For questions or to reserve:
umalumni.orbridge.com
(866) 639-0079
Main Program: October 14, 2023 – October 22, 2023
Pre-Tour: October 11, 2023 — October 15, 2023
Post-Tour: October 22, 2023 — October 25, 2023

Flavors of Northern Italy

From art-packed museums and mosaic-filled cathedrals to Roman ruins and hill towns amid vineyards that produce some of Europe's best wines, Northern Italy's riches are plentiful, wide-ranging, and ripe for discovery. Embark on a cultural and gastronomic adventure with this signature journey where days are dedicated to the joy and art of good food and wine, and evenings are for quiet relaxation at guestrooms in the country. 


NOTE: This program information is current as of 10/1/2023.

Program Highlights

– With your small group (maximum 19 guests), enjoy seven nights accommodations at a historic country farmhouse amidst a wine and olive oil-producing estate.

– Join intimate cooking classes with locals who share their families’ histories and favorite recipes.

– Take in the area’s layered history, with visits to Verona’s 2,000-year-old Roman arena and the magnificent medieval Castelvecchio Bridge.

– In the famed Valpolicella and Trentino wine regions, visit family-owned and -operated vineyards, meeting the esteemed vintners and discovering their unique varietals. Partake in exclusive tastings and presentations, and learn how wine-making traditions have been passed down through generations.

– Admire the panoramic beauty at captivating Lago di Garda—Italy’s largest lake.

– Delight in a cheese-making demonstration and tasting in the heart of Lessinia, home to a delicious variety of Italian cheeses.

– See Palazzo Ducale di Mantova—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—which was the royal residence of the Gonzaga family from 1328 to 1707.

– Meet a renowned winemaker who specializes in creating Amarone. Then retreat to a nearby restaurant for a polenta-making demonstration, featuring Amarone, and dinner.

– Enjoy a special excursion near Modena for a tasting of aged balsamic vinegar during a convivial meal with the property’s owner and his family.

– Relax during a boat tour around Lago d'Iseo, featuring mesmerizing clear water and stunning mountain scenery, followed by touring on land.

– Explore the winery cellar at Al Rocol and learn how painstaking attention to detail produces wines of consummate elegance and complexity. 

What's Included

  • 7 nights accommodations
  • 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 7 dinners served with wine, each incorporating a variety of Northern Italian preparations and ingredients
  • All lessons, private tours and tastings, and unique small-group excursions noted in the 9-day itinerary
  • Full guiding services of an Orbridge Travel Director and expert local guides
  • Private motor coach transportation
  • Luggage handling
  • Gratuities to Orbridge Travel Director, local guides, drivers, and wait staff for included meals
  • Airport transfers for guests arriving and departing during the suggested times

Itinerary

Day 1: En route from U.S.
Saturday, October 14, 2023

Day 2: Arrive in Verona, Italy / Province of Brescia (Selva Capuzza)
Sunday, October 15, 2023
Welcome to Italy!

Transfer to Selva Capuzza—a charming Italian farmhouse on a historic, country wine 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, for a welcome drink and dinner.
Overnight: Borgo San Donino (D)

Day 3: Selva Capuzza
Monday, October 16, 2023
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! Then, retreat for a lovely lunch, featuring the freshly made fare paired with wine from the property. 

After lunch, enjoy a walking tour of the property including an olive oil tasting and wine presentation.

Later, gather for another lovely dinner at Cascina Capuzza.
Overnight: Borgo San Donino (B,L,D)

Day 4: Verona / Valpolicella
Tuesday, October 17, 2023
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 north to the hills of the Valpolicella wine region to meet winemaker Giuseppe Lonardi, one of the best producers of Amarone in Italy. Tour the winery before sampling a few varietals, including Giuseppe's special blend, Privilegia.

After the tasting, take a short stroll through the bucolic neighborhood to a tiny bistro to meet Chef Vittorio. Gather around his kitchen work table while he demonstrates how to create slow-cooked, Amarone-infused risotto. As it’s stirred over a wood fire, observe the finer points of making polenta, learn about other seasonal and regional fare, and then enjoy a freshly prepared dinner, featuring the decadent Amarone risotto.
Overnight: Borgo San Donino (B,D)

Day 5: Vallagarina / Malcesine
Wednesday, October 18, 2023
Visit 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. 

