22987
Italy
Abbondanza! Exploring the Cuisine and Culture of Italy
Discover why “eating well means living well” on this sumptuous exploration of gastronomy in Italy. From buffalo mozzarella to olive oil, unravel the secrets of Italian cuisine!
Rating (5)
Program No. 22987RJ
Length
19 days
Starts at
4,999
Flights start at
825
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19 days
18 nights
34 meals
17 B 10 L 7 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Maiori-Italy, Check-In, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Maiori (Salerno)
D
Reginna Palace Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After checking in at the hotel and getting room assignments, we will have some time to freshen up and relax before the lecture on Campania cousin by art historian and our Orientation session. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Unless specified otherwise, the majority of transportation will be provided via motorcoach, thereby necessitating ascending and descending a few steps. All meals include wine, coffee and water. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We’ll then enjoy a welcome cocktail together at the hotel before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant, we’ll have a plated and served meal featuring regional cuisine; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. We will continue getting to know each other, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Paestum, Cooking Demonstration, Free Time
Maiori (Salerno)
B,L
Reginna Palace Hotel

Activity note: The drive to Paestum is about 40 miles (66 km), approximately 1.5 hours. Easy terrain at the farm.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet’s choices include an egg dish, a variety of sliced cold cuts and cheeses, breakfast breads, jams, hot and cold cereals, and fresh fruit.

Morning: We will go on a field trip to the Azienda Barlotti, where an expert working on the farm will explain the techniques of breeding of female buffalos and show how the mozzarella di bufala is made. For a true start-to-finish product experience, our expert led demonstration will be followed by a tasting. About 10 minutes down the road, we will enter the Masseria Eliseo in time for a cooking demonstration held by staff, who also produce buffalo mozzarella and breeds horses. The Barlotti farm works the buffalo milk produced at Masseria Eliseo, in partnership.

Lunch: At the Masseria, we will sample local dishes with wine and water.

Afternoon: We will continue by visiting another local farm in Paestum, around 10 minutes by motor coach, to learn from an expert working for the farm about local productions as Cilento dried figs and typical Cilento pastries, followed by a pastries tasting. Then we will have guided visit to the archeological site of Paestum. We will return to the hotel.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Taurasi, Free Time
Maiori (Salerno)
B,L
Reginna Palace Hotel

Activity note: The drive to Taurasi is about 55 miles (85 km), approximately 2 hours. Flights of stairs with handrail to cellars, stairs with no handrail to castle second floor.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will drive to Taurasi, located in the inland green Irpinia area, for a field trip to the vineyards and cellars of Antonio Caggiano. A local expert working for the azienda will provide site-specific explanations about their production and their wines. The three underground cellars are full of ageing wine barrels.

Lunch: At the azienda at the estate, we will enjoy a delicious lunch featuring regional specialties and different kinds of wine.

Afternoon: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon will be free time.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Capri, Free Time
Maiori (Salerno)
B,D
Reginna Palace Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a jet boat. Approximately 1 hour speed ferry to Capri; some short trips by mini-van. Walking up to 2 miles, about 1 hour with several stops; smooth, flat terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will transfer to Amalfi and board a jet boat to reach Capri Island. Upon arrival, we will explore the island by private minivan with our local expert, who will show us why Capri, sometimes referred to as “the pearl of the Tyrrhenian sea,” is one of the most picturesque places in Campania. Its fame is connected with the myth of Ulysses and the mermaids, but only in the early 19th-century, after the rediscovery of the Grotta Azzurra, a beautiful sea cave, had it begun to be a main destination of the Grand Tour—a lengthy cultural expedition many upper-class European men took between the mid-17th to mid 19th-centuries. Due to this unofficial induction, many famous artists and writers have come here to see the beauty of the grotto and the island.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time in Capri. We will then return to the hotel.

Dinner: At a hotel restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal featuring regional cuisine, plus a glass of wine, mineral water, and coffee; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. We’ll prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
6
Spello, Lecture, Free Time
Spello (Perugia)
B,D
Albergo del Teatro

Activity note: The ride from Maiori to Spello is 261 miles (428 km), about 7 hours including a stop for lunch and rest stops. The motorcoach cannot get in front of the hotel, so the luggage will be brought by car and the group will have to walk a few minutes, 0.3 miles.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel and board our motorcoach to begin our transfer to Spello (Perugia).

