The Riches Of Emilia-Romagna8 days & 7 nights, Escorted Discovery Group
Escorted Discovery Group
Soragna, Reggio Emilia & Bologna
The region of Emilia-Romagna has a fascinating history and is renowned as the producer of the best Italian cuisine, from prosciutto, parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar to other specialities such as tortellini and lasagne. Bologna is home to the oldest university in the western world while Ravenna was once the capital of the western Roman empire. There are many beautiful cities including Modena, Parma and Ferrara, as well as ancient Etruscan sites and monuments scattered throughout the region.
Day 1Arrive Bologna - Parma
Drive from Bologna airport to Parma, a distance of approximately 64 miles and a journey time of about 1 hour 20 minutes, excluding stops.Palace Maria Luigia - 3 Nights
This afternoon, proceed on a walking tour of Parma. You will be collected at your hotel and taken on a tour of Parma. Visit Palazzo della Pilotta, an ancient residence of the Farnese household, which was later converted into the Court rooms. Here, view the city's stunning theater, Teatro Farnese, made entirely from wood and plaster in 1618. It was almost completely destroyed by bombing in 1944 and rebuilt to the original design in 1956.
Later you will visit the octagonal pink-marble baptistery in Duomo Piazza, a fascinating mix of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The richly decorated interior is particularly stunning, with 13th-century frescoes in the Byzantine style, pencil thin marble columns, and a set of delightful figures representing the months, the seasons and the signs of the zodiac, created by architect and sculptor Benedetto Antelami.
Day 2Cremona - Busseto
Drive to Cremona, a distance of approximately 28 miles and a journey time of about 45 minutes. Visit this historic town recognized by UNESCO for its traditional violin craftsmanship. You will pay a visit to a lute workshop and listen to a short recital. After the recital, enjoy some time at leisure for lunch.Palace Maria Luigia (B)
Continue to Busseto, a distance of approximately 20 miles and a journey time of about 45 minutes. Here, visit the Casa Barezzi museum, once home to the man who was celebrated opera composer Giuseppe Verdi's patron, and the father of the young lady who was to become Verdi's first wife. Enjoy time at the museum, which provides an intriguing insight into Verdi's life.
After the museum, enjoy a cold-cuts tasting session in an historic butcher's shop.
You will be collected at your hotel and taken on a tour of Soragna, a distance of approximately 22 miles and a journey time of about 40 minutes.Palace Maria Luigia (B)
Visit the Rocca Meli Lupi fortress. Built in 1385, it has a square floor plan, with four towers at the corners and a fifth in the center of the main south-facing facade. The original unaltered furniture and furnishings still remain inside as a fine example of early baroque style. Enjoy lunch at leisure before visiting the Parmigiano-Reggiano museum where you will learn about the production and history of Parmesan cheese.
Return to your hotel in Parma.
Day 4To Reggio Emilia
Drive from Parma to Reggio Emilia, via Torrechiara castle, a total distance of approximately 38 miles and a journey time of about 1 hour 35 minutes.
The first leg of your journey is from Parma to Torrechiara castle, a distance of approximately 13 miles and a journey time of about 35 minutes.
Visit the Torrechiara castle. Torrechiara castle is set on a high perch overlooking the Parma valley and is one of the best-preserved fortresses in the region and a fine example of 15th-century architecture. The castle is surrounded by a triple wall and four corner towers linked by parapets.
Continue to Villa Magnani-Rocca, a distance of approximately 7 miles and a journey of about 20 minutes.
Proceed on a visit to the Villa Magnani-Rocca. Villa Magnano-Rocca was once a private residence, now an art museum with work ranging from the 13th century to the 20th century.
Following the museum, you will visit a prosciutto manufacturer where you will have a light lunch.
Afternoon at leisure.(B, L)
Day 5To Bologna
This morning, enjoy a city tour of Reggio Emilia. Visit the cathedral which was built originally in Romanesque style and largely modified during the following centuries. Its facade has the original 13th century frescoes and now houses the Diocese's museum. In 2009, a Roman mosaic floor filled with scenes of pagan rites and oriental gods was discovered underneath the cathedral. Continue to the majestic municipal theater before taking part in a hands-on cookery class and lunch.Hotel Cavour - 3 Nights (B)
Drive from Reggio Emilia to Bologna, a distance of approximately 43 miles and a journey time of about 50 minutes.
Day 6Bologna - Ferrara
This morning, you will be met at your hotel by a local guide who will take you on a walking tour of the city. Home to the oldest university and the fifth largest basilica in the world, Bologna has plenty of history. Walk through covered walkways viewing medieval palaces, the international music museum, the anatomical theater and the chance to visit Saint Peter, the cathedral of Bologna. Enjoy a gelato tasting before continuing to Ferrara.Hotel Cavour (B)
Drive from Bologna to Ferrara, a distance of approximately 33 miles and a journey time of about 50 minutes.
This afternoon join a local guide for a walking tour of Ferrara, one of the greatest walled cities in the region. View its Renaissance palaces, 12th-century cathedral with original Romanesque designed facade and renovated baroque style interior, following a fire in the 18th century. Your tour will also include a visit to the Jewish ghetto, an area which conserves the memories of the centuries-old Jewish community of Ferrara, in the heart of the medieval city.
Return to Bologna.
Drive from Bologna to Ravenna, a distance of approximately 53 miles and a journey time of about 1 hour 10 minutes.Hotel Cavour (B)
Visit the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, almost definitely not the resting place of Galla Placidia, wife of Emperor Constantius III, although the building popularly retains her name. It was built circa 425-50 AD, dedicated to Saint Lawrence or St. Vincent and its interior contains fine Early Christian vault mosaics. Continue to San Vitale, consecrated in 547 AD by Bishop Maximian, to celebrate Vitalis, a martyr saint. This is one of the most significant Byzantine centrally-planned churches to survive, with much of its interior decoration still intact. The lower walls are clad in exotic colored marbles and the chancel retains a scheme of rich wall and vault mosaics that emphasize religious and political themes. Visit the Mausoleum of Theodoric, and ancient monument on the outskirts of the city.
Return to Bologna after your tour.
Day 8Depart Bologna
You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport.(B)