Pearls of Liguria
DAY 1: ARRIVE ITALY
Arrive Milan Malpensa International airport and be met by your tour manager; transfer to your charming accommodation the Riviera Ligure. Free time to relax after checking in, tonight you will have a delightful Welcome Dinner, in typical seafood restaurant on the seaside.
Return to the resort, overnight.
DAY 2: COOKING CLASS IN GENOA (B,L)
Breakfast in hotel, today you will visit Genoa, the capital of Liguria, where you will have a fun, creative, cultur- al and interesting 360-degree cooking class! You will cook an entire Italian Riviera menu.
The class, in a cozy elegant kitchen in the historic center of the city, is 100% hands-on, your cook will guide you through all the ingredients and the cooking techniques and you will learn how to cook like an Italian (or better like a Genoese!).
During the course you will chat on Genoese and Italian cuisine and you will be told stories behind each local product you will use and each traditional dish we will prepare. It will be a full immersion in the Italian Riviera food culture!
You will learn how to make pesto sauce in the mortar as tradition rules will prepare handmade traditional pasta, a savory pie learning how to stretch dough thin like a bride veil and you will cook an Italian dessert.
During the class you will enjoy an aperitivo where you will taste local wines jointly with samples of local cheese and charcuterie.
The class will end you will eat all together what you prepared, all wrapped up with a digestive as the Italians do. It will be as a lunch with friends.
In the afternoon you will have a digestive walking tour of this interesting city. Genoa, on the northwest coast of Italy, is Italy's principal seaport. Genoa was 2004 European Culture Capital; money flowed into the port city made famous by Columbus and now it's a better place than ever to visit. It has a fascinating aquarium, an interesting port area, and a historic center said to be the largest medieval quarter in Europe, with a wealth of churches, palaces, and museums.
Your local guide will show you the most beautiful spots of the city: Via Garibaldi, heart of the UNESCO World Heritage sites with the richness of its "Palazzi", their frescoes and gilded decorations, Piazza De Ferrari, elegant architecture of the 20th C.; Columbus's house, the imposing Palazzo Ducale, and the stories of the ancient republic; the Cathedral and its treas- ures, Palazzo San Giorgio, the story and Glory of the ancient Marine Republic, creating the bases of our modern economy.
At the end of the tour, free time at your disposal, to discover more of Genoa, before enjoying a delicious seafood dinner in an elegant restaurant on the seaside. Return to your accommoda- tion for overnight.
DAY 3: CINQUE TERRE (B,D)
After breakfast at the resort, you will leave have a half day excursion at the famous Cinque
Terre: a string of five fishing villages perched high on the Italian Riviera, which until recently were linked only by mule tracks and accessible only by rail or water.
You will board the ferry and make stops in the five villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. An ancient system of footpaths is still the best way to visit these beautiful villages.
The Cinque Terre is noted for its beauty. Over centuries, people have carefully built terraces to cultivate grapes and olives on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the Medi- terranean Sea. Each town has a distinct character, but all share a similar aesthetic: narrow, tower-like pastel-colored houses cluster atop one another in an appealingly hodge-podge pattern, and steep streets are interrupted by staircases cutting through the towns’ historic centers. The scenery in Cinque Terre is simply breathtaking.
This beautiful area was recognized in 1997 by the UNESCO Mankind's World Heritage, and today it’s a National Park and Protected Marine Area with the aim of protecting this great cultural heritage and natural environment.
Independent lunch in a typical “osteria”, and in the afternoon you will visit a family-owned farm and winery in Riomaggiore; during the tour you will walk through the sea-view steep slopes and explore the dynamic vineyards, continue then to the cellar and enjoy some quality wine tasting, from the known Schiacchetrà to the classic local white wines, but also surprising reds and rosés. You will listen a local wine expert, owner of the farm, proudly explaining the production of his wines, safeguarding local products that do not have famous name.
Apart from the vineyards, the farm is also involved in beekeeping and the production of integral honey; also, they have a small plantation of lemon trees used for limoncello and jams.
At the end of the day, come back to the mainland and reach your small luxury boutique hotel/resort in the Riviera Ligure, after checking in relax some time before dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. Overnight.
DAY 5: NERVIA VALLEY & MEDIEVAL VILLAGES – ROSSESE WINE TASTING (B,D)
After breakfast at the hotel, you will go for a full day excursion to the the Nervia Valley, where you will visit the most representatives of the Medieval villages in the “Imperiese”: Dolceacqua and Aprica- le. There four more villages (Castellaro – Taggia – Badalucco – Triora), that you can decide to visit in the afternoon, as an alternative to the wine tasting in Dolceacqua.
Apricale is a beautiful and charming historic center. The present town goes back the IX century and preserves part of the medieval walls, three doors with pointed arches and the ancient cas-
tle. Dolceacqua most attractive feature is the oldest part of the village, called Terra, which is situated at the foot of Mount Rebuffao, and it’s dominated by the Doria’s Castle. Also, this village is known for the famous 15th-century, Romanesque bridge that Claude Monet had painted in 1884, defining it "a gem of lightness".
Free lunch and in the afternoon, stop at “Cooperativa Riviera dei Fiori” in Dolceacqua for a Rossese wine tasting: it is believed that the introduction of this vine in Liguria has taken place by the Greeks, but there is also a version that supports the Etruscan thesis. During the Middle Ages Andrea Doria elected it as festive wine for its fleet and centuries later Napoleon also had the opportunity to taste it, sending many bottles to Paris.
Its characteristics, its long tradition and its denomination of origin (DOC) make Rossese wine one of the most popular and appreciated Ligurian wines.
At the end of the tour, you will reach your charming accommodation in the Riviera dei Fiori, check in and have some free time to relax in the grounds of resort/small boutique hotel. Dinner and overnight.
