Joy of Italy Tours
9-day, 8-night Tour of Northern Italy
Day 1 – Viva Italia
Our tour begins in the Piedmont region, a cultural and culinary gem nestled between the Alps and the Ligurian Sea in northwest Italy. We will meet at Milan’s MXP airport and transfer to Alba by private coach to start our tour of Northern Italy. We will check into our beautiful hotel in the center of Alba just a few minutes’ walk from all the sights and charm of the city. A short walking tour through the streets and piazzas of Alba will help orient you to the gourmet capital of Italy, followed by a welcome dinner which will allow us to get to know each other and ease into our Italian adventure.
Day 2 – A Day of Decadence or a Leisure Day in Alba
If you would like the day to explore Alba on your own this is your day! In Piedmont, food is the historic passion, art and entertainment of the region. We have two optional and included excursions. There is no better way to immerse yourself in that culture than hunting the region’s rare and delicate truffle with our friend Stefano. Prefer to hone your Italian cooking skills? You may choose to spend the day handmaking pasta in the kitchen of Dindina. The two groups will meet for lunch to eat handmade pasta – hopefully with freshly foraged truffles! The afternoon will be free in Alba to shop, relax or take in the city of 100 medieval towers. After having some time to refresh at our hotel, the day finishes with a remarkable dining experience at one of our favorite Michelin-rated restaurants tucked amid the hills surrounding Alba.
Day 3 –Medieval Splendor
Wake up to the toll of Alba Cathedral’s bell tower and savor the aromas of roasting hazelnuts at the nearby Ferraro-Roche chocolate factory – home to the popular nut spread Nutella. Your morning is free to walk the cobblestone streets of Alba before departing at noon for a lunch and tasting at the Demarie winery. We will sit with winemaker Paolo Demarie for a wine tasting at his family cellar to learn more about the vineyards and wines produced in the area. A short bus tour through the heart of the Langhe hills, home to the most famous and important vineyards in all of Italy, will include a stop in Barolo to admire the endless views of gentle rolling hills that are blanketed with picturesque vineyards, topped with castles and framed by the snowcapped Alps. You will have free time to meander through winding cobblestone streets and enjoy a glass of Barolo at your own pace as you take in the attraction of this UNESCO World Heritage zone. This evening we go into the countryside for a festive dinner full of surprises in a special Osteria. It’s the perfect way to say goodbye to Piedmont.
Day 4 – A day in the Vineyards
Today we motor east to the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia on the Northeast border of Italy. We will break up the drive by spending the afternoon in the cellar of Le Morette. Here, we are surrounded by vineyards and images sure to make memories. The winery is truly a visual treat with its classic architecture, gothic cellar for barrel aging and romantic courtyard. We will explore the estate with a tour, tasting and a classic lunch with third-generation owner and winemaker Fabio Zenato. After a nice visit at Le Morette we will continue our trip east to the untouched region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. Friuli is a tranquil region full of welcoming locals, boutique vineyards and a backdrop of the Alps that forms the border with Austria and Slovenia. In Trieste, we will check into our grand hotel on the Adriatic Sea and start our orientation walk in Piazza Unita’, a spectacular piazza nestled in this romantic city by the sea. A short walk will quickly reveal the charm and ease of navigation of the historic city center at our hotel’s doorstep. The rich diversity of Italy’s regions will be apparent as we savor the cuisine of Friuli and dine like locals. After dinner we will suggest a few of our favorite spots for a night cap or to take in the city’s fabulous nightlife.
Day 5 – Leisure Day in Trieste
Trieste’s historical legacy is as a significant port city dating back to the Roman Empire. The gentle local people embrace life with a compelling passion that is infectious. The day is completely free to explore. Since Trieste is the coffee capital of the world you should savor at least one caffe’. Trieste doesn’t disappoint shoppers offering big name shops and small independent vendors. If you would like to break away at 4 p.m. there is an optional excursion with a supplemental fee. Those that opt-in will travel 1 hour north for a tour and tasting with BorgosanDaniele, an artisanal producer of the region’s signature wines, and one of the most awarded boutique wineries in Italy. Winemaker Mauro Mauri will guide us through his wines with passion and humility at one of the most tranquil wineries we have seen. Then we will savor an elegant dinner at one of the region’s top Michelin- starred restaurants paired with beautiful wines from the region.
