The Buon Gusto experience from Piedmont to Lake Garda
5 – 15 October 2018
By combining sightseeing, wine tastings and carefully selected accommodation, a Buon Gusto Experience is one of the best ways to discover the true essence of Italy.
Rushdown Travel and long-time Italy-based associate Antonella Trono are excited to be offering a new customised travel experience in Italy for a deep immersion in the less travelled areas and their food and wine culture.
Between us, we bring decades of industry knowledge, personal experience running tours and a deep passion for Italy
Rushdown Travel is an IATA boutique travel agency led by Melissa Rush with over 20 years of experience in individual and group travel to Italy. Over the years, Melissa has developed strong relationships with travel agents, hotels, restaurants and the service providers across Italy and Europe.
Antonella Trono, Italian native who is fluent in English, has been in the travel industry for the same time. Antonella has a food and wine marketing diploma and lives mostly in Lake Garda. She will be attending the tour, supervising all the activities and sharing her insights with participants.
On this Tour, we will travel idyllic wine roads, with the vineyards at their best in autumn foliage; the castles of Piedmont, the region of Franciacorta in Lombardy, the delightful fishing villages of Lakes Iseo and Garda.
Piedmont is one of the most famous wine regions in the world and a “must do” for wine lovers and collectors. On this tour, you can look forward to wine tastings at premium small Barolo and Barbaresco estates. Furthermore, Piedmont is a region of food excellence. Alba is the seat of the Bocuse d’Or Italy Academy and hosts the International White Truffle Fair in October and November. The city of Bra, nestled in the hills of Roero and Langhe, in the 1980’s became the birthplace of the Slow Food Movement and is home to the University of Gastronomic Sciences.
The picturesque wine region of Franciacorta is a local best kept secret, virtually untouched by non-Italian tourists. Famed for its champenois method bubbles, considered to be on a par with the finest Champagnes, Franciacorta is an undiscovered destination. Along with bubbles, we will discover the treasured Italian caviar and its long history
From Franciacorta, the Tour will proceed East to reach the shores of Lake Garda. This area offers superb views and a wonderful atmosphere, as well as more wines and cuisine. We will be staying in Desenzano del Garda, one of the most glamorous holiday destinations in Italy. We will enjoy Valtenesi, Lugana – Colli Morenici and Amarone wines and some of the finest olive oils of Italy.
Day 1 - 05 October: Arrival in Torino, Piedmont Accommodation: Allegro Italia Hotel 5*
Torino, the aristocratic first capital of Italy, is a gorgeous city. Once home to the Savoy Italian royal family, it has been until a dozen of years ago the city of the Fiat dynasty, nowadays enjoying a wealthy post industrial status.
- Royal residences, historical cafes and restaurants.
- Dinner at Ristorante Del Cambio 1757 or similiar
Day 2 - 06 October
Free time to relax and enjoy the riches of Torino, its elegant piazzas and porticoes; indulge in luscious coffees, chocolate and window shopping
Day 3 - 07 October: Le Langhe district, Piedmont Accommodation: Albergo dell’Agenzia, Bra 4*
From Torino, we will be driving South to the Langhe wine hills, World Heritage Site. The landscape of these vineyard hills has been declared the 50th Italian location to be protected by UNESCO.
We check in at Albergo dell’Agenzia, the brainchild of Slow Food, housed in the same complex as the University of Gastronomic Sciences and the Wine Bank. The neo-Gothic buildings, part of King Carlo Alberto of Savoy’s royal estate, were restored in the 1990s, to form a prestigious hub of food and wine culture
Lunch at leisure in Pollenzo
Short drive to Bra and dinner at Osteria Muri Vecchi – or similar
- Pollenzo and its ancient Roman heritage
- The Wine Bank and Slow Food
- University of Gastronomy
Day 4 - 08 October: Alba and the Roero district, Piedmont Accommodation: Albergo dell’Agenzia, Bra 4*
We will start our day with a drive to a small town where we will walk through the country with a truffle hunter, or “trifulao,” and his faithful dog.
Lunch at a local winery.
After lunch stop in Alba, the town of white truffle, for a walk through its historical centre with amazing food shops. This is the also the area of hazelnuts, used for sweet spreads. Nutella was born here, but you will taste some excellent niche varieties of nougats and spreads!
