2021 Italy

A Grand Tour of Italy with 2 Options: (A) Rome-Bologna-Verona-Aosta–$4994; ((C) Bologna-Verona-Aosta–$4320

The tour will include two meals a day, breakfast and either lunch or dinner, numerous entrance fees to all of the historical sites we will visit as a group, day excursions from Bologna, Verona, and Aosta, airport transfers, and coach or train transfers between the cities.


Friday, 1 October – Early group arrives in Rome

Paul Alessi, (8:OOA)

Bill Curtis & Milt Oster, Larry Hanna & Carol Thompson,  (11:25, DL8726) 

Sunday, 3 October –Main group arrives in Rome

Scott & Merri Plummer, ( 9:30, DL9578)

Laurence Barker, Jim & Sharon Fox, Carrol Smith & Rebecca Marti, Greg & Judy Parks, Xavier & Polly Pena, Cindy Abbott(14:05, EJ5703)

Jim Ernest (20:00, BA0554) 

Upon arrival in Rome, clear customs and follow signs to the baggage area. Keep your eye out for signs and kiosks saying TRENITALIA.  Use a credit card to buy a train ticket to ROMA TERMINI via the LEONARDO EXPRESS. The ticket will cost €14.00 and I will reimburse you.  (There are other options at the kiosks. Make sure you choose the LEONARDO EXPRESS) After picking up your luggage and clearing customs, exit the baggage area and follow signs directing you to TRAINS. Take the Leonardo Express into TERMINI. Make sure you are on a Leonardo Express train. Otherwise you might end up at the wrong Roman train station. The journey takes 32 minutes with no stops. After you arrive, walk to the front of the station and exit to the left onto Via Giolitti. Once outside, look to your right and walk to the traffic light  and cross the street. You are now on Via Cavour and the Hotel Mediterraneo is on the right after one very short block. NOTE: I will reimburse you for your train ticket. If you take a taxi in, it is at your expense.

Once you check into the hotel, the rest of the day is free. Head to the 10th floor between 6:00 and 6:45 for a meet and greet and a panoramic view of Rome. BET is good for one drink at the bar. Short walk to Ristorante Amedeo for 7:00 pm dinner Antipasto, pasta, meat, dessert, wine/water/soft drinks.) Overnight  at the Hotel Mediterraneo.

Monday, 4 October–Classical Rome with Dr. Alessi

Breakfast in the hotel begins at 6:30 every morning. Today you will be provided with a 3-Day Roma Pass, good for 72 hours of transportation (bus, tram & Metro) and entry to two museums. 9:00 a.m. departure from hotel to walk to the Metro. Take Metro to the Colosseum station. This morning we will visit the Imperial Forums and Trajan’s Market. After a short break for lunch at noon (independent) we will meet again at 1:00 to visit the Roman Forum and Palatine. Don’t miss this! Even if you have already visited the Roman Forum, new areas are now available for viewing . After  the tour, return to hotel independently. (Walk, Metro, Bus) Again meet in hotel lobby to walk to dinner at 7:00 pm at Ristorante Terme di Diocleziano(Antipasto, two pastas, dessert, wine/water/soft drinks.)Overnight and breakfast at the Hotel Mediterraneo.

Tuesday, 5 October:–Classical Rome with Dr. Alessi

9:00 am departure for visit to the Capitoline Museum. After lunch (independent), visit the Colosseum. The rest of the afternoon is free–time to visit the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and/or the Piazza Navonna on your own. Tonight we need to leave a little earlier for our 7:00 pm, dinner at  L’Angolo di Napoli.  (Antipasto, pasta, meat, dessert, wine/water/soft drinks.) Overnight and breakfast at the Hotel Mediterraneo.

Wednesday, 6 October–Options to Join Paul or Bill on morning walking tours

Ron Jenkins & Dale Fleishman (8:00A, AA240)

Kelly Clark & Gretchen Quinn arrive (9:40A DL62)

This morning you have three choices: Choose to take a walking tour with either Paul or Bill, or explore Rome on your own; (Note: Your transportation pass is still good). Afternoon free. Be back at the hotel in time for another very short walk for 7:00pm dinner again at Ristorante Amedeo. (Slightly different menu this time.)  Overnight and breakfast at the Hotel Mediterraneo.

