Cities of the Po Valley
Milan, Modena, Bologna, Ravenna, Mantua and Verona
September 27 to October 5, 2018
In his memoir of Italy, Henry James described the cities of Po Valley as jewels on "a golden chain." Once linked by alliances of blood and marriage, now connected by autostradas, these elegant cities still recall that age of splendor when dukes and duchesses filled their courts with artists, poets, architects, and musicians, as they vied with one another in their pursuit of culture.
Today, one of the most prosperous regions in Italy, the Po Valley is known as much for its food and wine as for its cultural riches. Here one finds some of Italy's most prized delicacies: authentic balsamic vinegar, Parmigiano cheese, prosciutto di Parma, culatello, Amarone reds along with the lovely wines of the Valpolicella, and the luxuriantly supple pasta fresca of Reggio Emilia.
September 27: An afternoon in Milan: the gothic duomo, Bramante's church of San Satiro and Leonardo's Last Supper in the cenacolo of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Group dinner.
September 28: The Brera Gallery with important works by Mantegna, Caravaggio, Giovanni Bellini, Raphael and more. And then one of our favorite spots: the Villa Necchi, a fascist-style villa in central Milan, complete with swimming pool, closets still filled with Milanese fashions of the past century, bathrooms to dream about, and a kitchen garden. In addition, it now houses an impressive collection of 20th c. Italian artworks. Group lunch.
September 29: Depart Milan for Bologna, with stops along the way: first, at a farm where we encounter one of the culinary delicacies of the Po: culatello, which is a refined version of prosciutto and rarely found outside the region. Next stop: Parma for a visit to its iconic baptistry, one of the most important medieval structures in Italy, and the Monastery of San Paolo with frescoes by Correggio. Group lunch at a pig farm.
September 30: An extraordinary day for food, starting with a visit to a caseificio where Parmigiano Reggiano is made and and then stored for years in a vast warehouse until it reaches its desired consistency. Then on to the Galli farm, where wives and daughters oversee the production of balsamic vinegar in a closely guarded attic. A wonderful treat awaits us! Afternoon visit to the Ferrari museum. You will want to take one home with you! Group lunch at the Galli farm.
October 1: Excursion from Bologna to Ravenna, a city synonymous with mosaics. We plan to visit our favorite sites: The Basilica of San Vitale, the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Saint Apollinaire Nuovo and whatever else we find time for. Group lunch.
October 2: Travel from Bologna to Verona, with a stop along the way in Mantua, one of our favorite cities. The Palazzo Vecchio is a treasure house for sure, the best bit being Mantegna's Camera Degli Sposi with portraits of the Gonzaga family--horses included. Then, after lunch at, sorry, another favorite place, a visit to the Palazzo Te, the pleasure palace built for a Gonzaga mistress and decorated throughout by Giulio Romano. Group lunch.
October 3: Morning excursion to the wine region of the Valpolicella, with a garden visit, wine tasting, and lunch! Return to Verona in plenty of time to wander through this beautiful city. Group lunch in wine country.
October 4: Depart Verona for Milan's Malpensa airport, with a stop along the way in Bergamo, the last of our Renaissance cities. Farewell lunch in Bergamo.
October 5: The tour ends with breakfast.
On this trip we spend two nights in superior rooms at the 4-star Hotel de la Ville in central Milan. Additional nights for early arrivals available upon request.
The final night of the trip is at the Sheraton Hotel at Milan's Malpensa Airport.
In double occupancy: $4750 per person
In single occupancy: $5350 per person
Included: 8 nights in hotels, breakfast each morning, one additional meal each day including wine and coffee, private bus transportation throughout the trip, all entrance fees and tips.
Not included: air and airport transportation, unscheduled meals, room service, items of a personal nature.
To sign up for a trip or to request additional information contact:
I have made five trips with Italian Journeys, returning time and again, not because of the charming, often picturesque, always comfortable hotels, the marvelous restaurants, or the congenial fellow travelers, although such amenities are to be expected on Italian Journeys tours. It is, in fact, all the unexpected things that keep me returning, such as the Mithraic temple, hidden beneath the streets of modern Rome.
Walter Gibson; Pownal, VT