Day 1 — Departure New York/JFK to Malpensa/Milan
This evening we depart on this amazing journey to the Northeastern Regions of Italy. Our trans-Atlantic flight will originate from JFK International Airport in New York to Malpensa Airport in Milan, Italy. Meals and entertainment aloft. (This will be the “group flight” to Italy. Anyone wishing to book their own air, please contact our office ahead before booking for schedules and arrival meeting point .)
Day 12 - Carpi / Milan / USA
The famous but unpleasant cliché`, “all good things come to an end”, unfortunately and accordingly also this unique escapade through the northeastern regions of Italy. *The upside of this departure day is that we do not have to wake up at the crack of dawn as our flight is in the late afternoon. Our journey from Carpi to Milan’s Malpensa Airport can begin at about 10:30 am. We will board our homebound flight with many memories, stories and kilos of Italy with you to recount and share. Say “Arrivederci”, never “Good-bye”.
* Provided the airline schedule does not change.
Day 9—Trieste to Carpi, Modena the Emilia Romagna Region via Verona
Today we will start out early for our journey to the smells and tastes of the region of Emilia Romagna. The home of Parmiggiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, Balsamico of Modena and Lambrusco wines. We will be busy for the next few days tasting our way through this region. Our first stop today will be the city of Romeo and Juliet: Verona. We will have a short walking tour of the city to see some of its main attractions such as the Roman Amphitheatre, the Balcony of Juliet and the main center of the city. Some free time for lunch and shopping before continuing our journey south to the city Carpi in the Province of Modena. We will check into our hotel and have some time to freshen and change before supper. Tonight’s supper (included with wine & water) will be in a local restaurant. Afterwards we will return to our hotel. Perhaps a leisure walk to Carpi’s great Renaissance Square, one of the largest in Italy. There is always something going on in the square in the evenings, music, bars cafés and people just strolling and enjoying life. Overnight in Carpi.
Day 8—Trieste to Rovinj, Istria/Croatia by Hydrofoil Ferry
Today after breakfast we will depart for the Port of Trieste for an exciting and different experience. We will visit the city of Rovinj, once called Rovigno when the Istrian peninsula was part of Italy. This area was annexed to Yugoslavia after WW II in the Cold War period. Many people fled to Trieste which became the new border. The people who remained became ultimately Croatian. That's why this region is enthusiastically bi-lingual and an engaging mix of Croatia and Italy. Upon our arrival in Rovinj (about 1.5 hours trip) we will be greeted by a local guide for a tour of this amazing old city dating back to Roman and Venetian times. It remains one of the last true Mediterranean fishing ports. Fishermen haul their catch into the harbor in the early morning, followed by a horde of squawking gulls. Prayers for a good catch are sent forth at the massive Church of St Euphemia; the 60 meter high tower punctuates the peninsula. The quaint old town, is webbed with steep cobbled streets, squares, shops and restaurants. Just strolling the streets of the Old Town is a delight. The historical center is crammed with reminders of Venice, most strikingly in the Church of St Euphemia and the Balbi Arch. Climb to the hilltop by St Euphemia’s and you'll be treated to inspiring views over the town, sea and islets. Lunch (included with wine & water) today will be in a local restaurant to savor the gastronomy of this unique region. After lunch there will be some free-time before boarding our hydrofoil back to Trieste. Overnight in Trieste and dinner on your own.
