Full Itinerary

Our Itinerary for the Week

Bologna
Bologna
Bologna
Our Hotel
Our Hotel
Our Hotel
Bologna
Bologna
Bologna
Bologna at Night
Bologna at Night
Bologna at Night

Day 1 (Saturday)

Welcome to Bologna!

Places: Bologna
Classes: None
Meals: Dinner: at "Buca Manzoni" in Bologna

For those arriving in Italy today on early flights, we offer a shuttle to Bologna from Florence Peretola Airport at 1:30 PM. If you are already in Italy, we offer continuous shuttles from the Bologna Centrale Train Station to our hotel between the hours of 1:30 and 4:00 PM.

Once at our hotel you will have some time to get settled in, unpack and rest up. You will find some snacks and drinks waiting for you when you get to your room.

At around 5:00 PM, we will meet at a local cafe which is walking distance from the hotel. We will all spend some time getting to know one another over some “aperitivi” as we discuss what's ahead for the week.

Next, we will do a little shopping for tomorrow's cooking class in Bologna's “Quadrilatero” Street Market, a market dating back to the middle ages. The main craft guilds of the city such as goldsmiths, butchers, fishermen, “Salaroli” (workers cure meat), Furriers, Barbers and the Society of Painters, had their headquarters in this area in the middle ages.

We will stop at a fruit & vegetable stand as well as the bread and butcher shops. We will meet and get to know some of the shopkeepers and pick up what we will need. While shopping, you will get your first introduction to some of the ingredients that make the Emilia Romagna cuisine so unique. Especially the local cheeses, pastas and prosciutto! These are some of the key ingredients that will be featured in much of this week's cooking!

After shopping, we’ll head over to Buca Manzoni, a very traditional Bolognese restaurant. During our welcome dinner we will indulge in many local specialties. This is the first of our many multi-course meals as we dive head first in Italian culinary culture.

We'll be having local cured meats for appetizers, as well as Crescentine, a traditional fried flatbread from Bologna.

For our first course, we will have Tortellini cooked in broth, served in butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and pepper.

For our second course, we will have Bologese Cutlet, the most ancient and traditional second course in the region: Veal coated in Parmagianno-Reggiano cheese, then breaded and fried, topped with Prosciutto di Parma and Fontina cheese, and finished in a reduction of cream, butter and broth. Served with potatoes an veggies as a side.

Finally we will have a local seasonal dessert.

Cooking Class in Bologna
Cooking Class in Bologna
Cooking Class in Bologna
Making Tortellini in Bologna
Making Tortellini in Bologna
Making Tortellini in Bologna
Market in Bologna
Market in Bologna
Market in Bologna
Bologna
Bologna
Bologna

Day 2 (Sunday)

Discover Bologna & Our First Cooking Class

Places: Bologna
Classes:

Cooking Class resulting in Lunch:

  • Piadina Romagnola con salumi
  • Tagliatelle alla bolognese
  • Pollo alla cacciatora
  • Raviola di San Giuseppe
Meals: Breakfast: At Hotel Commercianti
Lunch: : The meal we prepare in cooking class
Dinner: Pizza at one of Bologna’s fabulous pizzerias!

We will begin our first full day together with our first cooking class! We’ll take a short drive or walk meet with Barbara and Valeria for our first cooking class.

These two fabulous women have been teaching local Bolognese cuisine for years and will make sure that we continue the culinary traditions that have been handed down to them from generations past. Guests love the hands-on approach, and we will get right into the cooking !

For our appetizer, we will be making a regional favorite – Piadini Romagnola. This is a local flatbread topped with local Salami, Mortadella and Prosciutto di Parma.

Our first course will be Tagliatelli alla Bolognese. Tagliatelle are long narrow strands of pasta originating during the Renaissance period in Emilia Romagna and served to dukes, cardinals and popes! Our hand-made pasta will be topped with the world famous Ragu Bolognese - a wonderful meat and vegetable sauce with humble origins from over a century ago from local farmhouse kitchens. Truly an unforgettable delight that will be a mainstay for your own Italian dinner parties back home!

For our second course, we will be preparing another popular dish tghat originated here: Chicken Cacciatore. A blend of pan-roasted chicken, herbs, vegetables, and peppers that has found it’s way into the hearts and homes of families around the globe.

Finally, for dessert, we will make Raviola di San Giuseppe. This is the Bolognese version of a classic pastry, filled a wine reduction sauce.