Thursday, 7 October–Museum Day

This morning I will give you each €20.00 to pay for entrances to any of the Museums of Rome that appeal to you. Click on the link to see the full list of available museums. Some require reservations so I strongly suggest spending some time choosing your experience BEFORE the tour. (Transportation pass provided.) Meet in lobby to walk 7:00 pm dinner at  L’Angolo di Napoli.(Slightly different menu this time.)  Overnight and breakfast at the Hotel Mediterraneo.

Friday, 8 October–Train to Bologna

Xavier & Polly Pena, Cindy Abbott arrive by train from Venice

 9:00A depart hotel for very short walk to Roma Termini. Take 9:40 train, arrive Bologna at 12:03. On arrival, follow signs to Kiss & Ride where vans will be waiting to  take us to the Art Hotel Commercianti. Our rooms may not be ready, so I will guide us to the very nearby Medieval section of Bologna where there are many, many places to grab lunch (independent) After lunch, return to the Hotel Commercianti and settle into your room. Depart as a group at 6:45 to walk for 7:00 pm dinner at Trattoria Nonna Gigia. MENU: Two Pasta tastings with: Gramigna with Sausage and Passatelli with Culatello and Porcino mushrooms; Main–Stinco di Maialino alla birra w/Baked potatoes and Grilled Vegetables; Dessert–Coffee Sorbet; Drinks–Mineral Water,Wine (1 bottle every 3 people) Sangiovese Superiore “Terre della Pieve” or Pignoletto frizzante DOCG. Return to hotel for overnight in Hotel Commercianti.

Saturday, 9 October–City Tour, Pasta Demo

Breakfast begins at 7:00. Morning (9:00 AM) depart hotel for half day walking city tour of the main monuments of the Bologna’s city centre with the following itinerary: Piazza Maggiore, the Fountain of Neptune, Palazzo Re Enzo, Palazzo d’Accursio, the Basilica of San Petronio (church dress code), the Archiginnasio, the Medieval Market and the Loggia dei Mercanti, the Complex of Santo Stefano-the Seven Churches (open donation), and the two Towers.
Guide: Giacomo Caliciuri, mobile ph.+39  335 5484978. afternoon free. At 6:45, depart for Pasta Demo and dinner at Cantina BentivoglioIncluded will be the preparation methods and the techniques for “pulling” a good sheet of pasta, illustrated by a real Bolognese “Sfoglina”. This will be followed by a brief digression on the broth, ragù Bolognese sauce, the typical products that are used in recipes. Dinner Menu: Tastings of Pastas (Strichetti with vegetables, Traditional Green Lasagna, Tortelloni filled with ricotta cheese with butter and sage, Tagliatelle al Ragù), Vegetable Pie in Parmigiano sauce, Dessert: Cup of Mascarpone with Cocoa and Parmigiano cheese, Mineral Water, Wine (1 bottle every 3 people), Coffee. Our dinner will be in the Music Room, with live Jazz music from 9:30. Return to hotel for overnight in Hotel Commercianti.

Sunday, 10 October–Parma excursion

09:15 am depart hotel for full day excursion to Parma including a visa to the Rocca di Fontanellato followed by an included lunch. After lunch we will have a city tour of Parma, entries included. After the city tour we will visit the Torrechiara Castle. At 06:30 pm and end of activities, we will head back to Bologna, arriving at the Hotel Commercianti at 08:00 pm. Dinner, if you are hungry, is on your own. Return to hotel for overnight in Hotel Commercianti.

Monday, 11 October,–Food Excursion

Tour/Tasting of Parmigiano Reggiano D.O.P., Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena D.O.P., Prosciutto di Modena D.O.P. and Prosciutto di Parma D.O.P., Lunch included. Return to Bologna in late afternoon. Evening free, dinner if somehow you are still hungry is on your own. Return to hotel for overnight in Hotel Commercianti.

