Location: Italy Duration: 7 nights Price: From £950 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including all flights in economy class, accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, car hire and taxes

Emilia-Romagna is arguably Italy’s food capital – and that’s saying something. However, it remains undiscovered in comparison to its better-known neighbours Tuscany and Lombardy, and has the benefit of avoiding the crowds which swarm on those provinces during peak season. For those reasons and more, it’s great for an off-the-beaten track escape, and this itinerary takes in three of northern Italy’s medieval highlights: the hidden gem of Catelvetro de Modenal; the cultural powerhouse Mantua; and the historical foodie favourite, Bologna.

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Perfect for

Foodies and culture vultures who want to make the most of Italy’s cuisine capital.

In the know

Extending your trip for a couple of nights to take in Ravenna, the former capital of the Western Roman Empire famous for its intricate Byzantine mosaics.

Recommended for...
Food & Wine
Couples
History & Heritage
Landscapes & Scenery

CASTELVETRO DE MODENA – 2 nights

Flying in to Bologna, you’ll be transferred to the medieval town of Castelvetro di Modena, where your journey through Emilia-Romagna begins. Your home for two nights is Locanda del Feudo, an elegant, family-run hotel in an impressive restored medieval building. As befits a journey through the heart of Italy’s cuisine capital, the star of the show here is the food, with traditional, simple dishes making the most of fresh local ingredients. Tasting of local wines is also on offer at the hotel’s winery. The local area is full of culinary activities too, with Parmegianno-Regianno cheese and the balsamic vinegar of Modena produced in this area.

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MANTUA – 2 nights

The next stop on your journey is Mantua, a beautiful medieval town flanked by three lakes just north of Emilia-Romagna. A central location of the Renaissance, Mantua is often referred to as ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ since it appears almost exactly as it was in the Middle Ages. You’ll spend two nights at the sleek Casa Poli, a minimalist modern boutique a short walk from many of Mantua’s historical sights. Among the attractions nearby are the Palazzo Ducale, the second largest Italian residence after the Vatican, from which the Gonzaga family ruled Mantua from the 14th to 18th centuries; and Mantua Cathedral, which has stood for over 700 years. Not to be missed is a tour of the 4 Madonne artisanal cheesemakers, where you’ll learn how the locals make their scrumptious Parmigiano Reggiano – and of course indulge in some cheese tasting, too.

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BOLOGNA – 3 nights

After two nights in Mantua, you’ll drive to Bologna, Emilia-Romagna’s terracotta-roofed capital rich with medieval buildings and lip-smacking food. Your home for two nights is the Grand Hotel Majestic in the heart of Bologna, which reflects the opulent splendour of the city with its marble-clad atriums and intricately painted frescoes, not to mention a luxurious spa and first-class restaurant. You’ll discover this colonnaded city on a walking tour, passing majestic theatres, basilicas and piazzas, unearthing the medieval past of the provincial capital. Stop for tortellini lunches, relish creamy gelatos and devour complimentary ‘aperitivos’ – Bologna’s complimentary snacks – in the evening as you watch the world go by. After three nights in Bologna, your journey through Emilia-Romagna has come to an end, and you’ll fly home.

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