Once class is over, we will sit down and enjoy the meal we prepared together for lunch! After lunch, our guests will have some free time to relax and rest back at the hotel or can walk around the beautiful city of Bologna.

We’ll be meeting up around 5:30 for a guided tour of Bologna and discover the hidden treasures of this magnificent and historic city. We’ll be visiting the Piazza Maggiore and the Basilica of San Petronio. We’ll also learn the history behind the world’s oldest university, including the origins of modern day schools of science, medicine and surgical technique. We’ll also visit the two towers in Bologna’s historic center. Referenced by Dante in The Divine Comedy these towers stand at over 150 and 300 feet. These landmark towers are a testament to the medieval period when Bologna had close to two hundred towers built by wealthy families for purposes of defense as well as a sign of affluence.

Those of you that wish to walk up the stairs are welcome to do so! Our guided tour concludes with a walk to a nearby pizzeria where we’ll have a casual dinner with wine, beer and delicious, authentic Italian pizza!

St Mark's Square Venice
St Mark's Square Venice
St Mark's Square Venice
Rialto Bridge Venice
Rialto Bridge Venice
Rialto Bridge Venice
Gondolas in Venice<
Gondolas in Venice
Gondolas in Venice
Vicolo Colombina
Vicolo Colombina
Vicolo Colombina

Day 3 (Monday)

A Day in Romantic Venice

Places: Venice, Bologna
Classes:

None

Meals: Breakfast: At Hotel Commercianti
Lunch: : Local Venice Trattoria
Dinner: Vicolo Colombina in Bologna

After breakfast we will head out for an amazing all-day excursion to what is arguably one of the most beautiful and breathtaking cities in the world – Venice!

We’ll be traveling first class on the high-speed rail line from Bologna to the Venice Santa Lucia Station.

As we exit the station, we'll get our first glimpse of the famous Grand Canal and what life in Venice is all about! There will be no doubt as to why the entire city is an UNESCO World Heritage Site!

Here, we will board our private water taxis and start our private tour through the maze of canals and waterways through this amazing and complex city on the sea.

We’ll see such famous places as the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square.

As an exlusive bonus in true CDV style! We’ll have a private and personal visit with a premier artisan builder or "Squero" of some the many famous gondolas of Venice.

This unique and historic workshop is a place where gondolas are still made completely by hand, using the basic tools and techniques handed down through the generations of his family of traditional artists and craftsman. Each gondola made here is custom-crafted for the Gondolier it is destined for, even considering their height and weight as to maintain proper balance and control.

After this delightful visit with the Squero, we'll be treated to private gondola rides of our own as we make our way through the canals ending up at the gondola pier adjacent to St. Mark's Square. We'll have a short walk to a nearby trattoria for a wonderful lunch with many locals on hand for some seasonal and very Venetian specialties.

Afterwards, you will have some free time to explore and find your own hidden gems scattered throughout the city, such as St. Mark’s Basilica, The Bell Tower, Murano glass and Carnival masks. You may want to tour the Doge's Palace. This was the grand and oppulant palace in Saint Mark's Square where the Lords of the Venice ruled for centuries. It is well known for it's dark and dank prisons that not only held common thieves, but also enemies of the state as well as non other than the famous lover, Cassanova. Take a walk across the Bridge of Sighs, where many of these prisoners saw their last glimpse of the outside world.

We’ll all meet up at the train station to catch our return first-class trip back to Bologna. A great time to rest or share stories about today’s adventure! We’ll have a little time to freshen up before dinner at a wonderful neighborhood restaurant close to the hotel.

*Note: Venice is a city that truly requires several days to "do it all", so we had to pick and choose. We focus on the more unique experiences. We understand that some people would also like to see Murano Glass makers, The Doge's Palace and Burano. However, these are more "do on your own" tourist activities that we chose to exclude for a more rich and unique experience.

Cooking with Chef Andrea
Cooking with Chef Andrea
Cooking with Chef Andrea
Ca Matile Restaurant
Ca Matile Restaurant
Ca Matile Restaurant
Reggiano-Parmiggiano Cheese
Reggiano-Parmiggiano Cheese
Reggiano-Parmiggiano Cheese
Milk Cows for Parmesan Cheese
Milk Cows for Parmesan Cheese
Milk Cows for Parmesan Cheese
Graziano's Prosciutto
Graziano's Prosciutto
Graziano's Prosciutto

Day 4 (Tuesday)

Michelin Star Cooking Class, Parmigiano-Reggiano & Reggio Emilia

Places: Reggio Emilia, Bologna
Classes:

