Embark on the ultimate Italian food and wine tour as you uncover the secrets to delicious pesto in Genoa, sample the best of Emilia-Romagna's pasta, and savor artisanal cheeses and prosciutto in Bologna. Tour medieval Siena's foodie hotspots and wine taste your way through the hills of Chianti and Val d'Orcia, then save room for some southern Italian cuisine as you master the art of pizza making in Naples.


  • Master the art of authentic pesto with a Genovese cooking masterclass
  • Sample artisanal charcuterie and cheeses on a tour of Emilia-Romagna
  • Learn to make your own pasta in Bologna and whip up the perfect pizza in Naples
  • Tour the beautiful Val d'Orcia and taste Brunello di Montalcino vintages
  • Taste wines made from volcanic vines on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Milan, Train to Genoa, Dinner at a Local Restaurant Genoa
Day 2 Explore Genoa, Genovese Food Tour Genoa
Day 3 Day Trip to Portofino: Old Mill Visit & Pesto Masterclass Genoa
Day 4 Train to Bologna, Self-Guided Tour of Bologna's Foodie Hotspots Bologna
Day 5 Self-Guided Tour of Bologna, Authentic Pasta Masterclass Bologna
Day 6 Day Trip to Emilia-Romagna's Food Valley & DOP Producers  Bologna
Day 7 Train to Siena, Guided Siena Food & City Discovery Tour Tuscany
Day 8 Val d'Orcia Wine Tour & Tasting, Visit Montalcino & Montepulciano Tuscany
Day 9 Guided Tour of the Chianti Hills Wineries, Wine Tasting & Lunch  Tuscany
Day 10 Train to Naples, Sunset Walking Tour, Seafood Restaurant Experience  Naples
Day 11 Visit the Archaeological Museum of Naples, Neapolitan Pizza Masterclass Naples
Day 12 Tour of Pompeii & Mount Vesuvius, Vineyard Tour & Lunch Naples
Day 13 Depart Naples  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Milan, Train to Genoa, Dinner at a Local Restaurant

Ligurian focaccia
There's focaccia, and there's Genovese focaccia...

Benvenuti in Italia! Arrive at one of Milan's two international airports and make the two-hour train journey to Liguria's foodie capital, Genoa, famous as the birthplace of Italian staple pesto alla Genovese. You'll travel first class, so settle in and relax as you journey toward Italy's northwest coast. Upon arrival, take a private transfer to your hotel, where you'll have plenty of time to unwind after your flight before heading out for tonight's dinner reservation.

While Genoa is rightly famous for its pesto, Ligurian cuisine remains one of Italy's best-kept secrets, with delicacies such as focaccia (forget the imitations, you'll find the real deal in Genoa), farinata (a crispy chickpea fritter), and salsa di noci (a creamy walnut sauce). You'll get to sample the best of Genoa's specialties this evening at a nearby restaurant loved by locals. The regional trenette alla Genovese, a dish combining trenette pasta, potatoes, green beans, and plenty of fresh pesto, pairs perfectly with a glass of the local white wine, bianchetta Genovese

Day 2: Explore Genoa, Genovese Food Tour

Royal Palace Museum
Discover Renaissance gems such as the Royal Palace Museum on today's self-guided tour

Spend today exploring Genoa at your own pace. Start in the Centro Storico, the city's labyrinthine and atmospheric Old Town, where you'll find an enchanting mix of medieval and Renaissance architecture, tiny piazzas, and narrow alleyways. Visit the famous Renaissance palaces that line Via Garibaldi; collectively known as the Musei di Strada Nuova, the palaces are a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stroll the Palazzo Rosso to see an incredible selection of paintings, drawings, and 17th-century frescoes, while the Palazzo Bianco is home to a precious cache of paintings. 