Lunch: During our journey, we will stop on the highway for lunch on our own.

Afternoon: We will arrive in Spello, a beautiful hillside town dating back to an ancient Umbri settlement with stone houses ascending Monte Subasio. We’ll check into the hotel for the next three nights. Take some time to relax and settle in. Before dinner, we will enjoy a lecture at the hotel about Umbrian cuisine given by a food expert.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, next to the hotel, we will order from a select menu featuring regional specialties, plus a glass of wine, mineral water, and coffee; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Local Vineyard, Assisi, Free Time
Spello (Perugia)
B,L
Albergo del Teatro

Activity note: The drive to Azienda Agricola Saio is about 11 miles (17 km), approximately 1/2 hour; walking up to 1.5 miles, about 1.5 hours, smooth terrain. Walking in Assisi is about 1 mile and half on flat and easy terrain

Breakfast: At the hotel, the extensive breakfast buffet offers choices such as eggs, sausages, ham, salami, cereals, fruit, pastry, jams, juices, American coffee, tea, water; espresso or cappuccino served at the table.

Morning: From the hotel, we’ll set out to explore the historical center of Spello on foot with a local expert. We will walk the narrow streets, lots of them with cobblestone, and admire the lovely renaissance frescoes by Perugino in the chapel Baglioni. We will then depart via motorcoach to a local vineyard the Azienda Agricola Saio, where we will enjoy a multi-sensory experience in the vineyard, learning from the owners of the azienda about the wine, history, culture, traditions, and production of the local fare through taste, smell, and fun.

Lunch: At the vineyard, we’ll order from a select menu featuring regional specialties plus a glass of wine, mineral water, and coffee.

Afternoon: We’ll take a short ride to nearby Assisi, where we will have a walking field trip with our group leader around town. We will also have time to explore at our own pace this holy town famous as the birthplace of St. Francis, the founder of the Franciscan order. Overlooking the Topino and Ciascio rivers, it also boasts an ancient Roman temple turned Baroque-style church with the Temple of Minera. We will then return to the hotel.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Olive Oil Mill, Montefalco, Free Time
Spello (Perugia)
B,L
Albergo del Teatro

Activity note: Total driving to the Frantoio then to Sportoletti is around 20 minutes. The drive to Montefalco is about 14 miles (24 km), approximately 1/2 hour. Walking up to 1/2 mile; uphill, smooth terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will depart for a field trip only a few minutes away to one of the very first cooperatives of farmers and olive oil producers in Umbria, now associating more than 500 farmers. Following our visit, led by an oil mill expert, we will be treated to an extra virgin DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) olive oil tasting. Spello is mainly known for olive oil production, and it is part of the Italy National Association of Olive Oil Cities. Then we will transfer to a local winery for a visit to the cellars, led by a wine expert from the winery.

Lunch: At the winery, we have a lunch with typical local Umbrian dishes, specially selected to enhance the characteristics of each individual wine we will taste. Coffee, water included.

Afternoon: Our next field trip is to Montefalco. With a local expert, we will explore the town on foot, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful medieval villages in the Umbria region. Its offerings include a Civic Museum, which boasts 15th-century frescoes by Pietro Vannucci, and the famous red wine, Sagrantino—one farm has even begun producing it in a white wine variety as well. We will return to the hotel late afternoon.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
9
Florence, Free Time
Florence
B,D
Glance Hotel

Activity note: The drive to Florence is about 110 miles (178 km), or 3 hours, including rest stops.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel and board our motor coach to transfer to Florence.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated table service with primo piatto, secondo piatto, dolce, and wine, coffee, water.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Winery in Chianti, Marchese Mazzei, Free Time
Florence
B,L
Glance Hotel

Activity note: The drive to Fonterutoli is approximately 35 miles (57 km), or about 1.5 hour. Easy walking at the winery. 15 minutes ride by motorcoach to Castellina in Chianti. Easy walking in Castellina, which is a very small town.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll depart on a field trip to Castello di Fonterutoli, a few miles south of Castellina in the Chianti wine district. Fonterutoli has been in the hands of the Mazzei family since 1435. The estate of more than 1,600 acres (650 hectares) supports their winery, which produces Chianti Classico. We will gain insights into the art of Italian wine making, particularly Chianti, during an on-site presentation by a member of the winery staff.

