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

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. On this trip you get the best of the North & South. Discover why the southern Italian regions of Abruzzo, Puglia, Basilicata and Campania are the newest foodie hot spots everyone's raving about. Dine on a converted fishing platform on the Adriatic Sea, savour Apulian classics in a fortified farmhouse and sample burrata cheese. 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 Venice to Sorrento.


Start
Venice, Italy
Finish
Sorrento, Italy
Destination
Italy
Style
Original
Theme
Food
Code
ZMZIC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll 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, Puglia and the Veneto

  • 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

  • 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

  • Visit the gorgeous town of Alberobello which has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site for its unusual districts of trulli, the characteristic white-washed conical-roofed houses of the area

  • Experience an unforgettable dinner by the Adriatic Sea while on a traditional trabocco fishing platform in Fossacesia

  • Pack your own picnic at a prized Apulian bakery

  • Lose yourself in the ancient city of Matera, which sits dramatically on the edge of the Gravina gorge

Is this trip right for you?

  • The primary means of transportation on the norther section of 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.

  • There are some long travel days on this itinerary, particularly from Fossacesia to Alberobello (Day 9: 4 hours) and from Matera to Sorrento (Day 13:5 hours). However you will be on private transport on these days and there will be stops to break up these journeys. Its also a great time to relax and get to know your fellow travellers.

  • 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, although travellers can elect to take a taxi to San Gimignano if preferred (at own cost).

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2019 to 31 December 2019. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2018

Buongiorno! Welcome to Italy and the iconic city of Venice. If you arrive early, take some time to get lost in Venice's narrow cobblestone streets and spacious piazzas, crossing 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. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting tonight at 6pm. Please ask reception to confirm the time and place of your meeting. Have your insurance details and next of kin information on hand for collection by your leader. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. Afterwards, head out for a welcome aperitivo - the spritz and the bellini are local favourites. Venice's distinctive culinary heritage goes back to ancient times and features rich risottos, saline baccala (salted cod) and creamy polenta. If you're hungry, follow your leader to an atmospheric restaurant for your first introduction to Venetian flavours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Venice - Welcome Aperitivo
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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 an Italian cafe alongside the market. You'll also be treated to a specialty dessert of the region, tiramisu. The afternoon is free for your own exploration.

