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Culinary Italy: An Exploration of Regional Tastes and Traditions

Program Number: 19670RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/12/2013 - 9/24/2013; 9/12/2014 - 9/24/2014; 5/16/2015 - 5/28/2015; 9/12/2015 - 9/24/2015;
Duration: 12 nights
Location: Italy
Price starting at: $3,721.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Food & Wine
Meals: 27; 10 Breakfasts, 2 Brunches, 8 Lunches, 7 Dinners    

The mouthwatering cuisine of Italy owes as much to the history and geography of the country as it does to its ingredients and chefs who prepare it. Get a taste of Italy’s gastronomic culture and local food industries as you make your way through the regions of Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany.




Highlights

• Attend a cooking lesson at the International Academy of Italian Cuisine held by Chef Gianluca Pardini.
• Sample grappa at the Distilleria Nardini in Bassano del Grappa.
• Get a local view of Italian food products during visits to a parmesan cheese factory, balsamic vinegar producer and numerous local vineyards.



Activity Particulars

Some walking and standing on flat city sidewalks and even terrain.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Venice, coach to Conegliano, 4 nights; coach to Parma, 3 nights; coach to Montecatini Terme, 4 nights; coach to Florence, departure.



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Venice
Coach to Conegliano
4 nights

During lectures led by local experts, learn about the cuisine and culinary traditions of Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany, as well as how Italian cuisine has been influenced by the country’s history and geography. Noted for its dry white Prosecco — and its status as home to Italy’s oldest and most prestigious wine school — Conegliano welcomes you for an exploration of its vineyards and castle. A field trip to Valdobbiadene introduces you to the Bellussi prosecco wine factory, while an excursion to Bassano del Grappa offer a look at the Distilleria Nardini grappa producer. Journey to Venice to experience the abundance of the Rialto Market and dine at an osteria.



Coach to Parma
3 nights

With a local expert, explore the city of Parma and learn about its history as the richest gastronomic region in Italy. View the inner workings of the parmigiano reggiano cheese factory in Baganzolino and walk through the wine cellars of Ariola during a field trip to Calicella di Pilastro. Learn about the balsamic vinegar produced on the Acetaia Farini and delight in a private evening opera concert.



Coach to Montecatini Terme
4 nights
Coach to Florence
Departure

Experience the local character of Montecatini during an expert-led exploration of this hillside village. Savor a traditional Tuscan lunch during an excursion to San Gimignano, and visit the wine cellars at Castello di Verrazzano. Walk through the local market of Montecatini before taking in a cooking class at the International Academy of Italian Cuisine.




Italy

“Dolce far niente,” the “sweetness of doing nothing.” This ode to leisure is a distinctly Italian phrase, and yet the expression does not do justice to the hard-work ethos of the nation’s inhabitants. The monuments, art and civilization bequeathed to the people of modern Italy are a testament to the industry of their forebearers, and the legacy lives on in today’s Italians, who work hard to better enjoy the sweetness of repose.