Cooking Class for Lunch:

  • Piccola Bomba di Riso alla Reggiana
  • Filetto di maiale alla Sapa e spinaci fondenti
  • Ciambella con zabaione caldo
Meals: Breakfast: At Hotel Commercianti
Lunch: : The meal we prepare in cooking class
Dinner: La Canossa in Reggio Emilia

After breakfast, we’ll head to Reggio Emilia. This is the area famous for Parmigiano-Reggiano, the world's most coveted Parmesan cheese. Before we milk the cows and cut the cheese (sorry, couldn't help it), we’ll have our second cooking class with Chef Andrea Incerti Vezzani at the Michelin Starred Ristorante Ca’Matilde.

Chef Andrea will share with us his passion and skills to help us prepare authentic regional cuisine with a modern flair.. Our first course appetizer is a carefully crafted “bomba” (a parmesan-rice ball) that dates back to the 16th Century when royal families would dine on this specialty during festive times such as New Year’s Eve.

Our second course is a pork filet in a unique wine reduction that originated in biblical times. Many believe is the precursor to today’s traditional balsamic vinegars made in nearby Modena.

The side dish will be a regional version of a spinach soufflé and our dessert is something that nearly every nonna (grandma) in Emilia Romagna makes, and can be found in pastry shops throughout the region. This cake is known locally as Ciambelle, and will be made with a classic hot zabaione sauce.

After class we’ll enjoy the recipes we just made in the beautiful surroundings of the restaurant’s dining room, or outside – weather permitting!

After lunch, we’ll take a short ride or walk to the Fattoria Rossi and meet Graziano. He is a local parmesan producer that has as great a passion for his Parmigiano-Reggiano, and his farm that has been operating since 1868! Graziano will walk us through his place and explain the entire process of making this world-famous cheese and why it is so important to the community.

Of course, we’ll be sampling the cheese with a wine pairing and we may even have an opportunity to visit and time permisttin, milk some of his cows! While here we will pick up some of his extensively aged parmiggiano and some milk that we will be using in Thursday's cooking class.

After this stellar afternoon we’ll head over to the city of Reggio Emilia for some time to stretch our legs and walk around the town before meet up for dinner at Canossa, a local restaurant. Our dinner host will be for friend, Gianlucca. We’ll meet his parents who have been running their family restaurant for over 50 years!

Dinner will be traditional Reggio Emilia style, as customized trolley carts will be brought tableside to serve us the local “bolita” cuisine.

After dinner, we’ll ride back to Bologna. For those adventurous and energetic ones, Bologna offers a very active night-life. Take in the local flavor with the large number of university students and residents before turning in for the evening.


Market in Modena
Market in Modena
Market in Modena
Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic Vinegar
Ferrari Museum
Ferrari Museum
Ferrari Museum
Modena
Modena
Modena

Day 5 (Wednesday)

The Modena Market, Balsamic Vinegar, The Ferrari Factory Museum, and Bologna’s Oldest Osteria and Tapas Dinner

Places: Modena, Maranello, Bologna
Classes:

None

Meals: Breakfast: At Hotel Commercianti
Lunch: : At Acetaia La Secchia
Dinner: Bologna Tapas Dinner

This morning we’ll be able to sleep in a bit as we don’t head out to Modena until 10 am.  Modena is the birthplace of Italy’s world-famous tenor, Luciano Pavarotti.  Also the birthplace of the historic racing legend, visionary and automaker, Enzo Ferrari! 

But most of us are more familiar with a staple in everyone’s kitchen, the Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.

The historical and beautiful city of Modena is classic Italian.  Beautiful cathedrals and palaces are highlights in this town with roots back to pre-Roman times.  We’ll shop the central market where famous Michelin-starred chefs do their daily shopping for the freshest ingredients that make any recipe a star!

We'll then head over to the La Secchia Acetaia where we’ll meet Lorenzo, a producer of traditional balsamic vinegar.  We’ll visit his family-run operation where he will show us the love and dedication he pours into the making of the delicate and delicious balsamic that we’ll all sample!  This is a special experience, as it is not one of the Vinegar producers frequented by tourists, but rather a true, family operation that will be opened uop to us. We’ll have lunch at the “acetaia” with a home-made meal prepared by Lorenzo and his family. We'll also be picking up some Balsamic Vinegar for tomorrow's class.