Afterward, head north to the de Tarczal estate in the mountainous Trentino region of Northern Italy. Renowned for centuries for the quality and variety of its distinguished grapes, this prestigious, small and family-operated vineyard specializes in classic local varietals. Enjoy a tour of the cellars, wine tasting, and lunch in “la Vineria,” featuring the gastronomic products of Trentino. 

The leisurely return drive to Selva Capuzza delivers you to the shores of Italy’s largest lake, Lago di Garda, in the lively medieval village of Malcesine. Wander the sloping avenues featuring a myriad of boutiques and restaurants up to stately Scaliger Castle to capture the panoramic views over the majestic azure water below.
Overnight: Borgo San Donino (B,L,D)

Day 6: Modena / Mantua
Thursday, October 19, 2023
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. 

Afterward, stop at beautiful Mantua for 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.

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

Day 7: Roncà / Soave / Sirmione
Friday, October 20, 2023
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 historic relationship with wine. 

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

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

Day 8: Sulzano / Lago d'Iseo / Franciacorta
Saturday, October 21, 2023
After breakfast, depart Sulzano by boat to see the hamlets and villages alongside picturesque Lago d'Iseo, a small lake situated within a rich agricultural area of vineyards, olive groves, fewer crowds, and friendly locals. Exceptional rural beauty, historic walking trails, and unique experiences await! Tour the main island, Montisola, and stroll the charming town of Perschiera Maraglio with its fabulous views. Stop at Siviano to learn more of the culture at the fishing-net museum. See the owners' vast collection of documents, a permanent display of photographs, and other objects that pay tribute to their roots. 

Next, wine lovers will delight in visiting Italy's Franciacorta—a name referring to the territory, the production method, and the vino. Franciacorta is Italy's answer to champagne, and it was the first sparkling wine here to receive the highest designation of quality (DOCG) distinction. This bucolic region with sloping hills overlooks the shores of Lago d'Iseo and serves as our ambiance for a guided cellar tour, wine tasting, and lunch. Delight your palate and intellect at Al Rocol, where guests make a stop in the cellar. Sample and learn about wines produced with grapes grown in terraced vineyards using the Guyot and other systems. The “Franciacorta DOCG” and the “Terre di Franciacorta Rosso” have won silver and bronze medals in international competition. 

Later, dinner at Cascina Capuzza presents an opportunity to dine once more with fellow travelers and toast a delightful adventure together in northern Italy. 
Overnight: Borgo San Donino (B,L,D)

Day 9: Verona / Depart Verona for U.S.
Sunday, October 22, 2023
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

Moderate

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. 

Accommodations

Borgo San Donino, Selva Capuzza

October 15 - October 21

Within arm’s reach of the culture-rich Veneto and Emilia Romagna regions lies Borgo San Donino, a charming farmhouse on the Selva Capuzza wine estate—also the 1859 battle site of Italy’s fight toward its independence.

The farmhouse apartments, winery, and nearby restaurant are the result of many years of dedicated work and provide award-winning wines, delightful accommodations, and generous hospitality for all who visit.

Stroll the grounds and you might see grape vines being carefully tended by hand or olives ripening for the estate’s own olive oil, just steps away from tables where the harvest is reincarnated in signature wines and local dishes. The Selva Capuzza winery produces a wonderful selection of varietals—red, white, and rosé, all under the careful expertise of the property’s skilled vintners.

Visit the nearby San Martino Tower to admire its majesty from the inside and out. Then follow the tree-lined road to the Chapel of San Martino, which guards those who died in battle.

After a day’s adventures, restore your senses amidst the comfortable atmosphere of your apartment—inspired, as you will be, by the beauty of Northern Italy’s landscapes.

Studio: A cozy studio room with an en suite bathroom overlooking the garden. Recommended for single occupancy. Limited availability.

Classic Apartment: A comfortable apartment with a living area, kitchenette, and en suite bathroom overlooking the garden and surrounding countryside.

Superior Apartment: A spacious apartment with a living area, kitchenette, and en suite bathroom. Each room is unique with either vaulted ceilings or a large patio, and views of the vineyard or surrounding countryside.

Room Amenities: Each room is equipped with individual climate control, complimentary Wi-Fi, safe, bathroom sundries (shampoo, shower gel, lotion, toothbrush kit, shaving kit, sewing kit, and shower cap), slippers, and a hair dryer. (Hair conditioner is not provided.)

NOTE: This property does not have an elevator. 

(Accommodations subject to change.)

