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Gastronomic Italy

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A First Class rail holiday and Italy's finest cuisine

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2019 Tour code: FBS19

Itinerary

Days 1-2 - London to Florence via Turin

Our holiday begins at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras International. After meeting your group and Tour Manager, we travel to Paris on the Eurostar in Standard Premier Class. Arriving in the French capital, we cross the city by coach to connect with the highspeed TGV for our onward journey to Turin. We spend the night in Turin, enjoying our first group dinner this evening.

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 high-speed rail service to the beautiful city of Florence - the Renaissance capital of the world. We spend the next three nights at the Starhotel Michelangelo. We dine out in Florence this evening in a local restaurant enjoying Tuscan specialities for which the region is justly famous.

Includes
  • Day 1 - Eurostar Meal, Dinner
  • Day 2 - Breakfast, Dinner
Eurostar
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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Florence
Day 4 - At leisure in Florence

Your day is free to explore Florence at leisure. Picturesque narrow streets and handsome squares, including the Piazza della Signoria 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.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Florence
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 Royal Hotel Carlton, situated in the centre 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. 

Many defensive towers, from the 12th and 13th centuries, are dotted around the city; some lean more than the famous Leaning Tower in Pisa. Bologna's two most famous towers, 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 Europe's oldest university, is famous for its redtiled roofs and historically left-leaning politics, and is known for its love of fine food and cooking. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Tuscany
Day 6 - Discovering Bologna

This morning we enjoy a guided walking tour of Bologna, taking in the city's many fascinating sights including the two leaning towers (Asinelli and Garisenda) the old Merchent, the Basilica di San Petronio which dominates Bologna's main central square, the Piazza Maggiore and the Archiginnasio Palace. Your afternoon is free to continue sightseeing at leisure. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Bologna
Day 7 - 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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Bologna
Day 8 - 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. 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.

Later 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. 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 farewell dinner.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Parma
Days 9-10 - Return to London

We travel through Switzerland to Strasbourg today, where we overnight and enjoy a final meal together at a local restaurant. If you have chosen to fly back, you will transfer to Bologna airport today for your flight back to the UK. On Day 10 we continue by First Class rail to Paris where we transfer to the Eurostar for our final journey back to London St Pancras.

Includes
  • Day 9 - Breakfast, dinner
  • Day 10 - Breakfast, Eurostar meal
Eurostar
Days 1-4 - London to Lyon and Bologna

Our holiday begins at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras International. After meeting your group and Tour Manager, we travel directly to Lyon on the Eurostar. We spend two nights in Lyon, enjoying our first group dinner at a 'bouchon' restaurant this evening.

On Day 2, we enjoy a guided tour of Old Lyon, then transfer to Les Halles food hall, visiting Bellecour Square on route. In Les Halles, we enjoy a light lunch of meats and cheeses. We travel to Bologna on Day 3, via Milan, where your afternoon is at leisure to settle in. This evening, we enjoy dinner in a local restaurant. On Day 4, we discover Bologna on a walking tour, seeing some of it's most beautiful sights, including the Basilica di San Petronio and the Piazza Maggiore.

Includes
  • Day 1 - Dinner
  • Day 2 - Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 3 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 4 - Breakfast
Bologna
Day 5 - Parma

We enjoy a sample of one of the regions' most famous cheeses today, Parmesan cheese. We take a tour around the factory, and delight in a cheese making demonstration, after which, we are invited to taste the product. We then continue to a Parma ham factory, where we embark on another guided tour to discover how this delicious meat is cured, as well as a tasting. After a guided tour of Parma's town centre, we continue to our final tasting of the day, at a balsamic vinegar estate in Modena. After a food filled day, we visit a local Agriturismo, where we enjoy a delicious meal made with local ingredients, as well as sampling local wines.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Parma
Day 6 - Cookery school

Discover how to make your own authentic Italian food today with a morning session at a cookery school. After, we enjoy our creations made during the class for lunch, then transfer back to Bologna for some time at leisure. Why not wander the beautiful streets, lined with historic buildings, or perhaps search out a café, enjoying a coffee as the world goes by. This evening, we gather together to eat a farewell meal, sampling a menu made up of traditional delicacies.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Bologna
Days 7-8 - Homeward bound

After breakfast this morning, we transfer to the station for our rail journey to Milan, continuing by train to Basel. Our final journey today is to Strasbourg, where you may enjoy some time at leisure ahead of dinner this evening at a local restaurant. On Day 8, we transfer to the station to travel to Paris. From here, we catch the Eurostar back to London, where our tour ends on arrival.

Includes
  • Day 7 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 18 - Breakfast
Eurostar