May 2 – 9, 2020
3150 euros per person, double occupancy; 3400 single occupancy.
Join Guy and Beth Bower for a very special experience for a maximum of 12 guests highlighting the local food, wine and stunning beauty of Northern Italy from the home base of a recently-renovated, beautiful 18th c Italian villa located between Milan and Lake Como.
Lunches are at Michelin-starred restaurants most days. Dinners, at the villa, feature ingredients sourced locally and are accompanied by some special, mostly small-production Northern Italian wines not easily available in the US.
Day 1 (Saturday): Lunch and Dinner at Villa
We’ll get settled and then enjoy lunch outside on the “Portico Coperto” if weather permits. After lunch we’ll make the short trip to an organic farm nearby to pick up some provisions for the week, then we’ll return to the villa to play a game of badminton, bocce, foosball, or just relax until dinner.
Day 2 (Sunday) : Montevecchia
Our driver will take us to the beautiful nearby hilltop village of Montevecchia with views of the Val Curone to the north and the Brianza countryside to the south. If the local gelato shop is open we’ll avail ourselves of its treasures. 🙂 If time permits we’ll visit a nearby farm and pick up some local meats and cheeses to enjoy for the week.
Day 3 (Monday): Bergamo
Lunch at Casual
We’ll hop on our bus and drive the 50 minutes or so for our tour of Bergamo, one of the most beautiful hill towns in Italy. After visiting the stunning Renaissance and Roman sites of the city with our excellent guide, Elena, (and picking up some casoncelli, the local pasta specialty), we will enjoy lunch in a Michelin-starred restaurant. After lunch there will be time to take the funicular up to San Vigilio or wander Bergamo a bit longer. We’ll then head back to the villa to relax a bit and then enjoy dinner together.
Day 4 (Tuesday): Valtellina
Lunch at Ristorante Fracia
After breakfast we will head north along the east side of Lake Lecco and then turn east toward the beautiful and steep wine-growing area of Valtellina. We will make a stop at the incredible Ciapponi grocery store in Morbegno and pick up some local specialties (bresaola, speck, Bitto and Sciumidin cheese) to enjoy that evening and the rest of the week. From there we’ll continue to the ruins of Castel Grumello and take in the gorgeous view of the valley and mountains before continuing to Aldo Rainoldi winery for a tour and tasting. From there we’ll continue to nearby Ristorante Fracia, perched among the famous Nino Negri vineyards, for a wonderful lunch (and sampling of the accompanying Nino Negri wines). We will return to the villa in time to relax a bit before dinner.
Day 5 (Wednesday): Villa Day
Enjoy a day at the villa! Lunch and dinner will be provided.
If anyone would like to take the train into Milan, transportation can be arranged to the train station for the 25-minute ride into the city (50 euros per person round trip).
Day 6 (Thursday) Franciacorta
Our driver will take us to the famous Franciacorta sparkling wine region to visit the Castelveder winery for a tour and tasting by the owner, Camilla Alberti. We’ll hop back on the bus for the drive to Frosio, another excellent Michelin-starred restaurant run by two brothers and their wives.
Day 7 (Friday): Lake Como – Bellagio, Villa Balbianello
Lunch at Ristorante Silvio
Our driver will take us to Bellagio where we will have a simple lunch of the local lake fish at Ristorante Silvio, with a beautiful view of Lake Como. From there we’ll walk down the lovely path toward the lake, through the beautiful Giardini Melzi and into Bellagio. Our private taxi boat driver will deliver us across the lake to visit the grounds of the stunning Villa Balbianello. On return to Bellagio we can explore the town and its shops a bit before heading back to the villa.
After breakfast, our drivers will take guests (and their bags and wonderful memories) to the Malpensa (MXP) airport or the train station (Monza or Milan) for their return home or to continue their adventure.
Adjustments to the itinerary will be made as needed in response to weather conditions, etc.
The price (double occupancy, choice of queen/king or twins) includes lodgings at Poggio Verde Country Villa, Italian continental breakfast, all lunches, dinners and wine, entrance fees, museums, etc., and ground transportation. Everything but airfare and personal purchases is included.
A non-refundable deposit of 500 euros per person will save your spot; the balance is due 60 days before departure. When you register we will email you an invoice to pay the deposit (converted to dollars). Email us and we’ll send you the link to register.
Cancellation Policy: Trip cancellation and medical insurance are required (see FAQ’s for more information). Deposits and second payment can be refunded if someone takes your place; otherwise, trip cancellation insurance will take care of travelers.
Hosted by: Mark and Judith Wencel
Chef: Mark Wencel and guests who’d like to participate.
Sommelier: Guy Bower (of course!)
Want a little more info? Here are some helpful FAQs (internet, trip insurance, facilities, etc.).