Our Gourmet Grand Tour of Italy is the ultimate food lovers’ tour of Bellissima Italia! Taking in the absolute best of Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, and the Veneto, you will enjoy outstanding VIP gourmet experiences, all with your private driver. You will stay in luxurious boutique hotels; tour by comfortable chauffeured Mercedes; see how Italy’s exquisite Culatello Ham and Prosciutto di Parma are produced; visit a Parmigiano Reggiano cheese maker; learn how to make homemade pasta in Bologna; taste historic Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale Balsamic Vinegars in “Acetaias” in Modena; tour castles and fine wine estates in Piacenza; indulge in velvety Amarone and Franciacorta bubblies; delight in special private guided walking tours of various cities such as Verona, Bergamo, Bologna, Mantua and Venice; and dine in carefully selected trattorie and ristoranti. Sound delicious?

The tour begins in Milan and heads southwest into the wine country of Piacenza, then further south to the gourmet paradise of Parma, Modena, and Bologna, stopping for a fun visit at the Galleria Ferrari. You will then veer east to Byzantine Ravenna and north on up to gorgeous Ferrara, and romantic Venice. After an unforgettable stay in La Serenissima, head west to Roman Verona, and into Valpolicella. Continue west towards Lake Garda, stopping in Franciacorta near Lake Iseo to sleep in a beautiful Relais & Chateaux set amid the vineyards. The historic and little-known art city of Bergamo is next with a few nights in spectacular Lake Como to complete the magnificent gourmet journey through some of Italy’s most beautiful towns and villages. We have created this itinerary for foodies, also looking for luxury, spectacular scenery, and culture. Taste the best of Italy on this private chauffeured gastronomic tour! Contact us for more info.

Italian Gourmet Grand Tour Highlights:

  • Balsamic Vinegar, Parmigiano Cheese, Culatello ham, Prosciutto di Parma tastings
  • Amarone, Piacenza and Franciacorta wine tours
  • Sightseeing in Bologna, Ferrara, Verona, Mantua, Venice, Bergamo, Lake Como
  • Cheese tour to Parmigiano
  • Visit Castles and Historic Wineries
  • Galleria Ferrari visit
  • Mosaics of Ravenna
  • Private Mercedes and Art Guides

Below is a suggested Itinerary for your private Italian Gourmet Grand Tour

  1. Milan - Piacenza – Polesine Parmense

    VIP Wine Tasting at Torre Fornello & Lunch in Historic Trattoria

    Antica Corte Pallavicina
    Hotel Antica Corte Pallavicina
    • Historic Countryside Relais
    • Lunch with wines, wine tasting, welcome gourmet gift
    • Private Chauffeured Mercedes

    This morning your private driver will pick you up at your Milan hotel or the airport by private chauffeured Mercedes. Let the Italian Gourmet Grand Tour commence! You will head south into the Ancient Roman winemaking region of Piacenza, known for its sweet malvasias and juicy Gutturnio (Barbera and Croatina grapes based) reds. Your first visit will be to one of the emblematic wineries of Piacenza, such as beautiful Torre Fornello. You will have a private VIP tour of the estate and vineyards, in English of course, and finish with a tasting of their best wines.

    After a morning of wine tasting, you will undoubtedly be famished, and lunch is in a medieval village right at the Rivalta Castle in a historic trattoria. Enjoy various local dishes like the traditional Pisarei e Faso bread dumplings with borlotti beans, tomato sauce, and pancetta, paired with exceptional wines from the region. After lunch, take a walk around the pretty little hamlet to get some fresh air.

    In the afternoon, you will visit La Stoppa, an excellent historic wine estate. Elena Panteleoni and Giulio Armani have worked together since 1991, producing great natural wines. They use only indigenous yeasts, with long macerations on the grape skins, and no filtration. Their Trebbiolo wine entered the 100 Top Wine List by Wine Spectator.

    And finally, you will head for Polesine Parmense, which is where you will be based for the next few nights. A historical, fairy tale castle awaits, Antica Corte Pallavicina. This supremely unique castle, owned by the Pallavicino family, originally dates back to the year 1400, and it was transformed into a working farm in 1700. Massimo (one of Italy’s top salumi producers, president of the Culatello di Zibello Consorzio, legendary chef, and a great-grandson of a farmer who cured hams for Giuseppe Verdi) and Luciano Spigaroli have tastefully restored the building to its ancient splendor. You have three excellent restaurants on-site for dinner tonight- a Michelin starred fine dining restaurant, the traditional and elegant Cavallino Bianco, or the laidback and easygoing Osteria del Maiale.