Optional Pre-Tour

Cinque Terre


Take advantage of additional time in Italy to explore Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera, an area teeming with meaningful traditions surrounding wine, cuisine, and family.

Charming pastel buildings and sparkling sea views combine brilliantly with sweet and savory specialties from Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, and Manarola. Discover the plentiful local seafood—fresh calamari, shrimp, and anchovies—are always at hand (even those who are not fans of anchovies should try them here). And the hills behind the villages are a mosaic of vineyards producing local white wine. Delizioso!

More than food and drink, Cinque Terre is also a National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, drawing visitors to its dramatic coastal scenery and sunset panoramas.

Itinerary

Day +1: En route from U.S.
Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Day +2: Arrive in Milan, Italy / Sestri Levante
Thursday, October 12, 2023
After arriving in Milan Malpensa, enjoy the scenic drive to the Italian Riviera. The afternoon is at leisure to relax after the flight and stroll the fishing hamlet of Sestri Levante.   
Overnight: Vis à Vis 

Day +3: Sestri Levante / Cinque Terre / Sestri Levante
Friday, October 13, 2023
Following breakfast, board a local train to travel the coastline, arriving at Cinque Terre—a fairy-tale-esque area of hamlets brimming with pastel-hued homes—which exude unparalleled charm.

Explore the lively towns and experience a culinary specialty at each stop. Start in Monterosso al Mare and sample freshly baked focaccia or farinata—an amazing local chickpea pie. In Manarola, enjoy the area’s popular dessert white wine, Sciacchetrà. Cap off the delightful day with the best lemon granita and a creamy gelato in Vernazza. There will be some flexibility in the towns visited and local specialties tasted depending on weather conditions and the number of guests on the program.
Overnight: Vis à Vis (B,L) 

Day +4: Sestri Levante / Portofino / San Fruttuoso / Santa Margherita Ligure / Sestri Levante
Saturday, October 14, 2023
Transfer to stunning Portofino, a picturesque fishing village along the Italian Riviera. Sail by private gozzo (a traditional wooden boat with a large sundeck) to the abbey of San Fruttuoso, and discover the sacred building dating back to the 16th century. Then stroll lively Santa Margherita Ligure with its tiny alleys and colorful shops and enjoy lunch at leisure before returning to Sestri Levante.
Overnight: Vis à Vis (B)  

Day +5: Sestri Levante / Verona / Main Program Begins
Sunday, October 15, 2023
Indulge in a final morning at leisure in Sestri Levante and then transfer by private vehicle to Verona. (B)

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch

This pre-tour is not escorted by an Orbridge Travel Director. Included sightseeing is accompanied by a local guide. Space on this pre-tour is limited, so it's recommended to reserve early for best availability.

(Itinerary subject to change.)

Activity Level

Moderate

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, can walk up and down hillsides and stairs, and can board/disembark a train or a water vessel without assistance. Historic city centers are usually more accessible by foot than vehicle. Due to the structure of some buildings, facilities for the disabled may be limited.

Accommodations

Vis à Vis

October 12 - October 14

A unique hotel perched on a high promontory, the family-run Vis à Vis provides spectacular views over two bays—Baia del Silenzio and Baia delle Favole. Tastefully furnished, welcoming rooms offer comfort and relaxation. Unwind in the outdoor heated swimming pool set amid olive trees, savor a delicious cocktail and meal at the Sky Bar Zeus or other on-site dining options, and, for an additional fee, indulge in spa treatments in the Giunone Wellness area. 

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, partial sea view, balcony with seating, complimentary Wi-Fi, writing desk, LCD TV, phone, safe, mini bar, slippers, and en suite bathroom with premium sundries and hair dryer.

(Accommodations subject to change.)

What's Included

  • 3 nights accommodations at Vis à Vis (or similar)
  • 3 breakfasts and 1 lunch
  • Cinque Terre card for all train transportation within the Cinque Terre
  • Guided touring (by English-speaking guides) and tastings through Cinque Terre's villages
  • Transportation (with unlimited bottled water) for included touring
  • Boat excursion to San Fruttuoso
  • Entrance fee to San Fruttuoso Abbey
  • Luggage porterage
  • Gratuities to hotel staff, local guide, drivers for included activities and excursions, porters, and wait staff for included meals
  • Airport transfers for guests arriving during the suggested times

Optional Post-Tour

Venice


Ah, Venice. Bask in the gloriously romantic and enchanting atmosphere of the Floating City. Your small group will delight in exploring classic cultural treasures of this remarkable region. Guided tours for sightseeing, meeting with artisans, and learning about wine making reveal Venice’s rich layers of history, art, and dedication to good food and drink. 

