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1 / 19

Food & Wine: Northern Italy & the Italian Riviera

11 days Food & Wine Tours
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.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 28 travelers

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 9 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 3 lunches, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine, 2 wine tastings, 1 cooking lesson

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Milan today.

Turin 2 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Milan

Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Italy! Arrive in Milan, then transfer to your hotel in Turin and get settled in. Later, meet your fellow travelers and Tour Director at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Turin

Included meals: Breakfast

This morning, set out on a guided tour to discover Turin, home to Italy’s Royal Family, the House of Savoy.

• Pass through Piazza Castello, Palazzo Madama and Palazzo Carignano

• Step inside the Royal Church of San Lorenzo

Italian Riviera 2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Italian Riviera via Barolo

Included meals: Breakfast, Light lunch

Included entrances: Wine tasting

Stop in Barolo, a hilltop town and one of the most well-known names in Northern Italian wine, to enjoy a light lunch and tasting before continuing on to the Italian Riviera.

Day 5: Free day in the Riviera

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in the Italian Riviera or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Cinque Terre: Cliffside Villages & Coastal Views $89*pp Details

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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $99)

Bologna 3 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Transfer to Bologna

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Transfer to Bologna, the culinary capital of Italy, and stop en route to enjoy some culinary delights.

• Visit a local Parmigiano Reggiano producer and enjoy a cheese tasting

• Visit a balsamic vinegar villa for a vinegar tasting and lunch

Day 7: Sightseeing tour of Bologna

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, venture out on a sightseeing tour with an expert local guide.

• Visit the University of Bologna, the world’s oldest operating university

• Peruse local fish and vegetable markets while visiting Piazza Maggiore

Enjoy a free afternoon in Bologna or add an excursion.

Enjoy homemade pasta and lasagna at tonight’s included dinner.

Optional Excursion - Dozza Village & Castle Wine Tasting $65*pp Details

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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $75)

Day 8: Free day in Bologna

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Cooking lesson

Enjoy a full free day in Bologna before trying your hand at pasta making at tonight’s cooking class and included dinner.

Verona 2 nights Hotel info

Day 9: Verona via Valpolicella

Included meals: Breakfast, Light lunch

Included entrances: Wine tasting

Today, you’ll transfer to Verona, stopping in Valpolicella along the way. Here, you’ll enjoy a light lunch and sample three red wines typical of the region: Amarone, Ripasso and Recioto. Then, venture on to Verona, home of “Romeo & Juliet”.

Day 10: Sightseeing tour of Verona

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Join your guide on a tour of the “city of love.” 

• Discover the sites that served as the backdrop for “Romeo & Juliet,” including Casa di Giulietta, Juliet’s house and storied balcony 

• Visit Verona’s UNESCO-recognized historic district, including the Verona Arena (a Roman amphitheater), Piazza della Erbe and Lamberti’s Tower

Later, join your group and raise a toast to your trip at tonight’s farewell dinner.

Day 11: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your return flight home or extend your stay to explore the city of Venice.

Add Venice $329 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

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.

Venice 2 nights Hotel info

Day 11: Venice

Included meals: Breakfast, Light lunch

Included entrances: Wine tasting

Transfer to Venice, stopping in the Province of Treviso along the way.

• Tour 17th-century wine cellars to learn about Prosecco production

• Enjoy a light lunch at Osteria followed by a tasting of 3 different proseccos, white wines that are comparable to champagne

Day 12: Sightseeing tour of Venice

Included meals: Breakfast

Today, enjoy a sightseeing tour of Venice with a local guide.

• Step into the iconic St. Mark’s Square and view its soaring basilica

• Explore the Rialto market, famous for its fish and vegetable stands

• View the stately Doge’s Palace, built in the Venetian Gothic style in 1340

• Marvel at the Bridge of Sighs and the Rialto Bridge, which spans the Grand Canal

• See a glassblowing demonstration to learn about the city’s most celebrated art

Enjoy a free afternoon or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Gondola Ride: Canal Cruise with Music $65*pp Details

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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $75)

Optional Excursion - Gondola Ride: Canal Cruise for Two $165*pp Details

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, you’ll enjoy a private, serenaded gondola cruise through the canals of Venice. Please note: This excursion runs as weather permits.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $175)

Day 13: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Turin, Italy
  • Genoa, Italy
  • Bologna, Italy
  • Verona, Italy
  • Venice, Italy
Temperature Precipitation
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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.

