Discover the Road Less Traveled in Northern Italy
DAY 1: Torino-tour starts on a Monday
DAY 2: Discover Torino
DAY 3: More of royal city of Torino
DAY 4: Aosta and the Italian Alps
DAY 5: Day in the Alps
DAY 6: Vercelli, Italy’s rice growing area
DAY 7: Palio race in Asti, truffle hunting (fall tours only)
DAY 8: Gourmet Piedmont
DAY 9: Wine country of the Langhe
DAY 10: Liguria and its quaint UNESCO Cinque Terre
DAY 11: Beauty of the Cinque Terre
DAY 12: Departure day.
Not ready for your adventure to end? This itinerary combines really well with an extension to Lake Como, Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta.
- Ascend Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps, and enjoy awe inspiring views
- Walk in the footsteps of Hannibal, Augustus and Napoleon, who all marched through the Alps in the Aosta Valley
- Savor the flavors of one of the most renowned wine regions of Italy (Try Barolo, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Spumante, Dolcetto, Barbaresco, White Arneis, Chardonnay and Alpine wines)
- Enjoy a private Risotto cooking class in Vercelli, the rice region of Italy
- Meet a truffle hunter “trifulau” who will show you how to find the sought-after ingredient (late fall tours only)
- Watch the famous horse race, Palio, in Asti, a race that has taken place since the 13th century (September tours only)
- Visit The elegant historical city of Torino with its sweeping boulevards, elegant hunting lodges and pleasure palaces
- Tour Fenis castle, one of the most famous medieval castles in the Valley of Aosta
- Enjoy the picturesque villages in the Langhe (Asti, Alba, Bra, La Morra, Barolo) & the Ligurian villages of Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure
- Explore the captivating UNESCO World Heritage site, Cinque Terre with its 5 exquisite villages on the Ligurian coast
PRICING: from $5,600USD per person (double occupancy)
The price for a private tour is per-person sharing a double room, and it varies according to the number of guests on the tour, because of minimum fixed costs that need to be covered. With this tiered pricing structure we are generally able to offer slightly lower pricing if there are a higher number of guests on the trip.
Piedmont, Val d'Aosta, Langhe, Cinque Terre
Arrival airport: Torino / Caselle International Airport (TRN)
Departure airport: Genova / Sestri Cristoforo Colombo Airport (GOA)
If you love Italy and have enjoyed seeing famous sites like Rome and Tuscany, but are ready to try something new, then join me and discover Northwest Italy! This upscale tour showcases Italy's fantastic food and wine, as well as the cultural and historical wealth in some of its most beautiful regions. But don’t forget that all of Audrey’s tours are fully customizable to your interests and preferences.
**FOR PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY**
Your 12-day private tour begins in Torino, land of the Savoy dukes and kings and the first capital of unified Italy. If Italy has a city to rival the broad boulevards, elegant cafés and ubiquitous bookstores of Paris, this is it. We’ll visit the lavish Royal Palace, the Egyptian museum (Italy’s finest!) and the spectacular “Mole”, which started out as a synagogue and ended up as Torino’s remarkable museum of the history of cinema.
Over the next amazing days you can look forward to:
- immersing yourself deep into the scenery and gastronomy of Italy’s Piedmont region, famous for its antipasti, amaretti and wines
- taking in the vista of the stunning Aosta Valley
- exploring the beautiful Cinque Terre and Portofino
The region of Piedmont has Italy’s most prestigious red wine tradition and is home to the noble Nebbiolo grape, which is transformed into complex and age-worthy Barolo, dubbed “the king of wines and the wine of kings”. UNESCO has awarded this area of Piedmont World Heritage Status, specifically for the beautiful Vineyard Landscapes of Monferrato, Langhe and Roero.
You will experience the real dolce vita in Val d’Aosta, Liguria and Piedmont while visiting my favorite foodie locations in these beautiful regions, home of some of the finest produce in Italy including truffles, creamy cheeses, Barolo wine, hazelnuts, chocolates and extra virgin olive oil. This trip is truly a feast for all the senses.
Italy continues to inspire visitors year after year, and this tour has been carefully crafted to include major must-see attractions, while taking you to some of the lesser-known hidden gems of this fascinating country.