  2. Polesine Parmense – Parma hills – Roccabianca – Colorno – Polesine Parmense

    Culatello Ham and Prosciutto di Parma Tastings

    Delicious Culatello ham
    Delicious Culatello ham
    • Historic Countryside Relais
    • Full breakfast, lunch with wines, ham and cured meat tastings, casual dinner with local wines
    • Private Chauffeured Mercedes

    Today you will taste a little slice of heaven- Prosciutto di Parma and Culatello ham, the Crème de la Crème prosciutto of Italy. Head towards the Parma hills and visit an upmarket producer’s Prosciutto di Parma cellar and finish with a full tasting of their Prosciutto and cured meats, made using an ancient local breed of black pigs.

    Lunch will be fun and elegant at Hostaria Da Ivan, focusing on local specialties. Sample dishes include Tosone fritto avvolto in pancetta (young and melty cheese, a secondary product of famous Parmigiano Reggiano, wrapped in bacon), Tortelli intrecciati di erbetta e ricotta (wild herbs and ricotta cheese pocket pasta), and Mariola, con purea di patate e mostarda cremonese (cooked salami, with mashed potatoes and traditional spicy fruit preserve). Superb wines will be chosen for you from the encyclopedic wine list. You will fall head over heels for Barbara’s cuisine and theatrical Ivan!

    After lunch, enjoy a digestive “passeggiata” in the park of the nearby Colorno Ducal palace. The first garden was created in 1480, commissioned by count Roberto Sanseverino. Under Francesco Farnese, it became a mix of French and Italian-style garden, which was further modified by Duchess Marie Louise of Austria, who turned it into an English style garden.

    After a relaxing afternoon, return to your hotel and visit the atmospheric on-site Culatello cellars. Massimo Spigaroli is considered the “King of Culatello,” and celebrities such as Alain Ducasse, Massimo Bottura, and Prince Charles of Wales select and age their Culatello here. At the end of the tour, you will sample the full range of estate produced salami, including differently aged Culatello, Parmigiano Reggiano, Risotto, and homemade cakes, all paired with Fortana red sparkling wine. The rest of the evening is yours to unwind at the gourmet relais.

  3. Polesine Parmense – Mantua – Canneto sull'Oglio – Cremona – Polesine Parmense

    The Beauty of Mantova and Cremona, hidden gems of Northern Italy

    gourmet - fine-dining-dal-pescatore
    Fine dining at Restaurant Dal Pescatore
    • Historic Countryside Relais
    • Full breakfast, 3 Michelin starred lunch with wines
    • Private Chauffeured Mercedes

    This morning you will travel about one hour east, to the magnificent art town of Mantova. With your private guide, you will explore this aristocratic and graceful town. Here you will learn all about the Gonzagas, who transformed Mantua into a court of great splendor, and a model of the Renaissance city.

    Lunch is the highlight of the day: a 3 Michelin starred tasting menu at traditional Dal Pescatore. Founded in 1962 by Antonio Santini’s grandparents, it is still owned and run today by the same family. Enjoy refined, high-end cuisine, with recipes passed down over three generations. This will be a pleasant, nearly three-hour affair, so sit back, relax, and dig in!

    On the way back to the relais, stop in pretty Cremona for a gentle stroll. Cremona is a classical-music lover’s dream for its musical history and traditions. Some of the earliest and most renowned luthiers were born and worked here, such as Giuseppe Guarneri and Antonio Stradivari.

    Return to your hotel and the evening is yours.

  4. Polesine Parmense – Parma countryside – Maranello - Modena- Modena countryside - Bologna

    Parmigiano & Balsamic Vinegar Tastings

    Balsamic Vinegar
    Balsamic Vinegar
    • 5* Luxury Hotel
    • Full breakfast, traditional lunch with wines, cheese tasting, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena tasting
    • Private Chauffeured Mercedes

    Early bird breakfast this morning! This morning, you will leave Polesine Parmense extra early in order to get to an authentic Parmigiano Reggiano producer by cheesemaking time (roughly 8:30 a.m.). There are dairies in an array of cities of Emilia province, and you will visit a dairy in the Parma countryside, about 45 minutes from Polesine Parmense. The visit is very complete, and you will be an expert by the end of the cheese tour. You will see all the elements of the Parmigiano production from the processing of milk in the vats, the molding of the curd, the salting, and then the aging process of the photogenic cheese wheels.

