Our Journeys

Italian Lakes and Piedmont: Wine, Truffles, and Chocolate - Fall 2017
October 7 - 18, 2017


Italian Lakes and Piedmont: Wine, Truffles, and Chocolate! – Fall 2017


DAY 0 - Oct. 6 - Friday:

Fly from the USA to Milan

DAY 1 - Oct. 7 - Saturday: Group arrives in Milan

We will meet at the hotel for a welcome talk and then head out for a very fun dinner. Our first restaurant will be an ideal introduction to the Italian concept of trattoria, and you will be able to sing and dance along. Sleep in Milan.

DAY 2 - Oct. 8 - Sunday: Lake Orta and Lake Maggiore

Today we will explore one of the smallest lakes of Northern Italy; you will surely be stunned by its beauty and special atmosphere. Considered the most romantic and mysterious of all Italian lakes, Lake Orta hosts a beautiful village, Orta San Giulio, built on the slopes of a “sacred mountain”. You will not want to leave as the light constantly changes, giving you the feeling of living in a fairy tale. Next, it's magical Lake Maggiore and the wondrous village of Stresa, which will be your home for the next three nights. Tonight you will enjoy the gourmet specialties of the lake: risotto, a local fish called “coregone”, and the delicious butter cookies of the city: Margheritine di Stresa. Sleep in Stresa, Lake Maggiore.

DAY 3 - Oct 9 - Monday: Lake Maggiore and Borromean Islands

Today we will explore Isola Bella, Isola Madre, and Isola dei Pescatori - the three islands directly opposite Stresa. When the aristocratic Borromeo family took possession of the area in the 16th and 17th centuries, they called on the best architects, artists, and gardeners to completely transform Isola Bella and Isola Madre with opulent palaces and the most beautiful parks in Italy. Isola dei Pescatori, traditionally a fishing community, remained unchanged and is today a simple, charming and well preserved village. Tonight you will be able to sip some of the great local wine that is produced just a few miles from our hotel. Sleep in Stresa, Lake Maggiore.

DAY 4 - Oct 10 - Tuesday: Cooking class, visit a cheese producer

Today we will enjoy a great cooking class and visit a very interesting cheese producer. You will get the opportunity to see a traditional seasoning cave and taste very different kinds of cheeses while learning about the ideal microclimate parameters and bacteria selection necessary for the production of the best cheese. Sleep in Stresa, Lake Maggiore.

DAY 5 - Oct 11 - Wednesday: Visit Turin, pastry shops and chocolate

Today we will leave the lake region and travel to the amazing city of Turin which was once the capital of the Savoy Kingdom. Home to the Italian Royal family for centuries, Turin attracted the international spotlight thanks to the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. Turin hosts several fantastic buildings such as Mole Antonelliana, the symbol of the city, the Royal Palace, which now displays a beautiful painting museum, and the Cathedral, which preserves arguably the most famous Roman Catholic relic in the world – the Shroud of Turin. After a walking tour of the city centre with a great local guide, we’ll sample delicious hand-made gianduiotti chocolate and meander through a few of the world’s finest coffee and pastry shops (Torrefazione Samambaia, Caffe Mulassano, Stratta, and Caffe al Bicerin). You will be introduced to bicerin, the famous coffee, chocolate and cream drink the city is renowned for. You will also have time to relax and possibly shop in the great city center boutiques. Sleep in Turin city center

DAY 6 - Oct 12 - Thursday: Day trip from Turin to the Susa Valley, Sacra di San Michele, and brewery visit

This morning, we will enjoy a scenic drive across the verdant Po River valley and into the rolling hills of Piedmont and the Susa Valley. We’ll retrace the steps of a segment of the ancient Via Francigena, which was the major pilgrimage route that took pilgrims from the North of Europe to Rome and finally to Jerusalem. Churches, castles, and fortresses—all built in the Middle Ages—line the valley. We’ll visit one of the most outstanding churches, the Church of Sant'Antonio of Raverso, which is decorated with beautiful frescoes that were painted at the beginning of the 1400s. Next, we’ll reach Sacra of San Michele. This spectacular Romanesque-gothic abbey is built on the top of a mountain. We’ll pause there to take in the breathtaking views of the valley and surrounding mountains. We’ll then visit a local artisan brewery and learn more about the up and coming beer making industry in Italy. We will also enjoy a delicious lunch at a local, quaint restaurant. Sleep in Turin city center

DAY 7 - Oct 13 - Friday: Venaria Reale and Vermouth tasting, or enjoy some time on your own

