Uncover the secrets of Italian cuisine while travelling from Rome to Venice

Italians are the masters of creating simple dishes that sing with flavour. Regional, seasonal and as fresh as possible, Italy’s cuisine is hearty, satisfying and made with heart. Inspired by the kitchens of the nonna, Italy’s food is authentic and surprising – pizza and pasta are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the diverse array of unforgettable food you’ll find on this adventure that travels from Rome to Venice via San Gimignano and Bologna.


Start
Rome, Italy
Finish
Venice, Italy
Country
Italy
Style
Original
Theme
Food
Code
ZMZB
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Italy is a foodie's paradise, but as a visitor it can be hard to escape the tourist traps. Your local leaders will give you an insider's guide to this epicurean wonderland

  • This trip takes in some of the titans of regional Italian cuisine – Rome (Lazio region), Tuscany, Emilia Romagna and Venice

  • Tasting the real balsamic vinegar in an attic acetaia is a revelation – it'll be hard to go back to the mass-produced version after this

  • A farmstay in Tuscany gives you an insider's glimpse of wine and olive production in this iconic region

  • Had too much of the good life? Shake things up by walking part of the pilgrim's route, the glorious Via Francigena

  • With hands-on cooking classes led by local masters, you'll learn to roll pasta like a pro, and prepare an authentic tagliatelle al ragu in the city where it all started

Is this trip right for you?

  • The primary means of transportation on this trip is by train. Train travel is a fast way to traverse long distances, allowing you to avoid traffic jams and arrive right into the city centre. Trains are comfortable and all have toilets, however can often be quite busy. Please note that you'll have to carry your own luggage on and off the train, so make sure it doesn’t exceed our weight and size recommendations. You can find this information in the 'What to Take' section of the trip notes.

  • As there are potholes and cobblestones in many European cities, it's recommended that you leave any wheelie bags/cases at home and bring a backpack instead. A large backpack should be enough to carry all of your belongings. A backpack also comes in handy as often there are no lifts or escalators in train stations or in the hotel, so you will have to carry your bags up and down the stairs.

  • Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Many hotel rooms in Europe are not equipped with air-conditioning. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

  • As accommodation on this trip is multi-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same sex. This trip is a great opportunity to get to know other like-minded people, so embrace it while you can. If you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details, and please note that in some hotels a single supplement exclusion applies where single rooms are not available. Hotel rooms in Europe can seem rather small by American or Australian standards and often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together.

  • The walk along the Via Francigena is about 7 kilometres. The terrain is nice and easy though.

