VineRoutes on Threads
Italy Trip
Travel & Leisure Food & Wine Lifestyle

You’re invited to a luxurious food and wine experience in Italy

November 8, 2023

Join Chef Fraser Macfarlane and Georgina Mitropoulos of Quatrefoil Restaurant for an exceptional cultural and gastronomic exploration of Tuscany and Emilia Romagna from Sept 30th to October 7th, 2024

This extravagant seven-day tour will feature luxury accommodations in Florence, Modena and Bologna, with private coach transportation, Michelin starred dining and charming multigenerational family restaurants. VIP visits to wineries and specialty regional culinary producers is also to be part of the itinerary.

Fraser Macfarlane

Chef Fraser Macfarlane.

The cuisine featured on this tour is a major highlight, and the restaurants are especially selected for you to experience the best this region has to offer. The tour has been coordinated by luxury travel experts at Pauwels Travel who have more than 50 years experience in the group travel business.

The cost of this trip is $11,995 per person (taxes are included) based on double occupancy, land only. Flights can be booked privately or with the assistance of Pauwels Travel at

The price of this luxury tour includes:

  • luxury hotels with daily breakfast, 7 nights
  • transportation by luxury coach
  • group daily activities, such as museums, wineries, truffle hunt
  • one group lunch or dinner per day with paired wines
  • tour representatives from Pauwels Travel who will accompany the group and be available 24/7 to take care of every need while on tour

The tour starts in Tuscany and moves on to Emilia Romagna, a region widely considered a mythical destination for foodies, the true heartland of Italian cuisine. This is, after all, the home of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Balsamic Vinegar and Prosciutto di Parma, as well as some of Italy’s most famous wines.

Italy trip

The St. Regis Florence.

Gastronomy is so important here that the region is often referred to as the “Food Valley.” Gourmet travelers arrive like gastro-pilgrims to the region’s producers, and top Michelin starred restaurants, like Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana (winner of the World’s Best Restaurant Award). The tour finishes in the historical city of Bologna, known for its ancient architecture and rich food.

Proposed itinerary

Sunday, September 29th – Optional overnight flight from Toronto to Florence (connections via Frankfurt or Brussels). Alternatively, flights can be booked through Milan or Rome with an approximate three-hour land transfer to Florence from each.

Monday, September 30th – Coach transportation from Florence airport to our hotel (30km), the ideally situated 5-star St. Regis Florence on the banks of the Arno River with views to the Ponte Vecchio. Perfectly placed in the city’s historical center, the hotel offers an unrivaled immersion into the cradle of the Renaissance where we will spend the next three nights.

Florence, a romantic, enchanting and utterly irresistible city, is a great place to feast on world class art and gourmet Tuscan cuisine. After check-in to the hotel, guests will have time to rest and relax or explore the city center before this evening’s welcome dinner at a specially chosen trattoria.

Italy Trip

Tuesday, October 1st – Breakfast in the hotel at your leisure. Morning departure into the hills of the Chianti Classico wine region, featuring cypress-lined roads and medieval hilltop villages. Visit a quintessential town in this region and enjoy a VIP premium wine estate visit and tasting, followed by a leisurely group lunch at a local gastronomic farm-style restaurant.

The recipes from this region have taken their secrets from the country traditions and the dishes are made exclusively with ingredients that are in season. A late afternoon return to the hotel and free evening to explore Florence. Optional dining recommendations will be available.

Wednesday, October 2nd – Breakfast in the hotel at your leisure. Morning guided pedestrian tour of central Florence, the capital of Tuscany and home to Michealangelo, the Medici, and some of the most beautiful architecture in the world. Our in-depth guided tour will showcase both historic landmarks as well as the city’s vibrant gastronomy scene including the Mercato Centrale di Firenze – Florence’s historic food market. In its beautiful two-storey structure you will be impressed by the rich selection of fresh traditional products with flavors linked to the rich and genuine local cuisine.

Free time for lunch and open afternoon to explore the city, with optional guided tour of the Uffizi Gallery, one of the world’s finest and oldest art galleries, or perhaps a local cooking class for those interested. Group dining experience this evening at a specially selected gourmet Florentine restaurant.