Accommodations
Conegliano: Four-star hotel in the heart of the city; Parma: Four-star hotel located in the historic district; Montecatini Terme: Four-star hotel.
Meals and Lodgings
   Best Western Hotel Canon D'oro
  Conegliano (TV), Italy 4 nights
   Hotel Torino
  Parma, Italy 3 nights
   Hotel Cellai
  Florence, Italy 4 nights
 Best Western Hotel Canon D'oro
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Hotel Canon d’Oro is housed in a 16-th century palace, formerly the home of a pawnshop (Monte di Pietà), with a completely frescoed façade, dating back to 1524, located on the old Contrada Granda, the high street, now called Via XX Settembre. Initially owned by the Confraternità dei Battuti (Confraternity of Flagellants), a group of pious men who founded the town’s cathedral and, later on, its hospital, the building was used as a pawnshop until 1794. Privately owned since 1830, it was then used as a place of refreshment and hospitality in the form of a traditional inn, later as a restaurant with rooms, and now as a hotel. Listed among the historical public establishments of the Veneto region and classified as a period residence since 1980, the Capraro family follows the ownership and management of the restaurant. In 2011 the Hotel joined the Best Western chain.
  Contact info: Via XX Settembre, 131
Conegliano,   Italy
phone: +39 043834246
web: www.hotelcanondoro.it
  Room amenities: Classical rooms with clean, essential lines,, a welcoming atmosphere, the warmth of wood and the comfort of all conveniences – the ideal solution for a quiet and pleasant stay.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: DBL: Euro 120 SGL: Euro 85 Advanced reservation required and depending upon availability. Please also check the hotel website for special offers.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Hotel Torino
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: In the heart of the city, instead of an ancient monastery bombed during the II World War, in the 60's has been partially rebuilt and used as a hotel. Today, it continues its tradition of hospitality and refined after a thorough restructuring aimed to revive the feeling of staying in nice home's atmosphere. The sweet welcome of this residence bring you to the history of the city itself, passing from the Regio Theatre, near the Baptistery, the Cathedral, the Old Pharmacy of St. John and His Church until the oldest University in Italy.
  Contact info: Borgo Angelo Mazza 7
Parma,  43100 Italy
phone: +39 0521 281046
web: www.hotel-torino.it
  Room amenities: Single room: With its convenient, comfortable mattress is the simplest of our rooms. Some are located along the perimeter of the hotel, and some serve as the backdrop to our winter-garden. Equipped with all comforts, all have an architectural or decorative details that distinguish it from others. Double room: Larger and therefore more comfortable than single rooms, suited to the individual traveller who needs more comfort, or to the couple seeking the best quality - price. Is available with two double beds
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hotel Cellai
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Hotel Cellai is located in the heart of the historic center of Florence in an extremely characteristic and quiet area. It is surrounded by the extraordinary beauty of churches, buildings and monuments which are unique to this city. On entering this exclusive hotel in Florence, you will immediately sense its special atmosphere as being one of warmth and intimacy, relaxation and charm. An atmosphere that makes you feel like being at home, with each detail passionately chosen and each room deserving a visit, not to mention our personal attention offered to each guest. Its style recalls that of the ancient inns of times past where young, European aristocrats stayed while discovering the beauty and artistic mysteries on offer in Italy.
  Contact info: Via 27 Aprile 14, 52r
Florence,  50129 Italy
phone: + 011 39 055 489291
web: www.hotelcellai.it
  Room amenities: The special, defined style of the 55 rooms is combined with high quality comforts, ensuring your stay is even more pleasurable: air conditioning, direct telephone, satellite color TV, minibar, private bathroom.
  Facility amenities: Flooring in stone or terracotta, stone arches, antique furniture and priceless, artistic furnishing accessories characterize the many lounges available to guests wishing to read or relax in the company of others. Some of the most evocative rooms include the splendid Fireplace lounge, the Garibaldi lounge and the Terrace, a sort of "open lounge area" overlooking the Florence skyline. The breakfast room is a "winter garden" with a large skylight where guests are served a delicious, candlelight breakfast each morning, with classical music playing in the background.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: DBL BB €150.00 SGL BB €120.00. Advanced reservation required and depending upon availability.
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Start Time: Hotel check in time 3:00 pm or 4:00 pm Program begins at 6:00 pm in the hotel lobby. You will be staying at Best Western Hotel Canon D'oro that night.
  End of Program:
End Time: 6:00 am in the lobby of the hotel. For later departures check out is at 11:00 or 12:00pm You will be staying at Hotel Cellai the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Passport are needed; no visa required for US citizens in Italy
  Parking availability:
Parking is free for the length of the program at the Hotel
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: No trains or buses available to site.
To Start of Program
  Location:  In flight
  Transportation to site: There will be a shuttle bus available to participants (with included air from Road Scholar) from the airport to the Hotel. Transfer service from the airport to your Hotel is provided on the day of the group arrival only
  From End of Program
  Location:  Florence
  Nearest highway: Autostrada A1
  Nearest airport:  Florence airport (Peretola)
  Transportation from site: There will be a shuttle bus available to participants (with included air from Road Scholar) from the Hotel to the airport. Transfer service from the Hotel to the hotel is provided on the day of the group departure only
 
Driving Directions
  n/a n/a
Elevation Note: There is no elevation above 3000 feet

Equipment Requirements: No equipment is required
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: In Flight
(Thursday, September 12)
   
 In Transit: Overnight in transit

Day 2: Check in- Snack- Orientation & Meeting. Lecture "Contrasts of three Regions: Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany." Welcome Drink.
(Friday, September 13)
   
 Afternoon: Check in and snack. Orientation Meeting/Presentation of the program Introduction to the Program “Contrasts of three regions: Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany”. An illustration of the differences existing among the cuisine of these three regions - Veneto as a great merchant region (Venice) has had a tremendous influence on its cuisine, trade with the Arabs led to the introduction of rice, the same commerce also brought « baccala’ from North Europe - Tuscany, considered the sum of the features of the Italian Cuisnein general and the Mediterranean diet, is a simple cooking with simple ingredients linked to a rural tradition and goes back to the Etruscans ; - Emilia-Romagna, Italy’s capital of gastronomy, with a reputation that goes back to ancient times (Papal domination and Malatesta Family) is the result of a long-held respect for genuine properties, culinary tradition, and the safeguard of natural flavors. Welcome drink
 Dinner: Dinner at the Hotel
   