Itinerary

Buongiorno! Welcome to Italy. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. Get a feel for this gastronomic gateway to Italian cuisine, with its multitude of restaurants and trattorias catering to all tastes and budgets. Our first stop on this food adventure is a Roman bar to enjoy an aperitivo. A tradition with its roots in 1980s Milan, these days aperitivo cullure is popular all over Italy. The aperitivo hour falls just before dinner - just enough time for a drink accompanied by stuzzichini (bite-size snacks). It's the perfect way to unwind after a day of travel, and to whet the appetite for bowl of pasta.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Rome - Welcome aperitivo and stuzzichini
Optional Activities
  • Castel Sant'Angelo - EUR10
  • Christian Catacombs - EUR8
  • Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill - EUR16
  • Keats-Shelley Memorial House - EUR5
  • Galleria Borghese - EUR15
  • Vatican museums - EUR16
  • Pantheon - Free
  • St Peter's Dome Climb & Elevator - EUR8
  • Venezia Palace - EUR5
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Start your first full day with a coffee, the most important drink in Rome. Then check out one of the city's oldest food markets, where pasta-making and other traditional culinary crafts are regularly on display. Chat to local stall holders and sample seasonal produce. The rest of the day is free for your own exploration. Check out some of the city's cultural icons, perhaps the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, The Vatican or the Pantheon. Or simply pull up a chair at a cafe and watch the world go by.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Rome - City Food Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by train and taxi (approximately 3 hours) to the village of Pancole, located in the heart of Tuscany between Florence and Siena. The region is renowned for a cuisine that celebrates simplicity and the bounty of locally grown produce in hearty, rustic dishes. Pecorino cheese, farro (an ancient grain) and artisanal cured meats like lardo di Colonnata are just some of the many local ingredients you can expect to indulge in during your stay. Your accommodation is a traditional Tuscan farmhouse, located about 7kms from the enchanting village of San Gimignano. The farmhouse is surrounded by vineyards and olive trees from which the family has been producing excellent wine and olive oil by organic methods for over fifty years. Enjoy a guided walk through the vineyards and cellars of the estate, followed by a tasting of some signature Tuscan wines. The wine tasting will be accompanied by some delicious cheeses, oilve oil and bruschetta. This is a beautiful part of Italy, filled with hill towns, grape vines, wild herbs and olive groves.
Accommodation
  • Farmstay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Agriturismo - Wine Tour and Tasting
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a walk (approximately 1.5 hours; 7 kilometres) along a portion of the Via Francigena, the major pilgrimage route to Rome during the Middle Ages. The walk is on easy terrain, although comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Explore the medieval walled town of San Gimignano. San Gimignano is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is often called the 'Town of Fine Towers' due to the preservation of a number of impressive 'torre' or tower houses within its walls. The town is also known for its white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, produced from the ancient variety of Vernaccia grape which is grown on the surrounding sandstone hillsides. Spend the rest of your time exploring the walking paths around the farm or, weather permitting, relaxing by the pool, enjoying beautiful views of the Tuscan countryside.
Accommodation
  • Farmstay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • San Gimignano - Orientation Walk and Town Tour
Optional Activities
  • San Gimignano - Wine Museum - EUR6
  • San Gimignano - Olive Oil tasting - EUR10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Farewell your hosts after breakfast and travel to Bologna by train (approximately 3.5 hours). Bologna's culinary claim to fame is a significant one, thanks to the ragu alla bolognese. Home of tagliatelle, mortadella and a range of other cured meats and salamis, Bologna, along with the surrounding Emilia Romagna region, is a bonafide food mecca. On arrival, drop your bags at the hotel then get out and acquaint yourself with this city of beautiful old terracotta buildings and lively streets. Later in the day you'll discover the 'real food' of Bologna, with a hands on-cooking class in the fine art of pasta-making. Feast on your handiwork over dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bologna - pasta-making class including dinner
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Enjoy a day trip to discover the flavours of the renowned Emilia Romagna region. Visit a factory dedicated to the production of one of Italy's most coveted culinary exports – the mighty Parmigiano Reggiano. Get an insight into how this cheese is made, then enjoy a tasting. Continue to the town of Modena (approximately 1 hour) and visit an acetaia, a house where the family produce fine aged Modena balsamic vinegar in the attic. You'll see how the vinegar is aged in barrels made from different woods, and is never less than 12 years old (often well over 25). Taste it and learn the difference between the real stuff and the mass-produced kind. Savour another local specialty - prosciutto di parma - then take some time to stroll around this delightful town. Admire the Palazzo Ducale and, if you're still hungry, perhaps sample some of the town's other specialties: tortellini, or, for the adventurous, zampone (stuffed pig's trotter). Lambrusco, the town's famed sparkling red, makes for a fine accompaniment. Ask your leader about the great specialty panini shop in the market.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Modena - Acetaia Visit
  • Modena - Day Trip
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take the train up to Venice (approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes). Venice's distinctive culinary heritage goes back to ancient times and features rich risottos, saline baccala (salted cod) and creamy polenta. You'll explore the narrow cobblestone streets and spacious piazzas and cross the tiny bridges to find shops, markets, galleries, churches and stunning buildings. Stroll past St Mark’s Square, the Campanile and the Doges Palace. Cross the Rialto and admire the Bridge of Sighs, then farewell this Real Food Adventure with the Venetian answer to tapas on a 'cicchetti' crawl through the city's fabulous bacari (wine bars). Snacking is an important pastime in Venice, with many people stopping for cicchetti (small bites) both before and after meals. Don't forget to try a 'spritz'. This mix of white wine, Campari or Aperol and soda water is a popular accompaniment to wash down the delicious cicchetti.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Venice Orientation Walk
  • Venice - Cicchetti Crawl
Optional Activities
  • Ca' Rezzonico Museum of Eighteenth Century Art - EUR10
  • Doge's Palace and Bridge of Sighs - EUR19
  • Guggenheim Museum - EUR15
  • Museum of St Mark's Basilica - EUR5
  • St Mark's Campanile - EUR8
  • St Mark's Basilica Treasury - EUR3
  • Accademia Gallery - EUR15
  • Venezia Ca' d'Oro - EUR10
  • Concerto - EUR32
  • San Giorgio Bell Tower in Venice - EUR6
  • Urban Adventures - Canal & Aperitivo Experience - EUR113
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
It's an early start today. Walk down to the canals and watch farmers unload their produce from canal boats, ready to be sold at Venice's famous Rialto markets. This tradition is more than 1,000 years old. Next, swing past the fish market, where the catch of the day might come direct from the Venetian lagoon, the enclosed bay of the Adriatic Sea in which the city of Venice is situated. Finish with a market breakfast alongside the traders. Your adventure comes to an end by 11 am.
Included Activities
  • Venice - Rialto market walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts, 3 dinners

Transport

Bus, Metro, Private minibus, Train

Accommodation

Farmstay (2 nights), Hotel (5 nights)

Included activities

  • Rome - Welcome aperitivo and stuzzichini
  • Rome - City Food Tour
  • Agriturismo - Wine Tour and Tasting
  • San Gimignano - Orientation Walk and Town Tour
  • Bologna - pasta-making class including dinner
  • Modena - Acetaia Visit
  • Modena - Day Trip
  • Venice Orientation Walk
  • Venice - Cicchetti Crawl
  • Venice - Rialto market walk

Dates & availability

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Essential trip information

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