Day to Day Itinerary
DAY 1: TORINO - Tour starts on a Monday
Welcome to Torino, the first capital of Italy! There is a whiff of Paris in Turin’s elegant tree-lined boulevards and echoes of Vienna in its stately 'art nouveau' cafes, but make no mistake, this elegant city amid the Alps is utterly self-possessed. The innovative Torinese gave the world its first salable hard chocolate, perpetuated one of its greatest mysteries (the Holy Shroud), and popularized a best-selling car (the Fiat). Turin also gave the world Italy as we now know it: Piedmont with its Torinese president, the Count of Cavour, was the engine room of Italian Unification. Turin also briefly served as Italy’s first capital and donated its monarchy, the venerable House of Savoy, to the newly unified Italian nation in 1861.
The 2006 Winter Olympics shook the city from a deep post-industrial malaise, and sparked an urban revival. Did you know that Monte Viso, the formidable snow-covered mountain (3820 meters) appears at the beginning of all the Paramount Pictures movies?
DAY 2: DISCOVER TORINO
After breakfast, meet your local expert guide for a walking tour along the streets of this historical city and tour the Royal Palace and Real Chiesa di San Lorenzo, home of the Holy Shroud. The baroque palaces and churches, the piazzas and pedestrian shopping are walking distance from your hotel.
Optional lunch: Turin is known as the city of chocolates, and it is also home to Slow Food’s supermarket, EATALY. This high-end Italian food market houses a variety of restaurants, food stations, bakery and retail items. Enjoy your visit here and be sure to taste test all their goodies… especially the chocolate! (Eataly Incontra, Eataly Café Vergnano, Eataly Torino Lingotto)
Your afternoon is at leisure to discover at your own pace:
Enjoy views of Italy's largest and most famous river, the Po, from the Mole Antonelliana building (take the panoramic lift to the roof terrace for 360-degree views). Or visit Piazza San Carlo with its 17th century facades “drawing room of Turin”, the fascinating Cinema Museum, or the newly refurbished Egyptian Museum, one of the most important outside of Cairo. If you are interested in automobiles, do not miss the Automobiles Museum. From the first old cars to the most modern, the museum is a highlight in the birth of FIAT. For the foodie, Europe's largest open air food market is a great place to sample local produce. Alternatively stroll along the elegant shopping streets of Via Roma and Via Garibaldi.
OPTIONAL DINNER: Tonight, you will be able to experience this city on your own. Keep in mind that the Torinese tradition of chocolate, 'gianduiotti' and 'gelato' is something any food lover needs to experience.
DAY 3: DISCOVER MORE OF TORINO
Today start your discoveries by boarding our van for a visit of the Basilica of Superga located on the top of the hill with breath-taking views of the city. The Basilica is visible for miles around and is the final resting place for 50 members of the Savoy family, followed with a visit of the Royal Residence of Venaria Reale, just few kilometers outside the city center. It was the model for Versailles, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, a palace built for King Carlo Emanuele II between 1667 and 1690. It is one of the biggest royal residences in the world. Highlights are the huge Diana Gallery, the park outside, the Baroque church (Cappella di Sant’Uberto), the Juvarra stables and the Orangerie. The beauty of the architecture, the setting in the middle of a huge park, the importance in history and the genius of the main baroque architect, Juvarra from Sicily, have made of this place a must-see.
On your way back to the city, see some highlights of Torino.
DAY 4: AOSTA AND the Italian Alps
Today, travel to the Aosta Valley, one of the most beautiful regions in the Alps. Italy’s smallest and least populous region, it is also one of its most spectacular. The valley is ringed by the icy peaks of Europe’s highest mountains, including the Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) Monte Cervino (the Matterhorn) Monte Rosa and Gran Paradiso. Explore an ancient, hybrid culture, and sample Franco-Provencal food. Vadostan farmers cultivate Alpine wines, and ferment famous Fontina cheese in the pastures.
The Aosta valley is a region where breathtaking nature preserved Roman and medieval monuments, castles, churches, artistic heritage, local traditions and delicious gastronomy. Here, everyone can enjoy life in the open air with infinite opportunities for trekking, hiking, skiing and other outdoor activities or go on a cultural exploration of its ancient cities.
Your first stop is the little village of Fenis with its medieval castle, Castello di Fenis, without a doubt one of the most famous in the valley for its architecture and beautiful frescoes.
