(Asolo, Trento, Bolzano, Dolomites, Udine, Trieste)
As all the tours Audrey designs are customized, this is a TOUR Itinerary presented as one of the many ways you can experience Italy on your PRIVATE TOUR with your local host, Audrey.
Have you dreamed of a trip to Italy where you could explore places rarely visited by tourists and truly experience the Italian lifestyle? Would you like to visit some new areas in Italy? If you love Italy and have enjoyed seeing famous sites like Rome and Tuscany, but are ready to try something new, then join me as you discover new and wonderful sites in Northern Italy!
Tour starts in Asolo and ends in Cividale. We highly recommend adding a few days in Venice at the end of the tour with your tour manager.
Your arrival and departure airport is:
Airport in Venice is Marco Polo (VCE)
For many seasoned travelers, Italy continues to be their favorite country to visit. Most travelers want to return to Italy many times because it is not possible to experience and enjoy all that Italy has to offer in a single visit. Indulge your mind, body and soul on a journey into the Cuisine and Culture of Northern Italy, as you explore and discover what makes these off the beaten path regions of Italy so hypnotic and sumptuous. Italy continues to inspire visitors year after year and this tour has been carefully crafted to include must-see attractions, while taking you to some of the lesser-known hidden gems of this fascinating country. Blessed with an unparalleled cultural heritage, food that is imitated the world over; Italy still today casts a powerful spell. With its superb produce, culinary traditions and world famous wines, Italy is a food lover’s dream destination.
This magical itinerary provides an intimate local experience of the Triveneto, the unique beauty of the Dolomites and the ancient villages with food and wine traditions of Trentino Alto Adige, Fruili-Venezia-Giulia and Veneto. Regions you will never forget!
Book this Italy tour for an inspiring introduction to the best of North East Italy, not only for its museums, small cities and Roman ruins, but also its fantastic food, wine, culture and people.
€4,650 PER PERSON double occupancy, pricing based on a minimum of 6 people
Get a group together and let’s get something on the calendar!
HIGHLIGHTS & INCLUSIONS of YOUR PRIVATE TOUR TO ITALY
- Private 11 days/10 nights tour + 24/7 support
- Expert local guides with skip the line private touring
- Dedicated local tour leader, driver-guide
- Insider access to the Italian way of life
- Accommodations that blend a mix of Italian hospitality, comfort and local character (Breakfast included)
- Hand-picked Insider Experiences from wine tastings to culinary delights: Prosecco tasting, wine tasting in the Collio Orientali, Prosciutto di San Daniele tour and tasting
- Private transportation during tour
- Move beyond Italy’s signature cities and stay in the picturesque countryside regions
- Savor tasty regional cuisine in specially chosen local authentic trattorias and restaurants
- Enjoy the beautiful small cities and towns of Asolo, Trento, Bolzano, Ortisei, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Cividale, San Daniele, Udine, Trieste, Palmanova; off the main tourist path and rich in culture and history
- Visit Aquileia with its Roman ruins, was one of the largest and richest cities of the Roman Empire
- Asolo, a quaint hilltop town, where the panoramic views have earned the nickname the “Town of a Hundred Horizons”
- Each area you visit will have its signature dishes and traditional foods and wines (like Speck, sopressa); savor the tasty regional cuisine in specially chosen family owned restaurants
- Visit Ötzi, the remains of a 5000 year old Ice Man in Bolzano’s archaeological museum
- Explore the beauty of the Italian Alps, take in spectacular views in Alpe di Siusi, Mount Marmolada arguably the most beautiful peak in the Dolomites. Dolomites are one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world.
About included dinners: As Europeans, for us dinner is a celebration of good food and wine, a celebration of culture, a celebration of family and friendship. Hosting this celebration is one of the joys of being a tour manager. We guide you to your favorite dish … or help you choose something you’ve never tried before. We 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, be sure to know you’ll go home with new knowledge that will draw you under its spell and increase your hunger for more.
NOTE: On every tour, we 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 a lot of recommendations and would be happy to make reservations for you.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL VENICE MARCO POLO AIRPORT
Welcome to Italy! Your private transfer is available for pick up at Venice’s Marco Polo airport to transfer you to your lodging in Asolo, a beautiful hill town settled in the Colli Asolani and known as the “Pearl of the province of Treviso” as well as “Town of a Hundred Horizons”. Asolo, an enchanting place, has been home to artists and poets over the centuries and has become the secret hideaway for true Veneto aficionados. It is a required stop for those interested in discovering the back-country.
