A Taste of Northern Italy & the Italian Riviera 11 days / Food & Wine Tours
85.3% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
About This Experience
Two words to sum up northern Italy? Great. Food. Eating isn’t just a part of the daily grind here—it’s a full-on art form. Stand beside the masters in their kitchens, farms and wineries and learn the ins, outs and flavors of the region’s knock-out delights. From wine on the Riviera to Parmigiano Reggiano in Parma to fresh-cooked tagliatelle in Bologna, prepare to indulge in the best the region has to offer (and add a few notches to your belt along the way).
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
9 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily, 3 lunches, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine, 2 wine tastings
Multilingual Tour Director
Private deluxe motor coach
Why You'll Love It
You’ll cook fresh pasta alongside an Italian chef
Fresh mortadella, tagliatelle, tortellini—need we say more?
World-famous wines taste best in their hometowns
The secrets of Parmigiano Reggiano are revealed
Lots of time to digest on the sunny Riviera shores
The backdrop of Romeo & Juliet comes to life in Verona
Overnight Flight1 night
Turin2 nights - hotel info
Never mind the legends, the real magic of Turin is in its flavors
Breakfast (in flight), Dinner
Welcome to Italy! Upon your arrival to Milan Malpensa airport, transfer to Turin, Italy’s first capital city and home of the 2006 Winter Olympics. After you’ve settled in to your hotel, meet your fellow travelers at an included welcome dinner.
Beautiful, Baroque, get a taste for Torino in its piazzas and palazzos
This morning, discover Turin on a guided tour of the elegant boulevards that buzz with the patrons of the many museums and cafes. Pass by Piazza Castello, Palazzo Madama, San Lorenzo Church and Palazzo Carignano. The rest of the day is free to explore at leisure.
Italian Riviera2 nights - hotel info
Break bread in Barolo, a hilltop town known for its namesake wine
Breakfast, Light lunch, Wine tasting
Travel south to the region of Liguria for a taste of seaside luxury. Along the way, stop in Barolo, a hilltop town and one of the most well-known names in Northern Italian wine. Enjoy a wine tasting and light lunch here before continuing on to Liguria, which has always drawn artists and celebrities to its shores. Discover for yourself il dolce far niente, Italian for “the sweet art of idleness.”
Lap up the sun on the shores of the famed Italian Riviera
Optional Excursion - Cinque Terre: Cliffside Villages & Coastal Views
Today, relax on the shores of the Mediterranean at your leisure. Or, enjoy an optional excursion to Cinque Terre, a group of five villages dramatically situated in the heart of the Italian Riviera. Cruise by boat (weather permitting) or travel by train to explore a sampling of the villages.
Cinque Terre: Cliffside Villages & Coastal Views $89* pp
Discover the best of the Italian Riviera on a full-day excursion to Cinque Terre. Charming towns, astonishing views and sprawling vineyards make Cinque Terre one of the Riviera's most sought-after destinations. You'll visit two of Cinque Terre's largest villages, Vernazza and Monterosso. If weather permits you'll travel between the villages by boat, where you can marvel at Cinque Terre's cliffs and sweeping coastal views. If the seas are a bit choppy, you'll travel by train through the Ligurian hills, giving you the opportunity to stop at Riomaggiore to walk the Via dell'Amore.
Bologna3 nights - hotel info
Today’s menu: Parmigiano Reggiano, balsamic vinegar and Lambrusco
As you bid a fond farewell to the Riviera, be assured that more culinary delights await in your destinations today. Your first stop is at a local Parmigiano Reggiano producer, where you’ll sample this foodie favorite cheese. You’ll also visit a balsamic vinegar farm for a tasting, a sampling of Lambrusco wine and lunch. Then continue on to Bologna, the city which is considered the culinary capital of Italy and is touted for its spectacular pasta and mortadella sausage.
Bite by bite, make your way through the streets of Bologna
Optional Excursion - Dozza Village & Castle Wine Tasting
University of Bologna
This morning, venture out into the sienna-hued streets of Bologna on a sightseeing tour with an expert local guide. Your tour includes a visit to the University of Bologna, the world’s oldest operating university, as well as Piazza Maggiore where you’ll find Palazzo Comunale, Sala Borsa and the Basilica of Saint Petronio. This afternoon, opt to join an excursion to Dozza Castle, which includes a wine tasting. Dinner is included in Bologna tonight.
