THE UNESCO LANDSCAPES
Parma – Apennines – Langhe - Turin
9 days / 8 nights
In 2015 a large area of the Apennines, which begins with the Castle of Torrechiara and ends over the ridge toward the sea of Tuscany, was recognized as a Man & Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, due to the ability of its inhabitants over the centuries to preserve environmental integrity and create exceptional products such as Parmigiano Reggiano and Prosciutto di Parma, to name only the most famous. A few months later, Parma itself was named a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy.
In southern Piedmont the natural landscape and human action created a unique setting. Also in 2015 the Langhe, with their characteristic landscape of combed vineyards and dotted with castles, and Roero, with its sandy rocks offering views of unexpected beauty and the story of a territory that makes great wines and culinary excellence as the essence of its identity, were recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
With this itineray we propose a journey through nature and the art of beauty, between the Castles of Parma and the Langhe, ancient medieval churches, the scents of vineyards and woods, not to mention delicious tastings of unique products. A set of true experiences that you will definitely enjoy.
Day 1 (Saturday): PARMA
Free arrival to Parma.
Car Pick up.
Overnight at PALAZZO GOZZI BED&BEAUTY
Day 2 (Sunday): The hills of Parma and its typical products
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure by car to the Parma Apennines. First step to visit a Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factory to understand how this so tasty cheese was born. At the end you’ll go on towards Torrechiara, a small village of rare beauty, only 18 km from Parma, where a wonderful fifteenth century Piazza Leoni will welcome you.
The visit begins with an appointment from another time: Bianca Pellegrini is waiting to accompany you in her castle, with the story of the characters and events that have lived here over the centuries.
Traditional peasant lunch
In the afternoon departure to the nearby Langhirano, where you will find the open doors of a ham factory to see how Parma ham is made and the show that is offered in the aging cellars
At the end back to Parma and free dinner.
Day 3 (Monday): The villages of the Parma Apennines
Breakfast at the hotel. Day dedicated to the visit of the picturesque villages of the Parma Apennines.
BUSSETO (a must see!)
Why visit: The flat land North of the via Emilia offers different points of interest and different reasons for a visit. The importance of this territory however, lies in the figure of music and opera composer Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), who was born in a nearby village called Roncole and who lived in the close Busseto for a great part of his life. The Maestro still fascinates music lovers and people who are interested in the life of this composer, profoundly linked to our Risorgimento age. Thanks to the environmental characteristics of the Padana flat land along the Po river, an important role in this territory’s life is played by the rich production of delicious cold cuts, among which we find salami, coppe, fiocchetti and the king culatello.
Where to visit and what to see: The area around Busseto can be visited in every period of the year. Here Verdi is still alive and testimonies of his life are visited frequently on a Verdi tour that starts just at the house of the Maestro in Roncole, arriving then at the mansion Sant’Agata in Villanova sull’Arda.
Busseto is the right place to discover the most significant sights linked to the life of the composer, starting from Piazza Verdi, where a bronze monument dedicated to the Maestro dominates the square. Here, besides the 13th century Rocca that housed the Pallavicino family, now the Municipality building, there are also the Verdi theatre, dating back between 1856 and 1868 and Casa Barezzi, where the composer lived with his wife Margherita Barezzi. The house holds many relics, testimonies of the education and future career of Verdi, autographed letters, iconographic documents, original portraits of the Maestro and of his performers during the last century.
Just outside the wall of the city, another important stop along this itinerary is at Villa Pallavicino. This beautiful Renaissance building is now home to the National Museum Giuseppe Verdi and celebrates this genius composer. Its large rooms house twenty seven works with reproductions of the original furnishing of Casa Ricordi and many paintings from that era, fabrics from the 1800s, and eternal music in a setting with theatrical lighting which accompanies visitors along their journey in this intensely romantic atmosphere. If the spirit of this Maestro still haunts places in Busseto, it most surely visits noteworthy places such as the Collegiata of San Bartolomeo of the 15th century, built between 1437 and 1450 upon the request by Orlando Pallavicino il Magnifico, the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli with the famous sculpture of the Compianto, and of course Villa Pallavicino, which was the summer residence of the Lords of Busseto. Furthermore, in a tribute to the heritage of the Italian melodrama, inside the ancient stables of Villa Pallavicino, the new "Renata Tebaldi" Museum has been opened, with a fascinating exhibition of objects, clothes, and jewelry that belonged to this woman that Arturo Toscanini called "the voice of an angel," along with documents, images, and other items of famous artists and colleagues of Tebaldi.
