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8 Days Cultural and Culinary Vacation in Italy

  • Il Villino, Via Costantino Ruggeri 48, 47822 Santarcangelo di Romagna, Rimini, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Culture, Wine, and Cooking Holiday in Italy

Buonjourney Italy invites you to experience Italian culture and the lifestyle in a unique, hands-on way. The intention is to create opportunities to interact with Italy and Italians every step of the way. You and your fellow travelers will come to know firsthand the food, wine, history, and people of this special part of Italy. You will learn how to cook traditional dishes during cooking lessons, enjoy gastronomic tours, wine tastings, as well as many excursions to important area landmarks.


  • 2 lunch cooking classes
  • Gastronomic tour in Emilia-Romagna
  • Wine tastings and lesson with a sommelier
  • Guided tasting of PDO and IGP products from Emilia-Romagna
  • Follow in Fellini’s footsteps in seaside resort Rimini
  • Make your own pizza with an Italian pizzaiolo
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Airport transfer
  • 6 days with instruction
  • Italian, English
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Santarcangelo is ideally situated, so that all activities and excursions are just a short distance away. Prepare yourself for Italian sophistication in a medieval setting. Accommodation is at beautiful Hotel Il Villino, a 17th century villa.

The four-star hotel, described as "Italian sophistication in a medieval setting", is a recently renovated villa surrounded by lovely grounds and just minutes away from the old town historical center of Santarcangelo di Romagna. You’ll quickly become accustomed to meeting up at a favorite café in centro, where the barista will soon learn your name and preferred beverage.

The property was restored and renovated to create a perfect balance between the atmosphere of the past, with the original stonework, barrel-vault ceilings, and wrought-iron balconies, and the luxury and convenience you expect today. The beautiful large garden full of trees, shrubs and flowers, invites you to find a spot and relax.

Twelve rooms have been created from the interior of the old residence. Each one is unique, with its own particular style. There are cozy spaces that have been carefully studied down to the smallest details. Some interiors also include a loft which turns a simple room into an elegant suite.

Weather permitting, you can enjoy breakfast or a glass of wine outdoors in the garden. A pleasant walk through the garden will fill your thoughts and senses with a heady perfume. Various varieties of roses, irises, hydrangea, and ivy blossom.

The chirping of birds and the scent of flowers flood the garden and the rooms of the Villino with color, light, and music, as an invitation to lose yourself in its poetic splendor.

Day 1 - Welcome to Italy

At 2:00 p.m., there will be the pick-up at Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ) or a pick-up at Rimini train station. Your home for the week is a lovely four-star hotel in the beautifully preserved medieval town of Santarcangelo di Romagna. Surrounded by greenery, this charming villa is a quiet haven, yet just a few minutes from the cultural highlights and the many shops and cafés of the lively old town city center.

At 5:00 p.m., you will meet up for a formal introduction, then take a walk through town to familiarize with what will quickly come to feel like your town. You might stop for a gelato or a piadina (the typical Romagna flatbread), as you enjoy the evening passeggiata (the Italian leisurely evening stroll) with the locals.

Dinner will take place at one of the best restaurants in the region. Here begins your week-long love affair with Italian cuisine, accompanied by delicious wines produced by selected boutique wineries of the area.

Day 2 - Food and wine in the Romagna hills

After breakfast at the hotel garden, you will meet at a café in centro, destined to be the meeting place and the point of departure for excursions. Here, you can try the many ways Italians drink coffee, espresso, caffè macchiato, cappuccino, caffè coretto, marocchino, and spoil yourself with a fresh pastry.

A short ride brings you to a gorgeous historic home in the Romagna hills. Here, you will have your first cooking lesson, preparing what the Italians call "il pranzo della domenica", that is Sunday lunch, a lengthy relaxed meal to enjoy with family and friends. Roll up your sleeves, because you will be making the entire four-course meal yourselves, under the guidance of Italian cooks.