Itinerary

Day 9: Depart Verona / Arrive Venice
Sunday, October 22, 2023
Arrive in Venice Santa Lucia and transfer to your hotel by private boat. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Venice from the water. Cross the Grand Canal, the city’s main “street,” lined on either side by palaces, churches, hotels, and other public buildings in various architectural styles. Connecting waterways bustle with transport as automobiles are banned throughout much of the city. See iconic landmarks, including St. Mark's Square, Giudecca, and San Giorgio Maggiore. The rest of the afternoon and the evening are at leisure. 
Overnight: Hotel Nani Mocenigo Palace

Day 10: Venice
Monday, October 23, 2023
This morning visit a squero, or boatyard, and learn the fascinating secrets of the art and science of traditional gondola construction. See these symbols of Venice under construction, and hear about the techniques used by artisans to build and repair gondolas for generations. Did you know that before 1884, gondolas were symmetrical and required two gondoliers to row the boat by standing on opposite sides of the hull? Discover how proud craftsmen use multiple kinds of wood to build their vessels.

Later, meet an artisan who creates amazing masks, and learn about the history of the Venetian Carnival. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Overnight: Hotel Nani Mocenigo Palace (B)

Day 11: Venice / Mazzorbo / Burano / Venice
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
After a leisurely breakfast, board private motorboats to reach the island of Mazzorbo. Rich in agricultural tradition, here one finds hundreds of artichoke fields, vineyards, and fruit trees. Visit a local vineyard and discover how wine producers have overcome the challenges of the area's high tides to create celebrated Venetian wines. Savor a lunch pairing a menu with various wines produced by the property. Traditional dishes, such as locally caught fish and shellfish with fresh vegetables and wild herbs cultivated on the grounds, are highlights of this delightful, relaxed osteria—traditionally a wine bar recognized for its welcoming and informal atmosphere. 

Cross a pedestrian bridge and explore colorful Burano at your own pace. Perhaps in Galuppi Square engage with locals to admire the lacework, Burano's main craft product. Lacemaking dates back to the 1500s, and the island has precious works from the Burano Lace School's collection exhibited in a museum. Then, return to the hotel.
Overnight: Hotel Nani Mocenigo Palace (B,L)

Day 12: Depart Venice for U.S.
Wednesday, October 25, 2023
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch

This post-tour is not escorted by an Orbridge Travel Director. Included sightseeing is accompanied by a local guide. Space on this post-tour is limited, so it's recommended to reserve early for best availability.

(Itinerary subject to change.)

Activity Level

Moderate

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, can walk up and down hillsides and stairs, and can board/disembark a water vessel without assistance. Historic city centers are usually more accessible by foot than vehicle. Due to the structure of some buildings, facilities for the disabled may be limited.

Accommodations

Hotel Nani Mocenigo Palace

October 22 - October 24

An oasis of class and tranquility, the Hotel Nani Mocenigo Palace, located in the charming and picturesque district of Dorsoduro—in the heart of Venice—welcomes guests with elegantly appointed rooms and helpful staff. Sumptuous furnishings, including magnificent chandeliers, comfortable beds, authentic antique furniture, marble bathrooms, and contemporary amenities, make this meticulously restored property an enjoyable stay. Unwind in the peaceful, private garden and Vitraria Caffè, located on the ground floor, for a wide range of coffees and teas or some of your favorite aperitifs served with tasty canapès and small savory delights.

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, flat-screen TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, coffee and tea maker, safe, minibar, bathrobes, and en suite bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.

(Accommodations subject to change.)

What's Included

  • Transfer by train (in business class) from Desenzano del Garda to Venice accompanied by your Orbridge Travel Director
  • 3 nights accommodations at Hotel Nani Mocenigo Palace (or similar)
  • 3 breakfasts and 1 lunch
  • Guided touring accompanied by an art historian
  • Private visit to an artisan-mask workshop
  • Private gondola boatyard visit
  • Guided vineyard tour and wine pairing with lunch 
  • Private water taxi transportation for canal and lagoon tours, and transfers to and from your hotel on arrival and departure days
  • Luggage porterage
  • Gratuities to hotel staff, local guide, drivers for included activities and excursions, porters, and wait staff for included meals

Terms and Conditions