An agricultural and industrial centre running parallel to the banks of the River Po. It is renowned for the famous "Zibello Culatello" (a type of cured ham).
Places of interest include the Portico of the Pallavicino Palace, the 15th Century parish church, Cloister of the former Dominican convent founded in 1494, the Museum of Country Life and the Church of Beata Vergine delle Grazie.
It's one of the most famous villages of the flat land, enriched by the presence of the Sanvitale family since the end of the 1300s, who left the most significant trace with the castle in the center of the village. Visiting Fontanellato means having a taste of the slow and quiet life of the flat land, of its places of art and of course of its cuisine. In 2004 Fontanellato received the title of slowcity, based upon indicators such as urban quality, infrastructures, hospitality, and typical local product promotion. The town has also received the title of City of Art and Culture and the Orange flag of the Touring Club Italiano
Compiano is a typical Apennine hamlet, along the "Strada del Fungo Porcino", which is still enclosed by the old town walls along which there are two fortified entrances. Museums and monuments include the 15th C Castle, the Church of San Giovanni Battista and the "Gli Orsanti" Museum.
The origins of this final stopping place on the Pilgrims' Way before crossing the Appennines are linked to a Benedictine abbey founded in the 8th century by the longobard King Liutprand, following a request by Moderanus, the bishop of Rennes. The medieval atmosphere pervades the village thanks to old stone houses, small and rustic buildings and the remains of a 12th century castle dominating the town. Berceto is nowadays a summer holiday resort and a starting point for walks and ridings along the Horse trail of Taro and Ceno Valley, in the high Appennine mountains. The Cathedral, dedicated to St. Moderanus, maintains its Romanesque structure and preserve precious works of art. The baroque sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie lies slightly outside the town: it was built in the early 16th century on the remains of a medieval pilgrims' hospice. The museum is housed in an antique lateral chapel, preserving furniture and vestments, among which is the pluvial of San Moderanno from the 12th century.
Hidden in a valley on the Appennines, Corchia still preserves its Medieval features. Houses made of stones, paved tiny streets, arches, typical barns called tagge make a visit to Corchia a journey back in time. Since the rule of the Farnese family, the village economy could develop thanks to the iron and copper pits on nearby Mount Groppo Maggio, closed only in 1943.
At the end back to Parma
Overnight at PALAZZO GOZZI BED&BEAUTY.
Included a haircut in this innovative Bed&Beauty formula
Day 4 (Tuesday): PARMA
Breakfast at the hotel. Morning dedicated to the Parma guided tour
Parma’s center is full of art masterpieces, wide green spaces, little and big treasures from different ages, welcoming visitors and citizens all in the refined atmosphere of a petite capital. The presence of music in the history of the city is various and recognized worldwide; the spirit of initiative and everyone’s passion give the city a deserved relevant position among the capitals of music. The gastronomic tradition is also very remarkable, offering, besides cold cuts and cheese which are famous all over the world, first courses of homemade pasta cooked in different way.s
The historical centre of Parma is divided into three big parts: Piazza Garibaldi, that was in part the site of the Roman forum, and where the centre of the Municipality is located. There is also the Governor’s palace, with its Baroque tower, which houses the bell of the high civic tower collapsed in 1606, the crowned Virgin in the niche of the bell tower and the two sun-dials dating back to 1829. Piazza Duomo, where the highest artistic and religious expressions of the city stand, such as the Cathedral dedicated to the Assumption, which is among the main representative Romanic buildings of the Padana region, started around the year 1059 and consecrated in 1106; the Baptistery, a symbol of the passage from the late Romanic to Gothic, made of pink marble from Verona, started in 1196 and finished in 1307 and the Bishop’s palace, dating back to the 11th - 12th century. Re-arranged many times, the present version dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. Finally, Piazza della Pilotta, now Piazzale della Pace, is the symbol of ducal power with the Pilotta palace, ancient palace of the court and state services belonging to the Farnese family. The rooms host the Archaeological museum, the beautiful Palatina library, the National gallery and the Farnese theatre and the courtyard is the scenery of a Festival with shows and concerts every summer.