Dozza Village & Castle Wine Tasting $65* pp
Travel to the medieval village of Dozza. Though off the beaten path, Dozza is known for the brilliantly colored, contemporary frescoes painted on homes throughout the village. Wine novices and experts alike will savor a visit to the village’s famous wine exhibition at Enoteca Regionale Emilia Romagna, located within a 13th-century fortress. A professional sommelier will lead you on a tour of the enoteca, which displays a seemingly infinite number of regional wines from some of Italy's finest wineries in Emilia Romagna. You’ll be invited to taste three types of wine accompanied by a light snack.
Ever wish an Italian would teach you how to make fresh tortellini?
Explore Bologna on your own today. You may choose to follow the world’s longest portico uphill to the Basilica of San Luca. This evening, learn to make the traditional pastas of Bologna, such as tortellini, tortelloni and tagliatelle, in a cooking class that features an included dinner.
Verona2 nights - hotel info
Venture to Verona, famed wine producer and literary icon
Breakfast, Light lunch, Wine tasting
Today, stop in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy to sample three red wines typical of the area: Amarone, Ripasso and Recioto. A light lunch is also included for you to enjoy before venturing on to Verona, home of Romeo and Juliet.
Step right into one of the most famous scenes in all of literature
On a guided walking tour of Verona today, discover the sites that served as the backdrop for Shakespeare’s famous drama. Situated by the River Adige, Verona is one of Italy’s best-preserved medieval centers. Take a look at the town’s Roman amphitheater and Casa di Giulietta, Juliet’s house and storied balcony. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for an included farewell dinner.
Flight homefor a day
Extend Your Stay
Add Venice $329*
All the picture books in the world won't prepare you for the sight of Venice's gilded palaces rising from the sea. Explore the city's many famous churches and museums, but set aside time to get lost in the maze of canals and streets. Deceptive and mysterious, Venice has a soft spot for wanderers.
Venice2 nights - hotel info
Explore the city that captured Romantic poet Lord Byron’s heart
Optional Excursion - Gondola Ride: Canal Cruise with Music
Continue your tour of Italy in Venice, dubbed “the fairy city of the heart” by Romantic poet Lord Byron. During this afternoon’s guided sightseeing tour, cross St. Mark’s Square, admire views of the Bridge of Sighs and the Doge’s Palace. This afternoon, join an optional gondola ride, complete with music.
Gondola Ride: Canal Cruise with Music $65* pp
More than 100 waterways crisscross Venice, and boarding a sleek black gondola to explore them has become a time-honored tradition. On this memorable excursion, join your fellow travelers for a tour through the canals of Venice. A musician serenades you as your gondola cruises through the city. Please note: This excursion runs as weather permits. A private two-person gondola ride is available for an additional $100 per person.
Crisscrossing canals to hidden alleyways—uncover the charms of Venice
Optional Excursion - Islands of the Venetian Lagoon: Burano & Torcello
Meander through the maze of streets and canals with a free day to discover Venice on your own. Or join an optional excursion to Burano & Torcello, the islands of the Venetian lagoon.
Islands of the Venetian Lagoon: Burano & Torcello $65* pp
Visit the islands of the Venetian lagoon, a favorite day trip for locals and travelers alike. First travel by water taxi to Torcello, where the story of Venice began. It was here that mainlanders sought a safe haven from invading barbarians. Step inside the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, whose famous mosaics depict The Last Judgement. The next stop is the tiny fishing village of Burano, where brightly colored homes greet visitors. Wander as you please throughout Burano, and be sure to stop in at the island's bakeries.
Passport & Visa Requirements
In order to enter Italy, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Italian consulate for your specific entry requirements.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
Clothing & Packing Tips
To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).
There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Italy. Travelers should be in reasonable health to take our scheduled walks, although we will make every effort to accommodate those who chose to stay behind. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider for the latest updates and personal travel requirements.