Today is yours to relax and enjoy the beautiful city centre of Turin. From our centrally located hotel, you will be able to walk everywhere and easily be able to visit one of the many museums of the city such as the Egyptian museum, the second best in the word - after the one in Cairo. Or, if you choose, you can just relax, shop, and eat at one of the many amazing local restaurants. As an option, you will be able to visit the UNESCO site of Venaria Reale. This Royal residence was created in the 1600s as a hunting lodge for the king. In the 1700s, it was transformed into a very impressive palace surrounded by beautiful gardens and parks. Some of the most important architects and artists of the time worked on the creation of this huge complex. During the world wars, it was overtaken by the military and converted into barracks. It was only at the end of 1997—when it was declared a UNESCO site—that European Community and State funding made it possible to start restoration. This undertaking is the biggest restoration project to ever reach completion in Europe. The palace reopened to the public in 2007. In the early evening, we’ll head to one of Turin’s historic bars from the late 1800s to enjoy a tasting of Vermouth, learn its recipe development, and compare Turin’s signature vermouth brands. Together with this unique and herbaceous aperitif, we’ll savor a range of finger foods that are traditionally served along with aperitifs in place of dinner – which is otherwise known as “aperitivo.” Sleep in Turin city center.

DAY 8 - Oct 14 - Saturday: Wine, cheese, and chocolate!

Piedmont’s culinary and wine-making traditions are world famous, and today is dedicated to unveiling the delectable treasures of its countryside! We will start our exploration with a visit to one of the best wineries of the region where we’ll learn about the two full-bodied reds that are produced from the local Nebbiolo grape: Barolo and Barbaresco. We’ll have lunch at a smallscale organic creamery and sheep farm that produces “formaggio del pistone.” The owner, a true local character, will explain to the group what it takes to make the business fully selfsustainable. We will also learn from the cheesemaker about the history and mission of the Slow Food movement that was started nearby by Carlo Petrini in 1986. In the afternoon, we will visit a renowned chocolate producer and sample several different kinds of chocolate and pralines while learning the secrets about a local favorite: chocolate liqueur. Sleep in the countryside, near Alba

Day 9 - Oct 15 - Sunday: Alba - Truffle hunt and truffle fair

Today will be all about truffles! Weather permitting, we will be participating in a real truffle hunt. You will learn firsthand how truffles are searched for and harvested and the role of the truffle dog during the search. We will then sample delicious specialties - all truffle based, which will be paired with some of the local great wines. Afterwards, we will head to the red-bricked city of Alba where we will attend the International Truffle Fair - now in its 87th year! We will visit the fair and also have time to meander through the lively city. Full of street stalls selling local specialties and delicacies, it will be something to remember! Sleep in the countryside, near Alba

Day 10 - Oct 16 - Monday: Barolo wines and castles

Today we will pay a visit to a local small-family wine producer and visit one of the main castles that dot the Piedmont hills and that were home to the Savoy aristocracy. Dinner will feature some of the best dishes of Piedmontese cuisine including “ravioli del plin”, “vitello tonnato” and “carne battuta al coltello”. Sleep in the countryside, near Alba

Day 11 - Oct 17 - Tuesday: Gavi, white wines and transfer to Milan

Today we are poised to discover a different area of Piedmont where the white Gavi wines are produced. We will visit a local winery owned by three very smart and friendly women and learn about their family business and production. After the tasting, we will head to a beautiful, award winning restaurant where we will enjoy a very special farewell lunch. We will then head to Milan and check in at our airport hotel. Sleep near Milan Malpensa airport

Day 12 - Oct 18 - Wednesday: Fly back to the US

It’s possible to extend the trip upon request.


Trip Details

  • 1 night in Milan
  • 3 nights in Stresa, Lake Maggiore
  • 3 nights in Turin
  • 3 nights in the countryside by Alba
  • 1 night in Milan (airport)

    Trip Facts

      • 11 nights, 12 days, $4,790  per person in double room, $680 for single supplement


    What is included in the trip

        • Accommodation in carefully selected, centrally located hotels and charming country inns.
        • All breakfasts and 1 main meal per day, including wine. Lunch and dinner on days 6, 8, 9 and 10
        • Tastings as per itinerary
        • Entrance fee to Truffle Fest, museums and attractions as per itinerary
        • Truffle hunt followed by a special truffle lunch
        • On-trip transportation in a deluxe air-conditioned private bus
        • The services of a professional tour leader
        • Cooking class
        • Airport transfers


    What is not included

          • International airfare from and back to the US
          • Personal expenses
          • Tips for drivers and guides
          • Travel and Cancellation insurance
          • Travel Insurance: https://customizedjourneys.com/travel-insurance/



    New website coming soon!

    Hi Friends & Travelers,

    Big changes to our website are on the way this year! At times, our website might be down or some pages may be “under construction”. If you have any questions on itineraries or other materials, feel free to email us at info@customizedjourneys.com. We can send you full copies of itineraries and answer any other questions you may have.

    Looking foward to seeing you on an upcoming or future trip!!

    The Customized Journeys Team