Day 6 – Recharge in the city of Romance
Today we move west to the Veneto. We will take a break from multi-course dinners to enjoy a classic pizza, an Italian tour wouldn’t be complete without one! We will arrive in Verona and check into our boutique hotel nestled in the historic center. It is a city steeped in history with idyllic marble streets and Roman ruins scattered among quaint shops – and there is no better way to discover its lovely people and inherent charm than by taking a walking tour. At the heart of the city is a preserved Roman amphitheater that was one of the largest in all the empire. The afternoon will be free to explore the market in Piazza delle Erbe, to shop or get lost in the city of love. As you explore you will quickly realize why Shakespeare decided to use this city as the setting for Romeo and Juliet. Our dinner will be a grilled steak and fish over an open fire paired with the distinct wines of the area.
Day 7 – Leisure Day in Verona
Take today to enjoy the city on your own. Every bar, coffee shop and osteria draw you in for a caffè or glass of wine. Verona has no shortage of historic sights it is full of museum gardens and churches to tour. If you would like to break away at 10 a.m. there is an optional excursion with a supplemental fee. We will explore the wines of the Valpolicella, tasting the best this region has to offer. We will visit L’Arco, one of the top boutique producers in the historic wine producing area of Valpolicella. Winemaker Luca Fedrigo will lead a private tasting and tour of his small winery, which is rarely opened to the public, to underscore the ancient process of drying grapes and define the patience needed to produce this region’s hallmark wines. Following our tasting at L’Arco we will have a spectacular lunch high above the vineyards in a tiny village with some of the best pasta in Italy! In this humble trattoria, Francesco, Pierina, and their three sons will share their family story through the art of hand-rolled pasta. We will have a comparative tasting of Valpolicella and Amarone by two of the most renowned producers, L’Arco and Quintarelli. We will return to Verona by 4 p.m. to give you your evening free. This is a perfect city for exploring the dining scene on your own. We will have meal recommendations for you to enjoy at your own pace. The city is full of excellent cuisine from 7-course tasting menus to simple osterias that serve delicate small plates. After dinner check out some of the small bars and nightlife this vibrant city offers – all within an easy walk from our hotel.
Day 8 – Lake Garda’s Grandeur
We will spend the day exploring a few of the small villages around lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy. Lunch will be enjoyed on the lake’s edge in the village of Bardolino with some free time to explore this small village. We will then board our chartered historic Gozzo boat and tour the majesty of the lake and panoramic views of the pre-Alps and Alps. The glacial lake has had a significant impact on the wine regions we have visited and will help to bring perspective to the soils of the area. The lake divides two regions – Lombardy to the west and Veneto to the east – and the diverse historic villages built on the edge of the lake are best seen from the water. We will check out the fortified city of Sirmione from our private boat, away from the tourists it provides the best vantage point to observe the historic peninsula. We will return to Bardolino to depart for our hotel in Verona. This will be a day full of memories not soon forgotten. Our farewell dinner to our Italian tour will be truly unforgettable!
Day 9 – Arrivederci
Morning bus transfer to Malpensa, MXP airport. If you prefer to say farewell in Verona there is a major train station that is a great connection to all of Europe. Many of our guests like to extend a few days in Venice. An easy high-speed train will drop you off on the Grand Canal in the heart of Venice in less than one hour, much quicker than the 3 hours by bus and boat. We would be happy to share recommendations for Venice, Florence and Rome if you wish to extend your exploration of Italy.
Your exclusive tour of Northen Italy includes:
- Intimate group size
- Personal guide: Uva Imports founder Adam Richard
- Top quality, centrally located hotels with a focus on your comfort and walk-ability
- All breakfasts
- 5 exceptional lunches
- 6 memorable dinners – INCLUDING some of Italy’s best wines with each lunch and dinner
- 2 winery tours and tastings with the winemaker
- All transportation to and from the airport and any optional excursions
- Personal wine shipping service
$4750 per person
Optional single supplement: $1000 — we have limited private rooms available.
To reserve your once-in-a-lifetime Tour of Northern Italy, complete a booking form, downloadable from the Tours page, or e-mail, Tours@UvaImports.com.
Cancellations: Your tour deposit is 100% refundable for 30 days from the date it is received. After 30 days your deposit becomes nonrefundable, and will be forfeited should you decide to cancel your reservation. If you cancel a tour less than 60 days before its departure date, the entire tour cost becomes non-refundable after 7 days. Cancellations must be in writing: sent via e-mail, Tours@UvaImports.com
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