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Destination: Northern Italy
Northern Italy Immersion

Northern Italy Immersion Itinerary

September 20 – September 28, 2024

Day 1: En route from U.S.
Friday, September 20, 2024

Day 2: Arrive in Verona, Italy / Province of Brescia (Selva Capuzza)
Saturday, September 21, 2024
Welcome to Italy!

Transfer to Selva Capuzza—a charming Italian farmhouse on a historic, country estate in the Province of Brescia—which will be home base for this week's adventures. Escape the bustling Verona motorway and experience a striking atmospheric dichotomy as paved roads transform into seemingly endless vineyards dotted with towering cypress trees. 

Upon arrival at Borgo San Donino—Selva Capuzza's appartamenti—warm greetings await, making each guest feel as if they've visited countless times before. The property evokes romantic dreams, where every aspect ignites the senses. Remarkable vine-covered stone walls, fresh countryside air, and songbirds trilling lively lilts set the stage for the exciting days to come. 

Settle into your accommodations before meeting fellow travel companions to stroll through the vineyard to Cascina Capuzza, Selva Capuzza's restaurant. Enjoy a welcome toast with the iconic Italian soft drink, Cedrata Tassoni citron, followed by dinner.
Overnight: Borgo San Donino (D)

Day 3: Borghetto / Valeggio sul Mincio
Sunday, September 22, 2024
Begin the day with a visit to the Tower of San Martino della Battaglia—a monument positioned on the site of an important historic battle. Traverse the winding incline to reach the top for a 360-degree view of the vast countryside stretching to the waters of Lago di Garda. 

Head to the quaint village of Borghetto for a stroll along the river. Borghetto is undoubtedly Valeggio sul Mincio’s best-known hamlet for its history and landscape. Afterward, head to Pastificio Ramelli restaurant for lunch in the historic center of Valeggio sul Mincio. The family owned business has been producing tortellini with passion for 35 years. Taste some of their classic specialties and more innovative tortellini to capture the most refined tastes.

After lunch, garden lovers will delight in visiting one of Italy’s most beautiful parks, Parco Siguarte Gardens. With an extensive size of 600,000 square meters, highlights of the park are a labyrinth maze and 18 water gardens. Autumn at the park is special because of the explosion of colors given by the foliage of the Japanese maples, ginkgo biloba trees, and the numerous asters. 

Return to the property to refresh before church service. Dinner at Cascina Capuzza.
Overnight: Borgo San Donino (B,L,D)

Day 4: Selva Capuzza
Monday, September 23, 2024
After a leisurely breakfast, join together to learn the art of preparing fresh pasta and desserts. Chefs from Cascina Capuzza will share their family's traditions, tips, and tricks as you try your hand at making a few pasta varieties. Prepare an assortment of traditional sweet treats, including salami di cioccolato and Cascina Capuzza’s trademark tiramisu! 

Following cooking class, retreat for a lovely lunch, featuring your freshly made fare. After lunch, enjoy a walking tour of the property. Learn its history and partake in an olive oil tasting under the cellar porch. 

Return to the property to refresh and gather at Cascina Capuzza for another lovely dinner.
Overnight: Borgo San Donino (B,L,D)

Day 5: Verona / Desenzano del Garda
Tuesday, September 24, 2024
Today, explore Verona, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a long, colorful history and infinite artistic architectural landmarks. Meet with a local guide for a panoramic tour around the city to view the Renaissance Gates of the 16th century and various Roman monuments. 

Then set out by foot for a guided walk along Italy's second longest river, Adige, crossing the 14th-century Castelvecchio Bridge—an iconic photography opportunity—toward the city center. Stop for an inside visit at San Zeno Basilica to admire its Romanesque architecture, centuries-old frescoes, and exceptionally detailed 12th-century bronze doors.

Continue to Piazza delle Erbe, where the courtyard is surrounded by quaint cafés being guarded by the Statue of Dante, and saunter the cobblestone streets to capture a glimpse of Juliet’s balcony. Visit the Roman amphitheater, Verona's best preserved Roman monument. Once an arena that hosted jousting matches and carnage-filled gladiator games, the current structure—impacted by numerous earthquakes throughout the years—serves as an open-air theater for operas and modern music performances.

After lunch on your own, rejoin the group and head to Museo Nicolis. One of the most prestigious private collections in Italy and Europe, the Nicolis Museum tells the story of 20th century technology and design. His masterpieces have been divided into 10 collections: hundreds of vintage cars, bicycles, motorcycles, cameras and typewriters, musical instruments, aircraft, a military area with World War I and II memorabilia, model cars, trains, and planes to name a few. Afterwards, head back to Borgo San Donino to enjoy some leisure time at the property before dinner.

