25-Day Itinerary: Italian Food & Wine Tour

Date of Trip: September 2010 Rectaingular Img
Day Stops Itinerary Observations


Depart from the US



Arrival in Zurich

Taxis to and check into the Hotel Kindli
DInner in the Kindli restaurant

If you think you will want to sleep upon arrival you may want to consider reserving your room for the night you are traveling into Zurich.



Check Out of Hotel Kindli

Taxi to Zurich Train Station
Train to Lugano
Arrive Lugano – Change Trains
Depart Lugano
Arrive Chiasso, Switzerland
Depart and taxi to Villa Belvedere – Drive Along Lake Como

Check In – Villa Belvedere
Dinner at Villa Belvedere

It took us three trips to Villa Belvedere to finally discover that getting off of the train at Chiasso, Switzerland and taking a taxi to Villa Belvedere was the shortest route.



Tour Lake Como villages of: Bellagio and Menaggio

Dinner at Villa Belvedere

Transportation on the western side (Argengo, Bellagio, Menaggio, etc.) of the lake is easily navigated via boat and bus.



Take the battello to Cernobbio for lunch at Villa D’Este overlooking Lake Como.

If you can afford to stay here – DO! It is a stunning hotel and grounds. If not, make reservations for lunch or dinner.



Day trip to a Lombardy wine region to the village of Brescia or a tour and tasting at Quadra winery.
Dinner – Villa Belvedere

This was an easy day outing from Villa Belvedere.



On our own in the village of Argegno.
Dinner – Villa Belvedere



Check out of Villa Belvedere
Bus to Como Train Station
Pick Up Rental Car at Avis Como Downtown

Drive to Mombaruzzo in the heart of the Piedmont region

Check Into La Villa Hotel

Little did we know but it would be the last time that we would stay with the Cappelletti’s at Villa Belvedere as the hotel was purchased the following year.



Drive to Bubbio located in the Province of Asti to meet Giandomenico Negro who has dedicated his life to preserving artisan dairy products, including robiola di Roccaverano (goat cheese). From Bubbio we drove through narrow roads with vistas of the fall vineyards to Neviglie for a wine tasting at Bera before driving to Tenuta Marchesi di Gresy vineyard for a tasting.
At sundown we made the journey back to Mombaruzzo to La Villa where we had dinner.

Unfortunately, I took poor notes and am missing the names of the vineyards where we had our tastings.



Monforte d’Alba
Serravalle Langhe
Castiglione Falletto

Drive to Monforte d’Alba to Conterno Fantino for a tasting before driving to Serravalle Langhe for an unforgettable lunch at Trattoria La Coccinella.
Drive to Castiglione Falletto for a tour of the fall vineyards and grapes followed by a tasting at Cavallotto where my father was able to add to his wine journals. Drive through Monteforte d’Alba around sundown before returning to La Villa for dinner.

La Villa arranged a driver for the day – it was the owner, Nicola


Monforte d’Alba

Drive to Rocchetta for a tour and tasting at the Braida winery followed by a late lunch at i Bologna.

On the way back to La Villa we stopped in Berta Grappa before returning to La Villa for dinner.

The countryside of Piedmont in the fall is stunning – I highly recommend traveling during this time.



Drive to the village of Alba where the International White Truffle Fair was underway.
Enjoy the sights of the festival before driving to Pollenzo for a late lunch at Guido.

We accidentally happened upon the Truffle Fair – it was a happy accident.
The meal at Guido’s is one of our top memorable meals.


Near Monforte d’Alba

La Villa arranged a truffle hunting outing. For more on this outing check out the story about popping the cork in Mario’s cellar.

This was a memorable day for everyone – mostly because of Mario.


San Gimignano

Check out of La Villa and drive to Gavi for the Gavi di Gavi at ground zero experience. We enjoyed a tasting at Castellari Bergaglio.

Say goodbye to the Piedmont countryside and head south for our fourth visit to San Gimignano in Tuscany and check into Il PIno Inn & Restaurant for the second time (see honeymoon).

Dinner at Il Pino with Chef Francesco that evening.

In hindsight, I wish that I had put more planning into our Gavi visit. There are several nice vineyards that we could have visited.


San Gimignano
Colle di Val d’Elsa

Enjoy a day in San Gimignano shopping.

In the afternoon, drive to Colle di Val d’Elsa to walk through this small village. If you visit this village, schedule your time to dine at the Michelin starred Arnolfo which we enjoyed on our honeymoon.

San Gimignano is an excellent place to shop for ceramics and Tuscan products during the off season when the shops are not crowded.


San Gimignano Area

Afternoon search for the Mona Lisa and wine at the Guicciardini Strozzi, a 1,000 year old vineyard.

We’ve visited this vineyard on two occasions and look forward to more.


Monte Oliveto

Drive to Orvieto for ceramic shopping and to visit the black and white zebra striped Duomo followed by lunch at one of the outdoor tables facing the Duomo.

On the return trip to San Gimignano we stopped for dinner followed by attending a service to hear the monks of Monte Oliveto Maggiore sing the Gregorian chant.

Orvieto is an excellent place to shop for Tuscan ceramics. Hearing the Gregorian chant gave me the chills.



Drive with guide to the Poliziano Vineyard for a tour and tasting.

Drive to the Avignonesi Vineyard for a tour, including the Vin Santo drying racks, followed by a tasting.

Drive to Montepulcino for a walking tour followed by lunch at the Ristorante ai Quattro Venti for traditional Tuscan cuisine.

Drive to Pienza before returning to San Gimignano.

Montepulciano is a lovely area of Tuscany.


San Gimignano

Spend the day walking the ancient walls of San Gimignano and shopping in our favorite shops including a family-run linen store.

We built in down time in our itinerary to rest.



Drive to Volterra, explore the village, and enjoy a coffee followed by lunch.

This village is home to alabaster craftspeople.



Meet our guide in Buonconvento.

Tour Sant Antimo in Castelnuovo dell’Abate, built in the 8th Century by Charlemagne.

Drive to the Caparzo Vineyard for a tour and light lunch. Afterwards, drive to Fuligni Vineyard for a tour and tasting.

Drive to Montalcino to tour this small village.

Return to San Gimignano.



Check Out of Il Pino and drive to Bologna train station and turn in the rental car. Taxi to the Palazzo Trevi and check in.

Dinner of spaghetti bolognese at Cesari.

Of the two cities we preferred Parma and if we returned we would stay in Parma rather than Bologna.



Train to Parma and walk the city where we enjoyed window shopping for parma ham and parmesan-reggiano cheese. Lunch at the traditional Emilia-Romagna restaurant La Greppia di Rossi and on the way back to Bologna we stop in Rubiera for dinner of the classic cuisine of the Michelin starred Arnaldo.

We would love to return to Arnaldo and stay in their small hotel The train station is across from the restaurant making it easy to get to Parma and Bologna.



Check Out of Palazzo Trevi
Taxi to Bologna Train Station
Train to Milan and taxi to Malpensa Airport
First Hotel and check in.



Travel to the US

Mary Beth I have a passion for creating and experiencing unforgettable moments and sharing those with others. I hope that this story has helped you experience one of those moments.

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