11 Days: Southern to Northern Italy
A series of unique and unforgettable experiences will take you off the beaten track in Italy, to a world where time is on your side and culture is on your doorstep, all drawn together by common threads of a pure authenticity, complete exclusivity, and genuine hospitality.
- Experience the genuine hospitality of Bernalda’s people, untouched by tourism, that makes every guest feel like a local
- Delight in the cuisine, wines, and history of the Basilicata region – visit ancient wine cellars and historic, fortified farms, or participate in intimate cooking classes!
- Luxuriate in a stay at a renovated 12th century castle in beautiful Maremma in Tuscany
- Enjoy intimate cooking classes with Tuscan recipes and wine tastings or learn how to make Pecorino cheese!
- Explore Bologna, home to one of the largest and well preserved historical city centers in Italy, famous for its towers and porticoes and home of the oldest city university in the world
- Discover the fairy tale mountain landscape of the Dolomites – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – with astounding panoramas around every corner
- Summer or winter, hiking or snowshoeing, skiing or snowboarding, cycling or climbing… enjoy an active outdoor experience in the Dolomites
Discover Italy from south to north. Touch the sensuality of Basilicata in the small hilltop town of Bernalda, experience picturesque Tuscany – the “green heart of Italy,” and explore the magnificent Dolomite Mountains – the Italian Alps, as you travel from southern to northern Italy on our 11-day Marco Polo itinerary. You’ll travel back in time to an Italian heyday – the 18th and 19th century rite of passage “The Grand Tour.”
DAY BY DAY
Day 1 ~ Arrival – Palazzo Margherita, Basilicata
Arrive at the Bari Airport (BRI) in southern Italy. From the airport, a private transfer will take you to the town of Bernalda (1 hour 30 minutes). Depending on your arrival time, option to enjoy a stop for lunch en route.
Palazzo Margherita is a luxury hotel in Southern Italy, situated in the small hilltop town of Bernalda, near the Ionian Sea in the Basilicata region. While the nearby region of Puglia has become popular for sightseeing, Bernalda is one of a few beautiful towns where the food and wine have remained authentic and untouched by mass tourism. The townspeople welcome visitors with a genuine hospitality that makes every guest feel like a local.
Palazzo Margherita is just twenty minutes from numerous pristine, white-sand beaches on the Ionian Sea and just 40 minutes from Bernalda is Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the 2019 European Capital of Culture in Italy. Here ancient cave dwellings and other rock-cut structures, known as Sassi, have been reclaimed as picturesque churches, homes, museums, and restaurants.
Compliment your stay in Bernalda, by experiencing our customized excursions for food and wine lovers. Visit ancient wine cellars and Masseria (historic, fortified farms) for a full immersion in the everyday life of local farmers. Or participate in intimate cooking and pizza classes, followed by preparation and tasting at the property.
Days 2 & 3 ~ Palazzo Margherita, Basilicata
During your stay, choose and enjoy one of the experiences proposed for your journey at the Palazzo Margherita, (experiences may vary by season):
- Discover the Crypt of the Original Sin and trekking in the Ravine of Matera
- Visit ancient cellars
- Visit the Fortified Masseria
Day 4 ~ Castello di Vicarello, Tuscany
In the morning take a private transfer to the Bari airport (BRI, 1.5 hours). From here, take a flight to the Rome International Airport (FCO, flight not included), and then a private transfer north to Castello di Vicarello (2 hour 40 minutes), a 12th-century castle in the Tuscan coastal region of Maremma.
En route, enjoy a short visit and lunch in Capalbio. Also known as “little Athens,” Capalbio is reknown across Italy for its preserved medieval atmosphere and enviable beauty. This small medieval village lies in the heart of Maremma, set amidst lush green fields and shrub forests like an island, looking out onto the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Etruscans and Romans both left traces, as did Emperor Charlemagne in a.d. 805 when he donated Capalbio’s castle to the Abbazia dei Tre Fontane (Abbey of the Three Fountains) of Rome.
Continue to Castello di Vicarello, where history lives on each path, in each stone, and every wall sings a song of the ancient past. A stay at the Castello is truly the experience of a lifetime, a destination for all seasons. You’ll spend your days here luxuriating on the property, or exploring beyond. The towns of Grosseto and Siena are nearby, offering the opportunity to explore the surrounding Tuscan landscape and culture.
