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7 Day Wellness, Culture, and Food Holiday in the Hidden Emilia Romagna, Bologna

Hotel Helvetia, Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 11, 40046 Porretta Terme BO, Italy

Italian Cultural, Wellness and Culinary Vacation

Join Italia Sweet Italia on this week of Italian cultural, wellness and culinary vacation in the green and hilly area of the Emilia Romagna region. This is a fully escorted tour in the land where Parmigiano Reggiano was born and where the first University of the West World was founded. Stay in a quiet spa village where the old Romans took already their bath with precious healing waters in an authentic territory between the city of Bologna and Tuscany, in the Italian Appennines. Live an immersive adventure in the Italian culture and traditions, in a quiet territory, historically a land of passage between North and South Italy. You really get to know the local life with a licensed and local tour guide that shared University with Fabrizio. Visit secrets places, the best of the region’s off-the-beaten-track. This is a tour that will give you insights into daily life, food and wine, culture and production in Emilia Romagna and will let you discover the authentic and uncrowded Italy in a balanced mix of experiences, relax, adventure and learning.

Highlights

  • Live like a local and sleep in a spa four-star hotel in a hilly area
  • Visit Bologna, the home of the oldest university of the West World
  • Discover how the traditional Prosciutto and Parmigiano Reggiano are made
  • Travel to a pretty Tuscan town through one of the oldest railway lines in Italy
  • Relax or shop in a local Italian market and inspired by the principles of sustainable travel
  • Enjoy the taste of the traditional bolognese egg pasta and learn it from locals
  • Visit an Emilia Romagna acclaimed winemaker
  • Free airport transfers at a scheduled time

Styles


7 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: Italian
Airport transfer included: Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
16:00
Check-out Time:
09:00

Facilities

  • Spa
  • Swimming pool (indoor)
  • Lobby
  • Restaurant

During this tour, you will stay in a Superior room at the centrally located 4* Hotel Helvetia. A refined hotel, an excellent wellness center, a thermal water paradise: a spa and beauty farm that comes from a centuries-old tradition. It’s located in Emilia Romagna, in the heart of the Tuscan Emilian Apennines where hospitality, the art of welcoming and “good living” is at its best. Helvetia Thermal Spa has Classic, Superior and Deluxe rooms, elegantly furnished and equipped with all the comforts to make your stay pleasant.

Program

Day 1: Bologna airport/railway station pick up and welcome with an Emilian dinner

  • Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ)/railway station pick up at 2:30 p.m. and transfer to Porretta Terme Spa village
  • Check-in at the charming Hotel Helvetia Thermal Spa in the town center
  • Get to know your guide and learn more about the 7-day cultural, wellness and culinary vacation
  • Try the regional hotel restaurant to enjoy a welcome group dinner
  • Included: Dinner

Day 2: A visit to the local food market, make homemade pasta, explore the countryside

You meet at the hotel with your private guide after a leisurely traditional breakfast. You’ll drive to a Bolognese local food market to get seasonal products. There, you’ll have the opportunity to practice a little bit of Italian even if you don’t speak any of it.

Next, you’ll drive to the relaxing countryside where you’ll have an exclusive and authentic cooking class with Marisa. You’ll learn how easy it is to make fresh pasta and you’ll be introduced to the authentic Emilia Romagna mood. A sample menu based on traditional recipes, includes bread, tortellini, and a traditional dessert - of course, this depends on seasonal availability.

In the afternoon, enjoy your lunch with the traditional dishes, while relaxing in a quiet countryside atmosphere. Return to the hotel in Porretta Terme and enjoy the village or try the hotel spa wellness area.

In the evening, you may experience dinner on your own in one of the restaurants of Porretta. You are free to choose, spending time like a local trying a dinner or a simple aperitif, a gelato or a pizza. Obviously, the tour guide will suggest her favorite places.

  • Included: Breakfast, lunch, and cooking lesson

Day 3: Discover Bologna, the red, the learned and the fat city. Enjoy a bolognese traditional lunch, taste balsamic vinegar and meet a winery producer

You meet at the hotel with your private guide after breakfast. Then you’ll drive to the Bologna city center. Culture, wine, and food city highlights. Piazza Maggiore, with the main monuments and the historical places of this ancient city. You will visit some old Bottega to try some local regional products (such as chocolate and traditional balsamic vinegar)

In the afternoon, lunch in a traditional Trattoria (you will taste the Bolognese style) will be followed by free time to do some shopping or take a break in the central Piazza Maggiore. Transfer to a winery to meet Floriano and have a tour of the vineyards with a wine tasting experience then return to the hotel and free evening.