Afterward, head to the reinvigorated waterfront. One of Italy's busiest port cities, Genoa has a proud maritime history going back centuries, and it's worth popping into the renowned Maritime Museum, the largest and most innovative of its kind in the Mediterranean. In the afternoon, you'll spend a leisurely three hours in the company of a local guide, discovering Genoa's foodie hotspots. Wind your way through the back streets to sample classic street food such as friscieu (fried croquettes filled with herbs), and freshly fried seafood, then visit an old pastry café once frequented by composer Giuseppe Verdi. 

Day 3: Day Trip to Portofino: Old Mill Visit & Pesto Masterclass

Fresh Pesto Ingredients, a Cinque Terre specialty
Learn the art of making Liguria's famous pesto with today's masterclass

The culinary theme continues this morning with a private day trip to Portofino. Lying roughly halfway between Genoa and the Cinque Terre on the Ligurian Coast, the small fishing village is a sight to behold, with its colorfully painted houses tumbling down to a historic fishing port. Drive through the Portofino Natural Park with your guide and admire the lush Mediterranean landscape, filled with olive groves and vineyards. After an hour or so, you'll reach your destination, an eco-farm where you'll learn how to prepare some of the region's classic dishes.

Your first stop is the farm's hop plantation, where you'll discover the brewing techniques involved in producing Portofino's only beer. Then, it's on to your cooking masterclass. Guided by a local chef, you'll be shown how to make and shape elegant corzetti pasta, a perfect pesto sauce made the traditional way with mortar and pestle, and lastly, a traditional Italian dolce (dessert). After the workshop, you'll sit down and enjoy your creations alongside local cheeses and cured meats, washed down with local beer or wine.

Day 4: Train to Bologna, Self-Guided Tour of Bologna's Foodie Hotspots

People enjoying lunch on Pescherie Vecchie street near famous food markets and shops
Head to Bologna's Quadrilatero district for the best of the city's food vendors and markets

Enjoy one last breakfast in Genoa's Old Town before catching a train to Bologna, the foodie capital of Emilia-Romagna. It's an easy changeover at Milan, and after a relaxed three-hour journey in first class, you'll arrive in Europe's oldest university town. After a private transfer to your hotel, head out to discover the city's gastronomy. Start with caffè in Piazza Maggiore, the town's grand 13th-century plaza, overlooked by some of the city's most impressive buildings, including the historic Basilica di San Petronio.

The alleyways and cobbled streets of the Quadrilatero neighborhood are where you'll find the area's famous market and foodie district. There's plenty to fill up on as you pass an array of vendors and stallholders proffering tasty morsels, including mouthwatering cold cuts and cheeses and tempting street food for a delicious lunch on the go. As the sun starts to dip, join the locals with their evening aperitivo ritual for a spritz, then head to one of the excellent nearby restaurants and sample Bologna favorites, including tortelloni in brodo, filled pasta in an elegant light broth.

Day 5: Self-Guided Tour of Bologna, Authentic Pasta Masterclass

Pasta making masterclass
Transform eggs and flour into silky pasta strands in today's masterclass

One of the best ways to explore Bologna is via the medieval porticos, a network of covered walkways that connect the city's landmarks, museums, and neighborhoods. You'll spend the morning ticking off the city's sights as you wander through the intricate Old Town at your own pace. Stroll over to the Due Torri, the city's two 12th-century leaning towers that flank the Piazza Maggiore, then discover fresh produce and popular local specialties at Mercato di Mezzo. Finish with a stroll through the University Quarter and the Botanical Garden, one of the oldest in Europe.

Later on, you'll discover the secrets behind the perfect bolognese sauce (known locally as ragú) with a hands-on pasta cooking class. Learn how Italians pair different sauces with different types of pasta and why ragú should never be served with spaghetti. Start with a lesson in turning flour and eggs into silky smooth pasta dough, and then, under the guidance of a professional chef, you'll prepare classics such as tagliatelle al ragú and ravioli al burro e salvia. Afterward, sit down with your fellow chefs to enjoy the dishes with a glass or two of wine.

