Itinerary - Culinary Treasures of Bologna, Venice, Michelin Stars & Exotic Cars

Places Bologna
Classes & Experiences n/a

Dinner: Welcome Dinner at Buca Manzoni (Included)

For those arriving in Italy today, we recommend looking for flights into the Bologna (BLQ) Airport, as there are numerous connections on major carriers. Another option is the Florence Peretola (FLR) Airport, although it is an hour's drive from the city center of Bologna. If you are already in Italy, the Bologna Centrale Train Station is well connected and convenient as it has high-speed rail service. If you are in another major Italian city like, Florence, Rome, Naples or Milan, this would be a good option. The train station is just a short taxi ride to the hotel.

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 and spend some time getting to know one another over some “aperitivi” as we discuss what's ahead for the week.

We will see some of 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. This area is still full of vendors selling a lot of amazing foods! Bring your camera as there are many photo ops of 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!

For dinner, 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.

There will be lots of delicious food and wine coming to the table. Antipasto - Typically some local cheeses, breads, prosciutto, mortadella and other local salumi. Then we'll have a pasta dish. Our main course will be one of the meat specialties of the house, along with sides and, of course...Dessert!

Places Bologna
Classes & Experiences

Cooking Class (included) resulting in lunch
App: Crecentine
1st: Tagliatelle alla Bolognese
2nd: Polpette di Carne
Dessert: Torta di Pane e Amaretti


Breakfast: Buffet at Hotel Commercianti (included)
Lunch: : The meal we prepare in cooking class (included)
Dinner: Ristorante Vicolo Columbina (included)

We will begin our first full day together with our first cooking class! We’ll drive out to the countryside near Bologna to a lovely country villa to meet with our cooking class instructors, Pina and Bruna, for our first cooking class.

These two fabulous women have been friends for a long time and love making their Bolognese cuisine and can't wait to share their family recipes with us! They will teach us 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 – Crescentine. This is a local "puffed-style" bread that we will have with local Salami, Mortadella and Prosciutto di Parma and cheeses.

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 Polpette di Carne. These mouth-watering Bolognese-style meatballs will be served with a wonderful tomato sauce that will have been simmering for hours!

Finally, for dessert, we will make Torta di Pane e Amaretti. A local version of the type of chocolate bread-cake that originates in Northern Italy. It is sweet and delicious and has a mild crunch to it as it has crushed amaretti cookies in the batter.

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! But it may be a "tall" order!

Dinner tonight (as if we can even think about more food!) will be at a fantastic, hidden-gem of a restaurant just near the hotel.

Places Venice, Bologna
Classes & Experiences

Exclusive insider's experience with an Artisan Gondola Builder (included)


Breakfast: Buffet at Hotel Commercianti (included)
Lunch: : Al Gazzetino (included)
Dinner: La Scalinatella Pizzeria (included)

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 exclusive 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 as he shows us his ages old craft.

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 opulent palace in Saint Mark's Square where the Lords of the Venice ruled for centuries. It is well known for its 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, Casanova. 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 pizzeria 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.

Places Reggio Emilia, Bologna
Classes & Experiences

Cooking Class (included) resulting in lunch:
1st: Piccola Bomba di Riso alla Reggiana
2nd: Filetto di maiale alla Sapa e spinaci fondenti
Dessert: Ciambella con zabaione caldo

Local Bologna Street-Food Experience, dining with the locals in a 550+ year old tavern


Breakfast: Buffet at Hotel Commercianti (included)
Lunch: : The meal we prepare in cooking class (included)
Dinner: Street Food at Osteria del Sole (included)

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 cheese, 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 permitting, 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 back to Bologna for a little time to rest and freshen up before we head over to the "Quadrilatero" in Bologna for a truly local experience.

Tonight's dinner will be at the Osteria Del Sole. This establishment opened in 1465. Since opening, this is a place that has served only wine, and locals would bring their own food to dine here. It is Bologna's oldest tavern, and quite possibly, the oldest in all of Italy that has been in continuous operation. It is a traditionally informal place to really experience old-style Bologna life as locals get together, drink, gossip, play cards and board games.

