Day 1 UK - Bologna
Fly to Bologna today to start your culinary journey of medieval Italy. We'll transfer you to your home for the week, a 4-star hotel in historic Correggio.
Day 2 Il Borgo del Balsamico - Parma
Jump straight into foodie heaven with a visit to the beautiful estate of Il Borgo del Balsamico, a producer of award-winning balsamic vinegar. A guided tour offers insight into the ageing process, while you taste your way through different varieties. Afterwards, we'll sit down for a delicious al fresco lunch in the idyllic garden.
Gourmet delights don't end there though, with a visit to the city of Parma this afternoon. You'll enjoy free time to sample renowned prosciutto ham and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, in a wealth of deli shops and restaurants. Walk it all off while exploring Parma Cathedral with its extraordinary frescoes. Or simply sit back and people-watch in the famous Piazza Garibaldi, filled with atmospheric cafés and historic monuments.
Meals included: B,L
Day 3 Correggio - at Leisure
You may want to sink into relaxation with a day at leisure. Alternatively, you can join us and discover one of Italy's best-kept secrets. Our optional excursion visits the UNESCO-listed Renaissance town of Ferrara, a destination that's inspired minstrels, poets and artists throughout history. Your Local Guide escorts you through a labyrinth of narrow streets, highlighting palaces from the 14th and 15th centuries.
Stroll the ancient red-brick city walls before we journey to Castello Estense, a moated medieval castle with haunting dungeons, complete with the graffiti of prisoners once held there. If you're feeling particularly energetic, climb the 122 steps to the top of the tower and be rewarded with a panoramic view of Ferrara.
Day 4 Parmesan Cheese Experience - Mantua
The world-famous gastronomic delight of Parmesan cheese is on the menu today, with a dairy visit to learn about ancient techniques from master cheesemakers. After we've had our gourmet cheese fix, we'll travel to Mantua, a stunning medieval town encircled by three shimmering lakes. Often missed on the Italian tourist trail, this hidden gem has remained largely the same since the Middle Ages.
Here, an expert Local Guide will take you on a tour of the Palazzo Ducale, once the seat of the powerful Gonzaga family for 400 years. You'll see spectacular Renaissance frescoes, gilt ceilings and works of art throughout the castle, a gorgeously landscaped courtyard, amazing galleries and the sumptuous Bridal Chamber.
Day 5 Correggio Market - Modena
Make sure you leave plenty of room in your suitcase for souvenirs, antiques, arts and crafts from Correggio's street market, with free time this morning to browse to your heart's content. Next, discover the birthplace of Pavarotti and the culinary heart of Modena. This is a city that's both historic and imbued with modern innovation in car production, most famously due to Enzo Ferrari.
A knowledgeable Local Guide will ensure you see the highlights and hidden spots of this food mecca, which is the original home of balsamic vinegar. You can look forward to exploring the UNESCO-listed Romanesque cathedral, a 12th century architectural masterpiece, and the elegant 17th century Town Hall with its stunning frescoed ceilings.
Day 6 Correggio - at Leisure
Have a day to tantalise your taste buds and explore as you wish, whether that's strolling around lovely Correggio or relaxing at the hotel. Alternatively, why not join us for an optional excursion to the mosaic-adorned town of Ravenna, home to no less than eight UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Soak up splendid Byzantine art and history on our morning tours of the Basilica di San Vitale and Basilica di Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, with its gabled façade and dazzling mosaics created by the Apollinaris of Ravenna. At Galla Placidia you'll see more incredible displays of glittering 5th and 6th century mosaics, along with the magical, star-covered interior of the building's dome.
Day 7 Correggio - at Leisure
Fuel up with a tasty breakfast this morning if you'd like to join our optional excursion to Bologna, the vibrant capital of the Emilia-Romagna region. The medieval centre is one of the largest in Europe, but you'll have an expert Local Guide to show you the way to incredible sites.
After discovering magnificent palaces, charming streets and centuries-old churches, enjoy free time to explore and sample Bolognese sauce in its place of origin. This evening, we'll gather together for a gourmet farewell dinner served at our hotel's renowned restaurant, set in a picturesque inner courtyard.
Day 8 Bologna - UK
Today we'll transfer you to the airport for your return flight to the UK.