DAY 2: BASSANO DEL GRAPPA/CONEGLIANO/ASIAGO
The Heritage of Prosecco in the Valdobbiadene Region
Bassano del Grappa, on the Brenta River with a charming, traffic-free center, is well known for ceramics, fiery ‘grappa’ spirit and the prized white asparagus in the spring. Your tour manager, Audrey, will walk you around town, to discover the squares and the Palladio-designed Ponte degli Alpini (Alpine Soldiers’ Bridge). Naturally you won’t want to miss the ‘grappa’ museum Poli Museo della Grappa, enjoying a free tasting!
Bassano del Grappa, founded in the 2nd century BC by the roman and called Bassanus, was the birthplace of the artist Jacopo da Bassano. During WW1 the mountains around Bassano were one of the main battlefields for the Italian and Austro-Hungarian Armies. After lunch, let your emotions flow freely, whilst admiring a landscape of verdant hills disseminated with well-ordered vineyards and tiny villages, where ancient traditions are carefully preserved and nurtured. We have selected a local winery in the Valdobbiadene hills, home of the world known Prosecco, to give you a chance to taste the high quality wine and of course the sparkling Prosecco.
In Asolo, enjoy a stop at Marostica and a visit to Villa Barbaro di Maser, one of Palladio’s most celebrated, a medieval palazzo transformed into a country villa decorated with a cycle of frescoes, the master-work of Paolo Veronese. It is one of the most famous of the Palladian villas not to mention one of the most beautiful.
DAY 3: TRENTO/ASIAGO/ORTISEI
Today, travel along the back roads of Italy’s Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige regions, in the very north of the country. Here you will see an expanse of rolling hills, beautiful peaks and picturesque villages. Our final destination is the Ortisei. Along the way you will see Asiago and visit Trento (Castello Buon Consiglio), Castel Beseno. The high plateau of Asiago is home to wonderful mountain cheese and meats (Piave and Montasio, Asiago cheeses).
Surrounded by mountains, the beautiful little city of Trento, founded by the Romans on the banks of the Adige River, definitely has an Alpine flair. It spent most of its history from the 10th century through 1813 as a German-Austrian bishopric ruled by powerful princely bishops from their seat in Castello del Buonconsiglio. In fact the towns status as an Italian city at the cross roads of the Teutonic and Latin worlds, along with the bishops dual role as subject both to the Pope and to the German emperor made Trent the ideal compromise site for the council of Trent called in the 16th century to address the protestant reformation. And indeed unlike other towns up here in the far north, which tend to lean h heavily on their Austrian heritage, Trent is essentially Italian.
You will have time to walk around this beautiful small town, see the Piazza Duomo. Enjoy some time wandering around the historical city center, with his beautifully painted facades and visit Castello del Buenconsiglio. The Adige River, the second longest in Italy, has its source in the alpine areas near the borders of Austria and Switzerland, flows south through Verona, then east to the Adriatic sea. The river gives its name to the Alto-Adige, a bilingual province also known as Südtirol, which up until the end of WWI was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. With the majestic Dolomite Mountains in the background, its fertile valleys are prolific producers of fruit, wine and cheeses.
After lunch we continue on to the Gardena Valley in the heart of the Dolomites to reach your accommodations for tonight in the beautiful village of Ortisei the main hub of the Val Gardena and the Alpe di Siusi mountain region.
DAY 4: THE SPECTACULAR DOLOMITES
After breakfast walk with your tour manager to the Otavia Station and reach within minutes the Alpe di Siusi (Europe’s largest high-altitude Alpine meadow) where you will be able to do some easy hikes in a spectacular place with awe inspiring views surrounded by the mountain range that are a UNESCO world heritage site for the day. A suggestion would be to pick some local specialties and have a picnic for lunch today or eating at some of the ‘rifugi’.
The pinnacles and towers of the majestic Dolomites are the crowning glory of Italy’s northern border. A fairyland where lush meadows nestle against towering limestone peaks, of all different colors. A unique mineral that makes up breathtaking mountains, the Dolomites have long been a source of both fascination and awe. The Dolomites stunning peaks have drawn foreign mountaineers for centuries and the “rifugi” (alpine huts) welcome hikers with delectable cuisine in the summer months and the region welcomes visitors with their warm and understated local hospitality.
The Dolomites are situated between the Austrian border to the north and the Venetian plain to the south. The range is about 105 km long and 95 km wide (65 mi. by 59 mi.), and the Val Badia acts as a border between the eastern and western Dolomites. The section of the Dolomites known as Alta Badia, or “High Abbey,” is also known as the Ladin Valley (with the highest concentration of this linguistic minority). Both the Austrian and Italian cultures have melded in this part of Italy—in food, architecture and especially language. From an administrative point of view, the five Ladino valleys are divided among Bolzano autonomous province (Val Gardena and Val Badia), Trento autonomous province (Val di Fassa) and Veneto region (Cortina d’Ampezzo and Fodom).