    After this fascinating tour and tasting, you have a fun visit in-store at the Galleria Ferrari in Maranello, an actual museum dedicated to Ferrari (this is the birthplace of this mythical car!). Learn all about the “prancing horse” and visit the museum, which is quite large. You can see over 40 real models such as Formula 1 race cars from many different decades. For Ferrari-philes, you can have a tour of Ferrari factory, and Fiorano track, experience Pit-Stop, and Scuderia Ferrari driving simulators, and take an onboard picture!

    Next, you will head into the wealthy little town of Modena for a visit to the 11th century UNESCO heritage preserved Duomo, and relax over an aperitif of bubbly or vino bianco, outside if weather permits.

    Lunch today is at the most ancient deli in the world, founded in 1605! Through a narrow doorway, from the deli shop, you will discover a nearly secret back room with only four tables. This family-run restaurant offers such a unique experience, with traditional mama’s style cooking.

    After lunch, you will probably want to enjoy a short little digestive walk! Before heading to Bologna, you will visit a beautiful “Acetaia,” a real “Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena DOP” cellar. Here you will learn about the interesting history and production of this liquid gold and taste a few aged DOP Balsamic vinegar’s, including Collezione della Nonna. This is from the century-old battery which belonged to great-grandmother Maria. This is a treat!

    This evening you will arrive in beautiful Bologna, one of Italy’s most fantastic cities with a real bohemian atmosphere. You will love the array of charming restaurants and wine bars. Enjoy a free evening on your own with our suggestions for dining.

  5. Bologna

    Cooking Class in Bologna including Pasta Making

    Handmade Tortellini
    Handmade Tortellini
    • 5* Luxury Hotel
    • Full breakfast, Cooking Class and Lunch with local wines
    • None

    Enjoy a later start today, and around 11 a.m., you will have your very own pasta-making class right in Bologna. Learn how to make pasta such as the famed local specialty of Tagliatelle al ragù (this is an ancient Bolognese recipe). Other local specialties include Crescentine, Lasagne al ragù, Tortellini in Brodo, Tortelloni al Burro, Cotolette Alla Bolognese (Veal Cutlets), and then for desserts- Torta di Riso (stunning homemade rice cake) and Raviole stuffed with “Mostarda” (a kind of jam made with quince, pears, sultanas, almonds, dried prunes)

    After a private cooking class, sit down and enjoy the results of your efforts!

    After some free time, you will enjoy a private guided walking tour of Bologna with a local art guide to take in some of the highlights such as the Two Towers, the Piazza Maggiore and Piazza del Nettuno, the Jewish Ghetto, and the fascinating 16th-century Anatomical theater of the ancient university (your guide will have a lot of anecdotes during this visit!). The evening is yours to enjoy the wonderful osterie of Bologna, many with live jazz music.

  6. Bologna - Imola - Ravenna - Bologna

    Excursion to Ravenna & Michelin Starred Lunch

    Ravenna, San Vitale, famous mosaic
    The famous mosaic's of San Vitale, Ravenna
    • 5* Luxury Hotel
    • Full breakfast, 2 Michelin starred lunch with wines
    • Private Chauffeured Mercedes

    Today you have a fantastic lunch and exquisite mosaics in store for you! After a free morning in Bologna to get in some last-minute gourmet shopping or sightseeing, you will dip south towards Imola and home to one of the region’s best and most refined restaurants, San Domenico. This is a gourmet gem, and you will indulge in a superb tasting menu.

    Carry on to the sleepy town of Ravenna, where you will be taken aback by the breathtaking 6th and 7th-century mosaics, all with your private art guide. These are some of the most gorgeous mosaics in the world. Located close to the Adriatic Coast, Ravenna is a town with a whole lot of history! The Roman Emperor Octavian Augustus built a port here, denoting the strategic importance of Ravenna, and later the city was one of the main hubs of Byzantine culture in Italy. You will learn all about the town’s history and visit some major highlights such as the mosaics of 5th century Galla Placidia (daughter of Emperor Theodosius), the Saint Francesco Basilica with Dante’s Tomb, the Basilica of San Vitale (with some of the best early Christian art in Italy) and more.

    In the evening, after an interesting tour of Ravenna, you will return to your hotel and the evening is yours to explore Bologna on your own. It’s a fantastic city just to enjoy a stroll, it is small and easy to maneuver, and there are endless churches, palaces, and charming squares to discover.