Evening at leisure in Pollenzo
- Truffle discovery
- Visit to winery with lunch and cooking demonstration
- Alba, the city of truffle
Day 5 - 09 October: The Langhe district, Piedmont Accommodation: Albergo dell’Agenzia, Bra 4*
Sightseeing drive through the Langhe district: La Morra, Barolo, Monforte d’Alba. We are in the heart of Italian wine royalty
and will be visiting the Cordero di Montezemolo winery, with a wine tasting and light lunch. Drive on to Grinzane Cavour and its castle.
Our dinner will be a Merenda Sinoira (traditional summer early dinner in Piedmontese dialect) at an Agriturismo. This is the most genuine way to taste the real Piedmontese cuisine! In the characteristic and warm atmosphere of a wine cellar, you will be delighted with a bevy of antipasti and local delicacies, paired of course, with the right wines.
- Wine villages
- Merenda Sinoira
Day 6 - 10 October: Departure to Lombardy Accommodation: Relais Franciacorta, Colombaro di Cortefranca, 4*
Head towards Monferrato with a stop and light lunch in Asti.
Drive to Franciacorta, where Italy’s best metodo classico sparkling wines are produced – not to be confused with Prosecco – as well as beautiful reds and whites (Curtefranca).
Check in Franciacorta Resort; Aperitivi and wine tastings, dinner at a local restaurant
- Tastings of Asti Moscato d’Asti with a stop and light lunch in Asti.
- Aperitivi and wine tastings at the Relais
Day 7 - 11 October: Franciacorta and Lake Iseo Accommodation: Relais Franciacorta, Colombaro di Cortefranca 4*
The day will start with a trip around the area, to reach Lake Iseo, the place where artist Christo made a floating pier (no longer there) the art event most seen in the world.
The region is also renowned for its salami making, as well as cheese. We will enjoy them during a sumptuous lunch at Castello Olofredi on the lake. After lunch, will do a boat trip to Monteisola (a unique lake island) and walk around it.
- Lake Iseo, the place where artist Christo made a floating pier.
- Lunch at Castello Olofredi on the lake.
- Boat trip to Monteisola (a unique lake island) and walking excursion
- Evening at leisure
Day 8 - 12 October: Departure to Lake Garda. Accommodation: Park Hotel, Desenzano del Garda 4*
Before leaving Franciacorta, we will visit one of the top wineries of the area. Will have a tour of the beautiful vineyards and impressive cellars, then band will try different varieties,
Another secret to be unveiled is the ancient history of caviar making in the province of Brescia, in an area rich in fresh spring water. We will participate at a caviar tasting, paired of course with Franciacorta bubbles.
Check in at our hotel; evening at leisure in the lively town of Desenzano; take a stroll along the magnificent lakeside promenade, lined with bars and cafes.
- Bubbles and Italian caviar experience
Day 9- 13 October: The Valtenesi Hills Accommodation: Park Hotel, Desenzano del Garda 4*
We will be staying in Desenzano del Garda and driving the Valtenesi hills, stretching to the spectacular lakeside town of Salò.
The hills, etched with vine trellises, are dotted with castles and medieval villages, and constitute the Garda Classico DOC wine region. The appellations we will discover are the light, rose-coloured Chiaretto, the rare, autochthonous Groppello and the full-bodied Rosso Superiore.
- Visit Valtenesi wineries and small towns, including Padenghe, Moniga, San Felice and Salò.
- Evening at leisure in the lively town of Desenzano
Day 10 - 14 October: Lugana and Colli Morenici Accommodation: Park Hotel, Desenzano del Garda, 4*
The Lugana area stretches between the southern shore of Lake Garda and the spectacular Morainic Hills, created by the long, slow erosion of glaciers in the late Ice Age. We will discover the area, heading towards Sirmione and Peschiera del Garda in the Province of Verona. The limestone soil with its stratifications of clay make this the ideal zone for producing Lugana and Bianco di Custoza. We will also sample one of Italy’s super reds, Amarone della Valpolicella.
- Stop at a winery in Lugana for a visit and tasting.
- The spa town of Sirmione and its Romans Ruins.
- Farewell dinner in San Martino della Battaglia.