Northern Italy: Be Charmed! 2017

September 30 to October 7, 2017
3400 euros per person, double occupancy

Poggio Verde and Elesta Travel are delighted to offer the third annual Northern Italy: Be Charmed! trip to take place the first week of October, 2017.  With a home base at our comfortable villa, 8-12 women will receive door-to-door service and a private tour of the best that this fabulous part of the world has to offer.

Another view from the stairs over the Val Curone

View of the Val Curone from Montevecchia

DAY 1: Saturday, Sept 30. Arrival, Organic Luncheon and Montevecchia
Our driver will meet you at Malpensa airport and will escort you and your bags to the Villa.  After a welcome glass of sparkling Franciacorta wine,  you will have time to unpack, make yourself comfortable and take a relaxed walk in the park. Our driver then accompanies us to the nearby “Galbusera Nera” restaurant, and on to a short walk in scenic Monticello Alto with its quaint church and stations of the cross. The day ends with a delicious meal at the Villa with home-made pumpkin risotto with roasted chestnuts, fresh vegetables and herbs, followed by Italian cheeses and an apricot panna cotta.

The main piazza, looking toward the covered stairs

The main piazza, looking toward the covered stairs

DAY 2: Sunday, October 1.
Bergamo Alto and Franciacorta wine-tasting

After breakfast of fresh fruit, delicacies from our local pastry chef and egg-based choices, our driver will take us to Bergamo, one of the most beautiful hill towns in Italy. We’ll take a short funicular ride up to the Bergamo Alto “high city”, taking in the gorgeous views of the area on our way up. After visiting the stunning Renaissance and Roman sites of the city, our driver will take us to a wine-tasting luncheon in the heart of Franciacorta region, where we’ll sample the delicious local sparkling wine.  Following a walk amongst the vineyards we will return to Poggio Verde for a delicious dinner at the Villa of home-made tagliolini with roasted vegetables, charcuterie and pear and chocolate tart (and we’ll tuck away the Franciacorta sparkling wine we’ve brought back in anticipation of a toast during our final evening together).

DAY 3: Monday, October 2.
Little Red Train through the Italian and Swiss Alps

We’re rise early for a 7:00 AM departure for Tirano, Italy where we will take the Bernina Express (the famous Little Red Train with its enormous observation windows) heading through stunning alpine scenery to St. Moritz. We’ll have a fun picnic lunch with a glass of wine on the train, arriving at 12:30.  Our exploration of the picturesque Swiss town will include a visit to the historic pastry shop Cafe Hanselmann.  We will return to Italy via PostBus through the magnificently scenic Engadine valley to Chiavenna where our driver will meet us to take us back to Poggio Verde by 7pm.  A long day, but worth it!  A cocktail and light meal awaits us at the villa.

Picture7DAY 4: Tuesday, October 3.
A day at the Villa, cooking lesson with Antonella Pavanello, the “Fast and Furious” Chef.

This is your day to relax and enjoy country living and the beauty of your surroundings. After a late breakfast we’ll go food shopping together and explore a local organic farm and have lunch at their delightful restaurant. Than at 3 pm sharp, professional chef and friend Antonella will arrive to begin a fun and delicious cooking lesson entitled “Easy Cooking: Menu in 3 Hours”: you’ll learn how to prepare northern Italian specialties including Zuppetta di Ceci al Rosmarino con Concassé di Pomodoro (Chickpea Soup with Rosemary and Diced Tomatoes), Filetto di Maiale in Crosta con Speck e Senape Rustica (Crusty Pork fillet in Speck and Country Style Mustard), Sauté di Patate e Cipolle all’Alloro (Sautéed Potatoes and Alloro Onions) and Bicchierini con Meringa, Panna, Mirtilli e Lemon Curd (Little Glasses Layered with Meringue, Cream, Blueberries and Lemon Curd) for dessert. And the best part? We will enjoy the fruits of our labour together for dinner! Get ready to impress your family and friends with your new-found Italian cooking knowledge.

Taking the boat back to Stresa (Lake Maggiore)

Taking the boat back to Stresa (Lake Maggiore)

DAY 5: Wednesday, October 4.
Lago Maggiore, Stresa, Isola Bella. 

After breakfast our driver will take us to the charming town of Stresa on Lake Maggiore. We will take a walk along the lakefront and then take a private boat from Stresa to the magnificent Isola Bella, the most lavish of the three Borromean Islands. Here we’ll enjoy a fascinating tour of the princely Borromeo Palace and its grandiose baroque Italian Gardens built on ten terraces and we’ll have a simple lunch featuring local cuisine.  We return to Stresa by boat where our driver awaits us to accompany us to Enoteca Penati a few minutes from the villa for a wine tasting, then back to the Villa for a scrumptious home-cooked meal at Poggio Verde. View photos and the blog post from the 2015 Be Charmed visit to Stresa and Isola Bella.

IMG_0132DAY 6: Thursday, Oct 5.
Milano: The Last Supper, Duomo, La Scala, Tea in Via Montenapoleone.

After breakfast, our driver will take us to Milan where we will begin with a guided tour that includes Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. Lunch will be at the bespoke Mozzarella specialist Obica, overlooking the Piazza Duomo and cathedral. From the restaurant we will walk through the Galleria to the famous opera house La Scala and a short tour of the Museum, and then go (window) shopping along Via Montenapoleone where we’ll take tea at the fabulous Marchesi tea house. Our driver then returns us to the Villa for a short rest.  That evening we will enjoy Brianzola specialties at home. View photos and the blog post from our 2015 Be Charmed visit to Milan.

DAY 7: Friday, October 6.
Silk Outlet, Como in a Ferry, Lunch in Bellagio.
After our wonderful breakfast, our driver will take us to the spectacular silk outlet Mantero, a luscious Italian producer, for a tour of their operation and some bargain silk shopping. Then we’ll take a ferry from the charming Como to Bellagio where we will have lunch at a remarkable Michelin restaurant featuring local specialties. Back at Poggio Verde, we will find our amazing Chef Ines in the kitchen preparing our final celebratory dinner featuring our favorite pumpkin soup with cheese-stuffed profiteroles. Before we sit down to enjoy that dinner, though, we will gather in the wonderful living room and have a proper toast of sparkling Franciacorta wine with some little tasty items from Fumagalli! See photos and the blog post from our 2015 Be Charmed visit to Como and Mantero.

Saturday, October 7:
After breakfast at the Villa our driver will take you (and your packages and your great memories!) to the airport.

Please note that plans may vary slightly due to weather conditions. Every change will be communicated in advance and substituted with an activity or meal of equal or superior value.

The price of 3400 euros per person double occupancy (3500 euros for single occupancy) includes all transportation (to/from the airport and to/from activities), at Poggio Verde Country Villa, our lovely Italian continental breakfast, lunch in or out as the occasion demands, meals at Poggio Verde, our local wine pairings, tips.  A 500 euros non-refundable deposit is required to save your place on this trip.

To reserve another available week of your choice for your group of 8-12 women, please email Gretchen.