- Wander the luxury resort town of Portofino
- Take a private boat between the seaside towns of Cinque Terre
- Go truffle-hunting in the Langhe UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Step behind the scenes of the Accademia Library in Turin
|Day 1||Arrive in Milan, Transfer to Portofino||Portofino|
|Day 2||Day Trip to Cinque Terre from Portofino||Portofino|
|Day 3||Portofino to Langhe Region - Truffle Hunting & Wine Tasting||Santo Stefano Belbo|
|Day 4||Transfer to Turin, City Tour & Exclusive Library Visit||Turin|
|Day 5||Departure from Turin|
Day 1: Arrive in Milan, Transfer to Portofino
Welcome to Italy! Arrive at Milan Malpensa Airport, then transfer to the town of Portofino, in the heart of the Italian Riviera. Portofino, one of the many small fishing villages that lie along the Ligurian Sea, is a sight to behold, with colorfully painted houses tumbling down to a historic fishing port.
One of Portofino's main sights is the Statue of Christ of the Abyss, which lies 56 feet (17 m) below the waves on the seafloor in memory of Dario Gonzatti, the first Italian to use diving gear. Other notable sights include the 16th-century Castello Brown, the 12th-century Church of St. Martin, and the Gothic Oratory of Santa Maria Assunta.
But of course, the main attraction is the town itself. Narrow streets lined with shops, art galleries, cafes, and restaurants lead up from the water, and the beaches and tranquil town piazzas are full of families and couples enjoying the sunny weather.
Day 2: Day Trip to Cinque Terre from Portofino
In the morning meet your local guide, then take a short train trip for a full day on the Cinque Terre, a section of the Italian coast famous for its medieval villages, dramatic cliffs, and hiking trails.
Your first stop is the town of Monterosso al Mare. The city's medieval center remains nearly perfectly preserved, with its ancient tower-houses and network of carrugi (narrow alleyways that lead from the sea to the cliffs above the town). Monterosso is also renowned for having the best granita—a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water, and local lemons—on the Cinque Terre (make sure to try some!) as well as breathtaking views of the sea.
From here, board a private boat for a beautiful 30-minute trip to the next village. Along the way, enjoy the views of the protected Cinque Terre reserve from the water.
Arrive in Manarola, a tight-knit village that's famous for its plentiful grapevines and sweet Sciacchetrà wine. Meet with a local sommelier and visit a traditional winery to learn about the original tools of the trade and hear about the region's history of wine production. After the lesson, enjoy a unique tasting of local wines—in the dark, to focus your attention and sense of smell.
Afterward, enjoy a private cooking lesson and learn the secrets behind the legendary hand-made pasta and regional pesto.
Take the local train to Corniglia, the Cinque Terre's most intimate village. The cluster of homes perches atop a high, rocky promontory surrounded on one side by the sea and on the other by terraced vineyards. The town is also known for its narrow alleyways, colorful buildings, and its farinata, a thin, unleavened crêpe of chickpea flour—the perfect afternoon snack.
From Corniglia, you may choose to hike along the coast to Vernazza on a trail that climbs up to the highest point on the Cinque Terre (and back down). Check ahead before departing, as landslides in the area occasionally result in trail closures. The fair amount of elevation change makes the hike a bit challenging, but the views are worth it.
In the evening, return to Portofino and make your way to the Piazzetta for a local-style dinner: Enjoy an aperitivo, some warm Genoese focaccia and a glass of local Giancu de Purtufin, followed by Lasagna di Portofino with pesto for dinner.
Day 3: Portofino to Langhe Region - Truffle Hunting & Wine Tasting
Start your morning with a drive to Benevello to spend the day exploring the region's rich farming heritage. Head into the woods for a private hunt for one of Piedmont's most famous natural resources—truffles. You'll be guided by your expert truffle hunter (known as Trifulau in the local dialect) and his trusty four-legged companion, the Tabui truffle dog.
After the hunt for truffles, visit a local cheesemaking farm. This farm is one of the four remaining who still make tuma—a DOP Piedmontese aged cheese—using only raw milk from Langhe sheep. Tuma is one of Piedmont's best-known cheeses, and likely one of the oldest. Enjoy a warm welcome from the cheesemaker and his wife for a light lunch, complete with sheep cheese and a good bottle of local red wine.
Spend the afternoon exploring the area, enjoying the idyllic scenery and relaxing views of the rolling hills. Visit a historic wine cellar in the center of Barolo to learn about its namesake red wine, the famous Barolo Grand Italian Wine. Although the wine originates in Barolo, it is now made in eleven villages, all situated on the scenic Langhe hills in centuries-old vineyards. The wine is full and intense, with both fruity and spicy notes from cherries to licorice. Barolo wine must be aged for at least three years, with one and a half years of that time in oak barrels. If the aging is prolonged to five years, the wine becomes a Reserve.
After the tour, enjoy a vertical tasting of the winery's best product, tasting the same variety of wine from different years to compare the nuances of the different vintages.
In the evening, return to your accommodation and enjoy a leisurely evening. For an unforgettable culinary experience, sit down to dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant to sample traditional Piedmontese fare. With a stellar selection of artisan Italian cheeses and salamis and one of Italy's most complete wine lists, this dinner is a trip highlight.
Day 4: Transfer to Turin, City Tour & Exclusive Library Visit
In the morning, drive to nearby Turin, a city famous for its sophisticated and historic architecture, shaded gardens, libraries, museums, and theaters. It's one of Italy's most fascinating cities, named in the New York Times "52 Places to Visit" in 2016.
Spend the day exploring the city on a walking tour. Start in the heart of the city at the iconic Piazza Castello to visit the Royal Palace, one of the square's most distinctive buildings. The Palace was the main symbol of the Savoy house when the capital moved from Chambery to Turin, and the greatest artists of the time were commissioned to create the Baroque masterpiece. Visit the ornate galleries and library, stroll through the gardens and Royal Armory, and see the adjacent Cathedral that houses the Holy Shroud.
The entirety of the Piazza Castello was designed to give the buildings a cohesive style. One of the buildings hides an architectural treasure: the San Lorenzo Church, a baroque octagonal building with beautiful inner chapels and a soaring cupola with eight windows that allow sunlight to pour in.
Enjoy lunch at a historic cafe nearby and rub shoulders with the locals. Turin's cafes are legendary, with a long history of serving as the meeting place for artists, writers, and political refugees. When Turin found itself in the center of the struggle against Austria, several of the cafes became the headquarters of Risorgimento Italy where political theory and strategy were discussed over coffee. Aristocracy, poets, Bella Gente, opera composers, and other lovers of the arts also sought out the cafes for their cozy atmosphere.
Try the famous local Bicerin—a mix of chocolate, coffee, and cream—then head to the Library of the Academy of Sciences for a private afternoon tour. The library is typically closed to the public, but you'll get to visit the massive collection in the company of its curator. Founded in the 1700s, the library houses a vast array of literature: more than 250,000 books, 70,000 letters, 5,000 periodicals, 2,000 manuscript documents on the history of science, and a hundred drawings of industrial patents and maps.
Day 5: Departure from Turin
After one last cappuccino over breakfast, transfer to Turin International Airport for your connecting flight home.