After lunch, we have two options available for the guests:

1) Modena Tour & Shopping Time
For those of you that wish to explore Modena, we will have a guided walk through the historical center.  You will have time on your own to visit the home and museums of two of Modena’s most celebrated sons, Enzo Ferrari and Luciano Pavarotti.

2) The Ferrari Factory Museum in Maranello:
For those guests that wish to visit the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, we will arrange for your shuttle and tour.  The Ferrari Museum gives visitors a rare opportunity to see these historic vehicles up close as the museum houses an impressive exhibit of these exotic cars!  Arguably some of the finest examples of style and excellence ever produced by this legendary manufacturer. You will also have time on your own in Maranello to rent a Ferrari or Lamborghini and drive through the same streets where they test drive these exotic cars!

When we arrive back in Bologna, you can either rest-up at the hotel, or join us at Osteria Del Sole, opened in 1465. Since opening, this is a place hat has served only wine, and locals would bring their own food to dine here. It is Bologna's oldest tavern in continuous operation, and is a traditionally informal place to really experience old-style Bologna life as locals get together, drink, gossip, and play cards.

We can have some wine and relax at this historic tavern.  The other option is to spend time on your own to relax at the hotel or explore more of Bologna.  We’ll meet up for dinner at a local trattoria for an Italian-style tapas dinner.

Cooking Class in Bologna
Cooking Class in Bologna
Cooking Class in Bologna
Tortellini
Tortellini
Tortellini
Lamborghini
Lamborghini
Lamborghini
Lamborghini Factory
Lamborghini Factory
Lamborghini Factory
Bologna Winery
Bologna Winery
Bologna Winery
Dinner at Bologna Winery
Dinner at Bologna Winery
Dinner at Bologna Winery

Day 6 (Thursday)

Cooking Class, Lamborghini Factory Tour, Corte d’Aibo Winer & BBQ at the vineyard

Places: Bologna, Sant’Agata Bolognese, Colli Bolognese/Monteveglio
Classes:

Cooking Class for Dinner:

  • Crescentini Fritti
  • Passatelli in Brodo
  • Cotoletta Bolognese
  • Zuppa Inglese
Meals: Breakfast: At Hotel Commercianti
Lunch: : The meal we prepare in cooking class
Dinner: At Corte d’Aibo Winery

For the early risers, we can meet up with our chef instructors, Barbara and Valeria to shop at the Bologna market for some ingredients we’ll be using in today’s cooking class back at Il Salotto di Penelope. Today we will focus on some of the most traditional recipes we have eaten this week, starting with the Crescentini Fritti, the Bolognese puffed-flatbread.

We’ll also make Passatelli. This is a traditional pasta dish in Emilia Romagna. Made from bread crumbs, egg and Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese we'll be getting from Graziano, this staple of local Italian cuisine is oftentimes made during the holidays and is considered a treat for many Italian families. We'll have lots of fun learning how to make this regional specialty and using the passatelli ricer tool to shape our pasta!

For our main course, we will be making Bologna's most trditional dish, Cotoletta Bolognese. A dish you had at our welcome dinner Saturday night, and surely have been waiting to learn to make. This is a veal cutlet, coated in Parmagianno-Reggiano cheese, then breaded and fried, topped with Prosciutto di Parma and Fontina cheese, and finished in a reduction of cream, butter and broth.

Finally, for dessert, we will make Zuppa Inglese. Don’t be fooled by the name which translates to “English Soup”. This dessert course is another original from Emilia-Romagna.  It is a layered parfait of cake and custard that was originally made in the 1800's for the wife of Napoleon, The Duchess of Parma. Her personal chef, Vincenzo Agnoletti, was the Iron Chef of his time and the author of La Nuova Cucina Economica – a highly regarded cookbook from this era.

We’ll all enjoy our lunch together with Barbara and Valeria and then head back to the hotel.

After a little down-time (assuming we finish on time), we will head to another exclusive: A full behind the scenes Lamborghini factory tour. So exclusive, that we cannot show you photos, and we will be required to leave our cameras and smart phones locked away before we enter. We will walk the assembly line, meet with the automakers, and see up close one of the greatest automobile legends of our time. Unfortunately, the only photos will be those we burn into our minds, but this is an unforgettable experience!

After a thrilling look into the world of Supercars, we’ll be ready for some wine tasting and relaxation. We’ll make ourselves comfortable at the picturesque Corte d’Aibo winery in the “Colli Bolognese” or “Hills of Bologna”.  We’ll have some wine pairings of the local varietals and discover a new found appreciation for the wines from this often over-looked area of Italy. 

