Your driver-escort, who speaks perfect English, will pick you up at Piazzale Roma and set off down the long causeway that connects the Venetian island to the mainland. Your voyage through the Veneto takes you past a succession of verdant hills, dotted with picturesque walled towns, ancient castles, and the world-renowned vineyards of the Valpolicella region. After about an hour you will veer south and descend into the broad flatlands of Emilia-Romagna.
Soon you will reach your first stop, a typical workshop where world-class balsamic vinegar has been produced for over 150 years. Once inside these sweet-smelling ancient walls, you will learn how this gourmet delicacy was born right here in this area. In fact, though aceto balsamico is a relative newcomer to fancy food shops outside Italy, its origins go back so far that even in the year 1046 it was already a rarity craved by kings and emperors (and virtually unknown to the common people). Throughout the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries, the vinegar-makers of Reggio Emilia had one of the richest and most powerful trade guilds in central Italy, their secrets as closely-guarded as those of the Murano glass-makers. By the 1800s it had become commonplace to enrich the dowries of local noblewomen with jars and little barrels of this precious liquid. During your visit to the workshop you will see the maker's own vineyard, witness how a grape eventually meets one of its most glorious ends inside these little containers, and taste several types of vinegar made from various grapes and aged for various lengths of time. Believe us, even if you are a balsamic vinegar devotee, if you have never tasted one of the older ones – aged, say from 25 to 100 years – you still haven't experienced a drop of heaven on your tongue. There is nothing like it!
After the tasting, it's time for lunch!
Your driver-escort will accompany you to a restaurant commensurate with your appetite
and budget. If your appetite is hearty, we recommend you try the local parmesan
and prosciutto at a little place in Modena that is the favorite haunt of yet
another Emilian treasure, Luciano Pavarotti! After lunch, your drive continues
through gentle hill country, past the vast dairy farms where those culinary treasures
are produced in large stone houses inhabited for centuries by several families
at a time. This communal lifestyle may be one of the reasons that the people
of this region have such a love for get-togethers like Saturday night ballroom
Another thing the emiliani adore is their cars. And boy, do they know how to make cars! It's no accident that this is the home of the car par excellence, the Ferrari. You will see more of them on these flat, straight farm roads than anywhere else in the world, and you will see a wonderful selection of the very best Ferraris at your first stop, the Ferrari Gallery in Maranello. Inaugurated in 1990, the museum is near the plant and trial course, and has been managed directly by Ferrari since 1995, becoming the carmaker's chosen mecca to preserve its past, present and future. The treasures that you will see here range chronologically from the actual single-seater in which Froilan Gonzalez won the Prancing Horse's first world championship at Silverstone in 1951, all the way up to the latest all-conquering F1 car used by Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. You'll also see every trophy ever won, as well as a faithful reproduction of Enzo Ferrari's office, and spaces dedicated to technical innovations, a wind tunnel, a collection of all the Ferrari engines and steering wheels ever created, and an exhibit of the paddle gears invented by Ferrari and now used by all F1 teams. But perhaps the thing that will thrill you the most during your visit is experiencing what it feels like to drive on an F1 course. Take a seat in an authentic F1 car, turn on the simulator, and watch out for those G forces!
After this excitement, it will be a relief to settle back and let your guide
do the driving into the Apennine Mountains that separate Tuscany from Emilia.
This is one of the most breathtaking stretches in Italy, as the autostrada wends
its way through wooded hills with barely a vestige of human presence, apart from
the occasional age-old farmhouse and its bucolic flock of sheep or milk cows.
After about an hour you will reach the stupendous villas of Renaissance magnates
that mark the outskirts of Florence.
This tour lasts eight hours and ends at your hotel in central Florence. Prices include private car and personal driver-escort. Entrance tickets (15 Euro/person for the Ferrari Gallery) and meals are not included, and no touring in Florence is planned. If your group includes at least two adults plus children, one child under 18 years old pays nothing for the tour except for entrance tickets. If you have more than two children, all the others pay the adult price for the tour no matter their age. For an additional charge, the transfer can also begin at your Venice hotel, via private water taxi to Piazzale Roma. (Taxis can take a maximum of nine people so if your group is larger you will need to take two taxis and ask us for the price).
|2015||With Pick-up at
|With Pick-up at
Your Venice Hotel
|2 people||905.00 Euro/group||1049.00 Euro/group|
|3 people||905.00 Euro/group||1091.00 Euro/group|
|4 people||947.00 Euro/group||1111.00 Euro/group|
|5 people||947.00 Euro/group||1173.00 Euro/group|
|6 people||1008.00 Euro/group||1193.00 Euro/group|
|7 people||1008.00 Euro/group||1193.00 Euro/group|