Emilia Romagna Region
Day 6—Trieste City Tour
Trieste is the capital city of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region in northeast Italy. Founded by the Ancient Romans, it stands on the Adriatic coast below the Karst Plateau, a few kilometers from the border with Slovenia. Historic Italian, Austro-Hungarian and Slavic cultural influences are all evident in its layout, which encompasses a medieval old city and a neoclassical Austrian quarter. Trieste was one of the oldest parts of the Habsburg Monarchy. In the 19th century, it was the most important port of one of the Great Powers of Europe. As a prosperous seaport in the Mediterranean region, Trieste became the fourth largest city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (after Vienna, Budapest, and Prague). In the fin-de-siecle period, it emerged as an important hub for literature and music. During our stay in Trieste we will visit the Città Vecchia (Old Town) - Trieste boasts an extensive old town: there are many very narrow and crooked streets with typical medieval houses. Nearly the entire area is closed to traffic. We will also visit the Austrian Quarter - Half of the city was built under Austrian-Hungarian dominion, so there is present a very large number of palaces that resemble Vienna. An iconic place of this quarter is the majestic Piazza Unità (Unity Square), which is Europe's largest sea-front square with the ever imposing “Miramare Castle” (pictured above) built under the order of Archduke Maximilian Habsburg, who was later executed in Mexico where he served as the Monarch. Tonight dinner (included) with wine and water, will be at a local restaurant and overnight will be in Trieste.
Coffee has been an important part of Trieste since the 1700s. Some of the most famous caffès are known as much for their famous patrons as their food and drink. Coffee beans arrived in Europe for the first time through the port of Trieste in the 1700’s and has been a favorite beverage of the Triestine people ever since. Trieste boasts the some of oldest coffee shops in the world, like “Café San Marco”. We will have time in our days in Trieste to taste the many varieties of coffee. Trieste has a strong passion for coffee: its inhabitants' consumption per person is twice the national average.
Unlike in the rest of Italy, nobody will order just "a coffee", but:
"un nero” (an espresso),
"un capo" (an espresso with hot milk in a cup),
"un capo in b" (an espresso with hot milk in a glass)
"caffè latte" (in Trieste it is used as a synonym for "capuccino"),
"gocciato" or "goccia" (literally "drop", an espresso with a just a tiny quantity of milk).
It is not customary in Trieste to drink coffee with liquor.
The Veneto Region
Prosecco Wine Country
Today’s tour includes a detailed visit of one of the prosciutto producers followed by a lunch with generous tastings of the local ham paired with local wine.
Later, we will have a short tour of the village of San Daniele which will include the Chiesa (church) di Sant’Antonio Abate in which is dedicated to the patron saint of pork butchers. One might say this is quite fitting for a town best known for its prosciutto. The tiny 15th-century church is often called the “Sistine Chapel of Friuli” for its vividly colored fresco cycle by Renaissance artist Martino da Udine (a.k.a. Pellegrino da San Daniele).
Afterwards we will return to Trieste, the balance of the day is free time to shop or sightsee. Tonight dinner is on your own and overnight is in Trieste.
Fratelli Group Travel
TRAVEL & TOURS
Day 10—Carpi / Parma / Modena
Today we depart a little early to visit one of the many Parmigiano Reggiano cheese making laboratories in the area.. During our visit we will discover the various steps in the production of this world famous cheese, and in the farm’s aging rooms we will sample some of its products. Parmigiano-Reggiano is made from unpasteurized cow's milk. The whole milk of the morning milking is mixed with the naturally skimmed milk (which is made by keeping milk in large shallow tanks to allow the cream to separate) of the previous evening's milking, resulting in a part skim mixture. The only additive allowed is salt, which the cheese absorbs while being submerged for 20 days in brine tanks saturated to near total salinity with Mediterranean sea salt. The product is aged an average of two years.
Afterward we will continue our tasting day with a trip to an “Acetaio” Balsamic vinegar producing cantina. True balsamic vinegar is made from a reduction of pressed Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes. The resulting thick syrup, called mosto cotto in Italian, is subsequently aged for a minimum of 12 years in a sequence of several barrels of successively smaller sizes. The casks are made of different wood like chestnut, cherry, oak, mulberry, ash and juniper. True balsamic vinegar is rich, glossy, deep brown in color and has a complex flavor that balances the natural sweet and sour elements of the cooked grape juice with hints of wood from the casks.