Lunch: At the winery’s restaurant, we’ll enjoy a perfect matching of a 2-course lunch paired with wine. Water included; coffee available for purchase.

Afternoon: On the way back to Florence, we will stop at Castellina in Chianti for a guided visit of this beautiful medieval village.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Castellilna Scalo, Monteriggioni, Free Time
Florence
B,L
Glance Hotel

Activity note: The drive to Monteriggioni is 38 miles (62 km), or about 1 hour ride by motorcoach. Easy walking in Monteriggioni and to Castellina Scalo. Easy terrain at the winery.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Our field trip this morning is to Monteriggioni, a 13th-century walled city in the province of Siena. Built on a strategically situated hilltop to help defend Siena, Monteriggioni achieved such fame that it was mentioned in Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” Many scholars consider it one of the finest examples of medieval villages in all of Italy. Little has changed over the centuries, and as we wander with our leader, we can imagine life in the medieval era. We’ll then visit a local winery in Castellina Scalo, with a wine-tasting followed by lunch.

Lunch: At the winery restaurant, we’ll enjoy a menu featuring local specialties, we’ll have plated table service with primo piatto, secondo piatto, dolce, water and wine. Coffee available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch we’ll return to the hotel and free time in Florence.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure. We’ll prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
12
Transfer to Parma, Free Time
Parma
B,D
Hotel Button

Activity note: The drive to Parma is about 120 miles (190 km), approximately 2.5 hours. Flat, easy terrain in Parma. Guided tour within 2 miles.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel and transfer to Parma for the next 4 nights of the program.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: We’ll take the opportunity, thanks to an expert-led walking field trip through the city, to see some of the highlights of Parma. Focusing primarily on iconic monuments and landmarks, such as the Cathedral and Baptistery, we will also gain artistic and historical perspectives. Parma is a city of culture notable for illustrious citizens, from painters to musicians and more. Parma is also referred to as The Food Valley, one of the few destinations that boast most of the typical products protected by quality labels in Italy. UNESCO named it part of the Creative Cities Network for Gastronomy in 2015.

Dinner: At a local restaurant in Parma, we’ll enjoy a plated meal from a menu featuring local specialties, with primo piatto, secondo piatto, dolce, and water, wine and coffee.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Lecture, Zibello, Soragna
Parma
B,L
Hotel Button

Activity note: Total driving to Zibello then Soragna is about an hour. No relevant walking distances expected for the day.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet features pastry, bread, jams, yogurts, fresh fruits, different kind of cold cuts and cheeses, boiled eggs, fruit juices, coffee, tea, milk, and, upon request, espresso or cappuccino.

Morning: At the hotel, a local food expert will lead a lecture illustrating how Italy is food and food is Italy—literally, emotionally, historically and culturally to learn why food is so important in Italy. The time Italians share around a table has little to do with feeding— it is an important moment in everyday life. From the hotel, we’ll begin our field trip via motor coach to Zibello for a field trip to a culatello DOP factory—ham produced with the finest heritage breed pork from environmentally responsible farmers. The DOP is an important state label, denomination origin protected, to designate any typical food from a certain area. The visit is led by a local expert who will speak about the procedure, the strict laws to obtain this very expensive meat, showing the factory where culatello is prepared and aged. The visit is followed by culatello tasting.

