Italian Odyssey Real Food Adventure
15 days
From $ 5415
Duration15 days

Uncover the secrets of Italian cuisine while travelling from Venice to Sorrento. Italians are the masters of creating simple dishes that sing with flavour. Regional, seasonal and as fresh as possible, Italy’s cuisine is hearty, satisfying and made with heart. On this trip you get the best of the northern and southern Italian cuisine. Discover why the southern Italian regions of Abruzzo, Puglia, Basilicata and Campania are the newest foodie hot spots everyone's raving about. Dine on a converted fishing platform on the Adriatic Sea, savour Apulian classics in a fortified farmhouse and sample burrata cheese. Italy’s food is authentic and surprising – pizza and pasta are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the diverse array of unforgettable food you’ll find on this adventure that travels from Venice to Sorrento.

This tour is operated by

  • Duration: 15 days
    Service level: Standard
  • Physical Grading: Light
  • Ages: 15+
Italian Odyssey Real Food Adventure - Tour Map


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Day 1: Venice
Buongiorno! Welcome to Italy and the iconic city of Venice. If you arrive early, take some time to get lost in Venice's narrow cobblestone streets and spacious piazzas, crossing the tiny bridges to find shops, markets, galleries, churches and stunning buildings. Stroll past St Mark’s Square, the Campanile and the Doges Palace. Cross the Rialto and admire the Bridge of Sighs. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting tonight at 6pm. Please ask reception to confirm the time and place of your meeting. Have your insurance details and next of kin information on hand for collection by your leader. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. Afterwards, head out for a welcome aperitivo - the spritz and the bellini are local favourites. Venice's distinctive culinary heritage goes back to ancient times and features rich risottos, saline baccala (salted cod) and creamy polenta. If you're hungry, follow your leader to an atmospheric restaurant for your first introduction to Venetian flavours.
Day 2: Venice
It's an early start today. Walk down to the canals and watch farmers unload their produce from canal boats, ready to be sold at Venice's famous Rialto markets. This tradition is more than 1,000 years old. Next, swing past the fish market, where the catch of the day might come direct from the Venetian lagoon, the enclosed bay of the Adriatic Sea in which the city of Venice is situated. Finish with an Italian cafe alongside the market. You'll also be treated to a specialty dessert of the region, tiramisu. The afternoon is free for your own exploration.
In the evening, discover the Venetian answer to tapas on a 'cicchetti' crawl through the city's fabulous bacari (wine bars). Snacking is an important pastime in Venice, with many people stopping for cicchetti (small bites) both before and after meals. Don't forget to try a 'spritz'. This mix of white wine, Campari or Aperol and soda water is a popular accompaniment to wash down the delicious cicchetti.
Meals: B, D
Day 3: Bologna
Travel to Bologna by train (approximately 2 hours). Bologna's culinary claim to fame is a significant one, thanks to the ragu alla bolognese. Home of tagliatelle, mortadella and a range of other cured meats and salamis, Bologna, along with the surrounding Emilia Romagna region, is a bonafide food mecca. On arrival, drop your bags at the hotel then get out and acquaint yourself with this city of beautiful old terracotta buildings and lively streets. Later in the day you'll discover the 'real food' of Bologna, with a hands on-cooking class in the fine art of pasta-making. Feast on your handiwork over dinner.
Meals: B, D
Day 4: Emilia Romana
Get an early jump on the day with a trip to discover the flavours of the renowned Emilia Romagna region. Visit a factory dedicated to the production of one of Italy's most coveted culinary exports – the mighty Parmigiano Reggiano. Get an insight into how this cheese is made, then enjoy a tasting. Continue to the town of Modena (approximately 1 hour) and visit an acetaia, a house where the family produce fine aged Modena balsamic vinegar in the attic. You'll see how the vinegar is aged in barrels made from different woods, and is never less than 12 years old (often well over 25). Taste it and learn the difference between the real stuff and the mass-produced kind. Over lunch, sample some of the town's other specialties: tortellini, or, for the adventurous, zampone (stuffed pig's trotter). Lambrusco, the town's famed sparkling red, makes for a fine accompaniment. Take some time to stroll around this delightful town, admire the Palazzo Ducale and, if you're still hungry, ask your leader about the great specialty panini shop in the market. Return to Bologna in the late afternoon.