The menu includes piadina with assorted cold cuts, tagliatelle pasta with ragù meat sauce, chicken baked in a casserole Romagna style, roast potatoes with rosemary, and a typical dessert called zuppa inglese, the Romagna version of trifle. Then, it is time to eat and enjoy the fruits of your labor, accompanied by delicious local wines. After lunch, you can relax and enjoy the garden around the pool.

Later in the afternoon, you transfer to a well-known local winery on the Rubicon River. An expert sommelier will explain the ins and outs of his wine-making, followed by a wine tasting accompanied by typical appetizers. At night, you are free to explore the town on your own and dine in one of the many restaurants in centro.

Day 3 - San Leo history, tradition, and bel canto

You will step back in time to the Middle Ages, with a morning visit to the medieval town and fortress of San Leo. Recognized as one of the most beautiful villages of Italy, the town’s position on an craggy outcrop of rock is particularly scenic.

You begin in the evocative piazza Dante, where two churches (both over a thousand years old) and the surrounding civic architecture transport you back in time. Accompanied by a local guide, you will learn the town’s history and explore the magnificent medieval fortress of Federico da Montefeltro, Lord of Urbino, from where he could keep an eye on his neighbor and enemy, Sigismondo Malatesta, Lord of Rimini.

In the afternoon, you transfer to a nearby working farm where wine, extra-virgin olive oil, and the traditional Italian vermouth are produced. The owners take you on a tour of the property, and together you will gather elderflowers to make elderflower syrup. You are welcome to take your bottle of home-made syrup with you.

The site is very picturesque, with a gorgeous view of the valley. With this backdrop you are treated to a live performance of bel canto, a traditional Italian vocal style renowned for its beauty. A delicious dinner featuring the farm’s own products caps off the evening.

Day 4 - Art in Urbino and a culinary journey through Emilia-Romagna

A neighbor to Tuscany and Florence, this region played an important role in the Renaissance, in large part due to the humanist and military leader, Federico da Montefeltro, Lord of Urbino. You will cross into the region of Marche, to explore Urbino, where you begin to appreciate the power and splendor of his court.

Accompanied by a local guide, you will visit Montefeltro’s palatial residence, which today hosts the National Gallery of Marche, displaying works of art by Piero della Francesca, Tiziano, and Raffaello.

In the afternoon, you have a special treat. You will visit an area where a very unusual cheese is produced, the formaggio di fossa di Sogliano. This highly-prized cheese is aged in underground pits dug out of the volcanic tuff. An award-winning cheesemaker and his family will host you, first acquainting you with the procedure for making this cheese.

Later, in a nearby restaurant, they will take you on a tasting tour of Emilia-Romagna. This region is justly world famous for its many PDO and PGI products (the highest level of certification given in recognition of authenticity), including parmigiano cheese, specialty cold cuts such as culatello di Zibello and coppa Piacentina, the balsamic vinegar of Modena, and the traditional Lambrusco and Pignoletto wines.

Day 5 - An Italian pranzo and Fellini's Rimini

In the morning you return to the lovely place in the Romagna hills for the second cooking lesson. This time, you will prepare bruschette and a frittata with herbs, cappelletti in broth, meatballs Romagna style, roast pork with vegetables, and a ricotta cake.

After a lovely relaxed lunch, you will return to Santarcangelo for some free time before going out for a night on the town in Rimini. In the late afternoon, you drive will down to Rimini and meet with your guide whose expertise is in art and cinematography. You will learn about Rimini’s Roman and Renaissance history, then shift to the twentieth century and follow the footsteps of Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini, who was born in Rimini in 1920.

Legend has it that as a child, Fellini would gaze through the gates of the Grand Hotel, imagining the luxurious lives of the guests. Years later, as a successful filmmaker, he’d dine there often, and even had a favorite suite. Toasting Fellini, you will enjoy a gala dinner at this same Grand Hotel.