Continue onto Aosta, where you will enjoy a culinary experience at one of the charming places in town, followed by a nice walk around the town of Aosta, a once-important Roman settlement. Its 2000 year old center still harbors Roman ruins like the Arco di Augusto, the Roman bridge spanning the Buthier River since the 1st century, and the Porta Praetoria, the main gate to the Roman city. Today, Aosta is the capital of the valley and a lively center for trades and handcraft, as well as a shopping delight.
DAY 5: THE ALPS
Time to get to the highest mountain peaks of Western Europe! Mont Blanc is the highest peak in Europe at 4810 meters (15780 feet). The new gondola, called the 8th Wonder of the World, takes you up to Punta Helbronner, where the beauty of the peaks and glaciers are really stunning and will take your breath away (weather permitting).
Walk around stylish, yet old-fashioned Courmayeur, one of the most popular ski resorts in Europe, nestled at the base of the Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco). Stunning mountain scenery and cool temperatures make it a favorite summer retreat and hiking destination.
After lunch, maybe some shopping in Aosta, or relax at the spa facilities in our hotel!
DAY 6: VERCELLI-LANGHE
You are in for some fun today! We are driving down to the largest rice growing area of Europe, Vercelli with a stop at a traditional rice farm for lunch and a visit of its ancient “risaia” where some of the highest quality of rice varietals are grown to be made into the tastiest risotto from northern Italy (Arborio, Carnaroli, Vialone, Nano).
Following your visit of a Tenuta in the middle of the rice fields, it's time for an exclusive risotto cooking class! The chef will teach you how to transform the best rice in a superb risotto!
Transfer to the surprising small town of Vercelli to see the monumental complex of churches before continuing to the Langhe area, a magical valley where time seems to have stopped and traditions still are carried out in the most authentic way.
Spend the night at a wonderful Hazelnut farm property perched on a hill with stunning views of the mountains.
DAY 7: PALIO RACE IN ASTI (Truffle day on all other tours in the fall)
This morning you will venture into the fields and hills for white truffle hunting. It is interesting to see how the dogs work and how the truffle hunters will dig in the ground to pick up the precious mushroom. White truffles are excellent served with simple local dishes such as 'tajarin' (local pasta), fried eggs or grated on a risotto.
This afternoon, you will visit the towns of Alba and Bra, walk around and check out all the wonderful stores, especially those that sell local products, like anything made with truffles and local cheeses.
Full of interesting palaces and churches, Bra is the birth city of the Slow Food Movement and of the most important cheese fair in the world.
There are few more enticing destinations for gourmet travelers than Alba, a picturesque town in the heart of Piedmont that's renowned world-wide for its succulent white truffles, velvety red Barolo and Barbaresco wines and wonderful fruit. The town may have only 30,000 residents, but here you can find some of northern Italy's best restaurants. Alba absolutely deserves its reputation as the jewel of the Langhe and as one of the world's finest food-and-wine hot spots. With a history stretching back to pre-Roman times, Alba today is a lovely town with castles, medieval palaces and towers, and many churches. Stroll alongside the Tanaro River, which slices through town, or along the Via Vittorio Emanuele, known for its delicatessen shops.
PALIO DAY (third Sunday in September):
Spend the morning relaxing before you leave for Asti for the Palio Horse Race. Asti and Alba were fierce medieval rivals ruled over by feuding royal families. Asti’s rivalry with Alba is still recalled in the annual Palio d’Asti, a bareback horserace, on the third Sunday of September that commemorates a victorious battle. This is the most important day of the year for the old city, with, pageantry, flag wavers, parades of people dressed in medieval costumes, farmers with their oxen, and traditional food everywhere! You will see the race from your reserved seats in the Piazza del Palio.
DAY 8: GOURMET PIEDMONT-ASTI AND CANELLI
“Tuscany of the North”. Immersed in tradition as old as the towns that fostered them, Piedmont’s cuisine is the toast of Italy. It is also home to the Slow Food Movement, Alba truffles and famous Barolo Wines. The rolling hills, valleys and towns of Piedmont are home to sweet hazelnuts, rare white truffles, Arborio rice and Nebbiolo grapes that produce Barolo and Barbaresco wines.
Today visit Asti, a town synonymous with sparkling wine and enjoy an orientation where you will see the magnificent Romanesque Gothic Cathedral, walk around the old center, visit the Cioccolato Barbero and see how chocolate candies and nougat are made in the traditional way. Enjoy a wonderful wine tasting in Canelli, the home of the Spumante wine, visiting the Contratto Winery and see the huge cellars called the Underground Cathedrals. (Torronificio Barbero nougat private collection for chocolate and nougat tasting).