  7. Bologna - Ferrara – Rubano - Venice

    Discover Fabulous Ferrara and on to Venice

    gourmet - restaurant-le-calandre
    3 star Michelin dining at restaurant Le Calandre
    • 5* Luxury Hotel
    • Full breakfast, 3 Michelin starred lunch with wines
    • Private Chauffeured Mercedes/Private boat

    Today you will head to Venice, but first, discover beautiful Ferrara with your private art guide. This enchanting, walled town was built by the Dukes of Este. Known as the “Bicycle City” as it has one of the highest numbers of cyclists in Europe, Ferrara is so lovely unspoiled, and off the beaten track. You will enjoy a walking tour this morning and take in the best of Ferrara from the Castello Estense to the magical Via Delle Volte.

    After a refreshing morning walk, you will head to Rubano, close to Padua. Here a 3 Michelin starred lunch awaits! This exciting restaurant is a complete contrast to the traditional cuisine you’ve had until now. Chef Massimiliano Alajmo is a real innovator, and the dishes served at this restaurant are continually evolving. You will enjoy a complete tasting menu, featuring dishes like Mixed leaf soup with bean mozzarella, Mandarin and wasabi root Risotto with fish crudo, and brodo granita, olive oil galletta, juniper gelato, and balsamic vinegar.

    Carry on to Venice(although you can stop en route to Padua if you’d like to break up the journey with a coffee and a few photos).

    Upon arrival in Venice, you will say goodbye to your driver for a few days and board your private water taxi to your hotel, a luxury Palazzo right on the Grand Canal. Check into your hotel and enjoy the rest of the late afternoon and evening at your leisure, with our many suggestions for dining and sightseeing.

  8. Venice

    Relax and Savour the delights of Venice

    Panoramic view of Venice
    Panoramic view of Venice
    • 5* Luxury Hotel
    • Full breakfast
    • None

    This morning enjoy a leisurely start and free day until the afternoon in Bella Venezia, with our suggestions. If this is your first time in Venice, then you will want to tour the Grand Canal (quickly done by Vaporetto or with a private motor launch for a more exclusive experience) and see all of the stunning palaces on the water. Check out the picturesque market under Rialto bridge, get lost in the narrow cobblestoned laneways, have a coffee on the outdoor terrace at Caffè Floriam in Saint Mark’s Square. And there is only one place to have a Bellini aperitif- at the elegant Harry’s Bar, where it was invented. Lunch is on your own with our suggestions.

    In the late afternoon, our art guide will meet you at your hotel, and you will embark on a fun two-hour walking tour, full of anecdotes and legends, from Marco Polo to Casanova.

    The evening is yours to enjoy on your own; we recommend a private Gondola at sunset!

  9. Venice - Valpolicella - Verona – Erbusco

    Amarone Wine Tasting & Private Tour of Verona

    Zymè winery in Valpolicella
    Zymè winery in Valpolicella
    • 5* Relais and Chateaux
    • Full breakfast, traditional lunch with wines
    • Private boat/Private Chauffeured Mercedes

    From Venice today, you will head west to the Valpolicella wine region, home to the one and only Amarone. The wine region is nestled in a cozy valley just east of Lake Garda and north of beautiful Verona. You will visit a top winery such as Zymè, and after a private tour of the estate, indulge in a hedonistic tasting of various wines from Valpolicella to Amarone Riserva.

    Lunch is up next at a traditional and warm trattoria in wine country, this will be a special treat, and apart from the fine wines selected for your meal, you will finish off with a digestive Grappa.

    From Valpolicella, you will head into Verona. Your private art guide will take you on a short but interesting walking tour of Verona to show you the “Best of” from the marvelous Roman amphitheater (where the opera festival is hosted each summer) to the numerous pretty piazzas in Verona.

    After the tour, head to your hotel, a beautiful Relais and Chateaux located in a vineyard. The evening is yours, and we highly suggest the hotel’s gourmet restaurant.

  10. Franciacorta

    Franciacorta Wine Country

    Ca Del Bosco cellar
    Ca Del Bosco cellar
    • 5* Relais and Chateaux
    • Full breakfast, Traditional lunch with wines
    • Private Chauffeured Mercedes

    Today you will taste the “Champagne of Italy”! Franciacorta is an ultra-high-end wine region producing traditional method sparkling wines, and you will see for yourself how fantastic these wines are. The vineyards and wineries are sprinkled around the tiny Lake Iseo near the town of Brescia, and you will visit an excellent producer such as Ca’ del Bosco or Berlucchi.

