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It’s Time to See Italy as It Was Meant to Be






The best of Italy isn’t only found in the glory of Rome, the history and art of Florence or in the canals and calle of Venice.


The fatal charm of Italy that can be found nowhere else lingers in the small hill towns of Tuscany and Umbria, the lakes of Lombardy and the majestic mountains of the Dolomites. Along the beautiful beaches of Amalfi, Sicily and Sardinia and in the dark blue to light green water and white sands of Livorno. From the magical castles of Gropparello and Castell'Arquato, the mysticism of Assisi and La Verna and the monasticism of Sant’Antimo, Oliveto and Vallombrosa to the echos of the Etruscans in Volterra. Italy is epicentric.


The cathedrals and basilicas, the museums and gardens, the thermal springs of the Italian termes, the towns and villages with their local shops and piazze, seeing Italy is like peeling the proverbial onion. From the dramatic landscape of the Crete Senesi and Val d’Orcia to the rugged coastline on the Italian Riviera to the grottos of the heel of Italy’s boot, the diverse and unique natural beauty and ecology of this country is never ending.


Then there is the food. The scent of truffles, the vibrant pizza, the satisfying pasta, the costal seafood and sizzling grilled bistecca. The aroma and depth of red wine, the sparkle of spumante and Prosecco and lightness of an Italian white. The array of cured meats, salame and cheese and the velvety intensity of gelato displayed like an artist’s canvas in gelateries from Florence to Sirmione and everywhere in between.


From “caffè” to a cappuccino there is always more to see and savor. If now is the time for you to travel to Italy, take an extra day or two to travel, add a week to your trip of if you can a month. Take the time to see Italy as it was meant to be.


Some of our favorite ways and not to be missed experiences to see and savor Italy on and off the tourist flow.

  • Driving le strade dei vini e sapori, the wine and food routes of Italy

  • Seeing 1800 statutes up on the roof of the Milan Duomo and the baptismal pools of the paleo-Christian archeological site hidden below

  • Stopping at an aperitivo bar in Milan for a struzzichini (nibble) and Campari and Soda

  • Shopping at La Rinascente in Milan

  • Window shopping on Via Monte Napoleone in Milan

  • An afternoon spent at Castello Sforza in Milan

  • A walk through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan centro

  • The Navigli canal district of Milan for hip shops and fish in a cone at Pescheria Il Kiosko

  • Visit to City Life Milan’s newest shopping and business district

  • A stop at the village of Michelangelo Caprese

  • A dinner of costoletta alla Milanese and an authentic Milanese risotto

  • A plate of Milanese Osso bucco

  • Eating an authentic Margherita pizza

  • Eating panforte in Siena

  • Driving the panoramic landscape of the Chapel of the Madonna di Vitale near San Quirico d’Orcia in Tuscany

  • A bowl of Tuscan ribollita

  • A Tuscan panzanella salad

  • The Gardens at Valsanzibio, Swans and Rabbit Island

  • A summer afternoon spent at the lake side resort town of Sirmione near Lake Garda stopping at every gelateria

  • Walking the promenade of Bellagio

  • Eating lavarello, a type of whitefish, on the shores of Lake Como

  • Off the tourist radar to see the Roman ruins of Veleia near Castell’d’Arquato near Parma

  • Tuscan crostini di fegato and fettunta

  • A panzerroti, a pocket of soft billowy dough that tastes like a closed pizza, down the street from Milan’s Duomo at Luini's panificio

  • Milan’s Ambrosiana gallery and library to see Caravaggio’s Basket of Fruit and Leonardo’s Codex Atlanticus

  • Leonardo’s Last Supper in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria della Grazie, Milan

  • A taste of gelato at any Riva Reno Gelateria or Gelateria di Piazza in San Gimignano

  • The funicular to Bergamo Alta, (the upper part of the city), the capital of polenta for a taste of polenta e osei, tiny little bird cakes gilded a yellow gold to imitate polenta and stuffed with almond paste and chocolate mousse

  • A stay at Le Ginestre , a two-storied Tuscan farmhouse, on the grounds of Castello Bibbione, Machiavelli’s Hunting Lodge, San Casciano in Val di Pesa near Florence

  • The dramatic Camera degli Sposi in Palazzo Ducale, Mantua, one of 500 rooms of Renaissance glory in the renowned court of the Gonzaga

  • Parco Pinnochio in Collodi in Tuscany for the Adventures of Pinnochio

  • The Ducal Palace in Sassuolo,30 minutes outside of Modena

  • The Great Fresco Cycle of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua

  • Eating a bistecca alla fiorentina (Tuscan T-bone) in the Val d’ Chiana

  • Radda in Chianti to visit the Chianti Cashmere Goat Company

  • A stay at the Hotel Tiferno in Citta’ di Castello in Umbria

  • Driving a Ferrari through the streets of Maranello

  • The Eugubine Tablets in Gubbio

  • Baci and chocolate at the Perugina Chocolate Factory in Perugia

  • Fidenza Village Outlet Shopping Center near Parma

  • The Campo in Siena and Lorenzetti’s allegorical frescoes of Good and Bad Government in Siena’s Palazzo Pubblico

