Taste of Italy: Bologna, Parma, and Modena
8 days and 7 nights
You will discover the culinary wonders of this region of Italy next to Tuscany to the north, known for having the best food in Italy. Prepare yourself to taste handmade pasta, freshly cut Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Traditionale Balsamic vinegar as you've never had it before. When it comes to culinary treasures this region has it in spades. The handmade tortellini, Bolognese sauce, traditionale balsamic vinegar, truffles, the king of cheeses Parmigiano-Reggiano, and many more.
We start our adventure with a culinary walking tour in Bologna considered the capital of gastronomy in Italy. We’ll visit small artisan food producers in the region; the art behind making Parmigiano-Reggiano, and learn how they make Prosciutto di Parma. Experience first-hand the art of truffle hunting. A chef/truffle hunter and his specially trained dog will take us on a hunt for rare and delicious truffles. Plus several hands-on cooking classes, using finds from our daily trips and spiced with lots of tips, philosophy, and passion.
Discover the passion of the people of Emilia-Romagna and the stories behind the food they make. There are just eight places available for this trip. The small number keeps the trip personal and allows for serendipity. Join me for an unforgettable guided tour and enjoy food, laughter, and memories.
Bologna –Welcome Dinner
Arrive in the historic city of Bologna and check into your hotel. You’ll have free time before dinner to relax or explore the sights and shops of Bologna. This evening the merriment begins with aperitivi at a cocktail bar near the hotel followed by a welcome dinner in Bologna.
Bologna--Full Immersion into the Culinary Traditions
We start our morning with a walking tour to explore Bologna’s culinary scene from a local’s perspective with our private culinary guide. It’s Italy's capital of gastronomy. Our tour will mix the history, food culture, and traditions of Bologna. Enjoy a light lunch while visiting artisan food shops. We’ll watch the famous “sfogline ladies” make handmade tortellini, and learn the proper way to make tortellini. When we leave Bologna for Parma we’ll visit one of the leading producers of Traditionale Balsamic vinegar to learn about the elaborate process of producing real balsamic vinegar. After check-in at the villino, we will join a local wine expert for an exploration of local wines paired with traditional foods from the region. Our hostess will prepare a light dinner to pair with the local wines.
Explore the Heart of Italy's Food Valley
After breakfast, we visit Parma with our local food expert, to discover the culinary traditions, history, and secrets. Parma is a compact and elegant city. It's full of heavenly gastronomic shops, filled with eye-popping food displays—a paradise for foodies. We will stroll through the city and gather ingredients for our evening class. Lunch will be at one of the top trattorias in Parma. This evening we join Elena our hostess and Julie for a hands-on cooking class; dinner is based on the cooking class menu.
Parma Ham & Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
After a short drive through the countryside, we arrive at a caseificio or cheese factory. Here, we will go behind the scenes to watch the cheesemakers transform their organic milk into the king of cheeses. Then we travel along the beautiful hills of Langhirano to visit a prosciutto factory. Here we’ll find out what makes this most famous of Italian hams so special and delicious. Relax at a traditional trattoria for lunch. We wrap up our day with a cooking class with Julie, followed by dinner.
Castles & Wine in Piacenza Hills
We’ll enjoy the vistas as we head to the Piacenza hills–the landscape used in many Italian movies. We will wander through the beautifully preserved medieval village of Castell’Arquato. Enjoy lunch at a traditional family-run trattoria in the village of
Castell’Arquato and explore the local foods. After lunch, we visit one of the most beautiful Italian castles in Vigoleno. The medieval village surrounding the castle is the setting for many Hollywood films. Here we find the smallest DOC wine production in Italy. Learn what it takes to make Vin Santo wine with its complex taste and aroma as we toast to its uniqueness. This evening we enjoy dinner at a Parma restaurant to further explore the local food.
Rare and Precious Truffles
Today we visit a small agriturismo to learn about cooking with black truffles with the chef. We will work side by side with the chef to prepare our truffle lunch. Our lunch will be paired with local wines. After lunch guided by our chef/truffle hunter and his dog, we hunt for precious black truffles** Free time to shop in Parma. Then we meet in the kitchen for a cooking class with Julie.
**If it is raining at the time of the hunt, another activity will be substituted
Culatello and Wine in Parma Valley
Visit where they make the most expensive and rare ham in Italy—culatello. Learn how it is produced then enjoy a tasting. Afterward, we visit a winery near Modena for a private tour and tasting of their excellent wines paired with local specialties for lunch. After lunch, we depart for Bologna where we will spend our last night. Free time to relax or go shopping in Bologna before we meet for our farewell dinner.
On our final day enjoy breakfast at the hotel before check-out.
Price per person based on double occupancy:
$tbd for participants in the full program sharing a room
$tbd for a single room
Single spots are limited and available on a first-come first-served basis.
Click here for downloadable reservation form.
A deposit of US$2,000/pp is due at the time of booking to secure your space(s).
A reservation will be considered confirmed when we (CwJ) receive the deposit and reservation forms.
To fully enjoy this tour you need to be comfortable on your feet with brisk two-hour walking tours, climbing lots of stairs, hopping on and off public transportation, plus standing and walking for up to four hours inside and outdoors in all weather conditions.
Guests requiring help must be accompanied by an able companion who can be entirely responsible for providing assistance.
Due to the nature of this trip, we are not ADA compliant, and we cannot accept guests requiring accessibility.
Travel insurance is the best way to protect your investment. Life throws curve balls and these unforeseen circumstances never happen at the right time. Travel insurance can provide reimbursement for non-refundable trip payments and deposits in case you need to cancel your trip. Google “travel insurance reviews” to learn more.
We stay in a villino, a restored 18th-century stone barn surrounded by a beautiful garden, located just outside of Parma. The interior is bright and airy. It is elegantly furnished throughout with antiques and family heirlooms plus all the modern conveniences, making it a charming combination of old and new. There are 6 rooms with en suite bathrooms and a lovely veranda. Elena, the owner, is the consummate hostess.
The Intimate size of 8 Guests
My trips are created to connect you to your destination which is why the groups are limited to just 8 guests. This allows me to introduce you to the kind of people
and places inaccessible to other travel companies. It also enables me to choose smaller, boutique properties that don’t accommodate large groups and ensure
more one-on-one interaction.
• Week-long immersion in Emilia Romagna
• A culinary tour of Bologna
• Wine tastings
• Cooking classes with local cooks
• Cooking classes with Julie at the villa
• Visits to artisanal producers of wine, Parmigiano
Reggiano, Traditionale Balsamic vinegar,
Culatello, Parma ham, and Vin Santo
• Truffle hunt and cooking class
• 7 nights accommodations, with en suite bathroom
• Includes: all meals (and local wine), travel services
within the tour itinerary, service charges, and VAT.
Airfare to and from Bologna is not included.
Disclaimer: The abundance and presence of truffles cannot be guaranteed and are very much dependent on nature and specific conditions at the time of the forage.
This is an experience you don’t want to miss. Share it with someone special to create a memory of a lifetime.
Please note: accommodations for special food needs may not be possible. Due to the nature of this trip, we are not ADA compliant, and we cannot accept guests requiring accessibility.
Passports & Visas
A valid passport is required of all participants. It must be valid at least 3 months after the date of return to the U.S. The name on your reservation must match the name on your passport. Non-U.S. citizens must consult with the appropriate consulates to determine if any visas are needed.
It is suggested that all passengers, regardless of the passport they hold, check with the appropriate consulates of the countries being visited to determine if any visas are needed.