Day 6: Day Trip to Emilia-Romagna's Food Valley & DOP Producers 

The Emilia Romagna region is famous for its parmigiano reggiano
Discover Emilia-Romagna's acclaimed cheese, prosciutto, and balsamic vinegar producers
Plan your trip to Italy
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Today, you're off to Emilia-Romagna's Food Valley, the region surrounding Parma and Modena. These two cities are known for their exceptional produce, including Prosciutto Crudo di Parma, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and Aceto Balsamico di Modena, known in Italy as "black gold." Meet your guide and drive out into the countryside, where you'll meet one of the area's artisan cheese producers and discover the production process that goes into ensuring Parmigiano-Reggiano meets its coveted DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) status or PDO. 

Next up is a visit to a prosciutto DOP producer, where you'll savor a tasting of artisan cold cuts. Continue through the scenic countryside as your guide drives you toward Modena. Here, you'll be welcomed by one of the region's renowned family-owned producers specializing in balsamic vinegar. Your tour concludes with a visit to one of the area's top cellars. Stretch your legs with a tour of the vineyard, then end your day in style at a family-run restaurant overlooking the hills, where a six-course gourmet lunch paired with excellent local wines awaits. 

Day 7: Train to Siena, Guided Siena Food & City Discovery Tour

Siena's Piazza del Campo
Siena's stunning architecture and terrific food make for a perfect match 

Today marks the next leg of your Italian foodie adventure with a transfer to Siena, a beautifully preserved medieval city nestled within the Tuscany hills. After a 40-minute train to Florence, you'll meet your guide at the station and enjoy a private transfer to your accommodation. Siena's historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dominated by its grand central square, the vast Piazza del Campo. You'll discover all these sights and more on this afternoon's tour dedicated to the city's archetypal Tuscan food and wine scene.

From mouthwatering local pecorino sheep cheeses to Siena's medieval fruitcake, panforte, the city has long held a reputation for the quality of its produce. Meet your guide outside the Tuscan Wine School in the Old Town, where you'll sample and learn about the local varietals before embarking on a tasting and sightseeing tour of the city. Try extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) dipped in fresh pane (bread) and discover the local honey and jams that pair brilliantly with the sharp, tangy pecorino cheese. You'll finish in the piazza, just in time for an evening aperitivo. 

Day 8: Val d'Orcia Wine Tour & Tasting, Visit Montalcino & Montepulciano

Discover the wines of Montalcino
Discover the famous wines of Montalcino as you tour the Val d'Orcia

Spend today discovering the countryside, medieval towns, and wineries of the Val d'Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site notable for its iconic cypress-lined hills and roads, hilltop villages, and exceptional wines. Your destination is one of the renowned Brunello di Montalcino vineyards, one of Italy's most prestigious red wines. Accompanied by your guide, you'll learn how these exceptional wines are produced as you tour the cellars. Afterward, enjoy a tasting of several vintages accompanied by local cheeses and meats as you admire the sweeping views of the valley. 

In the afternoon, you'll visit nearby Montepulciano, a town famous for its Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wine and renowned for its Renaissance architecture and beautiful setting—atop a ridge surrounded by medieval walls and fortifications. Visit the Piazza Grande and see the Palazzo Communale, the castle-like town hall with an iconic clock bell, and other notable sights, including the Palazzo Cappelli and the Chiesa di Sant'Agnese. You'll have plenty of time to visit the town's wine shops before returning to Siena in time for dinner at a local osteria

Day 9: Guided Tour of the Chianti Hills Wineries, Wine Tasting & Lunch 

Wine tasting in Chianti
Head out to the Chianti Hills for today's wine tasting

Chianti Classico, Tuscany's flagship wine, originates from vines within a distinct area stretching between Florence and Siena in the rolling Chianti Hills. Today, you'll meet your driver for a private guided tour of the region's famous vineyards. Wind your way through the scenic countryside until you reach one of the area's best family-run wineries, where you'll be invited on a tour of the estate and the cellars.

Spend time with your hosts learning about the centuries-old production process and how the climate (hot summer days, cool nights, and cold winters) gives the sangiovese vines their distinctive, dry taste and light-bodied structure. You'll also discover how each bottle must contain a minimum of 80% sangiovese grapes to earn its coveted DOCG status. The highlight of your tour is a Tuscan lunch of antipasti, a primo (usually a pasta course), and a choice of dolce (dessert), accompanied by an al fresco tasting of the vineyard's vintages. 