Dinner this evening will be a BBQ at the winery with local friends and music!

 

Prosciutto Producer
Prosciutto Producer
Prosciutto Producer
Aging Prosciutto
Aging Prosciutto
Aging Prosciutto
Parma
Parma
Parma
The Art of Pasta Cooking Class
Cooking Class
The Art of Pasta Cooking Class
Terrace Overlooking Bologna
Terrace Overlooking Bologna
Terrace Overlooking Bologna
Spectacular Bologna
Spectacular Bologna
Spectacular Bologna

Day 7 (Friday)

Parma, Prosciutto, and Our farewell Class & Dinner in a 15th Century Palace!

Places: Parma, Bologna
Classes:

Cooking Class for Dinner:

  • Tortellini, Lasagna Verde
Meals: Breakfast: At Hotel Commercianti
Lunch: : Local Parma Trattoria
Farewell Dinner: At Palazzo Isolane – Including our hand-made pasta

Our last full day together takes us to the beautiful city of Parma. Parma is not only famous for the prosciutto, but also as home to one of the oldest universities in the world.

We’ll visit a The Ziveri Prosciuttificio, a small "Parma Prosciutto" producer that will explain the history, significance and importance of this very important staple of Italian charcuterie.

We’ll have a tasting in the cellar where they age "custom order" prosciutto, where you will even see some with our name, as they are aging prosciutto that we use in some of our locations.

Next, we will head to Parma and take in the sites.  Some of the major attractions are the Cathedral or “Duomo”. With origins dating back to the middle ages, it features impressive pieces of artwork by such notable renaissance artists as Antonio da Correggio and also that of Luchino Bianchini and Giambono da Bissone.

Lunch will at a trattoria in the city of Parma before we head back to Bologna.  We’ll have time to rest and/or pack before we meet for our last cooking experience and dinner. 

We’ll take a short walk to meet up with chefs Barbara and Valeria for our specialty pasta class.  The scene will be breathtaking as we set up at the Terrazzo Mattuiani. The 5th-Floor setting overlooking the city of Bologna will make for a memorable farewell dinner.


We will once again have the distinct pleasure to furthering our skills at the art of pasta making with our fabulous chef instructors!

We’ll learn how to make the delicate tortellini, the staple pasta of Bologna. We’ll also learn to make one of the most sumptuous dishes in all of Emilia-Romagna, Lasagna Verde.  This pasta is infused with spinach to give it the lovely subtle green hue and flavor that marries beautifully with the meat and parmesan cheese that will be spread between the layers of our freshly made sheets of lasagne.

After class, we’ll enjoy some wine and aperitivi taking in the spectacular views while our dinner is being prepared by our chefs.

At dinner, we’ll be treated to some wonderful Tortellini in Brodo, another regional favorite that is a light but flavorful chicken broth laden with our tortellini swimming about the bowl.

The brodo will be followed by our lasagna verde. 

*Due to time contraints and past classes, the sauces and second course will be made by the staff and served with the pasta that we made by hand.

For the second course we’ll be served roasted and stuffed chicken along with a vegetable frittata. Dessert will be the chef’s selection.

Farewell Bologna
Farewell Bologna
Farewell Bologna

Day 8 (Saturday)

Goodbye :-(

Sadly, our week comes to a close this morning. The shuttle leaves town at 6:30 AM. We will be at the Florence Airport between 7:30 to 7:45 AM. This will be sufficient time for outbound flights leaving after 9:45 AM.

If before our week begins we know that all departing guests have flights that will allow us to leave later, we will adjust our times accordingly. In other words, none of us want to wake up at the crack of dawn :-)

___________________________________________

Itinerary Subject to Change
This is a base itinerary, which is subject to minor changes before the vacation begins. Changes may be a reorganization of days due to closure and festivals, changes due to weather, or seasonal changes. Additionally, these itineraries are prepared well in advance, and at times there are unexpected closures for various reasons that require us to alter the plans. In the end, our goal is always to make it better for our guests, and when substitutions happen, they are always wonderful.

Menu Variations
The menus listed on the itineraries are subject to change depending on season. We use only fresh ingredients wherever possible, so if we are unable to prepare a certain dish, it will be substituted. Occasionally we make changes to some items as certain dishes prove to be very popular.

Weather
The menus listed on the itineraries are subject to change depending on season. We use only fresh ingredients wherever possible, so if we are unable to prepare a certain dish, it will be substituted. Occasionally we make changes to some items as certain dishes prove to be very popular.

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