Lunch: At the local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a set, plated meal featuring regional cuisine and fresh seafood plus a glass of wine, mineral water, and coffee; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Our next field trip is to the Rocca Meli-Lupi di Soragna, one of the most beautiful castles in Italy, which still maintains its ancient original furniture. Led by a local expert, we will discover the beauty of this medieval castle, transformed during the centuries but still owned by the same family—that of the Prince Diofebo Lupi-Meli. We will learn about the architecture of the castle as well as the history and legends of this important family, then visit to the Synagogue in Soragna. Afterwards, we will return to the hotel.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Italian Food Lecture, Collecchio, Cooking Demo, Free Time
Parma
B,L
Hotel Button

Activity note: The drive to Colecchio is about 7 miles, approximately 20 minutes. Walking up to 2 miles, approximately 2.5 hours; flat terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will enjoy a lecture on contrast between the Italian food in Italy and the Italian food in America, given by a culinary expert. From the hotel, we’ll begin our day by going to Collecchio to see several agricultural factories that still remain part of the territory’s vital economy. We will visit the Museum of Pasta and Tomato to learn about the history, the cultivation, the transformation of this alien but now typical product of Italy. The museum is inside the Corte di Giarola, a medieval structure transformed during the centuries from an artisanal food-processing factory to a center for tomatoes and other products. This unique place located on the edge of the river Taro, is the headquarters of the Food Museum, a network of museums dedicated to the culture of food and the evolution of food preparation. These historical sites are within the Parchi Regionali del Ducato, Regional Natural Parks. While visiting, we will have a demonstration on how to make handmade pasta with a local chef.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a plated, served meal featuring regional cuisine with wine and water.

Afternoon: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of our afternoon is free.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
15
Parmesan Cheese & Prosciutto Day, Free Time
Parma
B,L
Hotel Button

Activity note: The drive to Langhirano is about 20 miles, approximately 40 minutes. Short walks, easy terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: From the hotel, we’ll depart first for a Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factory to see how the wheels of cheese are made. Then we will go on to Langhirano for a field trip to a Prosciutto di Parma factory with prosciutto tasting. We will see and learn from a local expert about the production of the Parma ham. We’ll return to Parma late in the morning.

Lunch: At a prosciutteria, we’ll have a ham tasting, with water and wine included.

Afternoon: We’ll then return to hotel to enjoy free time.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
16
Transfer to Conegliano, Free Time
Conegliano (TV)
B,D
Best Western Hotel Canon D'oro

Activity note: The drive to Conegliano is about 185 miles (295 km), approximately 3 hours, with a stop en route.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel and board our motorcoach for transfer to Conegliano in the Veneto region. Known as “the Pearl of Veneto,” Conegliano is a cheerful and attractive historic town in a wine-producing country close to the foothills of the Alps, and despite its small proportions, it boasts important artistic and architectural treasures. Conegliano was an independent military city until it came under the rule of Venice. Today it is known for its Prosecco production.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant, we’ll have a plated and served meal featuring regional cuisine plus a glass of wine, mineral water, and coffee; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
17
History & Geography of Italian Regional Cuisine, Free Time
Conegliano (TV)
B
Best Western Hotel Canon D'oro

Activity note: Short walks, easy terrain in Conegliano.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a local expert for two presentations at the hotel. The first will provide an overview of Italy’s historical roots and geography and their impact on Italian foodways—the social, cultural, and economic side of food production and consumption. Our second lecture will focus on the culinary contrasts between three regions: Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, and Tuscany.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time to enjoy Conegliano.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
18
Veneto Culinary Traditions, Rolle Winery
Conegliano (TV)
B,L,D
Best Western Hotel Canon D'oro

Activity note: The drive from Conegliano to Rolle is about 11 miles (18 km), approximately 30 minutes.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Our local expert will give a presentation on culinary traditions of the Veneto from their origins until today. We will then depart for a field trip to Rolle, a village in the town of Cison di Valmarino in the province of Treviso. We will visit a winery that produces Prosecco, the Italian cousin of champagne. We will explore the cellars with a staff member, and then, as an aperitif, enjoy a tasting of Prosecco wines.

Lunch: At the winery, we will sample local dishes with wine tasting.

Afternoon: After returning to the hotel, we will enjoy free time.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a farewell dinner with primo piatto, secondo piatto, dolce, wine, water; other beverages available for purchase. We’ll share our favorite experiences with new friends.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
19
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet depending on departure time. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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