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A relaxed walking holiday with a foodie focus. Discover the outstanding produce and cuisine of Emilia Romagna and learn the secrets of how Parma ham, parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, tortellini and Lambrusco wines are made. Ramble through beautiful landscapes, from the Apennine foothills to the Po River Delta and explore the architectural treasures of Bologna, Modena, Ravenna.
Explore Tour Leader
7 nights comfortable hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our trip begins in the historic city of Bologna. Renowned for its culinary traditions, Bologna is the capital of Emilia Romagna, with a population of just over a million in its greater area. The popular meat based sauce Bolognese comes from here and the production of cured pork meats such as prosciutto, mortadella and salami is an important part of the local food industry. Tortellini (filled pasta) served in broth, and mortadella, the original Bologna sausage, are among other local specialties.
Your Tour Leader plans to meet everyone in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting followed by dinner for those that wish. There are no other activities planned today. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
Bologna Airport is just a few kilometres from the centre of town so it's easiest to organise your own transfer to the joining hotel; an arrival transfer is not included with this tour. The Marconi Express is an automated shuttle train that departs from the airport to Bologna Central Station approximately every 10 minutes with a journey time of 5 minutes. Tickets cost €11 Euro. It's a direct 15 minute walk from here to our hotel. Allow €20-25 Euro for a taxi from the airport to hotel, there is a taxi rank outside the terminal building.
Hotel Cavour (or similar)
We have a full day in the atmospheric city of Bologna whose historic centre contains an immense wealth of important medieval, renaissance, and baroque artistic monuments. The city is famous for its arched porticoes which make it possible to walk for long distances sheltered from the elements. There are over 45 kilometres/27.96 miles of arcade in the greater city and we start our explorations today with a walk along the famous Portico di San Luca, a winding 666 vault arcade, almost 4 kilometres/2.48 miles long, that links Bologna with the church of San Luca atop a 290 metre/951 feet hill outside the city. The afternoon is left free to explore the city. The 'Due Torri' are two leaning medieval defensive towers, whose distinctive outline provides a popular symbol of Bologna, one of which can be climbed for a bird's eye view of the city's red roofs.
Today's 7.5 kilometre/4.66 miles walk along the Portico di San Lucca and back to the city will take around 3 hours.
This morning we drive in the direction of Modena to visit a local producer of balsamic vinegar, Acetaio di Leonardi. Highly valued by modern chefs and gourmet food lovers, traditional balsamic vinegar is made from a reduction of cooked white Trebbiano grape juice, and used as a condiment. We have a tour of the cantina and taste some of the balsamic vinegars before continuing on to see the UNESCO-listed old centre of Modena. After a short orientation with the trip leader you're free to explore sights such as the Cathedral of Modena, the lovely Piazza Grande and the tower of Ghirlandina, one of the Iconic structures of Modena, where there's the option to climb its 500 or so steps to the top of the tower for amazing views over the city and surrounding countryside. It's then around half an hour drive to our destination for the next 3 nights, Reggio Emilia, a small city with an historic centre of attractive squares and grand public buildings. There's time for a wander in the Old Quarter before convening for a pre-dinner aperativo and dinner (not included) at one of the local restaurants.
Albergo Reggio (or similar)
This morning we drive to the 15th century Torrechiara Castle in the Parma Valley. Its imposing rectangular towers enjoy views of the Apennine Mountains and surrounding foothills. After visiting the castle, our walk takes us through a landscape of vineyards and small hamlets, with views across the Parma Valley, to a country farm estate, Casale del Groppone. During the walk we'll enjoy a picnic lunch of regional meats and cheeses. After lunch our walking route continues on old mule tracks, country trails and some quiet sections of road. Taking in the lovely views all around us, we walk among the vineyards, all the way back to Torrechiara Castle.
We then drive in to the historic centre of Parma where time is left free to explore the Old Town before returning to Reggio Emilia.
Today's 9 kilometre/5.59 miles walk and is expected to take approximately three-and-a-half hours with a total ascent and descent of 350 metres/1148 feet.
After breakfast, we drive out of the city to visit a caseificio operation (cheese production) where Parmesan cheese is made. True Parmesan cheese, labelled 'Parmigiano-Reggiano', can only be produced within a strict geographical area in Italy according to a defined recipe and process. Formed into large 'wheels', the cheese ages for between 12 to 36 months. Parmigiano-Reggiano is commonly grated over pasta dishes, stirred into soups and risottos, and shaved over other dishes like salads. Taking some of the cheese with us for a packed lunch, we drive to Borzano and set out on a walk passing through farmland and vineyards of the local Lambrusco grapes and the small villages of Bellavista and Biocca. In the afternoon we visit a Lambrusco wine estate, for a wine tasting session. Lambrusco grapes are red and have been grown in the central provinces of Emilia Romagna since Etruscan times. The frothy, frizzante (slightly sparkling) wines are designed to be drunk young. We then return to Reggio Emilia for the night.
Today's 9 kilometre/5.59 miles walk is expected to take around three hours with a total ascent of 270 metres/885 feet.
Leaving Reggio Emilia behind, we drive to the medieval village of Brisighella, very much off the beaten track of tourism but a delight in what it has to offer. Our walk here takes us around the three distinct hills that make up the village, one with a 14th century castle (the origins of the village), another an 18th century church, the Monticino, and a third with a clock tower. We'll also walk along the Via del Borgo, Donkey's Alley,a unique 14th century walkway built above street level. There's also the opportunity to taste some of the locally produced olive oils before we drive on to our next destination, the city of Ravenna. Although an inland city, Ravenna is connected to the Adriatic Sea by the Candiano Canal and it is the location of eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites of late Roman and Byzantine origin which are home to some spectacular mosaics.
Today's 7 kilometre/4.35 miles walk will take approximately two-and-a-half hours.
Hotel Galletti Abbiosi (or similar)
Today we head to the flat wetland landscapes of the Po River Delta, much of which are protected as a regional park. Our walk takes us along quiet roads and walking trails, looking for some of the amazing birdlife in the area. Species to be seen include greater flamingos, little and giant egrets, curlew, marsh harriers, and bee eaters. In the afternoon we visit Comacchio the 'Little Venice' of Emilia Romagna, situated on a lagoon and built on more than thirteen different islets, joined by bridges. After some free time to explore, we travel back to Ravenna for our final night.
Today's 7 kilometre/4.35 miles walk will take around two hours
Departing Ravenna this morning we drive to Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ) where we will arrive about at 8.45 am and this is where the holiday ends. The earliest time you should book a flight to depart today is 10.45 am.
Total distance : 39.5 kilometres
April/May and October/November are pleasantly warm. June/September are the hottest months. Showers are common in Autumn.
2 Pin Round
Ravenna - UNESCO heritage sites joint ticket - 12 Euro, vaild over 2 days
Take light and comfortable clothing that can be layered according to the temperature. July and August are the hottest months whilst early and late in the season go prepared with clothing to suit drops in temperature and possible showers. Light rainwear may be needed at any time of year, and a warm fleece/jacket is recommended for cooler evenings and nights.
We recommend you bring walking boots, make sure that your boots are worn-in and comfortable before the start of the trip. Also trainers or sandals for relaxing and general wear. We suggest that on international flights you either carry your walking boots in your hand luggage or wear them - should your luggage be lost or delayed, your own boots are the one thing that will be irreplaceable.
One main piece and a daypack.
A water bottle, sunhat and high factor sunscreen are all essential. A torch is useful in case of power cuts or emergencies.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Italy: Visas are not required by UK, E.U Nationals, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. You should confirm all visa related questions with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing required. Tetanus recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.