October 1-11, 2018 | Food and Faith Excursion in Italy

​October 1-11, 2018 | Food and Faith Retreat in Italy

Itinerary (Click to view event flyer)

Monday, October 1st- Day 1: Depart from USA

Depart on an overnight flight from Newark to Turin.

Tuesday, October 2nd- Day 2: TURIN

Welcome to Italy. Upon arrival, meet the tour manager and board our motorcoach – Meet our
local guide to visit the city center and celebrate Mass in the Church of St John ( Blessed Pier
Giorgio Frasatti and San Giovanni Bosco). Lunch is on our own at Eataly, the famous Italian
food emporium. In the afternoon we see the replica of the Shroud of Turin, before departing for
Pollenzo for dinner and overnight. (D)

Wednesday, October 3rd- Day 3: ALBA for Truffle Hunting – BAROLO for wine tasting – CHERASCO for Baci chocolates.
After breakfast, we board our motorcoach for a short bus drive to the village of Alba. Upon
arrival, we celebrate Holy Mass. Alba is a picturesque town in the heart of Piedmont that’s
renowned worldwide for its succulent white truffles, velvety red Barolo and Barbaresco wines
and wonderful fruit! Enjoy the site of castles, medieval palaces and towers, and many churches.
From the middle of September to the end of December the truffle hunters from Alba scour
the secret pathways among the hills of the Langhe and Roero areas. We will be guided by a
Trifolao (truffle hunter) and his trusty hound, among hills and woods, to learn the secrets of this
precious hunt for white Alba Truffle. Lunch today is in a local restaurant to taste the Truffles.
Following lunch, we board our coach and head toward Barolo. This famous little town is the
destination for those who love Italian food and wine. They come to taste the grapes and see
the wine museum WIMU. We experience a wine tasting followed by a visit to the WIMU – Settled
in a thousand-year-old castle, this is Italy’s most innovative wine museum. Instead of focusing
on soil, grape varieties and fermentation, the Swiss architect François Confino, takes you on
a sensory tour through the history of wine in nature, art, cooking, cinema, music, literature,
myth and traditions. After our tour, we drive to Cherasco to visit Ravera Chocolate factory to
taste the “Baci Ravera di Cherasco” which is the leading product of this factory. With the purest
Piemonte I.G.P. (Protected Geographical Indication) extra plain chocolate and hazelnuts, these
typical chocolates are prepared entirely by hand. Return to the hotel for some time on your own.
Overnight Pollenzo. Dinner is on our own tonight. (B, L)

Thursday, October 4th- Day 4: BOLOGNA
This morning, our journey takes us to Bologna, the breadbasket of Italy. Known as the ultimate
Italian foodie city, it houses the oldest university in Europe, the unfinished Basilica of San
Petronio, 21 remaining medieval towers, and most importantly, some of the world’s most-loved
foods. In Bologna, meat-filled tortellini, tortellini, lasagna and tagliatelle al ragù rule the local
culinary DNA. We stroll through the food shops and stalls surrounding Mercato di Mezzo, a
commercial center from the Middle Ages whose street names signify the foods that can be
found there. Here you find a variety of cured meats, mortadella, and local cheeses including
Parmesan, and can eat like a local pairing the food with a glass or two of local wines like bubbly
Pignoletto or red Lambrusco. We celebrate Mass at the Basilica of San Dominico, where St.
Dominic founder of the Dominican Order is buried. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure to explore
the city on your own. Our pasta dinner tonight will be accompanied by local wine. Overnight
Bologna. (B, D)

Friday, October 5th- Day 5: TUSCANY VILLA STAY
After a leisurely breakfast, we depart Bologna driving through the magnificent Tuscan scenery
toward the Tuscan Villa which is our home for the next six nights. Enroute we stop for Mass
and lunch. The afternoon is yours to relax, unpack, take a long nap and enjoy the magnificent
setting in one of the most beautiful parts of Italy. Dinner is at the villa. (B, D)

