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Tour highlights

  • Turin
  • Florence
  • Bologna
  • Cookery Course
  • Parma
  • Parma ham tour and tasting
  • Rustic Tuscan lunches and delicious dining experiences
  • Colmar
  • Days 1-2 - London to Florence via Turin


    Our holiday begins on the Eurostar from St Pancras International to Paris in Standard Premier Class. Arriving in the French capital, we cross the city by coach to connect with the high-speed TGV for our onward journey to Turin. We spend the night in Turin at the NH Ambasciatori Hotel. On Day 2 we have a leisurely start to the day, which gives you the chance to explore Turin. Visit the Duomo di Torino, the city's Renaissance cathedral, and the Piazza Castello, the heart of Turin, surrounded by beautiful buildings and always a hive of activity. We leave Turin on board the direct rail service to the beautiful city of Florence - the Renaissance capital of the world. We spend the next three nights at the Grand Hotel Cavour, located in the centre of Florence, within easy walking distance of the Uffizi Gallery and the Ponte Vecchio. We dine out in Florence this evening in a locally renowned restaurant enjoying Tuscan specialities for which the region is justly famous.

    Day 1 - Eurostar meal, dinner
    Day 2 - Breakfast, dinner

  • Day 3 - Exploring Florence


    This morning we enjoy a guided tour of the city's many treasures, including the fabulous Duomo with its iconic red-tiled dome, and the beautiful Ponte Vecchio - a 14th century bridge that is home to 43 jewellers' shops. Your afternoon is free to explore Florence at leisure. Tonight we dine out at the atmospheric Piazza del Vino, a restaurant which combines a delicious regional menu with a passion for wine - reflected in the extensive wine list and row upon row of wine bottles that line the restaurant's walls. An expert from one of the local vineyards talks us through the different wines we're tasting, with a different wine to accompany each of our five courses.

    Breakfast, dinner

  • Day 4 - A day at leisure in Florence


    Your day is free to explore Florence at leisure. Picturesque narrow streets and handsome squares, including the Piazza della Signoria - the people-watching centre of Florence - are only part of the city's charm; much of the beauty of the city is found indoors. One fifth of the world's Renaissance art is kept and displayed in Florence's museums, galleries, churches, monasteries and palaces; many in the Basilica Santa Croce, burial place of some of Italy's most celebrated icons including Galileo, Machiavelli and Michelangelo, and up to 1,700 masterpieces in the world-famous Uffizi Gallery.


  • Day 5 - Florence to Bologna


    We leave Florence this morning, travelling by coach through the picturesque Tuscan countryside towards Bologna. We stop en route at a local 'agriturismo' for a traditional rustic lunch, during which we have chance to try the farm's varied local produce in an appetising tasting menu showcasing the best of the region. We continue by coach to Bologna, where we check in at the 4-star NH Bologna de la Gare, located in the heart of the city. The bustling city of Bologna has an unspoilt historic centre, where charming narrow streets are filled with activity and lined with arched porticos and arcaded walkways, all clustered around two main squares, Piazza Maggiore and Piazza del Nettuno. The latter is also home to the striking Neptune's Fountain, a symbol of the city, decorated with magnificent bronze figures. The compact and intricate centre of Bologna, surrounded by the remains of its medieval walls, is perfect for exploring on foot. More than 20 defensive towers, built in the 12th and 13th centuries, are dotted around the city; some lean more than the famous Leaning Tower in Pisa. The two most famous towers in Bologna, the Asinelli and the Garisenda keep watch at the end of Via Rizzoli. The city is known in Italy as "La Dotta, La Rossa, La Grassa" - "Educated, Red, Fat". It is home to the oldest university in Europe, is famous for its red-tiled roofs and historically left-leaning politics, and is known for its love of fine food and cooking, in particular for creamy sauces and rich meat dishes.

    Breakfast, lunch

  • Day 6 - Exploring Bologna


    This morning we enjoy a guided walking tour of Bologna, taking in the city's many fascinating sights including the Duomo, the Basilica Santo Stefano (a complex that originally featured seven churches, although only four remain), and the Basilica di San Petronio which dominates Bologna's main central square, the Piazza Maggiore. Your afternoon is free for you to continue sightseeing at your own pace.

    Breakfast, dinner

  • Day 7 - A day at leisure in Bologna


    Today you are free to continue exploring Bologna at leisure. Art lovers will enjoy the fantastic Pinacoteca Nazionale (National Art Gallery of Bologna), while those feeling energetic should take the chance to ascend the Torre degli Asinelli, which offers fantastic views across the red rooftops of the city centre.


  • Day 8 - Cookery School in Bologna


    Today we put on our aprons for a morning's cookery course under the expert tuition of local chefs. We learn to create traditional regional cuisine, including preparation of three of the most typical types of pasta, plus some classic sauces for which the area is renowned. For lunch we relax and enjoy our own creations, washed down with some delicious local wine.

    Breakfast, lunch

  • Day 9 - Parma, Parmesan and Parma Ham


    Today we travel to the quintessentially Italian city of Parma, a city bursting with art and culture and the home of Parma ham and Parmesan. We enjoy a guided tour of the city, including the octagonal towered baptistry, which was built from the pink marble of Verona. The baptistry sits in the corner of the cobbled Piazza del Duomo, on which stands Parma's cathedral. Following the tour you have chance to explore Parma further at your own pace. Wander through the narrow streets and twisting lanes to discover your own vignettes of city life. In the morning we take a tour of the Parmesan cheese factory - a highlight of any visit to Parma - learning about the production process and the finished cheeses, which weigh as much as 80 pounds each. We also visit a local Parma ham producer for a tour and tasting. This evening we travel to a wine estate for a tasting, visiting the vineyards and the wine cellar, followed by a wonderful rustic three-course dinner.

    Breakfast, dinner

  • Days 10-11 - First Class to Colmar and London


    We travel by train via Milan and through the Alps into Switzerland. We continue to Colmar in France, where we spend tonight at the 4-star Grand Hotel Bristol. On Day 11 we continue by First Class rail on the highspeed service to Paris, where we join the Eurostar to London. We enjoy a light meal and drinks on board before arriving at St Pancras International.

    Day 10 - Breakfast, dinner
    Day 11 - Breakfast, Eurostar meal
    Where shown, meals are included in the price of your holiday

  • Please note

    Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.

Italy is world-famous for its distinctive flavours and delicious cuisine and this Gastronomic Italy Tour lets you try your hand at cooking the Italian way. Sample the delights of Florence, Bologna and Parma on this Gastronomic Italy Tour.   

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