This evening, depart for Desenzano del Garda to enjoy dinner together on the southern shore of Lake Garda.
Overnight: Borgo San Donino (B,D)

Day 6: Modena / Mantua
Wednesday, September 25, 2024
This morning, set out for Modena to meet Simone Caselli, an award-winning producer of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena. During a private tour, visit the old attic where the Caselli family story of creating balsamic vinegars began and still remains a part of the continuing tradition today. Then retire to the tasting room to compare the characteristics of three aged balsamic vinegars followed by lunch, including an array of homemade regional dishes featuring various Aceto vinegars. 

Next, head to beautiful Mantua and enjoy an inside visit to Palazzo Ducale, the former noble residence of the Gonzaga family. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this building is one of the most important Renaissance monuments in Italy. Peruse the museum, or venture into Mantua's main plaza for a bit of free time before returning to Selva Capuzza. On the drive back to Selva Capuzza, participate in Days of Reflection.

This evening, enjoy a light dinner at Cascina Capuzza.
Overnight: Borgo San Donino (B,L,D)

Day 7: Milan
Thursday, September 26, 2024
Today, take the high speed train from Desanzano to Milan for the day. Explore Milan’s most significant historical landmarks, including entry into the UNESCO-listed monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie, home to Leonardo Da Vinci’s iconic “The Last Supper.” Listen as your guide points out the details that earn this masterpiece depicting Jesus and his disciples eating their last supper its place in the history books. 

Learn the history and walk by a few famous sights such as Piazza della Scala and the medieval architectural wonder Castello Sforzesco. Stroll along the cobbled streets of the Brera district. This is the beating heart of Milan’s social and cultural life. You’ll hear about all the famous artists and thinkers that have called Brera home.

In the fashion capital of Italy, take a walk in the famous glass-domed Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, considered one of the world’s oldest shopping malls. Come for the neoclassical architecture; stay for the brands and fresh baked panzerotti. After lunch on your own at the Galleria, rejoin the group for a visit to the famous Duomo di Milano, Italy's largest church and the centerpiece of Milan. Designed at the height of Gothic architecture, the Duomo di Milano is a must-see site with its impressive collection of statues covering the cathedral, the roof, and the Baptistery. 

Take the train back to Borgo San Donino for dinner.
Overnight: Borgo San Donino (B,D)

Day 8: Roncà / Soave / Sirmione
Friday, September 27, 2024
Today, discover the culinary delights of the Lessinia region, known for its lush pastures, olive groves, and cherry and chestnut orchards. Visit La Casara—a family-run, artisan cheese shop in the Roncà municipality. Enjoy an up-close cheese-making demonstration and venture into the cheese cellar before settling into the tasting room for a sampling of La Casara's savory creations.

Departing Roncà, make a short photography stop in the walled, medieval town of Soave. View its famous castle, and learn about the town's important regional position and history.

Continue to Sirmione—an idyllic resort town at the tip of a peninsula in Lago di Garda. Spend free time roaming the enlivened streets, enjoy a boat tour, sip a cold aperitivo at a waterfront café, or peruse the plentiful boutiques for souvenir shopping.

Tonight, gather with fellow travelers for a farewell dinner at Cascina Capuzza accompanied by live music.
Overnight: Borgo San Donino (B,L,D)

Day 9: Verona / Depart for U.S.
Saturday, September 28, 2024
Today, guests departing during the suggested times will take a complimentary transfer to the airport for flights home. Guests continuing on the optional post-tour will depart by train to Venice. (B)

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

(Itinerary subject to change.)

Activity Level


Activities are generally not very strenuous, however, we expect that guests can enjoy two hours or more of walking, are sure-footed on cobbled surfaces, and can walk up and down stairs without assistance. There is no elevator on the property. Guests with second floor rooms will have 16 steps to climb to reach the second floor. On the estate, unpaved roads and pathways separate its various structures, and walking is required to get from one building to another and to reach the restaurant each evening. The walk is a third of a mile from the lodging area to the restaurant and takes approximately 10 minutes to walk each way.

Historic city centers are usually more accessible by foot than by vehicle, and sometimes it is not possible for your motor coach to drop you off at site entrances. Due to the structure of some buildings, facilities for the disabled may be limited. Also, dexterity to use kitchen tools and participate in lessons is not necessary, but adds to the enjoyment of this program.