Our plan is to find local fare at the many nearby markets and trattoria and bring our meal to the tavern. We will wine and dine with the locals with our freshly procured delicacies and relax at this historic tavern.

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.

Places Modena, Maranello, Bologna
Classes & Experiences

At The Ferrari Museum & Factory, guests will have time to rent A Ferrari or Lamborghini if they desire. (Museum Entrance is included)


Breakfast: Buffet at Hotel Commercianti (included)
Lunch: : with Balasmic Vinegar Tasting at Acetaia La Secchia (included)
Dinner: Bologna Tapas Dinner (included)

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 our guests:

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.


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!

Dinner tonight is at a local, Bologna trattoria serving tapas-style fare

Places Bologna, Sant’Agata Bolognese, Colli Bolognese/Savigno
Classes & Experiences

Cooking Class (included) resulting in lunch:
App: Tigelle alla Modenese
1st: Lasagne Verde
2nd: Filetto di maiale alla Sapa e spinaci fondenti
Dessert: Torta di Riso

CDV's Traditional Thursday Night Party w/ the locals!


Breakfast: Buffet at Hotel Commercianti (included)
Lunch: : The meal we prepare in cooking class (included)
Dinner: Italian BBQ at the Winery (included)

Once again, this morning, we will head out to the countryside for our second cooking class with Pina and Bruna. Today's menu and recipes are just as mouth-watering as the previous ones.

Our appetizer will be a local bread, tigelle, that is pressed and baked using a special instrument. Kind of like a tortilla press, but with individual sections for the small, round and embossed biscuits.

Our pasta will be the famous Lasagne Verde. This is the gold-standard for authentic Italian lasagne. This is a dish you will prepare over and over again as it is that good and your friends will LOVE you for it! We make this recipe from scratch using as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible.

For our main course, we will be making another local favorite, Spiedina alla Bolognese.

Finally, for dessert, we will make Torta di Riso.

We’ll all enjoy our lunch together with Pina and Bruna in the beautiful surroundings.

After our relaxing lunch, we will head to another CDV 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!

While we know the Lamborghini factory is a bucket list for many, and often (yeah, the wives) a yawn-fest just thinking of it, we can say that we have yet to see a single person walk away from this experience that was not in total awe, especially those that previously thought they would rather watch the grass grow. To see inside this factory is truly a once in a lifetime experience, even for those that are not automobile enthusiasts.

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.

Our evening here is yet another CDV exclusive. It is Day 6, and our past guests know what that means at all of our locrtions! On this trip, it is an over-the-top BBQ at the winery with local friends, music and dancing! This is an evening that you truly get to know what an Italian party is like, and tonight will last as long as our group wants it to. The food is amazing, the wine never stops flowing, new friendships are formed, and you never know who may pop in tonight... maybe some of the people you met along the way way during the week, maybe more of the CDV team, and maybe some of our past guests that are just driving through. Everyone is welcome!

Places Parma, Bologna
Classes & Experiences

Cooking Class (included) resulting in dinner:
App: Tortellini from scratch


Breakfast: Buffet at Hotel Commercianti (included)
Lunch: : Local Parma Trattoria (included)
Farewell Dinner: Hand-made pasta and Dinner in a Private Home (included)

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 artisan "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 a private home for our final cooking class experience and dinner. We’ll learn how to make the delicate tortellini, the staple pasta of Bologna.

After class, we’ll enjoy some wine and aperitivi, talking about the amazing week we've just had, sharing stories and photos, 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 remainder of our meal will be a chef-selection, specially-prepared meal only for us!

Places Bologna
Classes & Experiences n/a

Breakfast: Buffet at Hotel Commercianti (included)

As with the arrivals, departures from the hotel are also at your own discretion and are not included in the vacation package. Taxis to the Bologna Central Train Station and the Bologna Airport are readily available. Private drivers are available if booked in advance.

The Not So Fine Print:

Itinerary Subject to Change

This is a base itinerary, which is subject to minor changes before the vacation begins. Changes may be 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.


Some places on our itineraries don't work well with cold weather or rain. We may have to have some of our meals indoors that were scheduled to be outside. When we do expect rain, we try to rearrange the schedule to make the best of it, but substitutions may be made.