Accommodations: Best Western Hotel Canon D'oro
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Lecture on "An Overview of Italy's Historical Roots and Geography and the Impact on What We Eat." Lecture on "The Culinary Traditions of the Veneto: From Origin to Today" Visit to the medieval village of Conegliano.
(Saturday, September 14)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: - Lecture « An Overview of Italy’s Historical Roots and Geography and the Impact on What we Eat » Italy is a country of great variety, and cooking is just another aspect of the diversity of Italian culture. This diversity stems largely from history, peasant heritage and geographical differences. But geographical fragmentation alone does not explain the culinary diversity existing from north to south. The explanation is hidden in the past; the multitudes of food styles of Italy mainly result from its history. The Etruscans, Greeks, Romans, Arabs all of these populations have fascinated and influenced generations in the centuries that followed. The lecture also includes hints on how and why the geographic and climatic diversity of the Italian Peninsula brings the heavy differences in regional cooking. - Lecture “The Culinary Traditions of the Veneto: From Origin to Today”
 Lunch: Lunch at the Hotel
 Afternoon: Visit to Conegliano.Conegliano is a town and comune of Veneto, Italy, in the province of Treviso, about 30 kilometres (19 mi) north by rail from the town of Treviso. The remains of a castle that was built in the tenth century remain on a nearby hill. Formerly belonging to the Bishop of Vittorio Veneto, what remains—mostly a bell tower—now houses a small museum. Conegliano is noted for its wine, chiefly the dry white Prosecco (made from the grape of the same name) which comes in three varieties: tranquillo (still), frizzante (slightly sparkling) and spumante (sparkling). It is also home to Italy's oldest and most prestigious wine school.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own
   
Accommodations: Best Western Hotel Canon D'oro
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Visit to a Prosecco Wine Factory. Excursion to medieval village of Bassano del Grappa. Visit to Grappa Factory, where Architect Fuksas created a gigantic distillery apparatus for making aquavit, with two glass-coated balls reflected on "artificial pond"
(Sunday, September 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Field trip to Valdobbiadene. Visit to the Bellussi prosecco wine factory. Prosecco is a late-ripening, delicate white wine grape which is grown extensevily in the Valdobbianese area. Wine tasting
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant
 Afternoon: Field trip to Bassano del Grappa. Visit to the “Distilleria Nardini” grappa producer, to admire a sort of gigantic distillery apparatus for makin aquavit. The apparatus, designed by architect Massimiliano Fukas has two-coated balls reflected on an “artificial pond” creating a space for reverberations and reflections. Then there is a second type of architecture underground, a massive counterpart to the external design. Two complementary worlds in symbiosis, one delicate and suspended , the other a variegated world excavated in the ground like a cavern. Grappa tasting
 Dinner: Dinner on your own
   
Accommodations: Best Western Hotel Canon D'oro
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Excursion to Venice. Visit the "Rialto" Market, a centuries old market for fruit, fish and vegetables. An opportunity to catch the flavor of local atmosphere mingling with the local residents.
(Monday, September 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Hotel
 Morning: Departure to Venice. Visit to the Rialto Market, rich with vegetables, fruit, fish and other foodstuffs, a beautiful show for everybody, a really visual feast. The visit is followed by a lunch at an Osteria to taste a typical local meal.
 Lunch: Lunch at an Osteria with explaination of local specialties
 Afternoon: Free Time
 Dinner: Dinner at the Hotel
   
Accommodations: Best Western Hotel Canon D'oro
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Departure to Parma-check in at hotel. Lecture on "History of Emilian Cuisine" Guided tour of Parma: visit the Duomo and the Museo Glauco Lombardi with its prestigious collection of art and historical items.
(Tuesday, September 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Hotel
 Morning: Departure to Parma. Arrival at Jolly Hotel Stendhal in Parma and check in.
 Lunch: Lunch at the Jolly Hotel Stendhal
 Afternoon: Lecture “History of the Emilia-Romagna Cuisine”, the richest gastronomic region in Italy. Its capital, Bologna is probably the only city in Italy whose name is associated in the Italian mind not with monuments but with food. The origin of the Emilia-Romagna cuisine goes back to ancient times (papal domination and Malatesta Family). The region deserves to be called Italy’s capital of gastronomy, thanks to its long-held respect for genuine properties, culinary tradition, and the safeguard of natural flavors. Guided visit of Parma.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel
   
Accommodations: Hotel Torino
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Visit to a Prosciutto Factory; learn how it is produced and what you need to know before buying the worlds most famous ham. Visit to a Parmesan Cheese Factory. Visit to Ariola's Cellar producing great wines from a land of traditions.
(Wednesday, September 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Departure to Baganzolino and visit to a Parmesan Cheese Factory. Excursion to Calicella di Pilastro. Visit to the Ariola cellars. Ariola's vineyard stretches on hillsides between 220 and 300 meters from the sea-level. Quality of soil, slimy and clayey, slope of hills, their orientation, their excellent exposure to the sun, produce ideal conditions to vine becomes best ripe; this is the secret of Ariola's wines.
 Brunch: Brunch at the Casale del Groppone
 Afternoon: Return to the hotel. Free time in Parma. Cooking demonstration held by the hotel restaurant chef.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel
   
