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Hidden Italy Revealed

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Discover Emilia-Romagna, San Marino and Abruzzo

 

Embark on a trip to remember! Whether you are visiting Italy for the first time or are a returning traveler, you’ll have the opportunity to delight in the local gastronomy, discover unparalleled natural beauty, and enjoy a truly relaxing holiday away from the crowds. As an added bonus, a local host will be with you to guide you every step of the way. 

Itinerary

Day 1: Emilia-Romagna’s food scene

Arrive at Bologna airport. Private transfer to your hotel.

There’s no better way to discover Bologna than through its culinary delights. Make your way to Via delle Pescherie Vecchie, the foodie street of the city. Lined with market stalls, gourmet shops and osterias (casual restaurants), Pescherie Vecchie has an authentic Italian atmosphere accentuated by medieval buildings and frequented by locals who come here to shop and eat, especially when it’s time for aperitivo, best described as early evening bites and fizzy drinks. Once you’ve walked around and built up an appetite, enjoy some taglieri with cheese, sausages and ham, bruschetta, pizzetta or a variety of pasta and salads. Wash it all down with your favorite wine or cocktail. 

Overnight at a boutique 4-star hotel in Bologna.

Day 2: The best of Bologna

Unearth the history of Bologna through a walking tour of the city in the company of a private guide. Discover the Old Town in all its medieval splendor, stroll through the distinctive UNESCO porticos, marvel at Piazza Maggiore and its Neptune Fountain, and see the city’s two leaning towers, Asinelli and Garisenda. 

Next, explore the Archiginnasio at the historic University of Bologna, housing one of the most impressive libraries in the country and the intricately decorated hall used for anatomy lectures. Finally, discover the old Quadrilatero markets, and learn about iconic foods from Parmesan cheese and Balsamic vinegar  to Lambrusco wine.

Overnight at a boutique 4-star hotel in Bologna.

Day 3: From Ravenna to San Marino

Make your way to enchanting Ravenna on the Adriatic Coast, one of the most authentic towns in Italy, boasting a rich history going back to Roman times when the town was an imperial port and the home of the most impressive Byzantine heritage in the country.

One of the jewels of the Byzantine era are the colorful mosaics that adorn Ravenna’s churches, which you will have the chance to see up close in Basilica San Vitale and two other early Christian establishments. It is said that San Vitale church was also the inspiration for the famous Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.

Continue your journey to the tiny state of San Marino, one of the oldest republics in the world. Perched on a mountain top with stunning views over the Italian countryside, San Marino is one of Europe’s hidden gems lined with narrow cobbled streets, medieval stone buildings, fortified walls and defense towers. 

Overnight at a luxurious 4-star hotel in San Marino.

Day 4: From the Adriatic Coast to Sulmona

Travel along the Adriatic Coast enjoying a stop in the delightful seaside resort of Riccione. Stretch your legs with a walk on the sunny beach and savor a delicious seafood lunch at one of the local restaurants. 

Arrive in Abruzzo, the best kept secret of Italy. A historic place untouched by time, Abruzzo is one of the most picturesque regions of Italy, home to vast forests, majestic mountains, pristine lakes and the freshest food one can hope for.

Overnight at an award-winning B&B in Sulmona.

Day 5: Hidden gems of Abruzzo

Sulmona and Santo Stefano di Sessanio are two beautiful little towns you’ll have the chance to visit today. Sulmona is the ’Patria del Confetto’, where you can find any variety of confetti (sugar coated almond candy) and visit the Museum of Art and Technology of Confetti dedicated to the production of this sweet Italian treat. Sulmona is also the birthplace of Roman poet Ovidio who gave his name to the main square, Piazza XX Settembre. Follow your host on a walking tour to discover the most amazing churches and palaces.

In Santo Stefano Sextantio, commonly called Sessanio, explore the medieval village situated within a national park, where many of the former houses are now boutique stores, tiny restaurants and souvenir shops. Treat yourself to a mini excursion to Rocca di Calascio, featured in many movie scenes. 

Before returning to your hotel your host will help you to pick up your rental car.

Overnight at an award-winning B&B in Sulmona.

