Taste of Northern Italy

October 21-28, 2017
May 6-12, 2018
May 13-19, 2018

$3600 per person, double occupancy

Join Poggio Verde and Elesta Travel 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.


Poggio Verde Country Villa

Each day includes an outing to enjoy some of the most stunning scenery in Italy: lakes, mountains, hilltop villages, wine country and Milan and includes lunch at Michelin-starred restaurants featuring the local cuisine and Northern Italian wines. We will stop most days at a purveyor of local specialties (meats, cheeses, grains, etc.) to pick up items to enjoy at the villa (or take home!). Walks through vineyards or countryside or around town will be incorporated into each day.

A simple but excellent dinner at the villa each night will feature ingredients sourced locally and accompanied by some very special, mostly small-production Northern Italian wines selected in consultation with Ronnie Penati of Enoteca Penati down the road in Oggiono.

Arrival, Lunch, Montevecchia
Our driver will meet the United flight from Frankfurt (watch for the “Poggio Verde” sign) and will escort you and your bags to the villa.  You will have time to unpack, make yourself comfortable and explore the villa and grounds a bit before enjoying our first lunch at the villa. Our driver will then take us to Montevecchia for a walk up to this beautiful hilltop village with views of the surrounding Val Curone not far from the villa. We’ll arrive home in time for a game of bocce before dinner at the villa.

Lunch at Frosio
Our driver will take us to 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, our driver will take us to Frosio in nearby Almé for a lunch of innovative cuisine in the beautiful dining room of this 18th century villa. We will return to the villa in time to relax or play a game of bocce before dinner.

Valtellina (Aldo Rainoldi or ArPePe winery)
Lunch at Ristorante Fracia

After breakfast we will head north along the east side of Lake Lecco and then turn east into the gorgeous and steep wine-growing area of Valtellina. We will make a stop at the ruins of Castel Grumello and take in the gorgeous view of the valley and mountains before continuing to Aldo Rainoldi or Ar.Pe.Pe 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 the accompanying Nino Negri wines). This area is also known for its superb Italian cured meats, such as bresaola and speck, and some tasty cheeses are produced in this region, as well. We’ll stop into the incredible Ciapponi in Morbegno on the way home and pick up some local specialties to enjoy that evening and the rest of the week. We will return to the villa in time to relax a bit before dinner.

Lunch at Obica
Our driver will take us to the new Piazza Gae Aulenti with its wonderful modern architecture. From there we’ll walk along the pedestrian Corso di Como past the marvelous Eataly and its display of all kinds of Italian food), then on to the Brera, with a peek into the Courtyard of this beautiful art museum. From there we’ll continue toward the small but beautiful San Marco church and have a look at the 12th century frescoes, then on to Piazza La Scala (the famous Milan opera house). We’ll walk through one of the oldest covered shopping centers, the amazing Galleria, and into the Piazza Duomo. Lunch is at Obica, with gorgeous views of the roof of the Duomo (and superb pizza, salamis and Mozzarella tastings). After lunch our tour guide will take us inside the Duomo cathedral, then to the ancient Piazza dei Mercanti and on for a visit to Castello Sforzesco and we’ll end our walk at Santa Maria delle Grazie church where we will see Leonardo daVinci’s Last Supper and the beautiful cloisters of the monastery. Our driver will pick us up there and take us back to the villa in time to enjoy sunset (and bocce?) before dinner. Total walking time this day is about 1 hour and 45 minutes, or about 8 kilometers).

Lake Como (Bellagio, Villa Balbianello)
Lunch at Dac a Tra

After breakfast, our driver will take us to Bellagio on gorgeous Lake Como and 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’ll walk along Lake Como through the beautiful gardens of the Villa Melzi before boarding our bus for a late lunch at Dac a Tra, not far from the villa. We’ll back in time to relax a bit before the first of our dinners (and accompanying wines) at the villa.

The price (double occupancy, choice of king or twins) includes airport or train pickup and dropoff, all transportation (to/from the airport and to/from activities), lodgings at Poggio Verde Country Villa, Italian continental breakfast, all meals and wine. Everything except airfare and your personal purchases is included. A $500 non-refundable deposit will save your spot; balance is due 60 days before departure.

Adjustments to the itinerary will be made as needed in response to weather conditions, etc.

Hosted by: Mark and Judith Wencel
Chef: Katharine Elder of Elderslie Farm
Wine Specialist: Ronnie Penati of Enoteca Penati

For more photos, see our blog and Flickr page and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @poggioverdevilla. Sign up for our newsletter here.

For more information, or to sign up, or to schedule a week for your own group, e-mail Judith.

Coming with us? Here are some FAQs (internet, trip insurance, facilities, etc.).