A wine tour with Tony Aspler, featuring the great wines and food! of Piedmont, Veneto and Tuscany
11 days, Thursday, May 4, to Sunday, May 14, 2006
Just $3,895 from Toronto!
Day 1 Thursday, May 4:
Evening departure from Toronto International Airport to London with British Airways. Dinner and a light breakfast will be served on board.
Day 2 Friday, May 5:
Early morning (around 6:30 AM) arrival in London, and connecting flight to Milan (arriving around 10:30 AM). A deluxe private coach will be waiting here to take us immediately to the famous resort of Stresa, nestled between high mountains and the shores of the blue Lago Maggiore. Accommodation in the first-class Hotel La Palma, overlooking the lake. (Website: www.hlapalma.it). Free time to settle in and relax after your overnight flight. In late afternoon, leisurely boat tour to the aptly named Isola Bella, the "beautiful island," featuring the superb palace and gardens of the aristocratic Borromeo family. Welcome dinner in the restaurant of the hotel.
Day 3 Saturday, May 6:
Full-day excursion to Milan. Highlights will include the magnificent Duomo (Cathedral), the famous opera, La Scala, the amazing Galleria shopping mall, and a brief visit to a typical food emporium. In the afternoon, time will be provided for shopping in Milan's prestigious fashion district. (Don't forget to bring your credit cards!) Dinner of fine regional Piedmont specialties in a country restaurant on the way back to Stresa.
Day 4 Sunday, May 7:
Stresa is situated in the province of Piedmont, famous for excellent wine and food. Today we explore the area's viticultural heartland around the town of Alba, which produces the province's great Barolos, robust Barbarescos and Nebbiolos, as well as the more humble but still delicious Barberas. Having toured the lovely countryside, we visit the cantinas of Roberto Bava in order to taste a number of regional wines. Afterwards, a gourmet lunch (including vino) in one of the area's many fine restaurants. Return to Stresa in late afternoon, and evening at leisure.
Day 5 Monday, May 8:
Departure from Stresa after breakfast. We motor eastward via the Autostrada, bypass Milan, and stop for lunch in Bergamo, a particularly picturesque and interesting old town known also for its fine food - the local pasta is superb! Late afternoon arrival in Verona, the beautiful and romantic town of Romeo and Juliet. Dinner and overnight in the very comfortable and centrally located 4-star Hotel Accademia (accademia-eng.iportpro.com).
Day 6 - Tuesday, May 9:
After breakfast, walking tour of the historical city centre with the monumental Roman Amphitheatre, home of a world-famous Opera Festival, the Balcony of Juliet, the picturesque Piazza delle Erbe, the huge castle, and the impressive tombs of the Scaligeri Family, rulers of Verona during the Middle Ages. In the afternoon, informal exploration of a selection of the town's best wine taverns, including the Bottega del Vino, possibly the best enoteca in Italy! No group dinner this evening, but as the Bottega also serves delicious food, you may want to reserve a table there...
Day 7 Wednesday, May 10:
Full-day tour of the neighbouring Valpolicella and Soave wine regions, including visits to prestigious wineries (such as Roberto Anselmi), tastings, and lunch in a typical cantina. Return to Verona with rest of the day free to shop and explore the city on your own.
Day 8 Thursday, May 11:
After breakfast, a short ride along the Autostrada will take us from Verona to Venice. Here you will enjoy a trip by "vaporetto" on the Grand Canal, followed by a walking tour of the Doges' Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, St. Mark's Square and Basilica, and the Rialto Bridge. Afterwards, free time to enjoy lunch, shop, and perhaps enjoy a gondola ride. In late afternoon we head back to the mainland and our first-class hotel, a renovated Venetian country estate dating back to the 17th century; it is located near Treviso, in the heart of the Veneto wine country, famous for products such as Pino Grigio and Prosecco. Dinner in the hotel (www.villarevedin.it).
Day 9 Friday, May 12:
This morning we motor south to Florence, capital of the province of Tuscany. Upon arrival, walking tour with all the great sights, such as the Cathedral, the Baptistry, the Piazza della Signoria, and the Ponte Vecchio. Afterwards, free time to shop and/or explore the city on your own. Dinner and overnight in a comfortable 3-star country hotel, situated in a lovely setting of gardens, pine trees, vineyards and olive groves in the Chianti Hills just outside Florence (www.villacesi.it).
Day 10 Saturday, May 13:
Our last day in Italy is devoted entirely to the wines of Tuscany. We tour the lovely countryside of the Chianti region, situated between Florence and Siena, with picturesque Medieval towns such as San Gimignano, Greve, and Castellina. Also visits to two important wineries: Paolo di Marchi's Isole e Olena and Rocca delle Macie. Return to our hotel in late afternoon and free time to relax before our Arrivederci dinner of regional culinary specialties and appropriate wines in the restaurant of our hotel.
Day 11 Sunday, May 14:
After an early breakfast, short transfer to Florence or Pisa Airport in time for the departure of British Airways' flight to Toronto, via London.
Tour Cost (based on double occupancy): $3,895 from Toronto.
Included in the price:
- Return airfare
- Accommodation (based on double occupancy) in first-class/4-star hotels, except in Tuscany, where a superior 3-star country hotel will be used (the single supplement is $375, and please note that only a limited number of single rooms are available, so book yours early!)
- Sightseeing, visits, and wine tastings as shown in the itinerary
- Transportation by private deluxe coach
- Breakfast daily and a total of seven dinners (or full lunch), several (but not all) with wine included
- All visits, sightseeing, and wine tastings as described in the itinerary
- Porterage (one suitcase) where available
- Wine, beer, mineral water and similar beverages with dinners, though some meals will include wine
- All items of a personal nature
- A gratuity for the coach driver of approximately $30
- Airport taxes and security fees
- Travel Insurance