- Explore local cuisine on a wine & olives tasting tour from Padua
- See world-famous frescoes by Giotto
- Tour the medieval city center and botanical gardens in Padua
- Admire the romantic city of Verona and see Juliet’s balcony
- Try your hand at Italian cuisine during a half-day cooking class
|Day 1||Arrive in Venice, Transfer to Verona||Verona|
|Day 2||Cooking Class in Verona||Verona|
|Day 3||Verona to Padua||Padua|
|Day 4||Local Olive Oil & Wine Tasting from Padua||Padua|
|Day 5||Goodbye Italy|
Day 1: Arrive in Venice, Transfer to Verona
Welcome to Italy! Arriving at Venice's international airport, collect your bags and transfer to Verona. Trains depart from Venice's Mestre Station, and you'll arrive in Verona in around 1 hour 45 minutes. Sit back and enjoy the views as you get ready for a fantastic trip to Northern Italy. Make your way to your hotel, check in, and head out to explore Verona, the home of Shakespeare's most famous love story.
In addition to being the setting for Romeo and Juliet, Verona is rich in history and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today, familiarize yourself with some of Verona's treasured monuments:
- Wander through the cobblestone streets and arrive at the central Piazza Bra, the largest square in the city. It is the perfect spot to admire the harmonious balance that exists in Verona between ancient and modern life, while sipping a delicious Italian cappuccino.
- See one of Verona's most notable landmarks, the Arena in Piazza Bra. Still used today, this ancient Roman amphitheater is one of the best-preserved of its kind.
- Visit the house that reputedly inspired the story of Romeo and Juliet, the Casa di Giulietta, and snap a photo of (or declare your love by) Juliet's famed balcony.
- Walk around the Old Town area, surrounded by Roman and medieval gates, toward the Piazza dei Signori. The square is surrounded by significant buildings and churches, and features a statue of Dante.
- Spend some time exploring the remains of ancient history inside the Archaeological Museum. The museum is located in the old convent of St. Gerolamo and exhibits a collection of mosaics, bronzes, statues, and ceramics found excavated all over Verona.
- Cross the Castelvecchio Bridge, constructed in the 1350s. You'll travel back in time as you walk over its red brick and take in the incredible scenery of the Adige river. As you reach the other side, you can visit the Castelvecchio Museum. This small castle, built for military purposes, is a lovely example of Gothic architecture.
In the evening, head to Piazza delle Erbe for dinner, relax with a glass of wine, and enjoy your beautiful new surroundings.
Day 2: Cooking Class in Verona
A trip to Italy wouldn't be complete without learning to make at least one homemade pasta dish. Today, be prepared to immerse yourself in Italian cuisine. You'll be in safe hands with a professional chef teaching you the secrets of traditional Italian cooking and authentic pasta making in Verona.
Discover how to make fresh pasta and risotto in this 3.5-hour practical cooking class. You'll be cooking in a unique location in Verona and have the chance to get to know others during the small group experience. You'll learn step-by-step how to make fresh pasta, and master the skills that go into creating a perfect risotto.
Once you've created your traditional dishes, your group will sit down to enjoy lunch together, guaranteed to be delicious. To accompany the food, you will taste local Valpolicella wine and round it off with the most famous of Italian desserts, tiramisu.
Later in the afternoon, you're free to relax as you'd like. We'd suggest finding a cozy coffee bar or taking the recently reopened cable car, Funicolare di Castel San Pietro. For the latter option, head to the Ponte Pietro, the historic arch bridge facing the San Giorgio in Braida Church. From there, ride on the cable car or venture up the stairs nearby to the Piazzale Castel San Pietro. There, you'll find a stunning view of Verona and a perfect place to watch the sun go down. This centuries-old fortress perched on a hilltop is an impressive architectural wonder in and of itself, but the view it provides of the city is what makes it so special.
Admire the church towers, river, and city skyline below before making your way back to the city center. Walk downhill and back across the Ponte Pietro bridge to dinner in the old part of Verona.
Day 3: Verona to Padua
Wake up and enjoy your morning in Verona. Enjoy breakfast and pick up any last-minute souvenirs before transferring to Padua via a 1-hour train ride. Padova, or as its more commonly known by its English exonym, Padua, is one of the oldest cities in northern Italy. It was founded as early as 1183 BCE and features many romantic and ancient sights in its historic center. Sadly, Padua's attributes often get overlooked by that more famous of northern Italian cities, Venice. However, with most tourists staying in Venice, you'll have more of Padua to yourself. You'll arrive in Padua around lunch and, after checking in to your hotel, you're free to spend the rest of the day visiting the most famous sights on foot.