Italians love to socialize, particularly at night. After dinner, you will continue the evening, strolling through the center of town and its little piazzas. This is where the locals congregate, enjoying drinks and conversation. Nothing is more authentically Italian than this.

Day 6 - Market day and the real Italian pizza

Friday is market day in Santarcangelo, the weekly market for the town. Here you can find just about anything, from clothes, shoes, and kitchen items, to fruit and vegetables. In the morning, you are free to catch up on your sleep, or browse and shop at your leisure in the market.

You will meet up late morning for a "cooking show" demonstration by a professional pastry chef, followed by tasting his delicious creations. In the afternoon you will go to an important historical spot, the very place where in 49 BC, Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River with his troops, an act in defiance of the Roman Senate and one that triggered a five-year civil war. His declaration "alea iacta est!" (the die is cast!), has come to mean "this is the point of no return" ever since. This bold act and how it changed the course of history is brought alive by a wonderful and eccentric local actor.

Following this, you walk to a pizzeria for a cooking lesson, making traditional Italian pizza. Under the guidance of a professional pizzaiolo (pizza chef), you will make your own pizzas and enjoy them in the company of regular Italian customers.

Day 7 - An unforgettable trip by Fiat 500

To kick off the weekend, you will attend a procession of the legendary Fiat 500 cars. This is the classic tiny Italian city car, developed in the post-war period as an economical car affordable by all.

You'll take a ride to the medieval village of Longiano, and share a drink with the members of the Fiat 500 Club beside the impressive fortress. Together you'll visit a well-known olive mill, to learn about and taste the local extra-virgin olive oil, then you’re invited for lunch at the inn next door.

You’ll have some free time in Santarcangelo before the last outing, a trip down to the seaside town of Cesenatico. Here, you will have the final aperitivo, toast your week together, and cap it off with an unforgettable fish dinner by the sea.

Day 8 - Arrivederci

In the morning you say goodbye to your fellow travelers and your new Italian friends. Better, just say arrivederci, meaning "until we meet again". An 8:30 a.m. departure by private transfer gets you to Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ) by 10:15. Alternatively, you will be taken take to Rimini train station to catch a train for onward travel.

Throughout the holiday, you can participate to the degree you wish, or just help out on the sidelines. The lessons are not mandatory. If you prefer, there is a pool and a garden at the villa. One can take a stroll or nap, and join up for the feast when it is ready. It is impossible to be bored in Italy.

  • Discover small hill towns, such as Longiano, Montiano, and Roncofreddo
  • Explore Urbino, a UNESCO world heritage site
  • Go to an important historical spot, the very place where in 49 BC Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River
  • Have a trip down to the seaside town of Cesenatico
  • Learn about Rimini’s Roman and Renaissance history, then shift to the twentieth century and follow the footsteps of Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini, who was born in Rimini in 1920
  • Trip to a frantoio (olive mill), to learn about and taste the local extra-virgin olive oil
  • Visit a local winery on the Rubicon River, where an expert sommelier will explain the ins and outs of his wine-making followed by a wine tasting accompanied by typical appetizers
  • Visit an area where a very unusual cheese is produced, the formaggio di fossa di Sogliano
  • Visit the medieval town and fortress of San Leo, recognized as one of the most beautiful villages of Italy
  • Alba Rosa

    Alba Rosa has been teaching the joys of Italian cooking to her delighted students for over ten years. Come learn her secret to a perfect piadina!

Perhaps you are already familiar with Emilia, with Modena, Parma and Bologna, and their famous ham, parmesan cheese, and balsamic vinegar. But Romagna is the other half of Emilia-Romagna, and is definitely a land worth exploring. Situated between the sparkling Adriatic Sea and the hills of Tuscany, Romagna boasts a fascinating history and a rich culinary tradition. Romagna is the other half of Emilia-Romagna, and is definitely a land worth exploring.

