Slow Food Festa
Parma & Piedmont and the Salone del Gusto
Arrival: Milan’s Malpensa or Linate or Bologna. Both Milan airports have convenient shuttle buses to Milan’s central train station, the Stazione Centrale (50 minutes from Malpensa, 30 minutes from Linate). Bologna has its Aerobus-BLQ shuttle service that connects the airport with the center of Bologna. Departure: Bologna or Milan.
Plan to land in Italy a day before the tour begins; that's necessary to be at our starting point on time. We suggest spending the preceding night either in Modena or in Bologna, just a 30-minute train ride away. Bologna is the regional capital of Emilia Romagna. It’s the perfect place to begin a culinary vacation, as its nickname implies: Bologna la Grassa, or “Bologna the Fat.” This historic city is the home of ragú sauce, mortadella, tortellini in broth, and of course lasagna, the ultimate comfort food. Bologna’s other nicknames suggest are equally suggestive: Bologna la Dotta, “the Learned,” in reference to the University of Bologna, the oldest university in Europe (founded 1088), which boasts such alums as Petrarch, Dante, and Copernicus. Bologna la Turrita (“City of Towers”) is appropriate for a city that still has some of its 180 medieval towers and offers a bounty of other historic sites for art and architecture buffs. Plus, there are many excellent museums of art and archaeology, and historic palaces to explore. For hotel suggestions, consult a good hotel search engine, such as TripAdvisor or Venere.
Our meeting point is the train station in Modena. If coming from Bologna that morning, contact us to coordinate which train you should take.
On our final day, we’ll shuttle you to the train station of Asti or Tortona after breakfast, depending on your subsequent destination. From there, you can easily catch a train back to Turin (approx. 45 min from Asti) or Milan (approx. 1:15 from Tortona).
Italian train schedule
Click here for an English-language version of TrenItalia. Be aware that the schedule is posted only several months in advance, so if you're looking for long-range dates, try something sooner, just to get an idea of departure frequency and trip length.
Trip extensionsSince we will not be getting into the historic center of Turin during our tour, it's well worth a return visit for some sightseeing -- or for the final day of the Salone del Gusto. The capital of the Kingdom of Piedmont until 1861, Turin housed the royal Savoia family, so it's filled with elegant architecture, ornate 18th century cafes, and expansive royal palaces. Plus there are many worthwhile museums, including a world-class Egyptian Museum and a fascinating Museum of Cinema.
This is recommended to protect you from needless loss caused by last-minute cancellations, lost luggage, and more. One source is Travelex Insurance: www.travelexinsurance.com, (800) 228-9792 (please use our compay code: 21-0043 LDV).
When packing, check www.weather.com. Go to "Asti, Italy" and "Parma, Italy" to get a general idea of temperatures and forecast. In late October, it’s definitely fall. Expect jacket weather, with morning mists, an equal chance of overcast or clear days, with the possibility of sporadic rain. Average daytime temperatures are 60º, and 45º at night.
Articles by La Dolce Vita Wine Tours cofounder Patricia Thomson:
"Lambrusco in a New Light"
"Pairing Film and Food in Bologna"
"Nebbiolo and the Allure of Barolo"
"Keepers of the Flame: Renato Ratti"
"A Piedmont Fable: Barbera"
"Like Honey to a Bee: Moscato d'Asti"
"Off to the Races: Behind the Scenes at Alba's Donkey Palio"
"Cycling through Piedmont's Wine Country"