Padua has a long history of attracting great minds to the city. The University of Padua, the second oldest in Italy, is where Dante studied and Galileo served as a lecturer. The university still gives the city a vibrant atmosphere, with its ancient and medieval buildings treasured by locals. Padua is also known for the artistic masterpieces of Giotto (more information below) and boasts Europe's first botanical garden, where you can marvel at trees planted in the 16th century.
Giotto was a Tuscan Renaissance artist who created frescoes inside the Scrovegni Chapel, telling the life stories of the Virgin Mary and Jesus. The frescoes took Giotto years to complete, between 1303 and 1305. The design was very innovative, using bright colors and masterful detail to convey emotion and human nature. As this spectacular chapel is very popular, you must pre-book your ticket online and pick a convenient time slot for your visit. You'll receive a guided tour upon entering and have time to explore freely (tip: the Scrovegni Chapel is included with a Padova Card, a 48-hour ticket giving you free access to other museums, plus discounts on boat rides and other entrance fees).
One of the other iconic sights is the 13th-century Basilica di Sant'Antonio, which is also the burial site of the much-revered saint of the same name. Its many grand domes and mix of Romanesque, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles make this the crown jewel in a city with no shortage of jewels. Inside is the Anthonian Museum and more art by Giotto and Donatello.
In the late afternoon take a leisurely stroll from the Basilica towards the Prato della Valle square and you'll come across Orto Botanico. Spend some time wandering the beautiful botanical gardens in peace. After your visit, walk along the canal at the ornate Prato della Valle square. Sit close by the fountain and enjoy people watching. This square is also a great place to shop at the flea market which sells clothes, antiques, flowers, and locally-produced foods and has been here since the late 18th century.
For dinner, head out to a restaurant on the side streets around Piazza Duomo. The Paduan signatures are bigoli pasta served with ragu and Pasta e Fagioli (a hearty pasta and bean soup).
Day 4: Local Olive Oil & Wine Tasting from Padua
Today, you'll head out of the city and into the countryside, to the Regional Park of Colli Euganei. This half-day tour begins from the nearby town of Montegrotto Terme. Take a short 10-minute train ride from Padua and walk 5 minutes more to meet your guide. Then, drive out across the Euganean Hills to discover and taste what local producers are proudly making here, while learning about the significance of the area.
The Euganean Hills are around 12 miles from Padua, and are volcanic in origin. The soil is rich in minerals and nutrients, so it's the perfect place to grow crops. People have been farming on the hills since the Middle Ages. Each hill can have its own microclimate and so a wide variety of trees, plants, and flora grow well here. The region is famed for producing flavorful olive oil and wine due to its freshwater streams, elevation of approximately 1,000-2,000 feet (300-600 m), and exposure to the sun, in addition to its volcanic soil.
With your guide, you will visit a winery and olive oil mill, where you will have a tasting of a variety of products. During the tasting, you'll learn about how the natural landscape influences the taste of the grapes and olives. Typical regional wines from the Euganean Hills include Muscat, Prosecco, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Look out over the hills, lined with vineyards and olive trees, and admire the beautiful scenery as you sample the extra virgin olive oil and wines. To accompany the tasting, you'll be served some local bread, cheese, and meat.
After taking a tour of the wine cellar, get ready to drive back to Montegrotto Terme. The tour is around 4 hours, so you will have the late afternoon to yourself once you return to Padua by train.
We recommend meandering to another charming square once back in the city, the Piazza delle Erbe in the heart of Padua. See the 12th-century Palazzo della Ragione, and the Via San Martino and Solferino, the medieval city's main streets. At the junction with Via Roma, stop to see the first of four large doors, above each of which is a marble plaque with a carved Lion of San Marco, the symbol of Venice.
Before dinner, enjoy an aperitivo in one of the main squares, such as Piazza della Frutta or Piazza Signori. You can also find a cozy restaurant for dinner if you wander down the narrow cobbled streets off the squares and follow the locals.
Day 5: Goodbye Italy
Your journey in Italy will end after breakfast, with a transfer to the airport to catch your flight home or to your next destination. Arrivederci!