Asti also celebrates the 10 day Douja d’Or (a douja being a terracotta wine jug unique to Asti) in the first or second week in September, complemented by the Delle Sagre food festival on the second Sunday in September.
Wine lovers rejoice! In the afternoon, let’s drive to Barolo and visit the Wine Museum housed in the Castle of Barolo, once the home of the noble family of the Falletti di Barolo, a powerful banking family.
DAY 9: LANGHE
The vine-covered hills, proud old towns and culinary pleasures of Le Langhe, are in many ways reminiscent of Tuscany but for now at least, this quiet little corner of Italy is a well-kept secret.
After breakfast, take a leisurely drive through fairy-tale like medieval villages like Dana d’Alba, and Monforte d’Alba, followed by a wine tasting at one of the most renowned wineries in the area. Visit the cellars and taste the local wines before continuing onto the highest peak of the area.
From La Morra, you can view all the vineyards, the villages and the castle around the Langhe. Let’s take a downhill walk and reach the small church called the Barolo Chapel. Nestled in the vineyard, it was built by the local farmers, rediscovered in the last part of 20th century, remodeled by a famous artist called in from the United States. The artist did not want to be paid, he simply asked for one bottle of wine for each day of his life!
The bright color of the walls and the peaceful interior invites you to stop and take in the beauty of the surrounding views.
DAY 10: LIGURIA AND CINQUE TERRE
After breakfast, we travel down to the Italian Riviera, which includes the five captivating villages that make up Cinque Terre, a UNESCO world heritage site. The first stop of the day will be in Santa Margherita Ligure, a beautiful old resort town favored by well-to-do-Italians, which has everything a Riviera playground should have, plenty of palm trees and attractive hotels, cafes and a marina packed with yachts. Some of the older buildings here are still decorated on the outside with the 'trompe l’oeil' frescoes typical of this part of the Riviera.
All of this is followed by an afternoon visit to Portofino, a picturesque seaside village with brightly colored houses lining the shore of the harbor, known as the resort of the rich and famous since the 1950’s. Portofino ranks among the world’s most famous fishing villages. You will have a chance to visit the Church of San Giorgio, Brown Castle built in the 15th century, and even take the ferry (weather permitting).
DAY 11: CINQUE TERRE
Be swept up in the romance and beauty of the Cinque Terre! The ruggedly beautiful stretch of coastline inset with five small picturesque fishing villages perched along the Italian Riviera are often on the top places to visit lists of most travel magazines. Along this beautifully isolated six mile stretch of the most seductive corner of the northern Italian coast, lies Cinque Terre, five small towns gently and steadily carving a life out of a difficult terrain. Each village fills a ravine and, has traffic-free charm, a result of their natural isolation. Just sun, sea, wine and pure unadulterated Italy! Today, spend the day with your tour manager exploring these wonderful villages, discovering the secrets of this stunning UNESCO world heritage site.
DAY 12: DEPARTURE DAY
Transfer to Genoa for your flight back home taking away fond memories of your unique experiences to reflect back on with a smile.
This itinerary combines really well with an extension to Tuscany or a pre/post-tour to Lake Como, Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta.
- Unwind for 12 nights in hand-picked charming, locally owned boutique style accommodations that offer Italian hospitality, comfort and local character (Breakfast included):
- 3 nights in Turin
- 2 nights in Aosta
- 4 nights in the Langhe (wine area of Piedmont)
- 2 nights in Cinque Terre
- Relax in the care of your dedicated tour leader, Audrey, who is fluent in Italian and English
- Private transportation for the duration of the tour & train/ferry tickets in Cinque Terre
- Private transfers to and from the airports
- Enjoy a perfect balance of sightseeing and time at leisure, moving beyond Italy’s signature cities and stay in the picturesque regions off the main tourist trail
- Private walking tour with local expert English speaking tour guide in Turin
- Orientations walks in La Morra, Asti, Alba, Bra, Aosta, Cinque Terre, Portofino, Sant Margherita Ligure
- Palio tickets in Asti & truffle hunting experience in the Langhe (fall time only)
- Entrance Fees:
- Royal Palace in Turin
- Basilica di Superga
- Venaria Reale (Royal country residence)
- Castello Fenis
- Gondola ride up to Helbronner
- Tenuta Colombara
- Savor wine tastings and regional cuisine for included meals at hand selected authentic trattorias and restaurants
- Taste the region of Piedmont’s famous confections (visits a nougat and a chocolate producer), mushrooms, truffles and rich French-influenced cuisine; the delicate pesto, focaccia and fresh seafood from Liguria; famous cheeses like Fontina from Aosta, wine tastings (Barolo, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Spumante, Alpine wines), risotto cooking class
- Local VAT taxes and government fees, gas, highway tolls, city access licenses and permits, parking fees (does not include new accommodation tax imposed by local municipalities - to be paid in cash by guest directly to hotel).
