Our 14-day exploration of three north-Italian provinces, including the three capitals of Turin, Genoa, and Milan, plus wonderful countryside, featuring Alpine peaks and valleys, famous wine regions, the superb coastal scenery of the Riviera, including pearls like Portofino and the Cinque Terre, and wonderful architecture and art, epitomized by five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Leonardo’s ‘Last Supper.’ Plus fine food and wines such as Barolo! This tour is offered in collaboration with Guelph Arts Council and will be escorted by historian Jacques Pauwels, PhD, author of books such as ‘Beneath the Dust of Time: A History of the Names of Peoples and Places’ (London, 2009), who will lecture on the region’s rich history, including the saga of a world-famous Genoese hero, Columbus.
Evening departure from Toronto for Milan with Air Canada, via Munich. Dinner and a light breakfast will be served on board.
Late morning arrival in Milan, where a private coach will be waiting to take us to a Turin (Torino), capital city of the Italian province of Piedmont, formerly an independent country ruled by the Savoy Dynasty. Turin is a dynamic but elegant city, famous for its major industries (home of e.g. FIAT) but also wonderful architecture, fine museums, soccer (Juventus), and excellent food and wine! We briefly visit the impressive Superga Basilica, located high on a hill overlooking the city, before checking into a centrally located 4-star/first-class Hotel. Free time to settle in and relax after your overnight flight. In late afternoon, leisurely walking tour of the historical city centre, followed by welcome dinner in the restaurant of our hotel.
Departure from Turin after breakfast. We head for the Langhe district, heartland of the world-famous Piedmont wine country, situated in the hilly south of the province, between the Po River and the Apennine Mountain Range. We enjoy outstanding scenery, featuring vine-covered slopes sprinkled with picturesque hilltop villages, castles and churches, as well as picturesque towns; this region was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on account of the “balance between the aesthetic qualities of its landscapes, the architectural and historical diversity of the built elements associated with the wine production activities and an authentic and ancient art of winemaking.” A visit to a winery, a tasting of some of the famous regional wines, such as Barolo, and a delicious lunch in a typical ristorante will be included. In late afternoon we continue into the neighbouring province of Liguria, a narrow but glorious strip of coastline tucked between the mountains and the blue Mediterranean, much of it a.k.a. the Italian Riviera. Our destination is the quaint coastal town and resort of Santa Margherita Ligure, situated at the base of the romantic Portofino Peninsula. We stay in the first-class Hotel Regina Elena or similar.
Morning boat tour to Portofino, one of the most beautiful and romantic little seaports anywhere in Italy or, for that matter, the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea! (www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q1yQeJPoJA) Return to Santa Margherita after lunch and rest of the day free to enjoy the resort on your own. Dinner again in the restaurant of our hotel.
Departure from Santa Margherita after breakfast. We motor, first along the coast and then across the Apennine Mountains to the city of Parma, famous for its high-quality prosciutto (ham) and Parmigiano-cheese as well as Balsamic vinegar, and associated with Italy’s great composer, Giuseppi Verdi. Upon arrival, sightseeing tour of the old town of Parma, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with monuments such as the imposing Pilotta Palace, the Royal Theatre, and the Cathedral and its magnificent Baptistry. The afternoon is free to explore the town on your own, visit the fine art gallery (www.parmabeniartistici.beniculturali.it/galleria-nazionale-di-parma/en), or shop. Accommodation in the Best Western Farnese or another first-class/4-star hotel, and dinner in the hotel or in a typical restaurant.
Morning sightseeing tour of Milan, an exciting metropolis that may not be Italy’s capital but is sometimes described as the country’s “New York”! The highlights will include the wonderful Duomo (Cathedral); the impressive 19th -century Galleria, featuring fine shops and restaurants; La Scala Theatre with its small but exquisite museum; and the huge Sforza Castle. Will it be a coincidence if the tour ends around noon right in front of what is arguably Europe's best delicatessen store, Peck, a great option for lunch? (http://www.nytimes.com/1981/02/25/garden/in-milan-a-delicatessen-among-the-finest.html). Afternoon free. No group dinner today.
This morning we view Leonardo’s masterpiece, ‘The Last Supper,’ in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a UNESCO site, and also visit the ancient Basilica of Sant’Ambrosio, a fine example of Lombard-Romanesque architecture. Afternoon free to shop or visit another one of the city’s fine museums, such as the exquisite Pinacotecas di Brera (http://pinacotecabrera.org/en) and Ambrosiana (www.leonardoambrosiana.it/en); the Modern Art Gallery (www.gam-milano.com/en/home), with the iconic painting The Fourth Estate, by da Volpedo; and the Poldi Pezzoli Museum with its fabulous collection of weapons, clocks, bronzes, paintings, etc. (www.museopoldipezzoli.it/#!/en/discover) In the evening, arrivederci-dinner in a typical restaurant.
After breakfast, transfer to Malpensa Airport and return flight to Toronto with Air Canada, via Munich.
- Return flight from Toronto to Milan via Munich, with Air Canada; - Overland transportation via private coach; - Accommodation based on double occupancy in first-class/4-star hotels - the single room supplement is $825; - Daily breakfast, mostly buffet-style, and dinner (or sometimes full lunch) also daily except on days 4, 9, and 12; - All visits and sightseeing as outlined in the itinerary, including admission to museums and monuments as shown in the itinerary; - Gratuities for the coach driver and local guides.
-***The usual combination of airport taxes/security fees/fuel surcharges, presently (June 2016) approximately $600, but subject to change; - All expenses of a personal nature; - Travel Insurance is available; please call our office for rates.
Alta Macadam, Annabel Barber, and Paul Blanchard, Northern Italy: From the Alps to the Adriatic
Sally Spector, Chocolate, Truffles, and Other Treasures of Italy's Piedmont Cuisine
Victor D'Amico, Bonding with Piedmont: Italy's Undiscovered and Bountiful Region
David Downie, Enchanted Liguria: The Glorious Lifestyle Art and Food of the Italian Riviera
January 19 - 27, 2021
$5,474 from Toronto based on double accommodation
March 02 - 19, 2021
$4,995 from Toronto based on double occupancy
April 13 - 26, 2021
$4,895 from Toronto, including air, based on double occupancy