To cap off this day of food frenzy, we will visit a Prosciutto di Parma plant and taste this marvelous product desired by the entire cultured pallet world! The ham is first cleaned, salted, and left to sit for about two months. During this time, the ham is pressed, gradually and carefully so as to avoid breaking the bone. Next, it is washed several times to remove the salt, and is hung in a dark, well-ventilated environment. The surrounding air is important to the final quality of the ham; the best results are obtained in a cold climate. The ham is then left until dry. The time this takes varies, depending on the local climate and size of the ham. When the ham is completely dry, it is hung to air, either at room temperature or in a controlled environment, for up to 18 months. https://youtu.be/wwL_cNUUcCo
Tonight’s supper (included with wine or beer & water) will be at Franco’s Trattoria and Pizzeria. Something unique “Pizza al Metro” (pizza by the meter). Gourmet yard long pizzas are served in a family style fashion. Toppings will include some unique flavors as pizza with shaved Parmiggiano Reggiano drizzled with Balsamic from Modena. Overnight will be in Carpi. Perhaps a nice stroll through the Piazza tonight for a refreshing “Gelato” or a cold glass of local white wine upon return from the dinner. Overnight in Carpi.
Day 7 - San Daniele del Friuli—Prosciutto production and tasting and light lunch with wine.Today will be a unique experience that you not soon forget. We will visit the quaint village of San Daniele del Friuli very close to the Slovenian border. San Daniele is a medieval town located in the Morainic hills of Friuli, northern-east of Italy. This place in the province of Udine is famous worldwide for its tasty ham called Prosciutto di San Daniele. So, what is so unique of this ham? How is it made and how different it is from the other famous Parma ham made in Emilia Romagna Region?
The Celts were the first culture to use salt in preserving pork, and their arrival in the hill town of San Daniele del Friuli around 400 BC marks the origin of prosciutto di San Daniele. But the real trick is the geographical location of San Daniele and its micro-climate; since centuries, people have realized that this location makes the ham have a unique taste which is beyond the simple drying and preservation process. This is possible thanks to the position of this town, located between the fresh air currents from the Alps and the humid currents from the Adriatic Sea. In addition the town is located on a foothill and its excellent ventilation coupled with the low humidity of the place makes an ideal location for the seasoning of the ham. These characteristics contribute to the transformation of a simple piece of dry meat into a miracle, a mix of flavors so tasty and unique in its own. And all this by using just natural ingredients.
Day 11—Carpi to Bologna—City Tour & Tastes of the city
Today we will depart for a city tour of Bologna. Bologna is the capital city of the Emilia-Romagna Region: a cosmopolitan college town with rich history, art, cuisine, music, and culture. It was one of the first settlements in Italy dating back to at least 1,000 years before Christ. First settled by the Etruscans, then the Celts, and then the Romans. By the Middle Ages it was home to the oldest university in the world; the University of Bologna was founded in 1088 and today hosts thousands of students who enrich the social and cultural life of the city. Famous for its towers and lengthy porticoes, Bologna has a well preserved historical center. It is also one of the wealthiest cities in Italy, often ranking as one of the top cities in terms of quality of life in the country. Piazza Maggiore Bologna’s
primary outdoor plaza was built in the 13th century as a place where people gathered and the market was held. The piazza continues to serve this function as the preferred meeting place of the Bolognese who gather in the shadow of the statue of Neptune with the Basilica of San Petronio; patron saint. Piazza Maggiore is surrounded by the most important buildings of the medieval city. The oldest is Palazzo del Podestà, dating back to 1200 as the palace of government. Opposite this building is the famous unfinished facade of the Basilica of San Petronio: an example of Italian Gothic architecture begun at the end of the 14th century and never completed most likely due to the Plague. This afternoon there will be some free time to have lunch (on your own) and shopping or just relaxing in a “piazza” with a nice glass of wine or a coffee. Late this afternoon we will return to Carpi and have some time to freshen up and change for tonight’s farewell dinner at a local trattoria with wine and water included. Overnight will be in our hotel in Carpi.