  • Included: Breakfast, lunch, and tasting

Day 4: Discover the unexpected Tuscany for a day. A short trip by train to South

You meet on time at the hotel with your private guide, after breakfast. You will take a train to Tuscany traveling on a historical railway line, one of the oldest in Italy. Explore Pistoia, a Tuscan charming city center with the traditional market where you can find leather products, Italian clothing as well as the fresh fruit and vegetable market.

Enjoy your lunch in a “slow food ” traditional restaurant where you can taste some Tuscan food in a warm atmosphere then take a train back to Porretta. In the evening, you may experience dinner on your own in one of the many restaurants in the village.

  • Included: Breakfast and lunch

Day 5: Discover the food land. Parmigiano Reggiano and Prosciutto producers in the Bologna hills and a small village decorated by artists

You meet at the hotel with your private guide after breakfast. You’ll drive to a Parmigiano Reggiano authorized mountain producer. The “king of the cheeses” is made in a special way, following the Consortium rules. You will understand why this natural product is so appreciated all over the world together with Francesca and Antonio.

Afterward, you will reach a village on the hills, around 700 meters above the sea level. The small town walls are decorated by artists. Enjoy your lunch in a simple and genuine family-owned restaurant active since 1936. The food served is produced by local farmers

In the afternoon, immersed in nature and surrounded by green sceneries, you’ll drive to reach Emanuele and Giuseppe, Prosciutto producers. It is a niche production, for the high quality of the meat. You will understand the reason on the spot. Drive back to the hotel.

In the evening, you may enjoy dinner or aperitif on your own in one of the many restaurants and wine bars of Porretta

  • Included: Breakfast, lunch, and tasting

Day 6: Discover the Appennines landscapes. The ancient medieval villages and a fascinating castle

You meet at the hotel with your private guide after breakfast. You’ll drive following the northside of the river Reno and explore the area with a castle and an ancient medieval mountain village in the timeless atmosphere of land rich of history

In the afternoon, enjoy your lunch in a traditional Appennine restaurant where you will have the opportunity to try other dishes from the Bolognese culinary tradition. In the evening, you’ll prepare and you'll have the last dinner together (including the traditional tigelle) immersed in the Appennines countryside that will become familiar to you during your stay. A moment of conviviality before departure

  • Included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and cooking lesson

Day 7: Goodbye and transfer to Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ)

After breakfast, you will leave (usually at 9:00 a.m.) for Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ) (it is around one hour driving from the hotel) or your next destination so make sure to get an afternoon flight.

Note about your itinerary

Your Itinerary is a guide to your activities during the week. However, sometimes Italia Sweet Italia modifies the final itinerary to take advantage of the season and the weather. The goal is to ensure that everyone has a fabulous time, and that sometimes means tweaking the schedule even after your arrival. Your guide will provide suggestions during the week, and the group will decide if any modifications are desired. Be assured that only enhanced experiences are ever considered.

Who this tour suitable for?

  • The tour is suitable for everybody that traveled enough to know that touristy vacations are just not them and long for more authentic travel, ways to truly experience the culture and people they’re visiting
  • Those appreciate la dolce vita and the pleasures of exquisite food, wine, and fellowship with others who share their passions
  • Those are not afraid to take bold steps to learn something new and to explore something completely out of the ordinary
  • The minimum age is 14 (14-18 accompanied by an adult) with no upper age limit
  • Perfect for solo travelers, couples, groups of friends and even families are welcomed
  • No need to have any experience in cooking or painting or do pottery or speaking Italian to join this tour. Experienced course tutors will soon discover your level of knowledge and will adapt their approach accordingly
  • All classes are taught in both Italian and English so you’ll have the opportunity to learn and practice a little bit of Italian

Included excursions

  • Visit Bolognese local food market to get seasonal products
  • Drive to the countryside for an exclusive and authentic cooking class
  • Culture, wine, and food city tour in Bologna city center
  • Vineyard tour with a wine tasting
  • Explore Pistoia, a Tuscan charming city center with the traditional market
  • Visit Parmigiano Reggiano authorized mountain producer
  • Visit Emanuele and Giuseppe, Prosciutto producers
  • Explore the area with a castle and an ancient medieval mountain village in the northside of River Reno

Location

Emilia Romagna is located in the northern part of Italy, in an easterly direction, towards the Adriatic Sea. To the west, it is separated from the Tuscany region by the Apennine mountains. The main cities of the region are located along the ancient Strada Via Emilia, originally founded by the Romans.

Bologna is the most important city because it is located in the center, as well to be the seat of a secular university and to be the economical headquarter of the area. Bologna is also well known for its culinary tradition, which makes it today, a preferred destination for gourmets. We must not forget that Bologna is the city of the sauce (ragout), traditional egg pasta (lasagna, tortellini, tagliatelle), mortadella, Parmigiano Reggiano and many other specialties that you can taste during your visit.

