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Brewpubs and Regional Cuisine of Northern Italy

Next Departure: October 15 - 25, 2014

The mention of Northern Italy conjures up visions of vineyard covered hills, rocky coastline, blue sea, grand cathedrals, fantastic food, great art, and wanderlust. Add BEER and friendly Italian brewers and you have a truly special way to experience a classic destination. Italy's northern provinces - Piemonte, Liguria and Lombardia - and their principle cities - Torino, Genova, and Milano - are rich in culture and culinary tradition, with distinct histories, landscapes, and flavors. The three provinces are also home to almost 100 small breweries, as well as famous wineries, mountain dairies, family-run salumeri, age old olive groves, and traditional aceteri (vinegar producers). On this trip we will gain delicious insights into each as we focus on visits and tastings throughout the tour. Enjoy guided city tours, spectactular scenery, small italian hotels, and exceptionally friendly hosts, on this unique culinary beer tour in Italy. Many included meals, a variety of interesting visits, travel by rail and private coach, and Cinque Terre park passes are included.

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Daily Itinerary*:


Day 1, Wednesday– Travel Day

There are a variety of gateways to Northern Italy, including Milan, Genoa, Pisa, or even Rome. Monterosso Al Mare is easily accessible by rail, and the hotel is a 3 minute walk from the station.


Day 2, Thursday - Arrive in Monterosso Al Mare , Welcome Dinner, Drinks by the Sea

The Cinque Terre, including Monterosso al Mare, are 5 villages built into the rocky cliffs along the Ligurian Coast. They entire area is a national park and the long- isolated villages are connected by ancient foot paths and walkable in a few hours. Upon arrival at our hotel (a short walk from the train station,) in Monterosso, we'll gather for a welcome drink and short introduction to the area and the activities during our first two days. We'll enjoy a Welcome Dinner this evening. Overnight in Monterosso Al Mare.

Day 3, Friday - Exlpore Cinque Terre

Today is completely open to explore any or all of the 5 villages. Visits can be made via rail, ferry or foot, or any combination as part of the included park pass. Bands of like minded merry makers will be sighted, here and there. Local seafood and white wines are outstanding! There are a handful of places with good beer, and many places offering spectacular views and excellent local specialties. Overnight in Monterosso Al Mare.

Day 4, Saturday - Morning Free in CT, Train to Genoa, Montegioco Beer Dinner

The morning is free to shop, take pictures, or explore more of this beautiful area until we head North to Genoa and beyond. After time to check-in to our hotel in the heart of Genoa, we'll board our coach to travel further north. Our first stop is Birrificio Busalla for a sampling of beers, local salumi and foccacia. Continue to the country-tavern Locanda del Grue, where the chef will create an inspired regional menu just for us, using the award winning beers of Montegioco as a base. The Mastro Birraio from Birrificio Montegioco, Riccardo Franzosi, will likely join us for dinner, and select the beer pairings for the evening. We may even enjoy a late night brewery tour. Late return to Genoa. Overnight in Genoa.

Day 5, Sunday - Guided morning walking tour, Harborside Lunch at Bicu, Free afternoon in Genoa

This morning we'll have guided walk around Genoa, followed by a harborside lunch at Bicu, with their interesting beers (including one with basil) and fine Genovese fare. The remainder of the day is free to explore and beer hunt. There is a lot to do and see, including one of the worlds best aquariums, a huge medieval center, churches, piazzas, and many a fine place to sit and sip. Overnight Genova

Day 6, Monday – Olive Oil Museum, Chevalier, Pizza, Vernante, Troll

Today we'll drive along of the Ligurian coast to Imperia for a visit to their Olive Oil Museum. After some time to explore the rich history of olives in the region, we'll continue the short way to Diano Marina, home of Birrificio Chevalier. We will have a short brewmaster hosted tour of the compact brewery, and then visit a local reataurant for a beer lunch along the Italian Riviera. We will also learn a little about pizza making (and eating) from a world champion pizza maker, who happens to be the father of the brewer. Next it is on to the mountain town of Vernante, where we will spend the night. After time to check-in to the hotel we will make the short trip up the valley to Birra Troll -- to eat, drink and be merry in their brewpub in the mountains. Overnight in Pinocchio-land, the town of Vernante.

