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Adventure Tours

Italy Real Food Adventure

From €2070pp
Departure Date
Regular departures throughout the year
Duration
7 Nights
Destination
Venice, Bologna, Modena, San Gimignano & Rome, Italy
Price
From €2070pp
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Uncover the secrets of Italian cuisine while travelling from Venice to Rome.

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 Venice to Rome via San Gimignano and Bologna.

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 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
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • While this trip concludes in Rome, we do not spend a lot of time in this city. If you wish to explore further, adding additional nights to the end of your trip is recommended.

Day 1: Venice

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.

Included Activities:

  • Venice - Welcome Aperitivo

Meals Included:

  • There are no meals included on this day.

Day 2: Venice

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.

Included Activities:

  • Venice - Cicchetti Crawl
  • 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 in Venice - EUR6

Meals Included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 3: Bologna

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.

Included Activities:

  • Bologna - pasta-making class including dinner

Optional Activities:

  • Bologna - Eataly World - Free

Meals Included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 4: Emilia Romana

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.

Included Activities:

  • Modena - Acetaia Visit
  • Modena - Trattoria Lunch

Meals Included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Day 5: San Gimignano

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.

Included Activities:

  • San Gimignano - Olive Oil tasting
  • Agriturismo - Wine Tour and Tasting

Meals Included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 6: San Gimignano

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.

Included Activities:

  • San Gimignano - Orientation Walk and Town Tour
  • San Gimignano - Wine Museum

Meals Included:

  • Breakfast

Day 7: Rome

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. A tasting of fried fish with artichoke and other vegetables awaits, all wrapped up with some sweet kranz (Jewish cake) for desert.

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.

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.

Day 8: Rome

This Real Food Adventure comes to a close today. There are no activities and you are free to leave at any time. If you are keen to continue your Italian gastronomic odyssey, why not add a post-tour stay in Rome. Please ask our agents for assistance.

Meals Included:

  • Breakfast

Price is based on 2 adults sharing and includes:

  • Meals:
    • 7 breakfasts
    • 1 lunch
    • 3 dinners
  • Transport:
    • Train
    • Metro
    • Private Vehicle
    • Bus
  • Accommodation:
    • Hotel (5 nights)
    • Farmstay (2 nights)
  • Included activities:
    • Venice - Welcome Aperitivo
    • Venice - Cicchetti Crawl
    • 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

Please ask us about adding great value: 

  • Flights - we will find the best available priced flights for you
  • Travel insurance
Subject to availability. Terms & conditions apply.

For more information please call us on 021 427 7094 or 01 696 5135, email info@shandontravel.ie, request a call back using the red button or submit an enquiry through the form below.

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