DAY 5: VALLEY DRIVE IN THE DOLOMITES
Leave for one of the best itineraries in the world!
Today’s highlights will not be centered as much on history, but around the awe-inspiring views of the most beautiful areas in the Italian Alps: the Dolomites. Our spectacular drive will be even more pleasant to the eye as we make stops along the way to admire the scenery and charming alpine villages. Traveling along the Gardena Valley view the villages of Santa Cristina and Selva di Val Gardena (profusion of woodcarving shops) and trough the Gardena Pass reaching Corvara and the Alta Badia Valley (Colfosco, La Villa, San Cassiano, La Val) where we continue on to the Pordoi Pass (called “La Terrazza delle Dolomiti”) from where you can test your bravery and hop on the suspended car that will lift you high above the clouds to view the most important peaks in the Alps (Sasso Pordoi), including the famous Marmolada Glacier followed by the Sella Pass before returning to Ortisei.
Marmolada is the highest peak in the Dolomites, towering above at 3,343 meters (11,000 feet). It’s known as “the Majesty” of this area, as well as “Queen of the Dolomites.” Marmolada is the only peak in the Dolomites made of limestone rather than dolomite rock.
Beautiful scenery all day!
DAY 6: BOLZANO
Today spend the day in Bolzano, a Tyrolean city of onion domed churches. It’s medieval center a mix of northern and Mediterranean architecture and is home of the South Tyrol Archaeological Museum with the famous Otzi, the 5000 year old mummy found frozen back in 1990 in a glacier in the Dolomites. His discovery revolutionized the knowledge of our human past.
Bolzano (Bozen in German) is the capital of South Tyrol (also known as the Alto Adige), a small well-preserved city of mountain landscapes, medieval architecture and a fusion of Italian and Austrian cultural influences and has been part of Italy since WWI.
It’s difficult to imagine a more delightful city than Bolzano, with its wonderful architecture, pedestrian lanes, market squares, parks, rivers and flowers. Our day begins with a local guide tour of the town and its unique history as the most important trading center between northern and southern Europe. In the afternoon, you have several options available to you: simply walk around town, do some shopping, sit at a café, visit the Museum to see Otzi. On our return to Ortisei, visit the medieval Castel Roncolo with its excellent cycle of frescoes on the story of Tristan and Isolde.
DAY 7: CORTINA D’AMPEZZO/CIVIDALE
Your tour in this beautiful area continues to Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy’s number one ski resort and scene of the 1956 winter Olympics. Once part of the Habsburg Empire from the 16th century until after WWI, Cortina today is a charming mix of Tyrolean and Italian. The central pedestrian street the Corso is lined with smart boutiques.
It is time to reach the region of Friuli where the charming town of San Daniele will be our culinary stop for a tour and tasting of the famous San Daniele Prosciutto. Late afternoon you will arrive at your accommodations in Cividale del Friuli. Cividale del Friuli medieval village is the hub of the wine trade in the Colli Orientali growing district.
Friuli Venezia Giulia tucked away into Italy’s northeast corner just south of Austria and snug against the border with Slovenia, Friuli is where Italians escape on gastronomic holidays. It is a small region with a big reputation for sweet prosciutto hams from the village of San Daniele, robust artisanal cheese and what many consider Italy’s best white wines from the Friulano grape. As befits the cross roads of Latin, Germanic and Slavic cultures, the cucina friulana features hearty sausages, goulash, ‘polenta’ wafers of fried Montasio cheese called ‘frico’ and delicate herb sauces on pasta.
DAY 8: COLLIO WINE DAY
Famed for its winemakers and country restaurants, the Collio and Collio Orientale produce some of the finest, mineral rich white wines in Italy from local varietals such as Friulano, Malvasia Istriana and Ribolla Gialla. Several indigenous grape varieties are rarely found elsewhere: look out for the perfumed red Schioppettino and delicately sweet Picolit which can yield a dessert wine of great finesse. The area’s vineyards are arranged like a quilt around the town of Cormons where you will enjoy some wine tasting accompanied with Montasio cheese.
Visit a family owned winery to taste some of the local wines: the great whites Pinot, Tocai, Sauvignon, White Collio, and the reds Collio Red, Cabernet and Merlot. The region is a wonderful opportunity for enjoying local cuisine, a mix of Austrian, Slovenian and Italian traditions. The recipes handed down generations and are really something unique.
