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Culinary Italy: An Exploration of Regional Tastes and Traditions

Program Number: 19670RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/16/2015 - 5/28/2015; 9/12/2015 - 9/24/2015;
Duration: 12 nights
Location: Italy
Price starting at: $3,499.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Food & Wine
Meals: 22; 10 Breakfasts, 2 Brunches, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Salt; Low Fat; Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

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 Button
  Parma, Italy 3 nights
   Grand Hotel Plaza
  Montecatini Terme, 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
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: DBL € 120 SGL € 90 B/B Advanced reservation required and depending upon availability. Please send an e-mail to ffigliuolo@exploreitaly.net or call (781) 899-0900 City tax if applied it has to be paid locally: roughly cost: € 5,00 per person per night Please ALSO check the hotel website for special offers
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Hotel Button
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Hotel Button, an inviting three star hotel in the heart of the historical and commercial centre of Parma near Piazza Garibaldi, boasts a range of services guaranteeing a comfortable and relaxing experience for guests. The elegant facility, dating back to the late 1700s, consists in four levels and has been furnished in a neoclassic style. The hotel is situated in a strategic position, just a few minutes' walk from major historical and cultural icons of the city: Cathedral, Baptistery, Santa Maria della Steccata, Glauco Lombardi Museum, Palazzo della Pilotta, Ducale Park, Regio Theatre, Farnese Theatre, National Galleries, Pinacoteca Stuard, the Courts and the faculties of Law, Economics and Psychology. Furthermore, the hotel is just a twenty minute drive from the renowned and chic outlet, Fidenza Village, a must-see for all shopping enthusiasts and more.
  Contact info: Borgo della Salina, 7
Parma,  43121 Italy
phone: +39 0521-208039
web: www.hotelbutton.it
  Room amenities: Hotel Button in Parma boasts 40 comfortable rooms, all with an abundance of natural light and practical furnishings. All rooms include: Air conditioning Colour satellite TV Telephone Phone line connection for PC Wireless internet connection Safe Deposit Box
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Grand Hotel Plaza
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Grand Hotel Plaza e Locanda Maggiore features a restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. . Business-related amenities at this 4.0-star property include technology support staff and secretarial services. Meeting facilities include conference rooms, exhibit space, banquet facilities, and meeting rooms for small groups. This 4.0-star property also offers a bar/lounge, wireless Internet access, and a seasonal outdoor pool.
  Contact info: P.zza del Popolo 7
Montecatini Terme (PT),  51016 Italy
phone: +39 0572 75831
web: www.hotelplaza.it
  Room amenities: Grand Hotel Plaza e Locanda Maggiore offers 96 guestrooms. Televisions come with satellite television channels. Wireless Internet access is provided along with direct-dial phones and in-room safes. Refrigerators are available in guestrooms. Bathrooms include bidets and hair dryers. Other amenities include minibars and air conditioning. Amenities available on request include extra towels/bedding and wake-up calls.
  Facility amenities: Wireless Internet access Air conditioning Direct-dial phone Internet access (surcharge) Refrigerator Minibar Wake-up calls Extra towels/bedding Private bathroom Hair dryer Sewing kit Bidet Satellite television service In-room safe Desk Window opens
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: € 105,00 DBL, € 68,00 SGL B/B Advanced reservation required and depending upon availability. Please send an e-mail to ffigliuolo@exploreitaly.net or call (781) 899-0900 City tax if applied it has to be paid locally: roughly cost: € 5,00 per person per night Please also check the hotel website for special offers.
  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 Grand Hotel Plaza 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, only taxis
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
  From End of Program
  Location:  Montecatini Terme
  Nearest city or town:  Pistoia
  Nearest highway: A11 Highway Firenze-Mare
  Nearest airport:  Florence airport
  Transportation from site: There will be a shuttle bus available to participants (with included air from Road Scholar) from the Hotel to the airport
 
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
(Saturday, September 12)
   
 In Transit: Overnight in transit

Day 2: Check in, snack, orientation meeting, introduction to the program, welcome drink
(Sunday, 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 local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Best Western Hotel Canon D'oro
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Lecture, Lecture, lunch at local restaurant and free time.
(Monday, 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 local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free time in Conegliano.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own
   
