Welcome to our Country and City Tour where you will have a delightful taste of both Bologna’s historical center and the countryside green hills. Start your cooking program with Signora Federica, your host in the country, where you will experience all of this region’s gastronomic cuisine, and then to the city center for food, wine, a Food Lover’s Tour and culture of this dreamy city. From the charming landmark’s city center at Piazza Maggiore to the rolling countryside hills, this one-of-a-kind cooking program takes you through the ‘city of arches’ and then onto its countryside, revealing Bologna’s love affair with food. You will be guided to its vibrant marketplace lined with artisan pasta makers and renowned food purveyors four generations old. Join us in Bologna, Italy’s food capital, for a week of hands-on cooking and delicious food and wine.
During your stay you will walk through the ancient cobblestone streets and experience the sights, sounds and tastes of our custom designed Medieval Food Lover’s Walking Tour with your private guide. This lively tour takes you through the famous marketplace of Bologna, its shops, stands and food purveyors, while covering historical notes on Bologna’s old world foods, wine, and purveyors. Tastings included.
With your guide, your week continues on to the country hillside farm where Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Balsamico and Prosciutto are made.
Bologna Cooking Classes
The program offers 3 hands-on cooking classes with Chefs Federica and our sister Chefs in Bologna, while discovering our award winning addresses of food, wine, dessert and chocolate in both the city and country. In your hands-on cooking classes, you will learn how to make traditional Tortellini, Tagliatelle, Lasagna Bolognese, Gnocchi along with seasonal local sauces. After each cooking lesson, lunch or dinner follows and includes a toast of local wine. Everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared in class together.
Bologna, the capital city of Emilia-Romagna is a gastronomic paradise for the food lover. It is one of Italy’s wealthiest regions, is home to the fertile plains of the Po River Valley, and produces much of the country’s wheat and dairy products. Bologna’s nickname is Bologna La Grassa, Bologna the fat one!. Traditional dishes include, Tagliatelle al ragu’, tortellini served in broth, and its delicious Mortadella. Ravenna, famous for its spectacular mosaics from the Byzantine empire; and the charming Parma, its claims to fame of course being Parmigiano cheese and its sweet Prosciutto Crudo, ham. For the food lover, the culinary traditions of Emilia-Romagna won’t fail to impress.
Bologna’s Famous Two Towers
Asinelli & Garisenda
Bologna’s towers were important for warning and defensive purposes and were naturally a sign of prestige for the families who lived in them. At the end of the 12th century there were one hundred towers, however today only around fifteen remain. The Asinelli and Garisenda towers are the symbol of Bologna. The taller one, the Asinelli Tower, was built in the 10th century, and it is 97 m high with a 2.23 meter inclination. The base was modified in 1488 to house guards. The smaller tower is the Garisenda Tower, a contemporary of its neighbor. Its strong inclination (3.22 m) is striking.
Bologna is also home to the oldest university in Europe that dates back to 1088. Throughout time, Bologna is a city that has been an important intellectual centre and has attracted scholars from around the world. In 2006 Bologna was also appointed a UNESCO City of Music, and music is at the heart of the city’s professional, academic and social life. Outdoor concerts in the Piazza Maggiore are a common site.
Medieval Food Lover’s Tour
Life in Bologna centers around a rich style of cooking and the colorful Medieval Market. The Medieval Food Lover’s Tour explores the gastronomic side of Bologna, its street markets, wine bars, fourth generation grocers, traditional pasta makers, and storied chocolatiers. With your private guide you will traverse and mingle with vendors, bread bakers, food purveyors, wine makers and fish mongers. Things have not changed at this market, as fourth generation families carry on the art of food in the Medieval food halls.
We begin near Piazza Maggiore, at one of Bologna’s finest bakeries, open since 1880. Under high frescoed ceilings, saleswomen in crisp white aprons bustle about arranging fresh pillows of pasta into rows behind glass display cases. The signs at each tray of pasta translate as, “Classic Ravioli—we put our art into it!”
The tour continues down the block to the corner of Via Drapperie, marked by stacks of Salami and pendulums of prosciutto, to enter Bologna’s main street market. Fruit and vegetable stalls stand tall under the weight of purple-fringed artichokes, crinkly bunches of Arugola, sleek indigo eggplant, pink pomegranates, orange zucchini flowers, pungent mushrooms, tiny Susine plums, pointy San Marzano tomatoes, mounds of grapes, trays of chestnuts, garlands of fiery red chilli pepper, and ropes of garlic decorate the stage as vendors shout out their daily specials.
Just at the corner, there are a pair of fishmongers always mobbed by the local Bolognesi waiting patiently on the water-slicked cobblestones, numbered tickets clutched in their hands, admiring the trays of squid, scampi, octopi, anchovies, and every type of fish on beds of ice.
A sign reads, Formaggi, a traditional artisan cheese shop with an excellent selection of cheeses—eight types of mozzarella, six kinds of ricotta, and 21 different varieties of pecorino—in addition to the usual Mortadella, Salami, and the world-famous prosciutto di Parma, selling at 26.90E per kilo, and the even pricier, gourmet-beloved prosciutto di San Daniele, from the Friuli mountains, going for 31E per kilo.
Continuing along, step into the divinely scented shop of chocolate. The smell of soft cocoa diffuses into the air. The sweet part of the tour is to the old world chocolate maker, who has been molding the great creamy fondant for over 200 years. Imagine even “tortellini” in milk, dark, and white, and filled with a chocolate cream, a selection of the famous cremini.
This full-day walking tour leads you through the best of Bologna, a day in heaven for any food lover. A professional food authority as your guide, discussions and tastings included along the way.
Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
Visiting a Caseificio is like going back in time. The coveted Parmigiano Reggiano actually has very old origins and today, keeping the old world way of 7 centuries ago, it is still made following the same traditional and genuine methods. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is protected by the European Union and can only be produced in a restricted area, the so called “zona tipica“, which includes the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and a part of Bologna (left of the Reno river) and Mantova (right of the Po River). It takes about 2 hours to see the whole production.
See artful hands and refined operations create the coveted Parmigianno Reggiano cheese. Walk through the old world cheese making site, and watch the master as he churns the milk. Step into the aging room and see wheels and rows of cheeses piled high. There are cheese masters who turn, polish and tap the delicate cheese to perfection. Discussion and tastings included.
Bologna’s Prosciutto Di Parma
The production area of Prosciutto di Parma is located in the southern part of Parma province. Here, and only here, can genuine Parma ham be made. Using plump select Italian pigs and following the traditional and genuine method, Prosciutto di Parma is still produced like it was about 2000 years ago. Only four ingredients are necessary to produce Parma ham: a pork leg, a minimum quantity of salt to preserve the meat, the air to dry it out, and time, a lot of time, at least 12 months to get the perfect flavor. You will see rows of Prosciutto di Parma lined up like soldiers at the Medieval Marketplace and throughout Bologna. It is always served as an appetizer and accompanied with fresh figs, melon or with Parmigiano Reggiano.
Balsamic Vinegar Tour
You will visit a typical workshop where world-class balsamic vinegar has been produced for over 150 years. Once inside these sweet-smelling ancient walls, you will learn how this gourmet delicacy was first created. In fact, though aceto balsamico is a relative newcomer to fancy food shops outside of Italy, its origins go back so far that even in the year 1046 it was already a rarity craved by kings and emperors (and virtually unknown to the public). Throughout the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries, the vinegar-makers of Reggio Emilia had one of the richest and most powerful trade guilds in central Italy, their secrets as closely-guarded as those of the Murano glass-makers. By the 1800s it had become commonplace to enrich the dowries of local noblewomen with jars and little barrels of this precious liquid. During your visit to the workshop you will see the maker’s own vineyard, see how a grape eventually meets one of its most glorious ends inside these little containers, and taste several types of vinegar made from various grapes and aged for various lengths of time. This Balsamic is aged, from 25 to 100 years.
Bologna Accommodations – Country to City
B&B Country Guest House – Start your country city tour in the heartland of Bologna. Check in to our country B&B guest house set in the rolling green hills of Bologna. Gentle mountains, verdant vineyards, and a brimming garden with organic vegetables and fruits, surround the property – there’s even a lake, while the cantina and wine cellar are steps from the main property. This charming eco-friendly property offers all the modern conveniences while the silence of mother nature soothes the soul. Rooms include comfortable bedding with Italian linens and ensuite private baths. Daily breakfast is served in the dining area and includes hot and cold cereals, fruits, artisan bread, eggs, cakes, breads, assorted savory pies, cakes, cookies, jams, caffe, cappuccinos and tea.
4 Star Boutique – Our 4-Star deluxe property is privately owned and simply luxurious. This charming 4-Star is just by the Piazza and offers all modern conveniences steps away from the main sites and monuments. Rooms are furnished with Italian bed linens, furniture and art. Each room has large windows, mini bar, air conditioning, satellite TV, safe, and complimentary internet, and a dining room with a full breakfast including hot and cold cereals, fruits, artisan bread, eggs, cakes, breads, assorted savory pies, cakes, cookies, jams, caffe, cappuccinos and tea. Special requests are accommodated upon request. The property also offers a sitting room and bar with full-service drinks, tea and snacks.
B&B Luxury Guest House – Check in and relax at the privately-owned boutique B&B set in the historic center in a palazzo. Privately owned, this exquisite 5-bedroom property is minutes from the Piazza Maggiore and centro storico. The property entrance spills onto the sitting room and library area. You are at home at the Palazzo; furnished with a collection of Filippo’s Italian art, Provencal furniture, and Venetian art from the 1700’s. Each bedroom, named and decorated in elegant style, has a private bathroom, air conditioner, mini bar, WiFi Internet, writing desk, sitting area-elegant Bolognese! Staying at a private Palazzo surrounded with fine furnishings, a welcome fruit basket, chocolates on your bed pillow and a welcoming breakfast with cafe, cappuccino, an assortment of pastries, and jams makes you at home in the heart of Bologna.
Rolling fields, fruit trees, a beautiful vegetable garden, jams and preserves made on the property are a few of our favorite things. Unwind and relax as the second part of your experience begins in our country cooking program. You are at home with Federica and her family for a complete immersion in Bolognese food, wine and hospitality. Private ensuite bathroom, TV, air conditioning and Wi-Fi Internet connection are in each room. Breakfast is served each morning and the B&B property offers rolling green hills, and gardens where they grow various varieties of fruits and organic vegetables many of which are transformed into jams, preserves and other products served at the property each day.
Itinerary: 6 Days, 5 Nights
Check in day is flexible, and this program can start on any day of the week.
Day 1: Check In & Cooking Class 1
- Arrive & pick up and transfer to the B&B in the hills countryside of Bologna.
- Check in & welcome Prosecco, meet your hosts and review your cooking program.
- Tie on your apron and head into the kitchen for your first hands on cooking class.
- Cooking Class 1 and dinner follows. Everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared in class.
Day 2: Tour The Estate, Wine Tour & Tasting & Cooking Class 2
- Breakfast is served.
- After breakfast, your driver will pick you up for a visit to a local winery. Tour the vineyards and cellars and enjoy a guided visit of the winery’s historic property. Here you will enjoy a wine tasting accompanied by a selection of cold cuts and cheeses that will serve as a light lunch.
- Return to property.
- In the afternoon, join our Chef and transform local organic ingredients grown at the property into seasonal fare. Everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared in class together with a toast of local wine.
Day 3; Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese & Balsamico Countryside Wine Tour Tasting Lunch
- Breakfast is served.
- Check out of the B&B and begin the second part of your program.
- A full day countryside tour to the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Aceto Balsamico producers with our English-speaking guide. The excursion brings you to the area’s two prized makers of the coveted Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and balsamico. Discussions with food tastings, wine tasting and lunch and guide included
- In the afternoon, we return to the historical city center of Bologna and check into the gorgeous B&B.
Day 4: Bologna Food Lover’s Tour
- Breakfast is served.
- Following breakfast, meet your English-speaking guide for a Food Lover’s Tour through the Medieval Market. The food and landmark tour explores the history of gastronomy in Bologna in its historical marketplace and its colorful grocers, artisans, traditional pasta makers, and chocolatiers. Tastings and discussions included. Tastings along the way. After your 3-hour tour, take a seat at one of the Grande Cafes on the piazza for a traditional aperitivo and watch the world go by.
- Dinner is on your own. Check your Restaurant Hot pick list.
Day 5: Cooking Class 3
- Breakfast is served.
- Cooking Class 3 and dinner follows. Everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared in class.
- Overnight in downtown Bologna B&B.
Day 6: Departure~
- Breakfast is served.
- Check out and departure transfer to Bologna Airport or Train Station.
- Arrivederci Bologna and see you soon!
- 6 days, 5 nights accommodations ~ 2 nights in countryside & 3 nights in luxury B&B in the historical center of Bologna. Click To View!
- Daily breakfast and maid service.
- Welcome dinner with Chef’s Tasting Menu featuring a traditional antipasto, fresh pasta and sauce, main course and dessert.
- Medieval Food Lover’s Walking tour of Bologna with private guide. (Museum tickets not included in program price.)
- 3 hands-on cooking classes, followed by lunch or dinner. Local wine included.
- Full Day Food Tour of Parmigiano Reggiano and traditional Balsamic Vinegar includes tour the makers, tastings included and lunch. Full day tour includes driver and English-speaking guide.
- Visit to local winery, with tour, tastings and light lunch included.
- Arrival and departure transfers from Bologna Airport or Train Station.
- Cooking Vacations welcome bag with chef’s apron, Prosecco and recipe booklet.
4 Star Boutique Property
$3,695 per person, based on 2 guests in 4 Star classic room.
$3,895 per person, based on 2 guests in 4 Star superior room.
B&B Luxury Guest House
$3,295 per person, based on 2 guests in B&B luxury guest house.
Single Cookers: If you are a single guest and would like to join us, please call us for the best group price. We are happy to welcome you into an already scheduled group.
**Supplement may apply during fair dates.
*An Italian visitor tax may apply in some cities and must be paid directly on site at check out.