With its many protected designation of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indication (PGI) products, which are the highest levels of certification given in recognition of authenticity, it is widely regarded as the cradle of Italian culinary tradition. Magnificent PDO and PGI products are fossa cheese, squacquerone cheese, Mora Romagnola pork cold cuts, Razza Romagnola beef, extra virgin olive oil, the legendary piadina, as well as superb wines such as Sangiovese, Albana, Trebbiano, and Pagadebit.

Furthermore, Romagna has a fascinating history and is, along with Florence, Ferrara and Mantua, the cradle of the Renaissance. Two of the most important Renaissance families, the Montefeltro and Malatesta, lived here. The many magnificent castles and fortresses they built attest to their power. Some of them are San Leo, Urbino, Verucchio, Gradara, Roncofreddo, Longiano, Montiano, Montefiore, or Torriana. It seems every hill has a castle.

Many of the Renaissance masters were born or worked here, such as Raffaello, Piero della Francesca, Dante, and Leonardo da Vinci. The name Romagna means "land of the Romans", and in fact there are important Roman monuments, such as the Arch of Augustus and Tiberius’ Bridge in Rimini. Also in Rimini is the legendary Rubicon River that was famously crossed by Julius Caesar in 49 BC.

The retreat is situated in the lively center of Santarcangelo, minutes away from little piazzas, cobblestone streets, shops, wine bars, and cafès.

Nearby places

  • Florence, 95 kilometers
  • Tuscany, 95 kilometers
  • Cooking classes
  • Shopping nearby
  • Swimming
  • Swimming pool
  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Balcony
  • Bar nearby
  • Café nearby
  • Garden
  • Hammock
  • In-room safe
  • Mini bar
  • Restaurant nearby
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Hair dryer
  • Meeting room

Lunches and dinners will take place at the best regional restaurants, where your fellow diners are locals and where you’ll enjoy the excellent wines of the area.

The will be two cooking classes, where you will prepare four-course lunches in a beautiful country house in the Romagna hills. The warm welcome by the owner, Marzia, will start the day. She will introduce you to Alba Rosa, whose merry demeanor and cooking expertise have been delighting students for over ten years. %Together, you will learn the steps and secrets to making pasta, meat dishes, and Italian desserts that you will enjoy at a typical Italian lunch. During the first cooking lesson, you will learn how to make cold cuts, tagliatelle pasta with ragù meat sauce, chicken baked in a casserole Romagna style, roast potatoes with rosemary, and a typical dessert called zuppa inglese.

During the second cooking lesson, you will prepare bruschette and a frittata with herbs, cappelletti in broth, meatballs Romagna style, roast pork with vegetables, and a ricotta cake.

The pizza making will be guided by Ciro, who hails from Naples, the home of Italian pizza. Ciro will show you how to make the perfect dough, which is topped according to your desire, then baked right there in his pizzeria.

  • 7 breakfasts, three lunches, and six dinners
  • 7 nights accommodations
  • A pastry cooking-show
  • A wine lesson and tasting with a sommelier
  • All entry fees for scheduled excursions and tours
  • All hands-on cooking classes
  • Expert bilingual tour leader to accompany at all times
  • Group transfers to and from Bologna airport or Rimini train station at scheduled times
  • Professional licensed guides in San Leo, Urbino, Rimini
  • Wine and other beverages at included lunches and dinners
  • Airfare
  • Consumption of mini bar items in hotel
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary
  • Snacks or drinks between meals
  • Transportation at times other than those scheduled

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ). Buonjourney Italy provides transfer from the airport to Santarcangelo on Sunday. Meeting time is 1:30 p.m. Transfer time is approximately one hour and fifteen minutes.

Arrival by train

You can opt for a train ride to Rimini. There will be a shuttle from the Rimini train station to Santarcangelo. Meeting time is 3:00 p.m. Transfer time is approximately 20 minutes. If you prefer, you can arrive to the train station in Santarcangelo independently and the hotel will pick you up there.

  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled before the arrival date.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.