Meals: B, L
Day 5: San Gimignano
Travel by train and taxi (approximately 3 hours) to the village of Pancole, located in the heart of Tuscany between Florence and Siena. The region is renowned for a cuisine that celebrates simplicity and the bounty of locally grown produce in hearty, rustic dishes. Pecorino cheese, farro (an ancient grain) and artisanal cured meats like lardo di Colonnata are just some of the many local ingredients you can expect to indulge in during your stay. Your accommodation is a traditional Tuscan farmhouse, located about 7kms from the enchanting village of San Gimignano. The farmhouse is surrounded by vineyards and olive trees from which the family has been producing excellent wine and olive oil by organic methods for over fifty years. Enjoy a guided walk through the vineyards and cellars of the estate, followed by a tasting of some signature Tuscan wines. The wine tasting will be accompanied by some delicious cheeses, oilve oil and bruschetta.
Meals: B, D
Day 6: San Gimignano
Take a walk (approximately 1.5 hours; 7 kilometres) along a portion of the Via Francigena, the major pilgrimage route to Rome during the Middle Ages. The walk is on easy terrain, although comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Explore the medieval walled town of San Gimignano. San Gimignano is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is often called the 'Town of Fine Towers' due to the preservation of a number of impressive 'torre' or tower houses within its walls. The town is also known for its white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, produced from the ancient variety of Vernaccia grape which is grown on the surrounding sandstone hillsides. If you're keen to learn more, there is an informative wine museum located in the town. Before returning, stop past an award-winning gelateria, where intriguing flavours like Gorgonzola cheese and walnuts are waiting to be tasted. Spend the rest of your time exploring the walking paths around the farm or, weather permitting, relaxing by the pool, enjoying beautiful views of the Tuscan countryside.
Meals: B
Day 7: Rome
Today jump on a train to Rome. Take a guided food expedition through the historical city centre of Rome. Walk past the Pantheon, Navona Square, Campo del Fiori, the Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere building up an appetite for the food stops along the way. Sample a robust Italian espresso in a charming, historical cafeteria. Pushing on through the streets, take the chance to savour some delicious semifreddo for a cold, sweet treat; tuck in to doughy mortadella-garnished pizzas; sample pecorino cheese and wash it down with a glass of frascati before finishing off with some sweet kranz (Jewish cake) for dessert. After an afternoon of eating (and an ever fuller belly), toast the end of this adventure with your new friends. The Foodie walk will be approximately 3 hours in duration so bring comfortable walking shoes.
Meals: B, D
Day 8: Rome
Buongiorno! Welcome to the cobbled streets of Rome. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting tonight at 6 pm. Please ask reception to confirm the time and place of your meeting. Have your insurance details and next of kin information on hand for verification by your leader. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. After the welcome meeting, get to know your fellow foodies over a bowl of pasta in the rione (administrative division) of Monti, home to some of the city's most famous monuments. There are no activities planned before the 6 pm meeting, so if you arrive early consider doing as the Romans do and sipping an espresso at one of the tiny streetside cafes and sampling the many flavours of gelato that colour the city.
Meals: D
Day 9: Rome
Today you’ll visit a local family at their farm just outside of Rome and take a tour of their small vineyard and vegetable garden. The family's patriarch makes his own wine and refuses to drink anything else at home (and brings it along with him wherever he goes)! He's sure to offer you a drop, and once you've had a swirl and a sniff you won’t want to say no. Depending on the season, you may head to a local market or shop to pick up some extra ingredients before joining the family at home to cook up a Roman farmhouse feast. Eat, drink and be merry in a way only the Italians can, before returning to Rome in the late afternoon and doing as you please for the rest of the day.