Day 6: Lake Barrea & Abruzzo National Park

Enjoy some free time and the opportunity to explore the sights at your own pace. Drive to picture-perfect Lake Barrea located within the National Park of Abruzzo. Make a stop in Villetta Barrea, a good place for souvenir shopping and a traditional lunch. The ancient village was damaged in the 1915 earthquake, but luckily many historic buildings remain. 

Another place worth seeing is Pescasseroli, the charming mountain village and a famous royal hunting reserve in the 19th century. Surrounded by natural beauty, Pescasseroli is the starting point of many hiking trails in the National Park of Abruzzo dotted with stunning panoramic views.

Overnight at an award-winning B&B in Sulmona. 

Day 7: Off the beaten path in Agnone

Enjoy a drive through the peaceful countryside as you admire the spectacular scenery of stunningly green Abruzzo. Arrive in Agnone located in the Province of Molise, a small and remote town famous for bell making. At the ancient Marinelli Pontifical Foundry the bells are made using the same methods as in the Middle Ages. In fact, many bells made at the Agnone factory found their home at the Vatican, and it is not unusual for the Pope to pay a visit to the foundry. Learn all about the history of bell making at the local Bell Museum. 

The town is also unique for its fourteen Medieval churches, some of them boasting add-ons from later eras, such as the Renaissance. Finally, a stroll down the historical center is well worthwhile.

Overnight at a panoramic 3-star hotel in Casalbordino.

Day 8: The Trabocchi Coast

Buongiorno seaside! As the sea breeze awakens your senses, start your day with a delicious breakfast served on a panoramic terrace overlooking the sea. Spend the day at your leisure exploring the picturesque Trabocchi Coast dotted with coves, reefs, and, most famously, the traditional fishing huts reaching into the sea – a photographer’s paradise. For a more memorable experience we recommend biking along the former train tracks.

Spend the afternoon lazing on the beach.

Overnight at a panoramic 3-star hotel in Casalbordino.

Day 9: A toast with your host

There is much more to discover in Abruzzo, from the Palazzo D’Avalos in Vasto to the Eucharistic miracles in Lanciano.  Both towns are beautiful and full of history, shops and more. Vasto is a hilltop town on the Adriatic Coast home to old, enchanting buildings, sunny piazzas, and the Avalos Palace. The palace is now home to the Archaeological Museum and is well worth a visit. The palace gardens offer a peaceful retreat from everyday life. 

Lanciano is a religious center in the hills of Abruzzo known for the first recorded Catholic Eucharistic Miracle. According to local accounts, the bread and wine during a religious service at the church of Saint Francis was transformed miraculously into flesh and blood. The town is also home to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Ponte, so named because it is built over a bridge. 

End the day with a very special dinner in the Abruzzo backcountry. Join your host for a toast and an authentic meal prepared onsite by a talented local chef. The food is prepared using fresh, locally sourced ingredients and served with exquisite local wine. 

Overnight at a panoramic 3-star hotel in Casalbordino.

Day 10: Return home

Drop off the rental car, then private transfer to Rome airport. Depart for home.

Book this itinerary for $3,7850.00/person.

Pricing is based on double room occupancy. Other options (i.e. single supplement, family rates) are available on request. Rates valid for travel in 2021.

Package includes:

  • B&B, 3-star & 4-star accommodations with breakfast
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Guided your in Bologna
  • Guided tour in Ravenna
  • Full-day guided excursion in Abruzzo
  • Entrance fees to attractions included in guided trips
  • Private chef and dinner in Casalbordino
  • Private transfer between hotels
  • English speaking driver
  • General support by local host in Abruzzo
  • Rental car in Abruzzo
  • Emergency customer support
  • Restaurant recommendations

Package does not include:

  • International airfare
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Entrance fees to self-guided attractions
  • City tax at hotels (€2-4/person/night)
  • International driver’s permit
  • Optional car rental extras (additional insurance, GPS)
  • Parking fees, tolls, fuel
  • Personal expenses
  • Gratuities

Payments

  • Deposit 35% of total – paid at booking
  • Trip balance – 60 days before travel date

Cancellation and Refund Policy

  • Cancellable and refundable up to 60 days before trip start date. Refunds are subject to 10% administrative fee.