Day 10: Train to Naples, Sunset Walking Tour, Seafood Restaurant Experience 

Spaghetti allo scoglio
Dine on spaghetti allo scoglio at one of Naples' local seafood restaurants

Get ready for a change of scenery this morning—you're heading south to Naples! After breakfast, you'll meet your driver and transfer to Florence's Santa Maria Novella train station. It's just under a three-hour journey, so sit back and relax in your Premium Class carriage as you watch the scenery unfold across Tuscany, Lazio, and finally Campania. Alight at the region's capital, and you'll be met by your driver and dropped at your downtown hotel.

Once you've had a chance to unwind after your journey, waste no time heading out to experience all Naples has to offer. While justifiably famous for its rich history of Neapolitan cuisine, it's also one of Italy's most magnetic and unique cities, filled with architectural gems, Baroque churches, and enchanting piazzas. As the sun starts to dip, meet your guide for a relaxed sunset tour of this mesmerizing city, then discover where the locals eat with dinner at one of Naples' best local seafood restaurants. 

Day 11: Visit the Archaeological Museum of Naples, Neapolitan Pizza Masterclass

Learn how to make the perfect Neapolitan pizza
Add Neapolitan pizza maker to your foodie repertoire

Spend the morning exploring the city at your own pace. Top of your list should be the Naples National Archaeology Museum, considered one of Italy's most important museums and home to an impressive collection of ancient Greek and Roman artifacts. Alongside the well-preserved pieces of art from Pompeii and Herculaneum, you'll see the Farnese Collection, including the infamous "Toro Farnese" (Farnese Bull), the largest Classical sculpture ever recovered and exquisitely carved from a single block of marble.

Later on, spend the afternoon discovering the secrets to making the perfect Neapolitan pizza. You'll be led by your guide to the restaurant of one of the city's oldest families of pizza makers. Receive a warm welcome from your pizzaiolo (pizza maker) and their staff, who'll introduce you to the art of pizza making, guiding you through every step of the process, from which ingredients to use, to the history of this world-famous dish. With your creations freshly out of the wood-fired oven, you'll dine with your fellow chefs and add "Neapolitan pizza maker" to your cooking repertoire. 

Day 12: Tour of Pompeii & Mount Vesuvius, Vineyard Tour & Lunch

See the ancient city frozen in time, with a visit to Pompeii

Today, you'll explore two of the area's key sights, Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, on a private guided tour. Meet your guide and enjoy a scenic drive south along the Amalfi Coast until you reach ancient Pompeii, the Roman city frozen in time and buried under the flow of lava and ash from Mount Vesuvius' catastrophic eruption in 79 CE. Walking through the remains of Pompeii's ancient streets is a fascinating and sober experience, with many of the town's structures, including the plazas, private villas, and shops, preserved almost entirely. 

Afterward, continue your tour of the area with a drive to Mount Vesuvius National Park. Pass a series of small farms and wineries dotted along the landscape, and you'll soon reach the dormant volcano. It's around a 30-minute hike to the crater with some steep ascents, but it's worth it for the exceptional views of the Bay of Naples and the islands of Capri and Ischia. Reward your efforts with lunch at a local winery, where you'll tour the beautiful vineyards and taste local Lacryma Christi wines made from grapes indigenous to the slopes of Mount Vesuvius.

Day 13: Depart Naples

Depart Naples
Until the next time, Italy!

Say goodbye, or ciao, to Italy for now. Take advantage of any extra time with one last cappuccino in the piazza before transferring to the airport, where you'll catch your flight home or continue your European adventure. Safe travels!

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Map of Ultimate Italy for Foodies: Genoa, Bologna, Tuscany & Naples - 13 Days
Map of Ultimate Italy for Foodies: Genoa, Bologna, Tuscany & Naples - 13 Days