Meals: B, L
Day 10: Avetrana
Rise and shine for a morning train to Brindisi. It’s a 5-hour journey, so you might want to pack a book for the ride. Or maybe just get to know your fellow travellers a little better. From here, take a private transfer to a masseria (fortified farmhouse) in Avetrana, a seaside town right in the heel of Italy’s boot where you will be spending the evening. Enjoy an afternoon stuffed with gastronomical delights. Taste rich olive oil and wine varietals made on site, then sit down to a rustic and delicious Puglian dinner. Though the exact menu will change depending on the season, expect to taste plenty of tomatoes and seafood!
Meals: B, D
Day 11: Matera
Drive to the World Heritage-listed city of Alberobello, famous for its white-washed, conical-roofed huts, called trulli. Stop en route for a tasting of fresh, soft mozzarella and a demonstration of how this cheese is made. Arrive in Alberobello and enjoy a guided walk with your leader before spending a few hours wandering among the hundreds of limestone houses. Continue to Matera, a stunning city built into caves and cliffs where you will stay for two nights in a Sassi hotel. The Sassi is an area of extraordinary dwellings, half-carved and half-constructed from the surrounding tufo (tuff) rock, in which people have been living since Palaeolithic times. Everything here is built into rock, including the restaurants, where you’ll find massive plates of antipasti, fresh produce and some of the best bread in Italy on the menu.
Meals: B
Day 12: Matera
Explore otherworldly Matera on a guided walking tour and learn about the fascinating history of a place once considered the shame of Italy. Up until the 1950s Matera was severly impoverished, and many residents lived in the Sassi caves without running water or electricity. Learn about this remote city’s transformation and go deep with a tour of the underground Ipogeo Materasum – a series of roads, cisterns and places of worship that lie up to 12-metres below. Then, journey into the other belly of Matera with a local Amaro Lucano tasting. This famed herbal digestive was first made in Matera. Cap off a full day by learning to craft orecchiette, the ear-shaped pasta that is popular in Italy’s south. After the pasta making demonstration enjoy dinner overlooking Sassi and make a toast to this surprising city.
Meals: B, D
Day 13: Sorrento
Bid arrivederci to limestone caves and wave buongiorno to  lemon trees as you take a private transfer to Sorrento. Get right into the spirit of this historic resort town (Byron, Dickens, Tolstoy and more holidayed here) with a Limoncello tasting. Like all perfect seaside towns, Sorrento has a wealth of local gelato makers serving up soft, melt in your mouth goodness. Learn how this fine treat is made during a demonstration, and then spend the evening at your leisure. Why not soak up the beauty of this location with dinner by the water.
Meals: B
Day 14: Sorrento
No food trip to Italy would be compete without a pizza making demonstration, and we’ve saved the best for last. Learn to prepare this southern classic at an idyllic agriturismo outside of Sorrento and then settle in for a delicious farewell dinner with the group.
Meals: B, D
Day 15: Sorrento
Ciao! This mouth-watering adventure through southern Italy comes to an end today and there are no activities scheduled.
Meals: B



  • Venice - Welcome Aperitivo
  • Venice Cicchetti Tasting
  • Venice - Venetian Breakfast and Market Tour
  • Bologna Pasta Making Class including Dinner
  • Modena - Acetaia Visit
  • Modena - Trattoria Lunch
  • Agriturismo - Olive Oil tasting
  • Agriturismo - Wine Tour and Tasting
  • San Gimignano - Orientation Walk and Town Tour
  • San Gimignano - Gelateria visit
  • San Gimignano - Wine Museum
  • Rome - Farm tour and cooking class
  • Masseria - Olive Oil and Wine Tasting
  • Masseria - Mozzarella Tasting
  • Matera - Guided Walking Tour
  • Matera - Ipogeo Underground Cistern visit
  • Matera - Amaro Liqueur Tasting
  • Orecchiette making demo
  • Sorrento Gelato Making Demonstration
  • Sorrento Limoncello Tasting
  • Transport

    Train, Metro, Private Vehicle, Bus, Taxi
  • Accommodation

    Hotel (12 nights), Farmstay (2 nights)

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