Tuesday, 12 October–Laundry, Catch up

Free day in Bologna. Time to sleep in, rest up a bit, catch up on laundry. I have found two laundromats, plus there is a laundry nearby that will do a load for you for €30. (A laundromat will cost less than €10, but there is some walking involved.  Dinner at La Capriata. Burratina soft cheese w/Caponata, Green Lasagna w/Bolognese Sauce (small portions with option of having seconds), Braised seasonal vegetables, wine, water. Return to hotel for overnight in Hotel Commercianti.

Wednesday 13 October–Bologna to Verona

9:00A Coach transfer to Verona with a stop at the Olio Redoro for a presentation of olive oil production. Continue on to Verona and check into the Hotel Accademia. Rest of the afternoon free. Dinner at Osteria da Ugo (Mezzo porzione da Risotto al Vino Amarone e Bigoli con Ragù di Anatra, Tagliata di Controfiiletto di Manzo, Selezione di Dolci, Acqua minerale, vino, caffe, etc.) Overnight in the Hotel Accademia

Thursday, 14 October–Verona city tour

Morning walking tour with a local guide. Afternoon free, 7:00 dinner at Osteria Casa Vino. This will be a major feast–3 starters, 3 pastas, 3 main courses, plus dessert, wine and water. Mercifully, it will be served family style–they will put the food out in the center of the table and you take only what you want.) Overnight in the Hotel Accademia.

Friday, 15 October–Vicenza & Padova Excursion

Full day excursion to Vicenza (Teatro Olimpico) and Padova (Scrovegni Chapel, Basilica Sant’Antonio) Return to Verona. Dinner at Giulietta e Romeo. (Polenta starter, after which you choose your own pasta and main courses from the menu. Dessert. Wine, water, soft drinks.) Overnight in the Hotel Accademia.

Saturday, 16 October–Bolzano

Full day  excursion to Bolzano to see the Ice Man at the Archaeological museum. Time for lunch (independent)  and some time to explore the town. Meet the bus at the designated time and place to return to Verona. Dinner at La Greppia.(A mix of starters including prosciutto, sopressa–a local salami, lonzino, sfilacci w/rocket salad and parmesan cheeses, polenta, and local cheese and vegetables in vinegar sauce; Two pastas  Handmade noodles with Lessini black truffle and  gnocchi with mascarpone cheese and Verona’s red salad. Dessert selecrtion, water, Wine and bread included (soft drinks if someone doesn’t drink Wine.) Overnight in the Hotel Accademia.

Sunday, 17 October–Sirmione

9:00 AM departure for excursion to Sirmione, a charming town on Lake Garda. At 10:30, meet our guide for walking tour followed by a boat ride on the lake. We should be through by 1:00 allowing some free time before leaving to return to Verona at 2:00. The rest of the afternoon is free. 7:00, leave hotel to walk to dinner at Da Pino on Piazza Bra.(Pizza or whatever you order.) Overnight in the Hotel Accademia.

Monday, 18 October–From Verona to Aosta

Coach transfer to Aosta. There should be time after checking in, to stretch your legs a bit before walking to dinner at  Osteria La Vache Folle   Antipasti for everybody, then choose one dish from the menu, either Primo or Secondo. Wine and water included, order a dessert if somehow you are still hungry.  Overnight in Hotel Duca D’Aosta.

Tuesday, 19 October–Aosta

Morning city tour of Aosta with our local guide, Anna Careggio, assisted by Paul Alessi.  The tour includes the Cryptoporticus and Roman Theater, plus some interesting Medieval sites. Lunch is on your own. In the afternoon, plan to use the rest of the ticket that was provided for you to visit the Archaeological Museum and/or the Chiesa San Lorenzo. We will leave the hotel in plenty of time to walk to a 7:00 dinner at Hostaria del Calvino The restaurant specializes in the local cuisine and I’ve ordered a full dinner of appetizer,s half portions of two starters and two main courses, along with dessert, wine, & water. Overnight in Hotel Duca D’Aosta.