Saturday, October 6th- Day 6: CHIANTI EXPLORATION
We visit the wine region of Chianti, in the heart of Tuscany. This wine region is the romanticized
Italy of daydreams: terra-cotta-roofed towns, wine-soaked dinners, and rolling vineyards.
Greve in Chianti is the region’s principal town and the host of a long-running Saturday morning
market which we visit. To learn about Chianti’s viticulture, we visit the informative Museo del
Vino, where most exhibits are underground in former wine cellars. The collection spans handcranked wine presses, rudimentary corking contraptions and other old tools of the trade. But
most interesting is the area which introduces us to another world-famous explorer with supposed
ties to the region: Amerigo Vespucci, after whom the Americas were named. Descend
into the sprawling cellar of Le Cantine di Greve in Chianti for a light lunch of regional products on
your own. Starting with the vino, choose among scores of wines that are dispensed from high-tech
machines designed to preserve wine quality after bottles are opened. Try a Tignanello, one of the
original Super-Tuscans, or compare the Chianti Classico of different vineyards by using the simple
automated system: insert a card purchased at the register press the button corresponding to the
wine you want, and out pours a taste into your glass! Munch on a panino stuffed with fennel-flavored salami or a platter of pecorino and prosciutto crostini. Finish the meal by sampling local
olive oils or grappa. Our next stop is at a winery & contemporary art museum, now part of the
Castello di Ama Winery, one of Chianti’s finest. The art collection consists of a dozen permanent
pieces of contemporary art located in a wine cellar. A two-hour guided visit of the winery includes
a tour of the artworks as well as a tasting of the estate’s fruity olive oil, pressed on-site, and the
prestigious wines of the vintner Marco Pallanti. We return back to our villa for a light dinner. (B, D)

In the morning we explore the lovely, historic town of San Gimignano, the epitome of a Tuscan
hill town with fourteen remaining medieval towers, for a morning of discovery. Here we celebrate
Mass, then search out the gourmet shops that specialize in the best saffron in all of Italy, and
enjoy a tasting of freshly-made salami that is well known in this region. Following lunch on our
own in one of the great local restaurants, we do some food shopping before returning to our villa
where Fr. Leo will take us on a fascinating cooking exploration of local dishes. Overnight Tuscan
villa. (B, D)

Monday, October 8th- Day 8: MONTALCINO for wine – PIENZA for cheese
Today our coach takes us to the village of Montalcino which is a beautiful village immersed in the
breathtaking Val d’Orcia Natural Park, renowned all over the world for the production of its precious Brunello Red Wine. The town has scarcely changed in appearance since the 16th century.
The historical center is dominated by the mighty and imposing Rocca or fortress built in 1361 to
mark the passage of Montalcino under the domination of Siena. The views from its ramparts are
spectacular, stretching towards Monte Amiata, across the Crete to Siena, and across all of the Valdorcia and the hills of Maremma. We visit a farm near Pienza, the town famous for its production of Pecorino Cheese, made from an especially flavorsome and aromatic milk thanks to sheep pastures in Val d’Orcia. Enjoy a tour and cheese tasting. Back at our villa, we try our hand at making pizza for tonight’s pizza and wine party. (B, light lunch. Pizza dinner)

Monday, October 9th- DAY 9: ADVENTURES IN UMBRIA: GUBBIO for truffles.
Both angular and imposing, the medieval town of Gubbio is unlike anything else you’ll see in
Tuscany or Umbria. As the oldest town in the region, the buildings are quite gothic and the architecture exudes tradition. The old town is amazing. There are quirky stalls and craft shops, where you can buy products relating to leather, iron, and gold. It may just sound like another ‘market’ but these stalls are a rarity, and the locals are extremely welcoming – always eager to share their stories with you. We learned about truffles, now we can use our knowledge to set those tastebuds alight with melt in the mouth truffles. Used on everything (trust us) and too good not to try, we enjoy a wonderful lunch at a local restaurant with dishes of our choice (lunch cost is not included). We celebrate Mass in Gubbio. In the afternoon we return to our villa for another evening of culinary exploration hosted by Fr. Leo. (B, D)

Tuesday, October 10th- Day 10: FLORENCE
After breakfast at the villa, we travel to Florence where we meet our local guide and soon discover
why Florence is the undisputed cradle of the Renaissance era. Here one experiences almost
breathless art and culture in its charming medieval streets, in craftsmen’s workshops, Renaissance
palaces, and the world-renowned museums. The legacy of the Medici family is found in
the works of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Botticelli. We see the Basilica of Santa Croce,
where famous Italians artists such as Michelangelo and Machiavelli are buried. Explore Piazza
della Signoria, the Baptistry of St. John, and Michelangelo’s Gates of Paradise. We walk to the
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, with the imposing cupola by Brunelleschi and Giotto’s Bell
Tower. We’ll then visit the busy San Lorenzo Market in the heart of the city! Enjoy the site of artisan breads in all shapes and sizes, tables overflowing with fruits and vegetables fresh from the
farms, and the immense variety of cheeses and cured meats. Choose your lunch at the market
before we return to the villa this afternoon to pack and prepare for our delightful farewell dinner
in a local restaurant. (B, Farewell dinner)

Wednesday, October 11th- Day 11: RETURN TO USA
Following breakfast, we check out of our villa and travel to Florence airport for our flight home. (B)


2018-07-19T01:19:22+00:00January 25th, 2018|Travel|