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.  Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height).  Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

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).

Health

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.

Cuisine

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.

Electricity

Italy operates on the European standard 220 volts.

Time Zones

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.

Currency

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.

Tipping

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.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/24/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

This Tour was a Knockout for a Couple of Newbies

We have always traveled alone in the past. Our last trip to Europe my wife and I hopped into a rented car and explored the wine region north of the Pyrenees in France with no itinerary. It was definitely fun, but also challenging. This time we decided less challenging would be better, so we considered joining a tour. But I was leery of landing in a big touristy tour group, so I started looking for something unique, focused on food and wine and with an itinerary that devoted two to three days to a location. The Go Ahead Food & Wine: Northern Italy and the Italian Riviera tour was the only tour I found that met the criteria. The tour far exceeded our expectations. It was very thoughtfully designed in such a way that we received the maximum amount of education value, new experiences, insight into the people and culture of Italy and pleasure with a minimum amount of travel inconvenience. The hotels were luxurious yet very diverse experiences, the bus was luxurious, our bags were handled efficiently and the schedule was well thought out so that we were thoroughly oriented immediately on arrival to a new location. The tour's scheduled visits to wineries, a Parmigiano-Reggiano factory and an aceto balsamico producer, as the pasta cooking class and our group meals were all super interesting, charming and above par. Often we felt very special to be hosted at some of the locations, which were private villas, by their owners. Even so, our experience would not have been nearly as unique if it were not for our tour guide, Sabra, who was more knowledgable and a better teacher than any of my old college professors. Boy did our view of Italy, its history, architecture and traditions change! The next time we look for a tour, we will start with Go Ahead and look for a tour that Sabra is the guide for. Thanks for one of the most memorable times of our lives ... one we'll always remember.

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5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/24/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Food, Wine and Heritage tour

My wife and I found this tour the best of all the trips we have ever taken to Italy. The tour director Sabra was great she is a true renaissance woman. She explained the history of the country and the wine. Go Ahead has the perfect tour director for this tour. I am a first generation Italian-Anerican from northen Italy and this trip did so much for me in understanding why my family did and ate the things they did. I would recommend this tour to any one with roots in the north of Italy.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/24/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: WA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Northern Italy... Incredible food, wine & sites!

Not only did my group love this trip and the most impressive tour director I have ever experienced... but the whole adventure has made Go Ahead Tours my go to for group tours! Every moment was planned and executed with such care. Sabra is hands down the BEST TOUR DIRECTOR. Her insights, knowledge and efforts to make our trip "fit us" were nothing short of inspiring. Many travelers on our trip spoke about her kindness and care. Sabra IS Italy, in all it's color, warmth and style! The bus was clean, comfortable and the driver was lovely. The hotels were wonderful and varied in style; all having great locations! This is a food & wine tour and it lived up to every delicious taste. The cooking class was also fabulous and quite a highlight. Time and weather permitting we were able to add a few extra side trips too. To those considering taking this trip... and you should; consider these: visiting the Ferrari museo and also take a boat ride on Lake Garda . Perfecto! I could go on & on about the cities and towns we experienced. Gorgeous and full of history & art. With Sabra and the super local guides we missed out on nothing. Bravo! Planning on another couple of trips with GAT in 2016.

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5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/24/2015

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: VA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

If you want a real experience

Wow, I've taken 4 Go Ahead tours and they all have been great . This food and wine tour of northern Italy was possibly a life time event for me. I truly experienced the sense of place because the tour director insisted we learn the history in order to understand the food and wines of the different regions we toured. The knowledge I gained will change the way I live. You can not possibly have the experience that we had on your own. The passion and love of the land that the wineries and agriturismos that you chose for us was a testament to your organization for choosing the best of the best. We are lovers of wine and food and some would say very discriminating, this tour is the one I would highly recommend to any serious lover of life and travel.

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5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/28/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

FUN Trip with BEST Tour Director

My Food & Wine trip was so much FUN. Everything was thoroughly planned and executed. Our tour director was the very best,...just like having a good friend to show you around. I never experienced any anxiety being in a foreign country and not speaking the language. Our bus driver was great, too. The whole trip was a good balance of planned sites, tours, and activities, with a nice amount of free time for enjoying, relaxing, and shopping. The food and wine were TERRIFIC!! The best part was meeting like-minded people and making so MANY new friends!! I'm looking forward to a second Italy trip.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/28/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Bella Italy!!