After visiting this city, the most interesting thing is exploring what is outside it, hidden places where the tradition of small villages has been preserved. The hill of Bologna, in the direction of Tuscany, is particularly suitable for relaxing stays, in the greenery and in contact with people who have decided not to move to the city to favor provincial life.

Porretta Terme (European Destinations of Excellence-Eden Network) is located in the green Apennines. The Baths of Porretta are over 2000 years old and a legend says that it was thanks to a sick ox, unable to hold the plow and left free by its owner, that the properties of the waters were discovered: the ox, in one of his pilgrimages, quenched his thirst at the thermal spring and regained its strength. Since then, the cured ox has been the emblem of the Terme di Porretta.

The history of the Porretta spa is over a thousand years vast and very articulated. From the sources of the Terme di Porretta, both sulfurous and salsobromoiodic waters flow, with characteristics that make them exceptional. They are waters in which the concentration of elements, indispensable for the proper functioning of our body, is particularly high.

Porretta is a small town born around two rivers and starting from the nineteenth century, thanks to the historic railway, it is a destination for aristocratic thermal tourism in Italy. The historic center has a tree-lined avenue suitable for strolling, on which there are shops and the square with buildings in warm colors (yellow, ocher) and the presence of the town hall, which develops in the direction of the ancient spa building. An authentic and peaceful place characterized by village life.

Food

Since cuisine is such an important part of the Italian culture, Italia Sweet Italia endeavors to expose you to as many local specialties as possible. Italy is very famous for its food, with each region boasting specialties related to climate, history, and traditions. Most travelers cite their meals, including their selection of small, out-of-the-way dining venues, as the high points of our trips.

Food highlights

  • Day 1: Dinner in a traditional restaurant
  • Day 2: Breakfast and lunch after the homemade pasta cooking class in the countryside
  • Day 3: Breakfast, lunch in a traditional Trattoria (you will taste the Bolognese style), and wine tasting
  • Day 4: Breakfast and lunch in a “slow food ” traditional restaurant where you can taste some Tuscan food
  • Day 5: Breakfast, lunch in a simple and genuine family-owned restaurant, and tasting
  • Day 6: Breakfast, lunch in a traditional Appennine restaurant, and dinner after a cooking class
  • Day 7: Breakfast

Italia Sweet Italia is usually happy to accommodate restrictions if they get to know them well in advance. This is true for vegetarians, vegans, people who are gluten-free, and for people with food allergies and intolerances. They do not recommend people with life-threatening food allergies take their tours, as even with their best efforts, they cannot guarantee you will not come into contact with certain allergens.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 6 nights accommodation at Hotel Helvetia Thermal Spa (superior rooms) in the town center of Porretta Terme or similar accommodation
  • Thermal Spa access and kit spa (towels, bathrobe, and slippers)
  • Daily breakfast buffet
  • 7 meals (food, water, house wine) in selected restaurants, a farmhouse, and a winery. Some evenings are free for you to explore the town by yourself
  • 2 hands-on authentic Emilian cooking classes and associated food costs
  • Daily trips, experiences, and excursions
  • Pick up and drop-off at Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ) or railway station on request
  • Personalized cooking booklet and apron
  • All transports for daily trips and excursions
  • All entry fees for excursions, tours and wine, balsamic vinegar, chocolate, salami, and cheese tastings
  • English-speaking tour manager throughout the vacation
  • All taxes

What's not included

  • Airfares
  • Cap (mandatory to access the bath -not included in the kit spa)
  • Extra treatments (i.e.: massages)
  • Money spent on personal interests
  • Snacks/drinks between meals, or any meals not listed on the itinerary
  • Personal expenses like phone calls, visa costs, laundry or tips
  • Travel insurance (not obligatory, but recommended)
  • Drinks not listed in the itinerary (an extra bottle of wine, for example)
  • The cost of additional excursions or activities

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ). Transfer from and to this airport at a scheduled time is included. Italia Sweet Italia representative will pick you up at the airport.

Please note that all guests joining this tour are responsible for ensuring they make it to the meeting point by 2:30 p.m. at Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ) or railway station. Those who are unable to be on time will not be guaranteed a transfer from Bologna to Porretta and will have to seek other arrangements to participate in the remainder of the tour. Anyway, don’t worry, there are many daily public buses trains that connect Bologna with Porretta.

Arrival by train

If you arrive by train, a free transfer will also be provided at a scheduled time. Please send an inquiry to Italia Sweet Italia for further information.

Airport: Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport Airport transfer included: Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 25% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Food
Location
Quality of activity
7 days / 6 nights
from --
Saturday May 8, 2021
(7 days / 6 nights)

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