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Gastronomic Italy

(Tour code: FBS5)First Class rail holiday to experience Italy's finest cuisine

This delectable tour is a true indulgence as we experience mouth-watering cuisine, fantastic wines, charming cities and glorious scenery. We visit Florence, Bologna and Parma, taste the region's famous local produce and learn the secrets of Tuscan cooking during a delicious itinerary in this unspoilt part of Italy.

11 days from£1,995per person
What’s Included
Prices & availability
Tour Highlights
  • Turin
  • Florence
  • Bologna
  • Cookery Course
  • Parma
  • Parma ham tour and tasting
  • Rustic Tuscan lunches and delicious dining experiences
  • Colmar
What’s Included (Full details)
  • First Class Rail
    Eurostar Standard Premier
    Eurostar Meals
  • 3-4* Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
    Selected Evening Meals
  • All Transfers Included
    Optional Bag Concierge
Additional Information Departure Times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

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 Hotel Concord or the Starhotels Majestic. 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 Hotel Mediterraneo, located in the centre of Florence, within 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
  • Tour of Florence
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 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.

  • Breakfast
  • Free Day
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. 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.

  • 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 leisure.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Tour of Bologna
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 superb views across the red rooftops of the city centre.

  • Breakfast
  • Free Day
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
  • Cookery class
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. 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 dinner.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Tour of Parma
  • Parma ham producer
  • Wine-tasting
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 to Paris, where we join the Eurostar to London.

  • Day 10 - Breakfast, dinner
  • Day 11 - Breakfast, Eurostar meal

Please note

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

GRJ Independent

Tailor make this tour with
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