Our 8-day food tour of Italy was requested by our 21 yr old son who was graduating from university. We are a family of five (mom, dad, 3 boys ages 24, 21 and 15) that enjoy traveling together, eating great meals and experiencing other cultures. We wanted some guided tours and some days to explore the areas on our own- Milan was the starting point, next was Bologna to learn about the renowned foods of the region and then a repeat visit to Florence because it is Florence and whats there not to love.
We absolutely loved everything the travel specialist planned for our trip. The drivers, guides, food tours, wine tasting, cooking class were all impeccable. In Milan, our tour guide was able to make a call to a fashion designer when she found out our son loved fashion and we were able to meet with the designer. We spent an hour plus speaking with him, trying on his designs and buying some of his pieces. There is no way we would have been able to do this if it weren’t for the guide. In Bologna we had our guide for two days and she was able to tell us about the history of Bologna, tour the University, walk us through the beautiful side streets and took us on a delicious food tasting that culminated with a lunch consisting of copious amounts of prosciutto, hams, cheeses, bread, balsamic vinegar, wine. Our all-day food tour through Parma and Emilia Romana was incredible as was the private wine tasting where we sat in the cellar with the vineyard owner for over two hours tasting food and wine pairings. The vineyard owner then asked our driver to detour us through the medieval village of Fontanellato to view the castle and moat in the center as well as indulge in gelato. It was late in the day and past the end time of the tour but the driver indulged us and it was a not to be missed excursion. Again, we would not have found this on our own. Maria also booked us a terrific private cooking class where we learned to make pasta and gnocchi. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. In Florence, our guide gave us an in-depth but quick welcome back to Florence as we had to get to the Uffizi where she guided us to the major works, gave interesting background stories to the art and from there we proceeded to the Barchetto boat tour on the Arno. Another great find. If there was any drawback to our trip, it was the difficulty we had with Maria and her responses to our questions or requests. She did, however, resolve a last minute hotel room issue that came up and that was appreciated.