Hidden Gems in Italy
Quite often when people think of Italy, they associate it with visiting the most touristy places such as Venice, Florence, Rome, and the Amalfi Coast. These are spectacular but spending a couple of nights in each region and moving on doesn't do them justice. The truth is a vacation, not only in Italy, should be more than running through the touristy cities. Spend more time in each one, take day trips and allow yourself to feel like a local.
There is so much to learn about each region, its food, customs, and culture. Our local, and super knowledgeable, guides bring each city or region to life. They tell stories and anecdotes that allow you to feel their enthusiasm and love of the city.
Below are some of the hidden treasures I have found in Italy…
This region is the gastronomic capital of Italy. Known for so many treasured foods, such as Pancetta, Prosciutto di Parma, Coppa, Parmigiano Reggiano, Tortellini, and Mortadella (to name a few).
During a visit to the region, stop in Modena, known for its balsamic vinegar. Learn all about the time-honored process of making Parmigiano Reggiano at a local dairy farm. A tasting follows the tour where you can sample the Queen of Cheese in various stages of aging as it goes from a sweet, creamy cheese at 12 months to a rich and crumbly delicacy at 36 months. Then continue exploring the region as you arrive Bologna, where our guide will bring this city to life with its history and culinary delights.
Who it’s for – This is a foodie’s paradise but also Bologna is a city for art and history lovers. After savoring all the delicious local foods, take a stroll through Università di Bologna – the world’s oldest continuously operating university.
Artisans of Florence
Florence has a 500-year tradition of artisans and craftsmanship. Our local expert guide will take you to their workshops where you can experience first hand the city’s renowned ‘artigiani’. What better way to explore the lives of Florence’s artisans than with this unique off-the-beaten-path experience? Florence’s rich artisanal culture dates back to the middle ages, but it is still very much alive today. This behind the scenes tour will give you exclusive access to the production sites of crafts like wrought ironwork, leather, woodworking, shoemaking and jewelry. These craftsmen work their magic by chiseling stones, carving wood, designing and manufacturing leather goods and jewelry - all by hand!
Who it’s for - Those who would love to meet the artisans, learn about their history and how this trade has been passed on from generation to generation. Plus, purchasing a leather item or a stunning mosaic piece of art is the best souvenir you can take home.
Umbria is located in central Italy just east of Tuscany. This spectacular area is lush, mountainous, and earthy. Traveling through Umbria you’ll still see grandmothers in the fields wearing dresses with their aprons and making pasta by hand in their kitchens.
Umbria is known for medieval hilltop towns and ancient walled cities dating back to the fourteenth century. It has a spectacular lush landscape with the most beautiful mountains. The gastronomy is wonderful here, specifically with its butchers and their famous salumi (fine Italian cold cuts) - Umbria is Italy’s largest producer of black truffles so truffle dishes are one of their specialties. Enjoy a visit to olive oil mill and join an authentic cooking class with your own private chef. Plus, adventure activities abound here. Monti Sibillini National Park in Umbria offers zip lining, horseback riding, biking, whitewater rafting, and paragliding.
Who it’s for - If you are passionate about food and wine and want to explore a lesser-known region of Italy - Umbria is the perfect region, it is lush, green, and earthy. They are very passionate about their food and everything is pure and fresh.
So, which experience would be perfect for you? Are you dreaming of exploring some of these hidden gems in Italy?
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