TASTE YOUR WAY AROUND ITALY’S FOOD BOWL
5 Day Bologna and Emilia Region Tour Overview
If there is one region where food is an institution, inextricably linked to the land, the people, and the culture, it might just be Emilia-Romagna. Nestled between the Po River, and the Reggiano Appenine mountains, the unique landscape surely adds to the deliciousness of the Emilia’s iconic food.
Join us on the ultimate food lover’s tour through charming villages and vibrant cities, as the scent of rich prosciutto and the piquancy of sharp Parmigiano Reggiano wafts down the streets begging you for a taste. This is truly authentic Italy where the pace of life is a little bit slower, and where the big tourist buses are yet to find their way.
Our exclusive tour introduces you to well known Bologna and takes you further afield to discover the people, their way of life and connection to the land. We meet the food and wine producers who have worked this land for generations, chat to artisans, and soak in evocative views that leave you with a deep appreciation for the importance of slow living.
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- Cancel for a full refund up to 120 days before departure
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Beyond Bologna Tour Highlights
Meet the artisan producers of Italy’s most coveted products • Parmigiano Reggiano dairy visit • Markets and historic providores • Pretty towns and castle • Tortellini cooking class • Wine tasting
Magical! Beautiful! I’m a bit of a dreamer and I just got lost there last night. Lost in this beauty.. Magnificent! I just loved it – view video
We have been to Italy several times, but never like this. It has been a wonderful experience – view video
Aside from every little surprise around every corner, I’ll remember Cosimo and the genuine excitement and pride that come out of him and his storytelling – view video
Beyond Bologna Tour Inclusions
We have strived to make our tour of the Emilia region as all inclusive as possible with no hidden surprises. Included in your tour are:
- 3 nights in a charming luxury 4 star country house and 1 night in beautiful 4 star hotel accommodation in Parma
- 4 guided walking tours with expert local guides
- Unique experiences: Bologna food tour, dairy visit, Balsamic Vinegar Museum visit, wine tastings, tortellini cooking class, castle visit, prosciutto tasting, perfume making workshop
- Meals: 4 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 1 aperitivo and 4 dinners as specified in the itinerary, wine and bottled water is included with meals other than breakfast
- Luxury air-conditioned transportation as required
- Tips and gratuities for drivers and guides
Beyond Bologna Tour Itinerary
La Dotta, La Grassa, e La Rossa
Welcome to iconic Bologna, also known as la dotta (the learned), la grassa (the fat), and la rossa (the red). Did you know it’s home to the world’s oldest university dating back to 1088? The city is alive with a youthful, welcoming atmosphere which you will feel as we walk the medieval streets together.
Arrive mid-morning where you’ll meet with the rest of your group and your host Giulia to start discovering just why the city has so many nicknames. This city is full of contrasts. Admire the elegant portici interspersed with street art, terracotta hued buildings and striking medieval towers that loom out from the city center.
We meet with our expert local guide and set off for a three hour food walking tour where we share a drink in a historic bar, enjoy exquisite cured meats, taste the region’s ‘black gold’ that dates back to the 11th century, visit a local market, wander past the city’s iconic towers, and begin to understand what makes the Bolognese people tick.
This afternoon, we venture to our beautiful country house hotel where you have time to unpack and relax. Set amidst the rolling green hills and vineyards, unwind in your elegant suite or visit the hotel’s wellness center for even more relaxation.
Tonight, our palates will be treated to the first of many gastronomic adventures over dinner. We’ll try wines from the Terre di Castelli region nestled between the plain and the Apennines in the province of Modena. This area is full of charming towns and we will travel to them through our glasses as we discover some of the hundreds of stories from this wine making land.
- Hotel: Luxury 4 Star country house hotel
- Meals: Lunch, Evening welcome aperitivo, Dinner with wine
- Activities: Guided food walking tour of Bologna
12TH CENTURY CHEESE
If there is one iconic product (besides pasta) that makes you think of Italy, we’re guessing it’s parmesan cheese. Yet did you know that it is made almost exclusively in the Emilia region?
This morning we have the opportunity to learn all about what makes it so special as we head off to visit a local dairy, who just so happened to be featured on Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy.
Parmigiano Reggiano dates back all the way to the 12th century thanks to the Benedictine and Cistercian monks in the area who wanted to make use of all the fresh milk. Not only does it taste delicious, but you are actually enjoying a bite of history today. The only question left to answer is how many months you prefer your parmesan is aged!