Accommodations: Hotel Torino
Meals Included: Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner

Day 8: Visit to the "Acetaia di Giorgio" to discover magic of tradition and craftsmanship of the precious Balsamic Vinegar of Modern DOP Acetaia Di Giorgio.
(Thursday, September 19)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Visit to the « Acetaia Farini », whose family name and its vinegar goes along with that of Duchy of Modena belonged to the House of Este. The Acetaia Farini produces the authentic balsamic vinegar not to be confused with the « industrial » one found on the market.
 Brunch: Lunch at the local restaurant
 Afternoon: Return to the Hotel and Free time.
 Dinner: Dinner at the "Corale Verdi" with private Opera concert
   
Accommodations: Hotel Torino
Meals Included: Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner

Day 9: Departure to Florence. Check in/ Lecture
(Friday, September 20)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at Hotel
 Morning: Check in at Hotel Cellai.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel
 Afternoon: Lecture on: « History of the Tuscan Cuisine from the Etruscans and the Medici Family Until Today ». A description of dishes that were prepared centuries ago and that can be found on today’s Florentine tables.
 Dinner: Dinner at the local restaurant
   
Accommodations: Hotel Cellai
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: San Gimignano/Experience the warmth of the hospitality of a lovely Italian family at the Fattoria San Donato whose owners (Federica and Umberto) will offer a lunch based on local specialties.
(Saturday, September 21)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Departure to San Gimignano. Guided visit of San Gimignano
 Lunch: Lunch at the Fattoria di San Donato. Enjoy a typical Tuscan lunch based on - Ricotte alle erbe con pomodori secchi sott’olio, - cipolline all’aceto di Chianti , melanzane al funghetto, peperoni aromatizzati all’aceto di Vernaccia, cipolline in agrodolce olive, verdure sott’olio . - Insalata di farro con pomodoro fresco e basilico - Gorgonzola naturale con olio extravergine di oliva prezzemolo e limone - formaggi pecorini locali accompagnati da miele di produzione locale - salumi toscani (prosciutto, salame, finocchiona, salame piccante,) - bruschetta con olio extra vergine di oliva e aglio - Vinsanto di San Gimignano doc con cantuccini alle mandorle Wines served : Vernaccia di San Gimignano Docg tradizionale Chianti Colli senesi Docg tradizionale Vinsanto di San Gimignano doc
 Afternoon: Return to the Hotel. Free time
 Dinner: Dinner on your own
   
Accommodations: Hotel Cellai
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11: Departure to the Fabbrica di San Martino producing biological products: wine & oil/Visit to the farmhouse / Cooking demonstration at the International Academy of Italian Cuisine held by Gianluca
(Sunday, September 22)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Departure to the Fabbrica di San Martino producing biological products: wine & oil and visit to Farmhouse.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant
 Afternoon: Cooking demonstration at the International Academy of Italian Cuisine held by Gianluca Pardini at Vicopelago (Lucca) Antipasto : Cheese souffle’ in a sauce of vegetables First course Fettuccine in tomato sauce with arugola pesto Second course :Cicken cacciatora (summer receipe) Dessert: Tart with ricotta cheese and wild berries
 Dinner: Dinner at cooking school
   
Accommodations: Hotel Cellai
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Lecture on "Good Health and good eating" Field Trip to Castello Verazzano to enjoy a "Wine and Food Experience"
(Monday, September 23)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Lecture « Good Health and Goos Eating » held by the nutrizionist Ted Metcalfe. The lecture deals with the health benefits from olive oils, wines, tomatoes, fish and the way the Italians eat. Departure to the Castello di Verrazzano (Chianti Area) Lecture "wine production at Verrazzano Estate." Visit of the Castle's cellars and gardens. The structure was an Etruscan then a roman settlement before becoming the property of the Verrazzano family in the VII century. It is located on a hilltop in the Chianti Classico area, the first grape growing and wine producing area in the world to be determined by an official proclamation, made by the grand Duke Cosimo III de' Medici in 1716. Its high position, over the Greve valley, was once of strategic-military importance: today it is possible to easily overlook the vineyards which fan out across the slopes to the edges of the wood further down the valley.
 Lunch: Lunch at Castello di Verazzano
 Afternoon: Return to the hotel. Free time
 Dinner: Dinner on your own
   
Accommodations: Hotel Cellai
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Parma General Overview
Museums and Galleries, Churches
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Vino Italiano


Author: Joseph Bastianich


World Atlas of Wine


Author: Hugh Johnson


Italian Wine


Author: Hazan Victor


Travellers Wine Guide to Italy


Author: Edition Stephen Hobley




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