Most of the staples of the Italian diet have already become favorites in America, but be sure to try those less familiar pasta sauces and the vast range of cured hams, cheeses, rustic breads and desserts while on tour. In Italy, the cuisine is often slightly varied by region, and many cities and towns have their own specialties. Northern Italy is known for its meats and pastries. For more authentic meals, try local trattorias—small, family-owned restaurants that tend to be set away from the main piazzas. Italians tend to indulge in long, lively meals featuring wines and the occasional beer, followed by the requisite after-dinner drinks grappa or limoncello. Popular wines include Barolo from the Piedmont region and Valpolicella from the Veneto region.
Arrival & Transportation Information
Round-trip flights arrive in Milan Malpensa Airport and depart from Venice. When you first arrive in Milan Malpensa, a Go Ahead representative will meet you after clearing customs. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival. All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.
Italy operates on the European standard 220 volts.
Italy is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it is noon in New York, it’s 6pm in Florence.
The euro is the currency you’ll be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in Italy, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to access cash at local banks, as needed. You can use most debit/ credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
85.3% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
An Truly Fabulous Trip!
This was my second visit to Italy but the first to all the places we stayed on this tour. I could go on about this tour forever, it was truly magical! I took this tour solo but quickly became friends with my wonderful group of travel companions and don't even get me started on my tour director, she is truly the best in the business and I consider myself lucky to have traveled with her! From the city street of Turin to the gorgeous coast of the Riviera, a moonlight dinner in the coastal village of Portofino (just a short bus ride from Santa Margharita) and the vineyards of Valpolicella and all the amazing sights in between-the food and wine were first rate; simply delicious. I would recommend this experience to anyone.
Antonio and the setting were the BEST ever!
I chose this tour because it was by the water and had charming places to visit. I am not a big city person. The tour was beautiful, charming, delicious and fun. Our tour director, Antonio (I can't remember his last name, but it started with "Capp..." I think) was SO MUCH FUN. He made every minute wonderful, even during the bus travels. He was smart, informative, helpful and playful. The places we visited on the tour were everything I had hoped for. Our group was probably too big, I want to say 52 people?, but we all got along beautifully, enjoyed each other very much and had a fine time. I was so lucky to be on that tour with Antonio and that fun group.
Best Time Ever
Chiara was the greatest tour director. She was informative, flexible and very personable. Enjoyed her so much. Our bus driver was great. It was amazing at how well he handled the bus. I enjoyed the fact that we had flexibility and free time to explore on our own. The only thing I didn't like was the short turn around time in Frankfurt. We just barely made our connecting flight, and some didn't. I think on the international flights, more time needs to be allowed for connections. Other than that, the country was beautiful, the tour awesome, the people friendly, and truthfully I enjoyed myself so much that when I came home people told me that Italy really agreed with me. I actually looked younger...Wow! Thanks for a great tour. Jan M
excellent tour director
this tour lived up to the description and was well organized. our tour director was wonderful in terms of how he treated all of us, knowledge and fun personality. we did have an unfortunate situation when our bus was broken into and a great deal of money was stolen including all our tip money. i got extra money and tipped both our bus driver and Antonio because i felt they earned a decent trip. after getting home, 13 of us who had our tip money stolen submitted a claim to the trip insurance company recommended by GoAhead Tours. the paperwork for the claim was identical. i never heard anything until i called and was told i was denied. in the meantime, 8 people received their checks in early august. then two other people submitted their claims recently and received checks immediately about a week ago. i am still calling, begging for my claim to be reviewed and hopefully reversed. how can the insurance company you recommended behave is such an unprofessional manner? i paid my premium like the rest of my group in good faith thinking i would have coverage for an unfortunate robbery. so it was a nice trip but i will not book another trip thru your company and of course will have nothing to do with the insurance company you recommended.
