Gourmet Adventure – Bologna – Faenza – Ravenna

27 May - ! June 2750 euros

This is a repeat of my most food-orientated Gourmet Adventure inaugurated last year. We will be visiting Emilia Romagna, the region famous for its superb cuisine and beautiful cities undiscovered by mass tourism.

There is a an short, optional pre-trip to visit Cremona, home of the Stradivarius violins, to sample the famous torrone (nougat) and mostarda di frutta, and Mantova, the lake side Unesco World Heritage site, ruled by the Gonzagas (from 1530 to 1707) who fostered Renaissance values in town planning, art, music and gastronomy. They were responsible for the first Italian cookbook and many of Italy’s top restaurants are found near Mantova.

The people doing just Bologna can fly into Bologna, but for the first part we meet in Milan  to have lunch at my long time favourite Aimo e Nadia, before getting our minibus to Cremona.
We will stay in Bologna, known as La Dota (the learned) for its university, which is the oldest in Europe, and La Grassa for its rich culinary tradition. The city is famous for its well-preserved historic centre with its medieval towers and miles of porticoed streets running from the great Piazza Maggiore – the Piazza Grande of Lucio Dalla. The near-by rather sexy 16th C. Neptune fountain has become the city emblembut for me the real glory of Bologna is the Quadrilatero area with the market stalls jostling for space and the opulent speciality shops like Tamburini. We will do a tasting tour in the market our first morning.

P1000414 stuffed pasta


From Bologna we will steal a day to explore the Liberty-style food market and Malpighi balsamic vinegar acetaia in Modena.and we will


chi-siamo-2 Acetaia Malpighi


take a fast train to visit Ferrara or Mantova. We won’t spend time with any industrial producers but we will drive on to Parma, an elegant city which owes much of its charm to Napoleon’s Hapsburg wife, Maria Luigia. When Napoleon was forced to abdicate the Great Powers made Maria Luigia the Duchess of Parma. She founded the lovely, pale yellow Teatro Regio with Toscanini as her orchestral director. Today music lovers still come to enjoy superlative performances.The ex- Empress bought Paris fashions with her to exile and there is an amusing story of the local dress-makers feverishly copying the cast-off gowns Maria Luigia gave to her maids to satisfy the local ladies’ pretensions. The clothes shops still prove an attraction and we will window-shop as we sample gastronomic specialities.

After four nights in Bologna we will move on for 3 nights to Faenza, famous for its glazed ceramics and one of my favourite chefs, Silverio. We will enjoy two cooking sessions with him and visit Brisighella for a lunch and olive oil tasting.



Ravenna under Justinian became the capitol of the Byzantine Empire and we will take a day to visit the famous mosaics in San Vitale, built ten years before Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia and the small tomb of Galla Placidia.

Price 2750 euros.