Wednesday, 20 October–Cogne

Morning departure for an excursion into the mountains. We will first visit the Pondel Roman Aqueduct, built three years BC., then visit Valnontey in the Gran Paradiso National Park, In case of bad weather, we will instead visit a typical mountain house, Maison Gérard-Dayné, now a museum. We will then have lunch at the Belvedere Restaurant, a panoramic restaurant above Cogne.  View of Gran Paradiso, the highest peak wholly in Italy. MENU: Bruschetta, vol-au-vent con fonduta, tomino capra, pane nero miele lardo; Ravioli con fonduta e crepes; Scaloppa con funghi e purea; Crema di Cogne. After lunch, we will have some free time to explore Cogne. Return to Aosta in the afternoon. Lunch was included so dinner is on your own. Overnight in Hotel Duca D’Aosta.

Thursday, 21 October–Monte Bianco or Castle visit. Lunch and transfer to Milano/Malpensa Airport (MXP)

Morning check out of the hotel. On the off chance that it is a clear day, we will visit Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc). If it is cloudy, it would make no sense to go up since we wouldn’t be able to see anything. Instead, we will visit Sarriod de la Tour Castle, followed by a visit to Avise Castel where we will have a very special lunch at a restaurant inside the castle, Boniface d’Avise,.Here is the proposed menu including natural water and wine of Valle d’Aosta

Antipasto, Salignoun – Cow milk ricotta cheese with walnuts, bell pepper, garlic, vinegar, oil, salt and black pepper; Teteun con bagnetto verde – Cow udder with parsley green sauce, Salumi maison – Homemade cold cuts. Castagne, burro, lardo e miele – Chestnuts, butter, lard and honey.

Primo: Seuppa  Plat – Bread soup with Fontina PDO cheese, cabbage and cinnamon.

Secondo: Carbonada al Blanc de Morgex – Beef stew with Blanc de Morgex with wine,

Ronde di formaggi valdostani Cheese board of Valle d’Aosta

Dolce: Pere Martine con Fiocca – Martina pears and whipped cream with Grappa

After lunch, continue to First Hotel at Milano/Malpensa. Dinner will be on your own since lunch was included (there is a restaurant in the hotel and one next door.) Overnight in the First Hotel.

Friday, 22 October-Arrivederci Italia

After breakfast, use the hotel shuttle (prepaid) to transfer to the airport for flights back to the USA or elsewhere in Europe. Plan to schedule your van departure at least three hours before your flight departure–there may be some long walks involved at the airport. We will need to make these transfer arrangements with the hotel the night before.

Group A (Everything) Arrival Departure
Paul Alessi & Jim Ernest 3 Oct, 15:55, BA0560 (Jim) 1 Oct, 8:00, AA240 (Paul) Twin 22 Oct, 13:15, BA0573 (Jim) Independent, (Paul)
Bill Curtis & Milt Oster 1 Oct,, 11:25, DL8726 Twin 22 Oct, 12:05, DL 0173
Larry Hanna & Carol Thompson 1 Oct, 11:25, DL8726 Twin/Double 22 Oct, 12:05,  DL 0173
Jim & Sharon Fox 3 Oct, 14:05, EJ5703 Twin/Double 22 Oct, 8:05A, AA6717
Laurence Barker 3 Oct, 14:05, EJ5703 Single 22 Oct, 10:20, UA810
Carrol Smith  3 Oct, 14:05, EJ5703 Twin 22 Oct, 11:10, AA199
Rebecca Marti 3 Oct, 14:05, EJ5703 Twin 22 Oct, 8:00, DL8707(RM)
Scott & Merri Plummer 3 Oct, 9:30, DL9578 Twin/Double 22 Oct, 12:05, DL0173
Greg & Judy Parks 3 Oct, 14:05, EJ5703 Double 22 Oct
Victor & Carolyn Rice 1 Oct, 12:15, DL6659 Twin/Double 22 Oct, 12:05, DL0173
Ron Jenkins & Dale Fleishman 6 Oct, 8:00A, AA240 Twin/Double 22 Oct, 11:10, AA199
Kelly Clark & Gretchen Quinn 6 Oct, 9:40, DL 62 Twin 22 Oct, 12:05, DL 173
Xavier & Polly Pena 8 Oct, Train to Bologna Twin/Double 22 Oct, 11:10, AA199
Cindy Abbott 8 Oct, Train to Bologna Single 22 Oct, 11:10, AA199