Authentic experiences of the real Italy
Spring and Summer in Italy are a great time to tour the less crowded cities and rural areas of Emilia Romagna and to enjoy walks by mountain lakes, and eating local foods at the many small-town festivals held during the months of July and August, with rarely another tourist in sight.
Spring is heralded by amazing displays of wild flowers and the first calls of the cuckoo. Easter this year the small town of Frassinoro celebrates with the Via Crucis Vivante, held only every 3 years. Check out the details for our special tour to see this event.
Summer in Italy can be very hot, especially July and August. Fortunately, in the mountains, temperatures can be up to five degrees or more cooler. Enjoy warm days and cooler nights with lovely long twilights, sitting outdoors while joining in the local sagre (festivals), visiting markets and delightful small towns free from large groups of tourists.
Please see details of our organised 6-night/7-day tours. Alternatively we would be pleased to assist to create your own private tours for a shorter or longer period and to provide an obligation free quote.
*****All tours start and finish in Bologna. On arrival you will be taken for a tour and lunch in Bologna, the capital of Emilia Romagna.*****.
** As many events are of a very local basis and often not publicised beforehand, We reserve the right to possibly change some aspects of the tours, should we consider that a more interesting opportunity has presented itself.
** Should you not wish to participate in the cooking class, please advise us when booking and we can offer an alternative excursion and have you meet back at the venue with the others to enjoy the lunch.
To view the video of the Via Crucis in 2015 click here
The highlight of this tour will be to participating in the Via Crucis Vivante which occurs only every three years in the small town of Frassinoro about 40 minutes from Polinago. All the villagers participate in the spectacle which consists of 14 tableaux highlighting the Stations of the Cross. The town is in darkness and only lit by strategically placed oil lamps. This is a unique and special event which we highly recommend.
We will also celebrate on Easter Sunday with a typical Easter lunch. On Easter Monday, which is normally when one gathers with family and friends for a picnic, we will visit the Asineria di Gombola to learn about farming life and games from bygone days .
Other highlights of the tour include a day learning to make egg pasta and other local dishes, see the recently discovered mummies at Roccapelago and visit a beautiful mountain lake. During your stay you will be able to sample typical mountain foods as well as the various dishes for which Emilia Romagna is famous, such as lasagne, tortelloni, mortadella, balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese.
The highlight of this tour will be a visit the fairy tale town of Sirmione on Lake Garda, before driving onto the countryside of the Valpolicella wine region for a wine tasting at Le Marognole. On our return we will make a short stop in the lovely city of Verona to visit Juliet’s house and the Arena (coliseum).
Other points of interest will be an early morning visit to the local ‘caseficio’ to see how the famous Parmigiano Reggiano is made and the delicious local ricotta as well as visiting a local dairy farm to learn about the different method of farming as practised here.
Also included will be cooking class to learn to make egg pasta and how to make and shape tortelli and tortellini. The class is followed by a leisurely lunch sampling the dishes you have made.
A visit to the large weekly markets in Pavullo nel Frignano will give you an opportunity to shop, and to explore small towns and villages in the area.
On this tour we will explore the lovely city of Modena as well as learn about the foods of the province when visiting its special undercover food market where you will see an amazing variety of seasonal fruit and vegetables. Famous for the traditional Balsamic Vinegar we will see how it is made and have a taste, as well as learning all about Italy’s fabulous gelato, when visiting the Gelato Museum.
Another highlight is a visit to the city of Mantua, famous for its renaissance architecture, and 500 room Ducal Palace and the beautiful Palazzo Tè. We will also visit the theatre where Mozart played a concert at the age of 14.
As Thursday is market day in Polinago, after purchasing our ingredients we will go to the small farmhouse in Cinghinello for our cooking class, followed by a leisurely lunch made by you.
In the larger town of Pavullo nel Frignano you will spend a morning at the large weekly market day, see the coffee shop where the local farmers have congregated for years and have an opportunity to shop and bargain for a variety of wares such as clothes, shoes, household items etc.
After meeting at Bologna Station, we will walk around the City of Bologna, the capital of the region of Emilia Romagna and famous for the oldest university in Europe and its 45 kilometres of covered arcades.
On Saturday after visiting the weekly market in Pavullo nel Frignano, we will go to Ponte Olina a 16-century bridge which linked the cities of Pistoia and Modena and now sits in the middle of a farming area. From here we will go on to have a walk in the woods and walk on the monolithic bridge, Ponte Ercole.
In the evening we visit the nearby hamlet of Frassinetti, which will be holding its annual Sagra (food and music fair). This is an opportunity to mix with the locals and eat typical mountain food, such as crescentine and gnocco fritto. Afterwards if you are game, have fun and join in the dancing.
During your stay in Polinago you will also spend a day learning to make several local dishes, such as fresh egg tagliatelle and the art of making tortelli (large tortellini filled with spinach and ricotta) as well as see how the world-famous Parmigiano Reggiano is made.
August is when Italy and Italians are all on holiday and on this tour, we join them in celebrating. This week is the high point of the local calendar and we will join in the local festivities.
We will go further up into the mountains to take a walk by the beautiful mountain lake called, Lago Santo and to also visit the picturesque town of Fiumalbo, located close to the border with Tuscany and admire the scenery and architecture.
A special highlight will be to visit the city of Romeo and Juliet, Verona, and spend some time exploring this city before having a delicious dinner and going to the Arena, which is the nearly 2000-year-old coliseum of the city see the opera Carmen. Sitting up on the marble ledges we can imagine what it was like to be sitting and watching a spectacle in the central arena centuries ago.
This is generally also the hottest time of the year and you will have time to sit by the beautiful pool and relax at Antica Corte Casa Marini.
Tour packages include:
Tours DO NOT include: