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 the 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. The tour, hosted by our English-speaking guide, takes you through the famous marketplace of Bologna to shops and food purveyors with tastings along the way.
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, and 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! Traditions include tagliatelle al ragu’, tortellini served in broth, lasagne Bolognese and its delicious mortadella along with Prosciutto, and Parmigiano Reggiano. Discover Ravenna, famous for its spectacular mosaics from the Byzantine Empire, Parma and Modena for their slow foods and fast cars, and truffles in the countryside!
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 which dates back to 1088. Throughout time, Bologna is a city that has been an important intellectual center 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, winemakers, and fish mongers. Tradition runs deep as families continue to own and operate artisan markets 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.
Continue to Via Drapperie, marked by stacks of salami and pendulums of Prosciutto. Fruit and vegetable markets and stalls brim with everything in season from purple-fringed artichokes to arugula, truffles in season, pomegranates, orange zucchini flowers, mushrooms, Susine plums, San Marzano tomatoes, mounds of white and red grapes, chestnuts, red chili pepper, and garlic, vendors shout out their daily specials.
Meet the fishmongers who always draw a crowd as locals patiently line up for the daily catch – think squid, scampi, octopus, anchovies, sea bass, and shrimp – to name a few.
Following, we continue to the Formaggi, an artisan cheese shop with endless types of fresh and aged cheese – from mozzarella to fresh ricotta, and 21 varieties of pecorino. There’s mortadella, salami, and the world-famous Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto di San Daniele.
Discover Bologna’s oldest and most famous chocolate shop which has been creating confections for over 200 years. Taste a chocolate tortellini or a delicious cremini.
Our English-speaking guide shares the most coveted shops with fun and interesting historical facts and with food tastings notes on a one-of-a-kind Food Lovers’ Tour in the heart of Bologna.
Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
DOP and Aceto Balsamico, balsamic vinegar, are important local ingredients in the cuisine Emilia-Romagna. During the tour, you will learn how to make Parmigiano , called the golden wheel of cheese; weighing in at about 85 pounds each. The process of making Parmigiano cheese follows the same method and recipe of over seven hundred years ago. The cheese is trademarked with a legal exclusive control used over its production and sale. Parmigiano Reggiano is protected by the European Union, and can only be produced in this area of Emilia Romagna. You will know an authentic wheel because it is branded with the words across its side. The cheese can only be produced in Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna, and Mantova.
During the cheese tour, we visit a Master Grader at his workshop and see how this exquisite cheese is made. He leads you through the processing, first the milk is heated and then poured into molds. The cheese then sits in a brine for 25 days, and then in an aging room for 12 months. When ready, it is polished, cleaned, and turned every 7 days by the Master. After 12 months, the cheese is inspected and taste-tested by the Master Grader. Finally, the cheese is stamped with Parmigiano Reggiano on its side. Parmigiano Reggiano is precious and expensive due to its long process and the high-quality milk used in its making.
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 by fresh figs, melon, or with Parmigiano Reggiano.
Balsamic Vinegar Tour
We also visit an artisan balsamic maker with a tour of the studio and tastings included. You will learn about the history of balsamic vinegar, and how it’s aged – some bottles up to one hundred years old – and bottled at this noble family’s property. Learn about how aged balsamico guild continues to be one of the richest and most powerful trade guilds in central Italy. This trade also kept their secrets closely guarded as the guild passed down the technique from generation to generation. By the 1800s it had become commonplace to enrich the dowries of local noblewomen with jars and little barrels balsamico. The tour includes an English-speaking guide, tour and tastings.
The full-day Parmigiano, balsamic, and traditional lunch and wine tour is an authentic experience with our English-speaking guide and driver.
Wine of Bologna and Emilia Romagna
Discover the wine of Emilia Romagna – think Lambrusco, Sangiovese, and Pignoletto -during your stay! The region grows six grape varieties that grow on the sun-beaten hillsides in the countryside and the fertile valleys close to the sea. The hilly countryside brings you to the Collie Bolognesi, where three red wines – Barbera, Merlot, and Sauvignon, along with four white wines – Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Bianco, Riesling Italico, and Chardonnay grow in rich soil vineyards. Parma and Piacenza produce Malvasia di Candia and Sauvignon Blanc white varieties and the Barbera and Bonarda red varieties. There’s also Albana and Sangiovese. In Modena and Reggio Emilia, there is Lambrusco and Terre del Lambrusco DOP. Join us on tour, sip, and swirl while experiencing the interesting wines of Emilia Romagna.
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, bread, cakes, cookies, jams, caffe, cappuccino and tea.
B&B Luxury Guest House – Check in and relax to the luxury B&B guest house set in the historic center of Bologna on one of the most prestigious streets in the city. Privately owned, this exquisite 5-bedroom property is minutes from the Piazza Maggiore and the centro storico. The property is elegantly decorated with fine furniture and comfortable bedding with Italian linens. The property boasts a cozy lounge decorated with soft colors and furnished with comfortable sofas and a large-screen LCD satellite with many TV channels. Take in the beauty of Italian art, Provencal furniture, and Venetian art from the 1700’s. Each private bedroom, cleverly named and designer decorated offers a private ensuite bathroom, air conditioner, mini bar, WiFi Internet, writing desk, and sitting area. Daily breakfast is served in the dining room with cappuccino, espresso, teas, homemade cakes, traditional pastries, fresh fruit, yogurt, cake, and biscotti.
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, a minibar, air conditioning, satellite TV, a safe, and complimentary internet, and a dining room with a full breakfast including hot and cold cereals, fruits, artisan bread, eggs, cakes, bread, assorted savory pies, cakes, cookies, jams, caffe, cappuccino, and tea. Special requests are accommodated upon request. The property also offers a sitting room and bar with a full-service bar and afternoon tea.
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 and pick up and transfer to the B&B in the hills countryside of Bologna.
- Check-in & welcome Prosecco, meet your hosts.
- 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 to 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 Tour with Lunch and Wine
- 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, traditional lunch with wine and and English-guide and driver included
- In the afternoon, we return to the historical city center of Bologna and check in.
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 with suggestions provided.
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 our luxury 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 the countryside & 3 nights in luxury B&B in the historical center of Bologna. Click To View!
- Daily breakfast and maid service.
- Welcome dinner with a 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 a private guide. (Museum tickets not included in program price.)
- 3 hands-on cooking classes, followed by lunch or dinner. Local wine included.
- A Full Day Food Tour to an artisan maker of Parmigiano Reggiano and Balsamic vinegar with a driver and English-speaking guide included. A traditional lunch with wine included at our favorite trattoria, included.
- Visit to local winery with a tour, tasting and lunch included.
- Arrival and departure transfers from Bologna Airport or Train Station.
- Cooking Vacations Welcome Bag with Chef’s apron, Prosecco, and recipe booklet.
- A copy of Lauren’s cookbook, It’s A Dream Place – Stories & Recipes of Food, Love and the Amalfi Coast.
B&B Luxury Guest House
$3,495 per person, based on 2 guests in B&B Luxury Guest House, Superior Room.
4 Star Boutique Property
$3,895 per person, based on 2 guests in 4-Star, Classic Room.
$3,995 per person, based on 2 guests in 4-Star, Superior Room.
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.