DAY 6: BORDIGHERA AND NOBLE VILLAS (B,D)
Breakfast at the hotel: this morning go to Bordighera, an elegant city, center of the elite tourism of the mid-1800s. Royals, writers and artists from all over Europe but especially English, built here their gorgeous villas and planted exotic gardens. You will visit the splendid villa of Queen Margherita di Savoia, the Villa Garnier, built by the famous
architect of the Paris Opera House and the Giardino Pallanca. Also, your tour manager will lead you to a walking tour of Bordighera historical center: a maze of narrow alleys surrounded by massive walls.
Just behind Bordighera don’t miss Vallebona with the Vecchia Distilleria (old distillery) where they produce Acqua di fiori d’arancio (orange blos- som water) that is ancient product, a natural distillate that has been used for centuries as a beauty secret, as an herbal remedy and above all as an aroma in the kitchen. Here, Pietro Guglielmi grows bitter orange trees few years ago completely lost and distils orange blossom water with the old methods of his ancestors. Actually, this precious water is recognized to be a Slow Food Presidia or Liguria.
DAY 7: SANREMO – TAGGIA AND EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL TASTING (B,D)
After breakfast at the hotel, board your minivan and head to Sanremo, another center of elite tourism of past times as the hotels and villas in Art Nuveau or eclectic style testify.
The first stop in town is Villa Nobel, a Moorish-style building which hosted the famous Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel from 1890 to 1896. It was here that he decided to establish the famous “Nobel prizes”. Nowadays the villa thrives with prestigious cultural initiatives and it houses perma-
nent museum of Nobel relics together with a gallery of Italian Nobel Prizes. Its park is full of age-old and precious plants.
Proceed then to the characteristic historical center, “La Pigna”, which once was the pulse of a no longer existing Sanremo. It was the actual old town and now it is both the “humblest” and the most spontaneous area of the town. It is full of covered alleys, little squares, and terraced houses together with dull colors and long silences which in turn create emotions and sensations unknown to mass tourism. You will reach next Piazza dell’Oratorio, where you can admire the 18th century frescoes inside the oratory. You won’t miss the Palace of the Counts Sapia Rossi, Napoleon was hosted here in 1794. Last stop before visiting the Sanremo city center is Madonna della Costa (Our Lady of the Coast), as the sanctuary is called here in Sanremo. This 17th century building was once a safe landmark for sailors approaching Sanremo. The inside of the sanctuary is richly decorated with marbles and stuccoes.
Free time for lunch, and in the afternoon, you will visit a local farmhouse in Taggia, where you will know more about the extra virgin olive oil production process. Going back to the origins of Taggia means rediscovering the story of a territory where the presence of man is confirmed by the prehistoric remains in the Grotta dell’Arma or the legend according to which Greek navigators on our coasts identified this valley and gave it the name of “Taleia”, a name that is quite similar to Taggia and which means “blooming”.
The original olive trees in the Sanremo hinterland were native to this part of Europe. They were growing before man existed. Today the crop is riper, less bitter and bigger but the Ligurian DOP
oil produced is of the highest quality. The village of Taggia, in fact, give name to the local variety of olive, called the Taggiasca and the town's wealth is, in part, still based on this fine fruit. The olive itself is extremely hardy and grows from sea level up to 1000 meters. Some of the trees live for 300 hundred years and all produce three colors of fruits - red, black and green.
Your expert tour manager will bring you to a local “frantoio”, where you will see the original water wheel and olive presses below the present factory. Return to your charming accommodation, relax some time before a very special Liguria Dinner.
DAY 7: MILAN (B,D)
After breakfast at the hotel proceed to Milan, where you will have a half day guided tour.
Your local art guide will introduce you to Italy’s most stylish city: first stop will be at the medieval Sforza Castle. A grand medieval Castle and fortress, the Sforzesco was once residence for the ruling family of Milan and now houses several of the city's museums and art collections. Visit the splendid Duomo, one of the world's largest, most striking Gothic cathedrals. Some 135 spires and 3,200 statues are crammed onto the roof and facade of the building.
Walk inside Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping gallery, a 19th century glass vaulted shopping arcade. Brimming with fashionable shops and cafes, it is often called the ‘salotto di Milano’ or ‘Milan’s drawing room’ for its importance over the years as a common meeting point for the people of Milan.
Enter Milan’s most famous Opera House, the fabulous La Scala theatre. Founded in 1778 and still in use, some of the world’s greatest musicians and opera singers have performed here includ- ing Pavarotti and Giuseppe Verdi, whose famous operas such as Falstaff often premiered in this very theatre.
Independent lunch and in the afternoon, free time at your disposal to know more about Italy’s fashion capital, you maybe want to have walk to the Qudrilatero della Moda (Milan’s fashion district). Visitors come from all over the world to shop in the boutiques and showrooms, or just to stroll around and admire the shop windows, often showcases of superb taste and exclusive design. Or you can visit Brera District, the artistic heart of the city. In fact, as you stroll along the streets of this ancient district, you cannot help but be enchanted by its almost surreal atmosphere boasting small artisan’s workshops or quaint stores selling canvases and paints. Additionally, Brera is home to the impressive Accademia di Belle Arti, where visitors can admire Milan’s famous painting collection at
the Pinacoteca (the Brera Picture Gallery), the historic Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense (Braidense National Library), the Museo Astronomico (The Astronomical Museum), the oldest scientific research institute in the city and the Giardino Botanico (Botanical Gardens), an evocative green space located.
At the end of the day reach your hotel in Milan’s city center, dinner and overnight.
DAY 7: ARRIVEDERCI ITALIA (B,D)
After breakfast at the hotel proceed to Milan Malpensa International Airport to catch your flight back home.