Spending 23 years as an Oncology RN, and after turning 50, I decided life is way too short to wait to explore our world when I retire. This was my first trip to Europe, and Italy was my first stop!! What an amazing adventure, I cannot possibly tell you how happy/thrilled/excited and mesmerized I was by this whole wonderful adventure. Our hotels, everyone of them, were just beautiful...with amazing banquets served for breakfast every day. The hotel in Turin was a bit far from everything, but we discovered Eataly, and that was like visiting Italy in a grocery store...amazing!! Off we went to Rapola, discovering the breathtaking beauty of the villages by the sea...another lovely spot to unpack our bags, and a great walk to the village center where we discovered delicious pizza while sitting in a fun little cafe. Our boat trip to Cinque Terre was such fun, though I do think the boarding process could have been better handled by the boat company. The villages were amazing, this was a fast extra day trip excurision, and would have loved some more time to explore the scenary and vistas, but that's okay, amazing shopping while being immersed in the whole Italian experience. Off to Bologna, what a AMAZING CITY, gorgeous hotel, we were right in the heart of the city of an amazing piazza...exploring, shopping, culture, history...loved loved loved Bologna. Barolla wine tour was fascinating, first experience in a winery and to be where the heart of wine is made was even more fantastic. Lovely wine tasting with a "light lunch" where our amazing tour director David serenaded us with a tidbit of Opera...fantastic!! We explored a wonderful dairy, where Parmesean cheese is made and that was fantastic, culminated by a tasting after which was out of this world....bring a big suitcase because you are going to want to bring home cheese which you can do through customs as long as it sealed in original wrapper!!! Off we went to Verona, but first we went to another wonderful winery, absolutely SPECTACULAR, this place was what I always dreamed Italy would look like...delicious delicous wine, am not a Italian wine lover!! Then to another "light lunch" where we got to experience and taste true Balsamic vinegar...like nectar, so delicious. Our host treated us to a delicious lunch in his home, food was again fantastic. I know I have messed up the order of the trips, but what I would say is PACK YOUR BAGS...Italy is beautiful, Go Ahead tours made it easy and such fun, and David our Tour Director was friendly, fun and so experienced. It was worth every single penny and then some. Thanks Go Ahead for making my first trip to Italy so amazing!!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/3/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: NC

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Best Food and Wine

Overall the tour was great! The itinerary was what caught my attention right away and to be a food and wine tour just clinched it for us. The restaurant choices were very good, the "light lunches" were wonderful and we especially enjoyed the pasta making night. Our group of 34 was a lively one and we all got along famously. For the most part all of the hotels were centrally located with the exception of the one in Turin and most especially the one on Lido. Both required walking a good distance to a metro stop or picking up the vaporetto to Venice. We had to wait 2 or 3 times to find a bus not overflowing to capacity. However, the air travel was our least desirable part of the trip. We were never able to get any information about our seat assignments or to speak with anyone concerning our flight. However, other members of our group were not only able to speak with someone but were able to pay a small amount to assure them they had aisle seats. If it's a policy to not give out any information, then no one should have been able to do this. Our seats were horrible and the return trip was a nightmare. However, I just learned that Go Ahead now offers you the choice of making your own travel plans or letting them make the arrangements. I think this is a good idea and makes me feel better about using Go Ahead again.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/6/2012

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NV

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Vacation

Everything on this tour from company setting up all aspects to tour guide timely meeting guests at airport to the quality of each days vents were first class. My tour guide went 125% above expectations and was extremely knowledgable! Can't wait to setup and do another.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/11/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Great Tour!

I was hesitant about suggesting a tour as our family vacation, normally I enjoy the planning and the free range of doing whatever you want whenever you want to do it. However, this turned out to be the best case scenario for a family (for kids out of college, at least). There wasn't much we needed to do before the trip or try to come to a consensus on, something that may have proven to be difficult for 4 people. All of the tour activities were great and there is plenty of time to do your own activities (depending on how many of the excursions you do). All of the meals included are fantastic. Matteo was a great tour director and could help us with any additional planning tips we needed. The cost of the tour may seem high to some people, but you get a lot included in the tour...including peace of mind in not having to worry about transportation or trip details. I highly recommend this tour - get ready to eat lots of food!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/11/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Exactly What We Wanted

We have seen many museums and cathedrals We wanted to see and talk with people about how they produced food and wine. This tour was perfect for that and Matteo, our tour director, was great.

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