Accommodations: Best Western Hotel Canon D'oro
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Valdobbiadene, Visit to prosecco wine factory, Bassano del Grappa, visit to grappa factory.
(Tuesday, 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 complimentary 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: Free time and Excursion to Venice/ Guided visit: Exploring Venice
(Wednesday, September 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Hotel
 Morning: Excursion to Venice. Guided visit : "Exploring Venice"
 Lunch: Lunch on your own
 Afternoon: Free time in Venice. Return to the hotel
 Dinner: Dinner on your own
   
Accommodations: Best Western Hotel Canon D'oro
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6: Castell'Arquato. Departure to Parma, check in at the Hotel, Lecture,
(Thursday, September 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Hotel
 Morning: Departure to Castell’Arquato The village has retained its medieval structure and, as per scholars, the appearance of the town is still what it was like in the 10th century. Guided visit of Castell’Arquato.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant
 Afternoon: Departure to Parma. Check in at the Hotel 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.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own
   
Accommodations: Hotel Button
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Transfer to Acetaia Malpighi, visit to the Acetaia, authentic balsamic vinegar. Lunch at Acetaia. Return to Parma and guided tour of the city Free time
(Friday, September 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Visit to the « Acetaia Malpighi» The Acetaia Malpighi produces the authentic balsamic vinegar not to be confused with the « industrial » one found on the market.
 Brunch: Lunch at the Acetaia
 Afternoon: Return to the Hotel and guided tour of Parma: visit to the Duomo and to the Museo Glauco Lombardi with its prestigious collection of art and historical items regarding Maria Luigia of Habsgurg and her first husband Napoleon .
 Dinner: Dinner at the local restaurant
   
Accommodations: Hotel Button
Meals Included: Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner

Day 8: Visit to cheese factory, Visit prosciutto factory, Calicella di Pilastro, Visit to the Ariola's cellar.
(Saturday, September 19)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Departure to "Consorzio formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano" and visit to a Parmesan Cheese Factory. Field trip to prosciutto di Parma factory and prosciutto tasting. 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 hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own
   
Accommodations: Hotel Button
Meals Included: Breakfast, Brunch

Day 9: Departure to Montecatini Terme. Check in. Guided visit to Montecatini and lecture
(Sunday, September 20)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at Hotel
 Morning: Departure to Montecatini Terme. Check in at Grand Hotel Plaza.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel restaurant
 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. Introduction to Montecatini: guided walk to the neighbourhood, including Montecatini Alto by cable lift. Coffee or cappuccino at a Café’.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel restaurant
   
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Plaza
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Lucca. Cooking demonstration and dinner.
(Monday, September 21)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Excursion to Lucca. Guided visit of medieval Lucca.
 Lunch: Light lunch on your own
 Afternoon: Cooking demonstration at International Academy of Italian Cuisine held by Gianluca Pardini at Vicopelago (LUCCA)
 Dinner: Dinner at Cooking school
   
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Plaza
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11: Lecture. Field trip and guided visit to Castello di Verazzano.
(Tuesday, September 22)
   
 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: Grand Hotel Plaza
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12: San Gimignano.
(Wednesday, September 23)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Departure to San Gimignano. Guided visit of San Gimignano
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Free time at San Gimignano. Return to the Hotel
 Dinner: Dinner at the local restaurant
   
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Plaza
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13: Departure from Florence airport
(Thursday, September 24)
   
 Morning: Morning departure from Florence Airport for flight back to USA

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


Emilia Romagna with Bologna, Parma, Piacenza, Modena, Ferrara, Reggio Emilia, Faenza, Fidenza, Forli, Ravenna and Rimini (Updated Chapter from Blue Guide Northern Italy


Author: Alta Macadam


In Tuscany


Author: Frances Mayes


Italian Wine


Author: Hazan Victor


Venice & The Veneto (Updated Chapter from Blue Guide Northern Italy)


Author: by Alta Macadam


Vino Italiano


Author: Joseph Bastianich


World Atlas of Wine


Author: Hugh Johnson




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