September 28th thru October 6, 2018
9 days 8 nights 15 meals
Cities: Bologna / Romagna / Santancangelo / Verucchio / San Leo / Sant’Agata Feltria / Pennabilli
COST $2850.00 per person** / single room supplement $400**
1 night’s stylish city center accommodation in Bologna
7 nights accommodation with breakfasts in a lovely Italian Country house/B&Bs in castle towns in Romagna’s beautiful Marecchia Valley
Luxury small coach transportation from Bologna to Santarcangelo and from Pennabilli to Bologna
7 superb Dinners or lunches including local wine or soft drinks in specially-selected restaurants.
Picnics of local produce & wine and/or soft drinks where appropriate
Guided visits to Foodie capital of Italy Bologna
Local walking guide/tour manager throughout
Small group experience
Experience the best of Romagna; the scenery, food and wine, culture, warm hospitatlity and of course, the glorius countryside. Walking tour of the Romantic Castles of Romagna covers 40 miles of the country’s most picturesque countryside over the duration of the trip. This legendary area nestled between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea is some of the most beautiful in all of Italy.
Day 1 Friday September 28 – Welcome to Bologna
Arrive Bologna. Depending on our arrival time there will be an opportunity for an early evening walking tour of this colorful medieval city. One of Italy’s richest cities, Bologna is famous for its 3,000 year history, its world’s oldest university, its miles of covered arcades and lovely squares, fabulous art and architecture – but above all, its FOOD and FUN. We’ll stay overnight in a specially-selected 3 or 4 star city-center hotel such as the family-run Touring Hotel with its warm atmosphere, lovely breakfast and sensational rooftop terrace with panoramic view of Bologna.
Day 2 Saturday September 29 – From Feast to Festival
We’ll start the day with a breakfast-time tour and avoid the crowds of day trippers! Bologna is known as ‘Fat City’ It is the food capital of Italy (and therefore the world?!) We’ll sample many Italian specialties as we meander through the ancient Mercato di Mezzo in the medieval quarter with food shops, café’s and restaurants around it. The aromas pervade the whole area and heightens appetites.
Next our eyes will feast on the best of this rich, fabulous city including the Piazza Maggiore, the Podestà Palace, Neptune’s Fountain, King Enzo’s Palace and the extraordinary Sala Borsa library…We’ll admire the enormous Basilica of Saint Petronio we’ll even visit the first seat of the world’s first university, the University of Bologna, Archiginnasio and its famous Anatomical Theater. We’ll see Bologna’s gothic Merchants’ Palace, the Seven Churches Complex of Saint Steven’s Basilica, and meet Asinelli and Garisenda, Bologna’s famous leaning Towers.
After a very full morning, around midday we’ll leave Bologna towards the country on the historic and scenic Via Emilia to Romagna. First stop is a visit to the internationally-rated organic Zuffa Vineyard and take a wine tasting in the open air, between vines. After, we’re onto the painted city of Dozza with its fabulous castle and wine heritage. Then, we’ll take the short journey to the hilltop castle-town of Santarcangelo di Romagna where the 1,000 year old Festa di San Michele is taking place. Known locally as the ‘Bird Festa’, it takes over all of the city centre.
Perched on a hilltop (called Mons Jovis – Mount of Jove) Santarcangelo has a valid claim to be both the heart of Romagna and the source of the Sangiovese grape. A quietly paced city has a number of fine restaurants and is the area’s culinary capital. With Etruscan origins, Santarcangelo is riddled with grottoes which are now mainly used to store superb local wines. Walking the city with its lovely buildings, squares and palaces is a relaxing delight for our first afternoon and evening. Accommodation is in one of Santarcangelo’s central B&Bs. Dinner at a top restaurant in the town – tonight full of festivities.
Day 3 Sunday September 30 – Walk from Santarcangelo to Verucchio dinner & overnight (12 km/7.5 miles)
First a morning post-breakfast stroll in Santarcangelo, to walk off all that wonderful food! Then, we’ll walk through fields to the stunning and historic hilltop town of Verucchio. It is from here that the Malatesta clan came to dominate Romagna for hundreds of years, provide the raw material for stories in Dante’s “Divine Comedy” and build literally hundreds of castles. Apart from the soaring Malatesta castle, the town also boasts a substantial Villanovan/Etruscan outdoor museum. Dinner in a superb Verucchio restaurant – the Rocca. Overnight in a stylish Verucchio B&B
Day 4 – Monday October 1 – Walk from Verucchio to San Leo dinner & overnight (17 km/11 miles)
We are now in the Marecchia Valley within sight of the many atmospheric hilltop castles in the area. Today we will walk from one castle to the other on an ancient path. We stop for a picnic lunch of fresh seasonal local produce to rest on our journey and admire the views. The afternoon we climb to soaring San Leo with its cathedral and Martini Tower, once a pilgrimage site and later famous for imprisoning the alchemist Calliostro after whom an international festival ‘Alchemia’ is held. Check into our central hotel in San Leo. Dinner and overnight.
Day 5 – Tuesday October 2 – Walks around lovely San Leo dinner & overnight
A day of resting and rambling in the byways around lovely San Leo – rated the “Most beautiful town in Italy”. There will also be time to explore the many places of interest including the splendid 12th century Cathedral which replaces the Roman temple of Jupiter previously on the site. A visit can also be made to the impregnable fortress, and since medieval times legendary prison for political prisoners. It held, amongst others, the wizard and alchemist Count Caliostro. Dinner and overnight in San Leo.
Day 6 – Wednesday October 3 – Walk San Leo to Sant’Agata Feltria dinner & overnight (21 km/13 miles)
The longest walk of the week takes us along the scenic Marecchia valley with sensational views, lots more castles and a lovely picnic lunch… to the picture-perfect hilltop castle-town of Sant’Agata Feltria. The lovely town is famous for its yearly truffle festival, its Christmas celebrations, its main square with a pretty wooden theatre and its soaring medieval castle now dedicated to European fairytales. Dinner and overnight in a stylish Sant Agata Feltria B&B.
Day 7 – Thursday October 4 – Walk Sant’Agata Feltria to Pennabilli dinner & overnight (11 km/7 miles)
After breakfast we’ll take a stroll around the town before embarking on our lovely walk via the tiny castle of Petrella Guidi and the Marecchia valley to our third cathedral town – Pennabilli. This lovely hilltop was the retirement choice of famous Romagnolo poet, Oscar-winning scriptwriter and artist Tonino Guerra who had much to do in making the town a great place to enjoy. Noted visitors included the Dalai Lama who inaugurated many of the small meditation parks, there is an orchard of forgotten fruits, a museum of calculus, and truly fabulous walks. Dinner and overnight in Pennabilli.
Day 8 – Friday October 5 – Walks around Pennabilli dinner & overnight
We’ll have a full day to explore Pennabilli and the with a visit to the natural park of Sasso Simone. Dinner and overnight in Pennabilli.
Day 9 – Saturday October 6 – Transfer to Bologna
Today we’ll leave Pennabilli for Bologna and our journey to Bologna and departure
**This tour does not include airfare or agency booking fees. Airline ticket pricing varies by day and fees vary by booking. Contact an agent to find out more.