- Gratuities for drivers and restaurant staff at included meals
NOTE: In the grand European traditions, I believe that dinner is a celebration of good food and wine, a celebration of culture and a celebration of family and friendship. Hosting this celebration is one of the joys of being a tour manager. I guide you to your favorite dish … or help you choose something you’ve never tried before. I choose the perfect wines and throw in some local delicacies to broaden your palate and surprise you a bit. When we are at a cooking lesson or a wine tasting, rest assured that you'll go home with new knowledge that will increase your appetite for more. On every tour, I have included dinners as a group as well as nights on your own. Of course, you are always invited to join me at my favorite places or as I explore new and interesting restaurant finds. I also have recommendations and would be happy to make reservations for you.
What's Not Included
- Passport fees, visa fees, immunization costs, entry clearing fees (when applicable)
- Optional enhancements like room upgrades
- Additional sightseeing, activities and experiences outside of your itinerary
- Early check-in or late check-out from hotels
- Personal charges such as laundry, phone calls, SIM cards or room service
- Lunches, dinners and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), unless specified in the itinerary
- Travel insurance (strongly recommended)
- Your international and domestic airfare
- Porterage: Please note that you'll need to carry your own luggage up and down stairs at hotels and across cobblestone
How it works
Here is how it works
- Schedule a consultation call with Audrey to discuss your dreams of traveling to this beautiful part of Italy!
- Some things we’ll discuss: Your interests and the interests of your traveling companions, your desires for the trip, and your ages and energy levels. Have you traveled to Italy before? If so, which countries did you visit? What would make your trip perfect, or what do you envision as your ideal day while on vacation?
- Audrey will start with this itinerary, but this is a custom trip, so we can also incorporate ideas that are specific to your group. You might say, “Yes, let’s go for it!” or you might want to discuss a few things, tweak some items, or compare different options. At the end of this phase, you will know the unique itinerary for your group.
- Each person in your small group pays a deposit, with final payment due 90 days before travel.
- Audrey and her team will book everything for you, help you prepare for your time in Italy, and take great care of you and your companions during your stay in Europe.
- You’ll be given a customized, day-by-day itinerary that's unique to your group with all the details you'll need. It's essentially a personalized guide book — with only the information that's relevant to you.
- All you have to do is sit back, and enjoy your fabulous travels! Let Audrey and her team personally take care of you while you are in Europe!
Prepare for Your Trip
European travel in general involves a lot of walking, much more than we are used to in the US. Most of our tours include city walking tours, visits to hilltop towns and villages, and meandering through cobbled streets. Keeping active and incorporating long walks into your busy schedule in the weeks before your departure will make your vacation much more rewarding.
- Don’t Overpack: A challenge even for some experienced travelers! Wash or dry clean some clothes during your travel. Some hotels and villas we choose offer laundry and dry-cleaning services and towns and cities have laundro-mats. Most also provide hair dryers. Toiletries and cosmetics can also be purchased at your destinations. Please contact us if you need some assistance.
- It is your responsibility to obtain the required documents to travel to Europe. Please verify with your own country's travel laws and government agencies. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months after your return date.
The first day on tour is your arrival day into the city in which we meet. So, you would be flying the day before from the United States or Canada if you are not taking the option of spending a few days on location prior to start of your tour. When making flight arrangements, please allow sufficient time to claim luggage and clear customs in order to join the tour on time.
The purchase of TRAVEL INSURANCE is strongly recommended to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. A Protection Plan can include coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical and emergency evacuation/repatriation, trip delay, baggage delay and more.
To discuss the details and customization options, click below to schedule a call with Audrey!
What Audrey's clients are saying...
Sign up for our Newsletter
Sign up for my monthly newsletter showcasing featured tours, new itineraries, expert travel advice and inspiration. You will receive my insider tips for bringing your wine home.