Maximum 20 people per tour
Day 1 MONDAY
You will be collected at the hotel lobby of the Sheraton Hotel Malpensa Airport by Giorgio and Beatrice. The hotel is located immediately outside the arrival gates inside Malpensa Airport. Airconditioned bus will transfer you to Bergamo. Accommodation: Hotel Piazza Vecchia.
Day 2 TUESDAY
Bergamo is a real life tale of two cities: Bergamo Alta, the beautiful walled hilltop medieval city, and Bergamo Bassa, the lower city. At the top of the Citta Alta is Bergamo’s Civic Tower, Il Campanone, dating back to the 12th century. This bell tower will toll 100 times at 10:00pm marking the ancient cerfew, when the gate walls were locked to keep the city safe from invaders. The bell tolled to remind the locals that it was time to come back inside the walls, a tradition which continues today. We explore the the two parts that separate the two cities, both physically and symbolically, by the powerful Venetian Walls. The walls were built by the Republic of Venice in the second half of the 16th century to defend the city. Take the funicular to the upper town San Vigilio to appreciate the views of the valleys below. Lunch will be at Ristorante Lalimentari. Our host Paolo will surprise with you with his typical Bergamo sapori.
DAY 3 WEDNESDAY
We enjoy the picturesque views of Lake Garda, the largest of the Italy’s majestic lakes. Stops include Gardone Riviera to visit Il Vittoriale delgi Italiani home of eccentric poet Gabrielle D’Annunzio, Italy’s ultimate italian. He was the personification of Italian decadence. We take the scenic route along the banks of Lago di Garda to Sirmione to explore the Rocca Scaligera castle built by the Scaligeri family and the Grotte di Catullo, remains of a huge Roman residential villa. You will have free time to explore the lake on a ferry trip or a gelato in Sirmione. Accomodation: Farmhouse Musella Winery Relais. The Musella winery produces some the finest Valpolicella wines of the region. Discover their secret for the making of Amarone wine.
Day 4 THURSDAY
Cooking class and Valpolicella wine tour
We start the day with a guided tour of Verona the backdrop of the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet. Our tour guide Michelangelo will guide us through Juliets’ Verona. In the afternoon we tour the Agriform Co operative makers of Grana Padano Cheese. In the evening chef/teacher Luisa will share her Northern Italian dishes.
Day 5 FRIDAY
Mantova and Sabbioneta
Mantova known as ‘La Bella Addormentata’ sleeping beauty has remained unchanged since the middle ages. Mantova and Sabbioneta both listed on the UNESCO world heritage site, demonstrate unique renaissance architecture. We enjoy an afternoon aperitive at Borghetto Fiume Minco. Tonight we eat where the locals keep as a secret, Trattoria Ai Colli Storici Custoza. Our host Michele will explain the menu his family has prepared for you.
Day 6 SATURDAY
Abano Terme. Padova
Today is for rest and relation as we indulge in the wellness at the thermal baths in Abano Terme. You will appreciate the healing and thearaputic qualities provided by the water. You will have use of the thermal pools during your stay at the Grand Trieste & Victoria Hotel. Later we discover Padova’s unique Scrovegni chapel which houses the most famous and important paintings of Europe. The University of Padova established in 1222 is one of the oldest in the world. We sit and enjoy fine coffee in one of Italy’s oldest cafes: Pedrocchi coffee house.
Day 7 SUNDAY
Today is free time to enjoy the facilities of the Grand Trieste and Victoria Hotel. Treatments can be purchased at the hotel ranging from wellness spa treatments, mani/pedi/massage/facials and mud baths or just enjoy the thermal pools. In the afternoon we enjoy a pleasant stroll through Vicenza including The Teatro Olimpico Europe’s oldest surviving theatre and Palladio’s famous villa, La Ratonda.
Day 8 MONDAY
Asolo. Via di Prosecco. Bassano del Grappa
We drive through picturesque vineyards along the Via di Prosecco. We stop to tour the Foss Marai winery in Guia at the centre of the Prosecco wine growing region. Later we tour Bassano del Grappa, famous for its fiery alcoholic beverage. We learn how Grappa is made. We retire in Asolo, Hotel Cipriani. Asolo was the home of Queen Caterina of Cyprus (1454-1510). Queen Caterina abdicated the throne of Cyprus to live in a sumptuous renaissance palace as a life guest in Asolo.
Day 9 TUESDAY
Brenta Canal: Villas and Gardens
Lunch is at the famous Burchiello restaurant in Oriago. We board the traditional boat, Burchiello, as we cruise along the Navilgio del Brenta. We stop at the Villas along the canal before completing the tour at historic Padova.
Day 10 WEDNESDAY
The final day is a shopping treat. Treviso’s meandering waterways and tranquil atmosphere is ideal for quiet time enjoying retail therapy. Lunch will be at Treviso with transfers to Venice Marco Polo Airport or Mestre Train station.
Sydney born Giorgio and Beatrice Favotto, are the operators and owners of Favotto tours. With Italian migrants as parents, they were raised with a strong appreciation of the Italian culture, travelling to Italy regularly to visit family and relatives. As they grew up with these traditions, they believed regular family visits to be integral to family connection and have continued this tradition with their own children Cinzia and Luca.
Giorgio’s heritage derives from a little village of Musano di Trevignano located in the Veneto region. Giorgio has always been a passionate Italian who has dual citizenship of Australia and Italy. His passion lies in the history of the ‘Serenissima’ the most serene and enduring republic of Venice, the house of the Medici family and the intrigue and drama of Sicily. He can’t wait to share his knowledge and enthusiasm with you as he guides you through the Italian contributions to humanity.
Beatrice’s parents are natives to Borgia, Catanzaro, in the southern region of Calabria. Her pantry is filled with hundreds of secret recipes, all passed down by word of mouth from her mum, aunties and families. Beatrice definitely knows that a way to your heart is through your stomach. Her training as a primary school teacher will ensure that her culinary knowledge will stay with you long after the tour is over. Beatrice also shares an equal passion for beaches of the south and shopping!
Over the years Giorgio and Beatrice have blended the infamous rivalry between the North and the South. They have Italy covered.