Thursday, October 3rd – Breakfast at your leisure in the hotel. Morning departure for the Emilia Romagna region, exploring the countryside of this scenic area enroute, with free time in a charming village for lunch. Your base for the next two days is hotel Casa Maria Luigia, an intimate guest house in the countryside near the town of Modena. The world-famous chef Massimo Bottura and his wife Lara decided to convert this beautiful property into an exclusive and intimate “albergo” where they could showcase their elaborate art and provide their guests with an even more immersive gastronomic experience than their nearby restaurant Osteria Francescana – which has regularly been voted the No. 1 Restaurant in the World! – could offer.

For this evening, the hotel’s exclusive dining area has been privately booked for a nine-course meal with wine pairing, showcasing Chef Bottura’s most famous Michelin starred courses in what will undoubtedly be a once in a lifetime gastronomic experience.

Italy Travel

Friday, October 4th – Morning breakfast at your leisure. This morning your group will travel towards the town of Parma where the famous, DOC protected Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is produced, which earns its official name only after the local ‘Consorzio’ has inspected and offically stamped each and every wheel. Your destination is Antica Corte Pallavicina where you will tour the “Museo Del Culatello e Del Masalen” in order to learn about the rich history of the local salami and cheese in this region.

You will also tour the “Cellars of the Corte” built in 1320 by the Marquesses of Pallavicini where the famous salumi’s are cured and wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano are aged. Situated in a fairytale setting, this property resembles a castle although it was in fact built as a customs house on the Po River in the 14C. It is now renowned for its “culatello”, one of the region’s famous hams. Here you will enjoy a group lunch at Antica Corte Pallavicina’s Michelin starred restaurant “a place where you can still breathe the authentic air of the ancient medieval osterias, where the environment and the dishes tell the story of an important time in gastronomic history”.

Return to the hotel late afternoon. Free evening with optional dinner at Al Gatto Verde, a casual bistro on the property at our hotel Casa Maria Luigia, or options for dining nearby at a special family-run restaurant in the town of Modena.

Saturday, October 5th – Breakfast in the hotel at your leisure. Check out and morning departure for the city of Bologna where you will spend the next two evenings. Upon arrival to Bologna, you will enjoy a historical guided tour of the “Central Storico” and learn about the rich history of the art, culture and food of the city. Bologna is often overlooked by tourists who tend to flock to the more famous attractions of Florence and Venice.

As you will discover, Bologna is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved cities in Europe, home to its oldest university (founded in 1088), rich in art and culture, and last but not least, the gastronomic capital of Italy. Your guided tour will be followed by a group lunch in one of Bologna’s most celebrated trattorias. After lunch you will check into the 5-star Grand Hotel Majestic where you will spend the next two nights.

This evening you will be free to explore the wonderful city of Bologna with recommendations for dining provided.

Sunday, October 6th – Breakfast in the hotel at your leisure. Mid-morning you will venture into the “Land of Truffles” in the hills of the Bologna and Imola region, where you will learn all about Italian truffles. This region is famous for these delicacies and your expert guide and his truffle sniffing dog will take you on a walking journey and teach about the different varieties growing in the region while you hunt for the elusive truffle.

After your hike, enjoy a farewell lunch (with truffles of course!) at a delightful restaurant with top quality cuisine that has strong roots in the gastronomic traditions of this region.

Late afternoon return to Bologna. This final evening is at your leisure, with the option to meet as a group to enjoy a farewell cocktail at the hotel.

Monday, October 7th – Breakfast in the hotel. Check out with departure to Bologna Airport (Air Canada Flight via Frankfurt 11:00 a.m. or 10:40 a.m via Zurich) or to Florence Airport. Alternatively, guests may continue to travel on to other regions.

This tour will be limited to 16 guests and will sell out quickly! If you are interested in joining on this tour, please contact Sandra Pauwels at Pauwels Travel as soon as possible for more information and details. Sandra can be reached at or by telephone at 519-753-2695.


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