In the evening, discover 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 Cicchetti Tasting
  • Venice - Venetian Breakfast and Market Tour
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
  • San Giorgio Bell Tower - EUR6
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Travel to Bologna by train (approximately 2 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
Optional Activities
  • Bologna - Eataly World - Free
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. Over lunch, 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. Take some time to stroll around this delightful town, admire the Palazzo Ducale and, if you're still hungry, ask your leader about the great specialty panini shop in the market. Return to Bologna in the late afternoon.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Modena - Acetaia Visit
  • Modena - Trattoria Lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
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.
Accommodation
  • Agriturismo (1 night)
Included Activities
  • San Gimignano - Olive Oil tasting
  • Agriturismo - Wine Tour and Tasting
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
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. If you're keen to learn more, there is an informative wine museum located in the town. Before returning, stop past an award-winning gelateria, where intriguing flavours like Gorgonzola cheese and walnuts are waiting to be tasted. 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
  • Agriturismo (1 night)
Included Activities
  • San Gimignano - Orientation Walk and Town Tour
  • San Gimignano - Wine Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today jump on a train to Rome. Take a guided food expedition through the historical city centre of Rome. Walk past the Pantheon, Navona Square, Campo del Fiori, the Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere building up an appetite for the food stops along the way. Sample a robust Italian espresso in a charming, historical cafeteria. Pushing on through the streets, take the chance to savour some delicious semifreddo for a cold, sweet treat; tuck in to doughy mortadella-garnished pizzas; sample pecorino cheese and wash it down with a glass of frascati before finishing off with some sweet kranz (Jewish cake) for dessert. After an afternoon of eating (and an ever fuller belly), toast the end of this adventure with your new friends. The Foodie walk will be approximately 3 hours in duration so bring comfortable walking shoes.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today's food tour takes place in the afternoon between lunch and dinner. While we have counted this as a dinner (as there will be plenty of food!), you may still wish to dine in the evening.
Buongiorno! Welcome to the cobbled streets of Rome. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting tonight at 6 pm. Please ask reception to confirm the time and place of your meeting. Have your insurance details and next of kin information on hand for verification by your leader. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. After the welcome meeting, get to know your fellow foodies over a bowl of pasta in the rione (administrative division) of Monti, home to some of the city's most famous monuments. There are no activities planned before the 6 pm meeting, so if you arrive early consider doing as the Romans do and sipping an espresso at one of the tiny streetside cafes and sampling the many flavours of gelato that colour the city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Stella (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Rome - Welcome Dinner
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Today you’ll visit a local family at their farm just outside of Rome and take a tour of their small vineyard and vegetable garden. The family's patriarch makes his own wine and refuses to drink anything else at home (and brings it along with him wherever he goes)! He's sure to offer you a drop, and once you've had a swirl and a sniff you won’t want to say no. Depending on the season, you may head to a local market or shop to pick up some extra ingredients before joining the family at home to cook up a Roman farmhouse feast. Eat, drink and be merry in a way only the Italians can, before returning to Rome in the late afternoon and doing as you please for the rest of the day.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Stella (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Rise and shine for an 8.05 am train to Brindisi. It’s a 5-hour journey, so you might want to pack a book for the ride. Or maybe just get to know your fellow travellers a little better. From here, take a private transfer to a masseria (fortified farmhouse) in Avetrana, a seaside town right in the heel of Italy’s boot where you will be spending the evening. Enjoy an afternoon stuffed with gastronomical delights. Taste rich olive oil and wine varietals made on site, then sit down to a rustic and delicious Puglian dinner. Though the exact menu will change depending on the season, expect to taste plenty of tomatoes and seafood!
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Drive to the World Heritage-listed city of Alberobello, famous for its white-washed, conical-roofed huts, called trulli. Stop en route for a tasting of fresh, soft mozzarella and a demonstration of how this cheese is made. Arrive in Alberobello and enjoy a guided walk with your leader before spending a few hours wandering among the hundreds of limestone houses. Continue to Matera, a stunning city built into caves and cliffs where you will stay for two nights in a Sassi hotel. The Sassi is an area of extraordinary dwellings, half-carved and half-constructed from the surrounding tufo (tuff) rock, in which people have been living since Palaeolithic times. Everything here is built into rock, including the restaurants, where you’ll find massive plates of antipasti, fresh produce and some of the best bread in Italy on the menu.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Sassi (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Explore otherworldly Matera on a guided walking tour and learn about the fascinating history of a place once considered the shame of Italy. Up until the 1950s Matera was severly impoverished, and many residents lived in the Sassi caves without running water or electricity. Learn about this remote city’s transformation and go deep with a tour of the underground Ipogeo Materasum – a series of roads, cisterns and places of worship that lie up to 12-metres below. Then, journey into the other belly of Matera with a local cooking class, and later an Amaro Lucano tasting. This famed herbal digestive was first made in Matera. Cap off a full day by learning to craft orecchiette, the ear-shaped pasta that is popular in Italy’s south,make a toast to this surprising city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Sassi (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Matera - Guided Walking Tour
  • Ipogeo Underground Cistern
  • Matera - Liqueur Tasting
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Bid arrivederci to limestone caves and wave buongiorno to  lemon trees as you take a private transfer to Sorrento. Get right into the spirit of this historic resort town (Byron, Dickens, Tolstoy and more holidayed here) with a Limoncello tasting. Like all perfect seaside towns, Sorrento has a wealth of local gelato makers serving up soft, melt in your mouth goodness. Learn how this fine treat is made during a demonstration, and then spend the evening at your leisure. Why not soak up the beauty of this location with dinner by the water.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Carlton (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sorrento - Gelato Making Demonstration
  • Sorrento Limoncello Tasting
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Sorrento is not only a beautiful destination of its own, it’s also a great base for exploring nearby Pompeii. Until 26 August, AD79, Pompeii was a thriving Roman trading centre, where ordinary people went about their everyday business, but it was frozen in time when Mt Vesuvius erupted, killing 2000 people and burying their homes under a layer of ash. The city was never rebuilt and largely disappeared from people’s minds until the 18th century, when the ruins were re-discovered. Today, take a guided tour and get an unparalleled look back into the lives of ancient Romans and discover how they lived, worked and interacted years ago. Return to Sorrento for an olive oil tasting, where you can compare the fragrance and notes of this blend to others you’ve tried so far on your trip. No food trip to Italy would be compete without a pizza making demonstration, and we’ve saved the best for last. Learn to prepare this southern classic in a trattoria, then settle in for a delicious farewell dinner with the group.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Carlton (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Ciao! This mouth-watering adventure through southern Italy comes to an end today and there are no activities scheduled.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

12 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport

Train, Metro, Private Vehicle, Bus, Taxi

Accommodation

Hotel (12 nights), Farmstay (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Venice - Welcome Aperitivo
  • Venice Cicchetti Tasting
  • Venice - Venetian Breakfast and Market Tour
  • Bologna Pasta Making Class including Dinner
  • Modena - Acetaia Visit
  • Modena - Trattoria Lunch
  • San Gimignano - Olive Oil tasting
  • Agriturismo - Wine Tour and Tasting
  • San Gimignano - Orientation Walk and Town Tour
  • San Gimignano - Wine Museum
  • Rome - Welcome Dinner
  • Matera - Guided Walking Tour
  • Ipogeo Underground Cistern
  • Matera - Liqueur Tasting
  • Sorrento - Gelato Making Demonstration
  • Sorrento Limoncello Tasting

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Important notes

A single supplement is available on this trip with exception of Days 5-6 (San Gimignano). If a single room becomes available at check-in for these nights, there may be the option for you to upgrade to a single room by paying the surcharge locally for these nights.

There are some long travel days on this itinerary, particularly from Fossacesia to Alberobello (Day 9: 4 hours) and from Matera to Sorrento (Day 13:5 hours). There will be stops to break up these journeys. Its also a great time to relax and get to know your fellow travellers.

We use a mix of public and private transport for this trip. We still recommend that you pack lightly, so you can carry your luggage up and down hotel stairs, but you are welcome to use your preferred luggage style (backpack or suitcase).

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.