The kitchen is always open to guests: central to the castle’s intimate house-party spirit, this stone clad realm of wonderful aromas and taste sensations is an irresistible draw. And this is where cooking classes with Aurora take place. Come and swap recipes while chopping parsley, take an impromptu course in homemade pasta, or simply watch the action over a glass of robust red wine, a product of Carlos’s vineyard.
Independently owned and operated by Aurora and Carlo Baccheschi Berti, Castello di Vicarello opened as a hotel in 2003, a new spa opened in 2008, and in 2012 the Castello celebrated its 900th anniversary!
B,L,D… Castello di Vicarello
Days 5 & 6 ~ Castello di Vicarello
During your stay at Castello di Vicarello, choose and enjoy one of the proposed experiences for your journey (experiences may vary by season):
- Wine tasting with Carlo and tour of the vineyards with explanation of the trellis system
- Cooking classes with Aurora
- Learn how to make Pecorino cheese, and discover the characteristics of good a Pecorino as you enjoy a cheese tasting
B,L,D… Castello di Vicarello
Day 7 ~ Bologna
In the morning, take a private transfer north to Bologna (3.5 hours).
En route, enjoy a short visit and lunch in Siena, in the heart of Tuscany. Surrounded by hills, this is undeniably one of the most beautiful medieval cities of Italy. The centerpiece of the city is the famous Piazza del Campo, a shell-shaped plaza where one of the most important events of Siena is held: the Palio. Dating back to the seventeenth century, this passionate horse race takes place every year in July and August.
Bologna, a lively, historic city dating back to at least 1000 b.c., is home to one of the largest – and well preserved – city-centers in Italy. Designed as a medieval grid, the city is famous for its towers built around the twelfth century, described by Dante as numbering as many as 100 at one time, with 24 remaining today. An extensive network of elegant porticoes is found throughout the city, with more than 45 kilometers (28 miles) of these roofed walkways making it possible to walk for long distances sheltered from the elements. Historic architecture aside, Bologna is an important cultural and artistic center, home to numerous prestigious cultural, economic, and political institutions including the oldest university in the world, University of Bologna, founded in 1088. In 2006 Bologna was declared a UNESCO “city of music.”
Dinner on your own.
B,L… Hotel Baglioni, Bologna (5-Star)
Day 8 ~ San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge, Dolomites
In the morning, enjoy a two hour guided tour of Bologna. Late morning private transfer to San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge in the Dolomites (3 hours 45 minutes). En route, enjoy lunch at the Wine Resort Casino di Caccia (Casino of Hunting) near Verona.
The San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge is a romantic chalet with incomparable style, charm, and panorama. It all begins with a simple little road. It is this enchanting forest lane that transports guests into a rare and stylish world of San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge. Within the heavy walls of this former hunting lodge you have the feeling of being afloat in a warm and sumptuous world. Luxury and elegance make up this charming lodge that is unique within the Dolomites. Giorgia and Stefano have recreated the atmosphere of a cozy dwelling immersed in nature among the Alpine peaks where everything is sensuous and adrift.
The hosts have given elegance and harmony to this mountain residence with serene and uncanny luxury and ecological style where you can find refuge and cradle yourself within the sweetest pleasures. Here you can find unaltered tradition and noble craftsmanship that is wisely kept and taken care of by the hosts. Being at San Lorenzo is being at one with Mother Nature, in the regal company of her Alpine peaks.
B,L,D… San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge
Days 9 & 10 ~ San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge
During your stay, choose and enjoy one of the proposed experiences at the San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge, (experiences may vary by season):
- Wood-chopping with Stefano in the lodge’s woodlands
- Gathering mushrooms and picking berries and with Stefano in the lodge’s woodlands
- Visit the stall at the Maso Oberramwald, where the lodge’s cows and goats are kept
B,L,D… San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge
Day 11 ~ Departure
After breakfast private transfer to the Venice (VCE) or Munich (MUC) International Airport (3 hours).
- In / out airport transfers
- All road transfers between properties and to Verona with a stop for lunch (where applicable)
- 3 nights accommodation at Palazzo Margherita
- 3 nights accommodation at Castello di Vicarello
- 1 night accommodation at Hotel Baglioni, Bologna (5-Star)
- 3 nights accommodation at San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge
- Guided walking tour of Bologna
- 1 “Experience” at each property
- Welcome aperitif at the properties
- Meals as noted in the itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
- Soft drinks at the properties
- Digestives after dinner at the properties
- Local tourist tax
- 22% VAT Italian tax