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Culinary Highlights of Italy

12 days from $6,415pp

What is tailor made? 100% custom | Exceptional experiences | Hand-picked guides | Lodging with character | Designed to your schedule, budget & interests

    Places visited:

  • Venice
  • Bologna
  • Florence
  • Gaiole in Chianti
  • San Casciano in Val di Pesa
  • Tuscany
  • Rome
  • Hunt for truffles with an expert guide and his truffle dog.

  • Explore Venice’s traditional bacaros (wine bars) and sample their famous cicchetti appetizers.

  • Tour the beehives at a medieval Tuscan castle, followed by a honey tasting.

  • Visit local producers of speciality Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese, prosciutto and aged balsamic vinegar.

  • Take a walking food tour around Rome’s Campo di Fiori and Jewish ghetto.

Audley Travel Specialist Lindsay

What our specialists say...

Italy has built a strong and illustrious reputation around its food, producing some of the world’s best pasta, meat and cheese. As diverse as the country’s regions, Italian cuisine is among the most popular in the world. On this itinerary, you dive head first into Italy’s food culture and sample some of the best of what the country has to offer when it comes to food and wine.

We recommend this trip for:

  • Venice
  • Bologna
  • Florence
  • Gaiole in Chianti
  • San Casciano in Val di Pesa
  • Tuscany
  • San Casciano in Val di Pesa
  • Florence
  • Rome

Itinerary idea in detail

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Day 1 Venice

Venice

Arriving in Venice, you travel by private water taxi across the lagoon and then head through the canals to your hotel in the heart of the island, enjoying some wonderful views of the city along the way. After you have settled in, a private guide will meet you at your hotel and walk you through the maze of alleyways that line the smaller canals on an evening food stroll around the city's traditional bacaros (wine bars), famous for their tasty appetizers known as cicchetti.

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Day 2 Venice

Venice

Today you embark on a private half-day tour of the islands of Murano and Burano. Your private guide will escort you to your water taxi for the short ride across the lagoon. Murano is known for its glass production and Burano for its lace craft. On Murano you have an opportunity to see a master glass blower work on one of his creations. Once in Burano you will be enchanted by its brightly painted houses and, if you're lucky, you may even get to see one of the local women stitching lace.

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Day 3 Bologna

Venice , Bologna

This morning you travel by private water taxi to Venice's Santa Lucia station for your train journey to Bologna (premier class). The journey takes just over two hours. On arrival, you're met by a private driver and driven to your luxurious hotel in the heart of the city. In the afternoon, your private guide will take you on a tour of the city, showing you sights such as the Basilica di San Petronio and the Anatomical Theatre of the Archiginnasio.

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Day 4 Bologna

Bologna

Today, you spend a full day on a gastronomic tour of the Emilia-Romagna region, home of balsamic vinegar, prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese. You'll learn about the techniques used to produce Parmigiano-Reggiano, visit a factory to see how prosciutto is cured, and see barrels where balsamic vinegar is kept. There will be ample opportunity to taste each of these food specialties along the way.

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Day 5 Florence

Bologna , Florence

This morning, you're driven to Bologna Centrale station for your train to Florence. Arriving in Florence, you're taken to your hotel, with the rest of your day at leisure to explore the city. We suggest starting in the Piazza del Duomo, where you can visit the Duomo, Florence's cathedral.

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Day 6 Florence

Florence

This morning, you'll enjoy a private cooking class with a professional local chef. During the class, you'll cook a traditional Tuscan menu, including pasta made from scratch, which you'll then enjoy for lunch. The afternoon is yours to explore more of the city at leisure. We highly recommend going for a stroll along the banks of the Arno or whiling away the afternoon in the Bargello, an art museum that displays works by Michelangelo and Donatello.

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Day 7 Florence

Florence

Heading out of the city today by private car, you journey into the Tuscan hills to learn about the art of truffle hunting. Truffles are one of the region's culinary delights, and you'll accompany a local expert and his truffle dog through the woods as they search for these hidden treasures. Afterwards, you're treated to a truffle-tasting lunch, when you can sample these delicacies in a range of dishes.

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Day 8 San Casciano in Val di Pesa

Florence , Gaiole in Chianti , San Casciano in Val di Pesa

Leaving Florence this morning, your private driver takes you into the heart of Tuscany. Your hotel, Villa il Poggiale, was a noble country retreat in the 1400s and is now a place for a relaxing stay in the countryside. Its well-equipped spa is a particularly luxurious highlight.

Accommodation

Day 9 San Casciano in Val di Pesa

Tuscany , San Casciano in Val di Pesa

Learn about the art of beekeeping and honey production today at Castello di Meleto, a medieval castle in the Tuscan countryside. The castle is known for its honey-making, and you can visit its beehives in full beekeeping gear to sample a range of different honeys that the castello produces. Afterwards you can enjoy lunch paired with wines also produced on the estate.

Accommodation

Day 10 Rome

San Casciano in Val di Pesa , Florence , Rome

Heading back to Florence's train station today, you travel by rail to Rome (a 90-minute journey in premium class) and are driven to your hotel on arrival. You then have time to relax and settle in before embarking on a privately guided visit to the Colosseum and Roman Forum.

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Day 11 Rome

Rome

This morning, you're escorted on a food-oriented tour of Rome's Campo di Fiori and Jewish ghetto. You can sample pizza fresh from the oven, the typical Roman-Jewish fried artichokes alla Giudecca, and some excellent Italian espresso. Later, you tour Rome by Vespa, seeing the city from a local Roman's perspective as you whiz through the streets and take in the sights.

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Day 12 Return home

Rome

This morning, your private driver will take you to Rome's airport for your flight.

Chandler Lupo
Audley Travel specialist Derek

Contact a specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to Italy will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip. Your dedicated specialist will take the time to understand your preferences and build them into an itinerary to match, working to your budget. He or she will keep perfecting it until you’re completely happy and ready to book.

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When to go

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