll continue on to the church of San Giovanni Evangelista, built for the Benedictine order between 1498 and 1510. Correggio painted the frescoes of the cupola in this church between 1520 and 1524, taking the first step towards illusionist freedom that Baroque art would become famous for. We’ll also visit the Chamber of Saint Paul with its magnificent frescoes, painted by Correggio in 1519 and considered to be true masterpieces of Italian High Renaissance art. We’ll complete our tour with a visit to the Teatro Farnese in the Palazzo della Pilotta, a Baroque-style theatre built in 1618 by Giovanni Battista Aleotti. Designed for tournament operas - a mix of opera and depictions of battles - it became a model for Baroque theatre by virtue of its size and a new element: a monumental proscenium that divides the stage and the auditorium. The action on stage could be continued in the arena of the auditorium that, amazingly, could be filled with water to stage sea battles!
We’ll finish the afternoon with a private recital and a visit to the luthier workshop of Elisa Scrollavezza and Andrea Zanre to learn more about the craft of making fine stringed instruments.
Day 7: Saturday, October 6th
Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner
FREE DAY for sightseeing and shopping. Lunch on your own.
Optional Activity: In the morning there will be an optional pasta-making workshop (additional fee). This three-hour, hands-on cooking class allows participants to immerse themselves in the flavors of traditional Emilia-Romagna cuisine with a focus on the preparation of gnocchi, tagliatelle and tortellini as well as traditional Bolognese sauce (ragù) and classic marinara tomato sauce. The workshop includes lunch with regional wines.
Farewell Gala Dinner
At the end of our wonderful week in Emilia-Romagna, we will celebrate with a private recital by Stefano Marcocchi and Isabella Bison, baroque viola and violin. Then a gala dinner at Ristorante I Portici, a star on the gastronomic scene in Bologna with its contemporary expression of a great creative kitchen and care for quality ingredients. Chef Agostino Iacobucci, a young chef from Castellammare, has conquered the city with his authentic Neapolitan cuisine. A touch of southern Italy amongst the arcades of Bologna!
Day 8: Sunday, October 7th
Meals included: Breakfast
Individual Departures - Check-out by 11:00 am