Taste of Northern Italy
Overall, this was a very enjoyable trip. It helped that we had 25 compatible travelers and a large, comfortable bus. The tour director and bus driver were excellent as were the 3 city tour guides. We did not take the extension to Venice but we did spend a few days in Milan at the beginning of the trip on our own. Milan has so much to see and it is easy to meet up with the tour in Turin. The food and wine tastings were all good to excellent. The cooking class was fun and we learned a lot in addition to having a great meal afterwards. The hotels were all comfortable and in good locations with delicious choices for breakfast. There is also much fascinating history associated with the areas we visited -Turin, Bologna, Verona. Verona was a delightful surprise and we hope to return there some summer to take in an opera at the old Roman arena and to sample more of the great gelato. The only disappointment was the optional excursion to Cinque Terre. The weather was not the best on the Italian Riviera and I assume that this was the reason that we had to go to the little towns by crowded and uncomfortable train and not by boat. Rather than beautiful coastline views I remember rather ordinary shops and restaurants with a view of the sea. If we had known what a poor substitute the train experience would provide we would have spent the day in Santa Margherita where our hotel was located or opted for a short bus ride to nearby Portofino for 3 euro roundtrip. We did not take the Dozza excursion but we heard positive comments from those who took that option
Taste of Northern Italy
Great trip! Wonderful food and wine, scenic views, lots of history of Northern Italy which most Americans don't know. The high point was the day on the Italian Riviera, visiting Cinque Terre via boat. Congenial group of people. The cooking class was a challenge, but gave us an idea of what goes into making pasta. Highly recommended.
Taste of Italy
It was great! Our first trip to Italy and first with Go Ahead...and we're hooked! Planning another trip next year. The Tour guide was wonderful and best of all we always felt like a we were part of the scene and not "visitors". The Taste of Italy is well worth it BUT, the Ferrai Factory tour our guide..no, friend arranged for me was beyond expression...forza! paul s.
Tasting Northern Italy
This was a wonderful trip, full of adventures in history, culture, foods and wine. Our fifth to Italy, it opened new locations--Torino, Bologna and Verona--to our understanding. We walked the arcaded streets in Torino and Bologna, admiring their beauty and practicality as shelter from rain and wind. We strolled the principal piazzas of the cities, where street musicians, mimes, local causes and families on outings gave us glimpses into area customs. We saw the one-of-a-kind Cinque Terre from little ferries on the sea, walked the two-mile Bologna colonnade from the hill where the Santuario Madonna di San Luca looms back to the historic city, crossed bridges and canals as we found our way to the masterpiece-filled Basilica dei Frari of Venice. We walked the pink marble streets of Verona. We learned how the local valpolicella grapes are turned into wine near Verona, how grapes ferment into the fine aged vinegars of the Modena area, followed the milk from the vats to the first-quality parmiggiano reggiano cheese, and worked up a sweat rolling out dough for fresh tagliatelle pasta at the Vecchia Scuola in Bologna. We ate and we sampled and we marveled at the tastes and textures of the fresh Italian foods. The tour also was a chance to meet and make new friends. Our tour guide, Carmen del Gaudio, charmed and championed us. It was a complete experience. Thank you, Go Ahead!
Could be better
The tour was ok, but with better planning on the part of the tour company, it could be great. Our day "off" in Bologna fell on a Sunday, when the city essentially shut down, making it essentially a wasted day. We were on the Italian Riviera for too short a time to see anything if we chose to do the optional excursion to Cinque Terre - a shame as the town we were staying in was quaint and seemed to be quite lovely. A day there rather than in Bologna would have been appreciated (which was the general feeling of our group). Carmen, our guide, was lively and fun and was our "mama duck" keeping everyone on track. She was also willing to go above and beyond to help members of the group with things outside of the usual tour guide requirements. We continued our trip a few days after and there were more than a couple of times we were quoting her and wishing we could bounce something off of her. She was an absolute delight. The local tour guides were very good as well, particularly the one we had in Verona (a gorgeous city!). Like I said, the tour was good, but with some tweaking, it could be great. My one tip is to NOT take this trip on a Sunday departure date - that is what had us having our free day on a Sunday when nothing is open.
Northern Italy - Food & Wine
This was our 9th tour with Go Ahead for my wife & I and it was the best of all! We are in our 70's and it is very easy to get from site to site as the travel distances were not long. The winery's were wonderful and the "tastings" were a feast of foods with at least (4) different wines. The winery's we visited are among the best in Italy! The visits to the the cheese & balsamic producers were very interesting & the "tastings" were as magnificent as the wines. The Cooking school in Bologona was "hands on" and fun. They cooked our efforts with the pastas and it was a tasty supprise. We would recommend this tour to anyone that loves good food & wine and enjoys the Italian country side!It is a "must" Lynda & Harry Jensen Chapel Hill , NC