DAY 9: TRIESTE
After breakfast your first visit of the day is with your private expert local guide on a private walking tour of the beautiful city of Trieste, on the Adriatic one of Italy’s most impressive cities. Once the third most important city of the Austrian Habsburg Empire, after Vienna and Prague, Trieste is now a cluster of Roman, Art Nouveau and Neo-gothic architecture. After warring with the Republic of Venice for two centuries, Trieste, in 1382, petitioned the Habsburgs to become part of Austria, of which it remained until annexed by the Kingdom of Italy following the end of World War I, but, in a long and contorted history, did not officially and finally become a part of the Republic of Italy until 1954. Our local guide will illuminate all this and more.
Have a caffè at Caffè degli Specchi, historical site in the main piazza overlooking the sea before visiting Castel Miramare.
Castle Miramare, once home of the Hapsburg Royal Family, called the upper Adriatic jewel of the Habsburg Empire, was built in the 1850s as a residence for the Austrian Archduke Maximilian, later the ill-fated emperor of Mexico. The castle is a lovely period piece, highlighted by the Duke’s bedroom and office that were modeled on the cabin and stern wardroom of the warship that he commanded to circumnavigate the world.
The afternoon is spent visiting Aquileia, once the fourth most important city of the Roman Empire. Our local guide will take us on a walk through 1500 years of history that includes the Roman forum, the ancient port, the Basilica and the archaeological museum.
Discover the history of one of the most important cities of the Roman Empire. In Friuli Venezia Giulia’s ancient town of Aquileia you will walk the ancient forum and Roman roads with a local guide. You’ll have the chance to see the remains of public baths and private houses; admire the stunning Byzantine frescoes, and the splendid Christian mosaic floors of the Basilica.
Aquileia was founded as a Roman town and port in the 2nd century B.C. and over the following six centuries became the fourth largest city in Italy. Its strategic location was the terminus of the trading route that linked the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic Sea and was the Imperial gateway to Asia Minor. With a population of 100,000 it flourished as an agricultural, crafts and cultural center for centuries until the calamity called Attila the Hun arrived in 452 A.D. The city’s inhabitants fled south and west where they founded Venice. Aquileia regained prominence in the medieval period through their great Patriarchs when Friuli was a part of the Holy Roman Empire. The Basilica of Aquileia has its origins in the 4th century, was rebuilt several times, but most of what you see now is Romanesque – Gothic style 11th century construction. One hundred years ago the original 4th century mosaic floor was discovered and brought to light – 760 square meters of some of the most wonderful mosaics of the ancient world!
DAY 10: CIVIDALE/UDINE
Today is dedicated to discovering Cividale and Udine (Udin in the local language, Viden in Slovenian and Weiden in old German). The morning will be spent on a private walking tour of Cividale, visiting Ponte del Diavolo, the Monastero di S. Maria in Valle and the Tempietto Longobardo, Museo Christiano and Tesoro del Duomo with the Museo Archelogico Nazionale (one ticket for all 3 museums).
The afternoon is spend in Udine, a stately medieval city with handsome Renaissance buildings by Andrea Palladio and a wealth of luminous paintings by Tiepolo at the center of it all.
The northeast Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia derives its long name from Julius Caesar, who founded the city of Cividale del Friuli in 53 BC, and from Venice, of whose territory it was once a part. The Lombards (Longobards) completed a centuries-long odyssey from Scandinavia to Italy, arriving just at the end of the devastating Goth-Byzantine wars in 568 A.D. Finding the peninsula exhausted and depopulated they took over most of it and ruled for two hundred years, restoring civilization and leaving behind a unique cultural heritage. Cividale del Friuli became their first capital. Legend says that Attila watched Aquileia burn from the hilltop where now stands the castle of Udine. Certainly the castle predates its first historical mention in 983 but the town was of little significance until the beginning of its near four century domination by the Republic of Venice in 1420. Appointed to govern the province of Friuli it soon transformed itself into a splendid city of noble palaces and notable works of art still visible today.
On the visit of Udine, see the Piazza dell Liberta (dubbed the most beautiful Venetian square in Italy), Tiepolo frescoes in the Cathedral, the marvelous Patriarch’s Palace, home of the Museo Diocesano, an enormous 15th century library and the wonderful Gallery of Giambattista Tiepolo, the foremost Venetian painter of the 18th century.
DAY 11: DEPARTURE DAY
Yes, it is that time to leave this beautiful land with many wonderful memories and in the hopes of traveling with you again.
Transfer to Marco Polo airport. Or if you wish, you can extend your holiday with a few days in Venice.
Ready for your unique beyond the beaten path vacation to Italy? Contact Audrey for your 30 minute complimentary phone consultation.
Audrey specializes in private custom tours to Europe, providing guests with delights that excite the senses that are genuine, intimate and unique experiences of Italy and beyond. With a balance of culture, food, wine and stunning natural and man-made landscapes, this tour captures everything that a guest would be looking for in an Italian experience. Audrey warmly invites you to come along and experience “La Bell’ Italia”.