    Enjoy a morning of wine tasting and follow with lunch right on the sparkling water of Lake Iseo. The food here is just fabulous, and you’ll try the flagship dish, Risotto al Franciacorta.

    After lunch, enjoy a walk around the lake before heading back to your hotel. There is a great spa here, and you will have the rest of the day at leisure to take in spa treatments. The evening is yours to enjoy on your own, and we will give you suggestions for wine bars and top restaurants.

  11. Erbusco - Bergamo - Brianza - Bellagio

    Excursion to Bergamo & Lake Como

    Villa Monastero, Lake Como
    Villa Monastero, Lake Como
    • 5* Luxury hotel
    • Full breakfast, lunch at a wine estate with wines
    • Private Chauffeured Mercedes

    Today you are headed for the magnificent Lake Como, and en route, you will stop for a short walking tour of beautiful Bergamo, one of Italy’s least-known art cities. Your day begins when your private driver will escort you to Bergamo, known as the Medieval and Renaissance Citadel. The new part of Bergamo below is modern, but the historic “Citta Alta” (“high city”) is utterly delightful with beautiful squares, palaces, and romantic fountains. You will enjoy a short walking tour with your own private art guide, visiting the most beautiful palaces, churches, squares. Enjoy an aperitif here, tasting wines from just outside Bergamo, like Valcalepio or Colleoni DOC.

    Carry on to a lovely family-run wine estate. In the restored farmhouse, you will taste a local menu, such as Pork shank with polenta, Montevecchia Caprini goat cheeses, and “Laciadei,” traditional apple fritters, all paired with Terre Lariane wines.

    The next port of call is Lake Como! One of the most beautiful places on earth, you will marvel at the dramatic scenery and charming lakeside villages. Your base for these last few nights is a luxury hotel right in Bellagio, a historic and beautiful town located in the middle of Lake Como (the lake is shaped like an upside-down “Y”), across the waters from pretty Tremezzo. Check into your luxurious hotel which faces the lake, and enjoy the rest of the day to take in some shopping, walking, and sightseeing. Dinner is on your own in Bellagio, with our suggestions.

  12. Lake Como

    Private Cruise on Lake Como & Michelin Starred Lunch

    Michelin starred dining, Lake Como
    Michelin starred dining, Lake Como
    • 5* Luxury hotel
    • Full breakfast, Michelin starred lunch with wines
    • Private boat

    After a free morning, you will love the relaxing private cruise we arrange today, taking in the panoramic views of the mountains hovering over the lake, all from your boat. Remember to bring the camera!

    You will make a few stops, for example, to the immaculate gardens at Villa Carlotta, Villa del Balbianello, and Villa Monastero. Today’s lunch is a gourmet extravaganza at a Michelin starred restaurant, with great views of the lake. Enjoy superb food and wine pairing in the glorious setting. This is the good life!

    The rest of the day is yours to enjoy Bellagio. Enjoy a nice walk down to the Punta Spartivento, where you will have amazing views, enjoying an aperitif at a charming wine bar to kick start the evening. The rest of the evening is yours in Bellagio.

  13. Bellagio- Milan

    End of Tour

    Buon Viaggio!
    Buon Viaggio!
    • None
    • Full breakfast
    • Private Chauffeured Mercedes

    Alas, your Gourmet Grand Tour has come to an end. This morning at your preferred time, your driver will transfer you to Milan for your outbound flight or to your hotel if you are staying on another evening. We hope you have enjoyed the mix of beautiful towns and villages, wine tasting and gourmet dining and fantastic scenery featured on this tour. Until the next time, arrivederci!

More information

If you would like us to customize an exclusive, luxury tour for you, get in touch with us and let us know your travel plans. We offer luxury food and wine tours for private groups of minimum 2 guests. All of our private, chauffeured tours are available year round upon request.

Contact us for your personalized quote!
Cellar Tours Private Luxury Food & Wine Tours

Cellar Tours

Cellar Tours is a Luxury Travel Specialist, operating since 2003 and offering exclusive Mercedes chauffeured Gourmet Vacations in Chile, France, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, South Africa, and Spain. We specialize in luxurious custom designed vacations, events and incentives related to food and wine. We are proud members of Slow Food, UNAV (Travel Agency Association in Spain), and the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals).

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