Day 7, Tuesday – Mountain Dairy, to Alba, Baladin Beer Dinner

This morning we will travel up into the mountains to a visit family-owned Piemontese cheese maker. We will learn about the age old practice and taste the fruits of the labor in the beautiful Maritime Alps. The afternoon is free to explore the small town of Vernante, with its ruined castle, river walk, and Pinocchoi murals that tell the true story of the famous puppet. This afternoon we'll travel to Piozzo and Le Baladin for a thorough tasting and dinner in their pub. After dinner, we continue to Alba, our home for the night. Overnight in the truffle capital and home of Nutella (it smells like chocolate if the wind is right) -- Alba.

Day 8, Wednesday - Free morning in Alba, Fontanafredda Lunch, Vinegar Producer Visit, Evening Free in Torino

This morning is free to explore the beautiful city of Alba, gateway to the Langhe. At midday, we'll travel by coach to nearby winery, Fontanafredda, whose barrels are aged in a former castle. We'll have a lunch of local specialities and a tour or their impressive cellars before traveling on to discover the secrets of vinegar at a nearby aceteri. Coninue to Torino after the visit. The evening is free to explore the capital of Piedmont. Overnight Torino.

Day 9, Thursday – Morning guided tour, Eataly, Free day in Torino

This morning, we'll start with a local guide for tour of Torino's main attractions and historic center. The tour will end at Eataly, where lovers of all things gourmet can indulge in just about anything edible. The afternoon and evening are free to explore and enjoy the city and its many offerings. Plenty of food and culture to keep us busy until through the evening. A Brewpub dinner perhaps... Overnight Torino.

Day 10, Friday – Milano

This morning, bright and early, we move on to Milan for a full day to eat, shop and explore. Milan boasts its famed cathedral, the view from the top is impressive, and there are all sorts of high end Italian merchandise to ogle. Some brewpubs are open for lunch, but the day is free until this evening when we'll meet in the hotel and head over to Birrificio Lambrate cucina for our casual brewpub dinner with the locals. Overnight Milan

Day 11, Saturday – Farewell Italy! Travel home.

There are multiple transportation options to both Milan airports. Regular coach shuttles depart from Milan Cantral Station. The hotel desk can help. Cheers!

 

Beer Highlights
& Brewery Visits

Italian Cuisine and Beer - Creative brewers are taking food and beer (and you) to delicious places.

Brewpub/Brewery Visits to Busalla, Montegioco, Bicu, Chevalier, Troll, Baladin, Lambrate.

Discover a wide variety of excellent interpretations of classic beer styles.

Great coffee, wine and food are simply the norm in Northern Italy.

Good folks to travel with who will share your ecclectic taste for anti pasti, gelato, wine and excellent beer!

Overnight Stays*

Cinque Terre - Five lovely, Italian, seaside villages perched on the rocky Ligurian coast are literally carved into the cliff offering stunnigly beautiful testiment to the efforts those who built them. Eat, travel from village to village, marvel at spectacular scenry, a great start to our trip.

Genoa - Home to a famous, historic, harbor, one the best aquariums anywhere and the larget medieval quarter in Europe, Genoa has become a great visitors city. Beautiful architecture, grand placaes, and pesto!

Vernante - A mountain town, home to ski lodges, Pinocchio fame, and one of the best brewpubs anywhere - Birra Troll

Alba - A medieval gem at the gateway to the famed Langhe wine region. The truffle capital of Piedmont, and a true epicurian paradise of local specialties

Torino - Grand squares, Rococo architecture, chocolate, laid back but upscale, Torino is the commercial and cultural hub of Piedmont. Home to the famed Shroud of Turin, famous art galleries, and the automotive industry

Included Tours

Park and Train ticket in Cinque Terre

City Tours in Genoa and Torino

Olive Oil Museum in Imperia

Vinegar Producer

Included Meals

9 Breakfasts

4 Lunches

3 Dinners

Trip Price
(Land-only, Based on double occupancy)

$2995 per person

Single Room add $635

Arrival & Departure

Trip Begins in Monterosso al Mare

Trip Ends in Milan

Please Note:

The overall style of the trip is best suited for somewhat adventurous, beer-loving travelers who want the camaraderie and structure of a tour, as well as the opportunity to explore independently. Planned events and excursions will, for the most part, be informal. Guided touring is generally the exception, though travelers can always rely on the support and assistance of the trip leader.

* Please note also:

This itinerary is subject to change based on brewery or hotel availability, force majeur, acts of dieties, common sense or bad weather, etc. Smaller breweries, as well as the Trappists, are often unable to commit to hosting groups until a couple of weeks before we arrive. Substitutions, when necessary, will be as good or better than what we replaced. And, don't worry, the beer is always good!