Northern Italy: Piedmont, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Italian Riviera
Majestic mountains with picturesque Alpine villages, gentle hills blanketed in vineyards and crowned with medieval castles in little Piedmont towns. Colourful fishing villages in Cinque Terre on the Riviera. Sumptuous villas and beautiful lakes in the Veneto. Venice defies description!
Art lovers! Admire everything from Piedmont’s glittering royal palace, to delightful naïf paintings on the Riviera, to Verona’s ancient Roman theatre, to Titian’s masterpieces in Venice’s incredible Accademia galleries.
Food and wine lovers! Emilia-Romagna is Italy’s gastronomic paradise, world renowned for prosciutto, parmesan cheese and traditional balsamic vinegar. Piedmont is famous for some of Italy’s top red wines, Barolo and Barbaresco, and the Veneto for its Amarone, Bardolino and Valpolicella wines. Fish lovers rejoice at the sea’s abundance in Venice and the Riviera.
Piedmont lies in the north west corner of Italy, bordering France to the west and Switzerland to the north.
Some Piedmont experiences you’ll always treasure: walking pathways in magnificent wine country hills with breathtaking views to the Alps, drinking full bodied Barolo wines as you chat with a hospitable winery owner around a wooden table, cooking and eating delicate chocolate and hazelnut cake with a local chef, inhaling air thick with truffles inside Alba’s White Truffle Fair tent.
Venice and the Veneto
The Veneto extends west of Venice to Lake Garda and north to the Dolomite mountains.
Some Veneto experiences you’ll remember forever: admiring Picasso or Chagall’s art at Venice’s Guggenheim museum in a Grand Canal palazzo, visiting sumptuous 16th century villas in the country, sitting on a summer night outside in Verona’s ancient Roman theatre to watch an opera, driving through lovely hills of vineyards to wineries to taste Valpolicella and Amarone and then eating beef braised in Amarone at a little trattoria.
Emilia extends southeast from about Piacenza, to Parma, Modena and Bologna. Romagna continues from Bologna to the Adriatic Sea.
Some fascinating food experiences: watching artisans make Parmesan cheese from start to finish, seeing how they make real balsamic vinegar and tasting 25 year old traditional balsamic vinegar, hand making silk-like pasta with a professional pasta maker on your Italian cooking school tour.
Art lovers! Ravenna’s outstanding Byzantine churches and huge, glittering mosaics will leave you speechless.
Love cars? Head to Galleria Ferrari for the world’s largest collection of Ferraris near Modena.
The beautiful, colourful Italian Riviera extends from the French border along the coast east to Genoa and south to Tuscany.
Some Riviera experiences you’ll savour: hiking on trails with breathtaking views high above the sea among vineyards and olive trees, exploring charming towns with multi-coloured houses on terraces falling to the sea, lazing on sunny beaches and swimming in the Mediterranean, dining outdoors in a seaside piazza on linguine with aromatic basil pesto as you drink local white wine and watch the sunset.