Next, we head off to a nearby chestnut museum where we will roll up our sleeves for a short fun cooking experience learning to make our own crescentine nelle tigelle. Afterwards, we’ll sit back and enjoy our lunch with products from the mountains, including borlenghi and ciacci. Squisito!
After our mouthwatering light lunch, we return to the hotel where we have time to relax before our evening adventure. This evening you have some free time to relax at the hotel after a big day before we delight your tastebuds over dinner at a gorgeous town nearby.
- Hotel: Luxury 4 star country house hotel
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with wine, Dinner with wine
- Activities: Dairy visit with tastings, Chestnut museum and cooking class
Black gold in Modena
The most luxurious food product of all is the focus for today on our excursion to Modena! We start with a guided tour with a local and uncover the untold stories behind this small town full of artisans, providores, historic restaurants, and art. We’ll wander the market together and chat to the locals who are so connected to their land, before we head to a delicious market lunch in the heart of the city.
Next stop is the pretty town of Spilamberto. Not on the regular tourist route, this charming village has some very sweet surprises just waiting to be discovered… Here we visit the Consortium of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar producers via the Museum of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar to learn more about the history and traditions of this luxurious product. You will never go back to supermarket bought ‘dressing’ after trying the ‘black gold’ of Modena.
This evening, we head out to a stunning nearby winery for another gastronomic sensation. We learn how to make the iconic pasta of this region together – tortellini! Find out the cheeky way it got its name and shape in our class this evening. Afterwards, sit back and relax as we savor every last bite of this delicious stuffed pasta together with local wines.
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with wine, Dinner with wine
- Activities: Walking tour of Modena, Museum of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar visit, Tortellini cooking class
- Accommodation: Luxury 4 star country house hotel
Produce of Parma
After a leisurely breakfast, we bid farewell to our countryside hotel and make our way towards culinary gem Parma. We start our time here with a walking tour with our local expert guide and uncover some of its most beautiful sites together as we talk about what makes this city so special.
All that walking has surely worked up an appetite so we head to lunch at an iconic local restaurant that dates back to 1925. Together, we’ll savour the specialties of Parma and reflect on our impressions of this foodie region thus far.
After lunch, we check-in to our luxurious city center hotel and have some free time to relax or head out for shopping and more sightseeing. We meet again this afternoon for an olfactory experience like no other. Together we will embark on a perfume making workshop and learn to craft our very own fragrance for a one-of-a-kind souvenir to bring home.
With our senses invigorated, relax back at the hotel before our special Parma dinner tonight. All we’ll tell you is to come hungry because the scrumptious culatello cured meat is involved!
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with wine, Dinner with wine
- Activities: Walking tour of Parma, Perfume making workshop
- Accommodation: Gorgeous 4 star city hotel
Prosciutto and a Fortress
Our tour’s final hours end on a high note that will see you forever enchanted with food-centric Emilia. This morning, we set off to explore the Torrechiara Castle. This magnificent fortress at the foot of the Appenines was constructed during the 14th century. Don’t forget your camera! The views of the surrounding countryside full of vineyards are splendid.
Since we haven’t had quite enough of the cured meats this region is known for, we are making a stop at a countryside prosciutteria. Here we will learn how prosciutto is made and sample some of the finest examples in all of Italy.
Our final adventure for the day is a beautiful winery in the area where we relax together for the last time over a long lunch. Soak in the views of the beautiful Emilia countryside and share your impressions of this wonderful central Italian region with your new friends.
With all of our senses buzzing after the week’s discoveries, it’s time to head back to Bologna on our private bus. Inspired and energized by this unassuming region, we leave you dreaming of just one more bowl of tortellini or slice of mortadella as you continue on your Italian journey.
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with wine
- Activities: Torrechiara Castle visit, prosciutteria visit, and winery visit
Accommodation on Tour
We have two accommodation stops on this tour. Relax and enjoy the beautiful Emilia countryside for 3 nights in our luxury 4 star country house hotel complete with wellness center. In Parma we stay right in the heart of town in a charming 4 star former palazzo.
Arrivals and Departures
The tour begins in central Bologna at 11am. Our activities conclude in central Bologna at around 5pm at Bologna Centrale station. Inquire if you would like to add additional nights to your stay or need assistance planning transfers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Discover the Emilia Region
Let’s travel to the Emilia region virtually and learn about its iconic food products, charming cities and towns and ancient culture. This region is one of the wealthiest in Italy, built on world renowned products from Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to fast Ferrari cars. Rarely visited by English speaking travelers, here you’ll find a local charm and slower pace of life.