  • Eating a plate of cappellacci di zucca (big hat pasta) with a butter and sage sauce in Ferrara

  • Everything in Assisi

  • The Franciscan Santuario of La Verna

  • A glass of Montefalco Sagrantino in Umbria

  • The hot springs of Bagno Vignoni in the Val d'Orcia in Tuscany

  • The fish market of Treviso

  • A drive through Tuscany’s Chocolate Valley

  • Eating Tagliatelle al ragù Bolognese near Bologna

  • Tasting authentic Parmigiano Reggiano in Parma

  • The aroma of the grass, herbs and wildflowers of Italy

  • An insalata caprese made with Italian authentic mozzarella di bufala, from Campania

  • The Luigi Fantini Celtic-Etruscan Archeological Museum near Monterenzio in the Bolognese Hills

  • The tri-lingual experience of the Northern Italian Trentino-Alto Adige (Sud-Tirol) and the towns and villages of the Dolomiti drinking Bozen beer, eating the local food at Hopfen and Company

  • Seeing the Ice Man in Bolzano

  • The chimneys and Leaning Tower of Portogruaro near Venice

  • The seaside resort town of Carole on the northern Adriatic coast with beautiful winding streets, colorful houses and dinner at La Ritrovata Ristorante

  • La Rotonda; the Palladian Villas and the whimsical Villa of the Dwarfs along the Brenta Canal near Vicenza

  • A picnic lunch along Lake Trasimeno driving from Tuscany to Umbri

  • The medieval town of Castell Arquato near Parma with dinner at Ristorante Don Ferdinando and the night at Hotel Leon d’Oro

  • The Charlemagne Castello di Gropparello and Parco delle Fiabe for the fairies and elves of Vezzeno Gorge and the Leggenda of the Ghost of Rosania Fulgosio

  • Driving through the Val d’Orcia in Tuscany

  • The city of Pienza for pecorino cheese and a visit to Palazzo Picolomini

  • The hot springs at Terme Antica Querciolaia near the town of Rapolano Terme in Tuscany

  • A tasting of artisan crafted Italian beer at Birra Toccalmato near Parma

  • A stay at the Prisciana Suites in Ferrara and dinner at La Romantica with a visit to Castello Estense and Palazzo Schifanoia

  • A visit to the Museo di Tartufo in San Giovanni d’Asso for an addictive truffle experience

  • Abbazia Sant’Antimo only 9 km away from the Brunellos of Montalcino

  • Gregorian chants and the Great Cloister at Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore near Siena

  • Driving the iconic landscape of Tuscany’s Crete Senesi

  • The authentic Northern Italian river town of Bassano del Grappa, to drink grappa, eat white asparagus and walk across the Ponte degli Alpini (Bridge of the Alpini), a covered bridge designed by Palladio that commemorates fallen soldiers from WWII

  • A stay at the Lodole Country House in the Bolognese Hills near Monzuno

  • A visit to Tenuta di Capezzana for estate bottle extra virgin olive oil, world renown Vin Santo and Tuscan wine

  • Verona; the Arena, Casa Giulietta and dinner at La Greppia

  • The wines and cellars of Tenuta VitanzaMontalcino in Tuscany

  • A stop at the town of Valeggio sul Mincio with lunch or dinner at Ristorante Lepre, a Buon Ricordo member restaurant to eat papparadelle con lepre (papparadelle with hare) and a plate of tortelloni

  • Anything in Florence including Santa Maria del Fiore, the Baptistery, Giotto’s Tower, the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens and the view at sunset from Piazza Michelangelo

  • The Medici Chapels and Church of San Lorenzo in Florence

  • An sensual slice of Lardo di Colonnata over warm toasted bread

  • A taste of coppa ferrarese bread

  • An order of Olive all’Ascolana, stuffed olives ascolana style a specialty of the Marche

  • The mosaics of Ravenna and the starry blue ceiling of the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia

  • Any of Italy's UNESCO World Heritage Sites

  • Titian’s altarpiece masterpiece in Venice’s Franciscan Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

  • A stop at a cicchetti bar in Venice for a nibble and an Aperol Spritz

  • A Venetian sgroppino, a refreshing prosecco lemon sorbet combination served in a flute

  • Venice period – walking tour through the Sestieri (districts)

  • Tour of the Consorzio Vacche Rosso to see the making of the famous Red Cow Parmigiano Reggiano in Reggio Emilia.

  • Attending Mass at San Cristoforo sul Naviglio (Navigli in Milan) dating from 1176.

  • Visiting an acetaia in Modena to discover the tradition and magic of the artisanal production of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena D.O.P.

  • Visit Panzano in Chianti to see Antica Macelleria and legendary butcher Dario Cecchini

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