Main events: A night at the Regio theatre during the opera season or the Festival Verdi is not to be missed, the festival takes place every year in October. In September delicious pork is celebrated with the Festival of Prosciutto tempting gluttons with its events. Many more are the events during the year, for every taste, from music to gastronomy, theatre and art.
Free lunch and afternoon at your disposal for shopping or individual excursions
Dinner in a typical restaurant to taste the famous Emilian cuisine
Day 5 (Wednesday): PARMA – ALBA (LANGHE)
After the breakfast at the hotel departure to the famous area of Langhe
Arriving there you cannot miss Alba, the capital of the Langhe and the city of the 'hundred towers'. The urban fabric tells of the ancient Roman Alba Pompeia, the medieval towered city, until you get to the tracks of the new industrial capital, place of production of excellence known worldwide.
Tasting dinner in typical restaurant
Overnight at the gay friendly San Lorenzo Hotel
Day 6 (Thursday): The Langa of Barolo
Breakfast at the hotel.
The day will be dedicated to one of the leading products of the Langhe: Barolo wine, which takes its name from the town at the centre of which stands the Falletti Castle which houses the WiMu, the innovative wine museum, where the wine route is celebrated in history and art, cuisine, in film, music and literature, in the universal myths and local traditions. The Museum is also a tribute to the history of the castle and the famous people who have lived here: the Marquise Juliette Colbert and the Italian patriot Silvio Pellico.
In the afternoon a panoramic route through the villages of Barolo, among the scents of vineyards and the succession of countless wineries will be at the centre of your attention, culminating in a tasting in a historic cellar.
Return to Alba and free dinner
Day 7 (Friday): the Roero and its wines, the Moscato hills
Breakfast at the hotel. On the last day the route continues through Roero, the territory that extends to the left of the river Tanaro, characterized by typical “Rocks”, a peculiar geological phenomenon that has created a landscape characterized by deep ravines.
Visit the castle of Magliano Alfieri, which houses the Popular Arts and Traditions Museum with the original section dedicated to plaster ceilings and, since 2015, the “Theatre of the landscape”, a new section dedicated to the hills and river landscape of the Langhe and Roero: the museum is a real multimedia journey. Following it’s a delicious tasting of meats and cheeses, including the characteristic “crutin”, in the cellar of the Roero, carved into the rock.
You continue through the Barbaresco Langa and reach the Mango Castle in the village that will show you the prized vineyards of Muscat and another typical product of the Langhe, the famous “Tonda gentile” hazelnuts. Also in the castle a tasting will be waiting for you at the Enoteca Regionale del Moscato, where the Muscat and traditional sweets made with hazelnuts can not be missed.
Departure to Turin
Accomodation at Hotel Sitea or NH
Dinner at “Locanda ” with typical Piedmontese menu
Day 8 (Saturday): TURIN
Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning, Gay Walking Tour of Turin “Tuttaltrastoria” escorted by English speaking certified guide (2-3 hours). A bizarre journey through those places in Turin marked by the passage of illustrious people, somehow connected to the gay life; visit to the historical centre including San Carlo Square, the Royal Palace and the Mole Antonelliana. At the end of the walk free time for shopping or for individual excursions. Free lunch.
Dinner and overnight at HOTEL SITEA or NH
Enjoy the most famous gay nightlife in Turin
Day 9 (Sunday): TURIN
Breakfast at the hotel.
End of services
OUR SELECTED GAY FRIENDLY HOTELS:
Parma: PALAZZO GOZZI BED & BEAUTY
ALBA: SAN LORENZO HOTEL***
TORINO: Hotel Sitea**** or NH Turin hotels if you prefer comfort and modernity
According to the number of participants, RainbowItaly can propose this itinerary in self-drive, minibus, GT bus, luxury car with private driver and everything can be personalized, starting from a basic package that includes:
- 4 overnights accommodation in double room at PALAZZO GOZZI BED & BEAUTY in Parma in BB
- 2 overnights accommodation in double room at ALBERGO SAN LORENZO in Alba in BB
- 2 overnights accommodation in double room at HOTEL SITEA or NH in Torino in BB
- Guided tour and tasting in a cheese factory around Parma
- Guided tour and entrance ticket to Torrechiara Castle
- Half day Parma guided Tour
- One typical tasting dinner in Parma
- Tasting dinner in Alba
- Half day Turin walking gay tour “Tuttaltrastoria”
- Rent a car with pick up in Parma and drop off in Turin, cat. Economy
- car insurance with allowance