Day 2 — Arrival Day
We arrive in Italy in late morning; after customs formalities and baggage claim, we will meet our motor-coach and driver for the journey to the first region of this escapade: Veneto Region. The Veneto region is the 8th largest of the 20 regions of Italy. It is located in the north-eastern side of the peninsula and is bordered to the east by Friuli Venezia Giulia, to the south by Emilia-Romagna, the two other regions we will be visiting and tasting on this trip. Today we arrive at our destination for the next 3 nights; a short distance from Treviso and Conegliano, where the Prosecco Wine Route starts in this picturesque environment. Many of the villa type hotels in this region have been refurbished mansions from the 18th and early 19th century. Upon arrival we will check in and have some free time to freshen up before leaving for this evening’s welcome drink and dinner in a lovely restaurant with regional cuisine and local wines. Afterwards, we will retire for the night for a good rest before beginning tomorrow’s excursion. Dinner (included w/wine & water) overnight in the Prosecco region.
Day 3 — The Prosecco Road Begins
We will begin in the morning after breakfast with a short ride to the wine trails; one of the world’s most unique and breathtaking wine regions, where small vineyards planted on steep slopes are dedicated almost exclusively to grapes for Italy’s most prized sparkling wine, “Prosecco”. The roughly 20-mile stretch between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene—the heart of the “Prosecco Road”—is lined with family-run wineries producing the light, crisp bubbly, which is not only a classic aperitif served in every restaurant and bar in the region, but has enjoyed a recent explosion of popularity in the United States, thanks in part to its recession-friendly prices. Today we will visit a Medieval village, such as Asolo to have some time for a lunch break (on your own) before continuing our journey of wine tasting. Dinner (included with wine and water) TBA. Overnight in Prosecco region.
Day 4 — Treviso—the little Venice of the North
Treviso is so called because of its labyrinths of canals that once ran throughout the city. Today we can still see some that have been left intact. The ancient city wall has preserved the medieval town, rich in romantic spots, water mills and pretty squares. We will visit the Cathedral of Treviso in Piazza Duomo; a witness to its medieval origins, though the facade and the inside are neoclassical. The Duomo houses an altarpiece "The Annunciation" (1517) by Titian (Tiziano Vecellio). We will walk along Calmaggiore with numerous shops until we arrive at Piazza dei Signori, the heart of the historic center of Treviso. The most important building in the square is Palazzo dei Trecento, built in 1210. Behind Piazza dei Signori and Piazza San Vito we come to the river island, the Pescheria, the daily fish market. On river Cagnan, from the fish market, we can walk gently to Via San Parisio to the church of San Francesco, where Peter, the son of Dante Alighieri is buried. The church also contains beautiful frescoes by Tomaso da Modena. From this point we can walk to Porta St. Thomas looking North towards the Alps. After the walking tour there will be free time for lunch, shopping or just relaxing in one of the many quaint coffee/pastry shops along the streets and canals. Treviso is home to the headquarters of the clothing retailers Benetton, Sisley, Stefanel, Diadora and Lotto Sport Italia, appliance maker DeLonghi, and bicycle maker Pinarello, so there’s lots of shopping ! Also, on via S. Agostino, the town boasts the very first gelato shop (over a hundred years old!) which, most years, wins best in Italy. Dinner tonight (included with wine and water) will be in Treviso. Overnight will be in the Prosecco region.
Day 5 -Venice/The Main Island / Trieste
Venice seduces, Venice irritates, but Venice rarely disappoints! A golden fairy tale city floating on the sea, today we visit this magical island. We will begin with a boat tour of the Grand Canal, its one hundred marble palaces with their front doors on the waters and peppermint-striped posts for their watery vehicles. Then a visit to St. Marks Square and the Rialto Bridge. There will be some free time for lunch (on your own) and shopping. We will depart in late afternoon for the city of Trieste on the Adriatic coast. Dinner (wine and water included) and overnight in Trieste.