Day 1: Balsamic Vinegar and Cars (Modena)
Our tour begins in Modena, city of 3 iconic Italian names: Ferrari, Pavarotti and Balsamic Vinegar. Just this once let’s forget Opera and concentrate on vinegar and cars.
First stop a family friendly test drive in a Ferrari California which is the only Ferrari to have back seats. Mum or dad at the wheel assisted by a Testarossa driver while the rest of the family can enjoy the adventure from the comfort of the back seat. The test drive can be tailor made for your budget.
Then we will go to the modern interactive Ferrari Museum which will take us through the history of the Ferrari brand and the logo of the rearing white horse through an exhibition of 40 models, many photographs and trophies and a fabulous teaching lab just for families, also the Red Campus which is an interactive space where, through practice and simulation, you can get to know this wholly Italian masterpiece.
Lunch at the Museum caffé.
From technology to tradition: the afternoon will be dedicated to Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, yet another Modena icon. For youngsters it will be a great lesson away from the school desk and for adults an unforgettable experience as you discover one of the pillars of Italian food excellency. We will visit a real Vinegar loft, the Acetaia of the Locanda di Diogene, to follow the long and delicate journey of vinegar which from the grape becomes that precious liquid, both sweet and tasty at the same time, which is the envy of the whole world. You will be able to taste it directly from the barrels during the various production phases and learn all the secrets of this extraordinary product.
We will stay at the Lanterna di Diogene both for dinner and our overnight stay as the structure is not only a vinegar loft it is a life project with rooms available for visitors. With Giovanni Cuocci and his wife at the helm, a group of special youngsters are involved in all stages of management: they look after the market garden where all the vegetables served at table come from, they prepare the fresh pasta, they help in the vinegar loft and feed the farm animals as well as serving at table. A project of love and inclusion, an oasis of humanity which translates into an excellent culinary experience made up of simple traditional dishes using quality products, for the most part biological and all at zero km.
Day 2: Castles and Vineyards (Piacenza)
Today we are going to move into the province of Piacenza to visit one of the most attractive villages in Italy – Castell’Arquato.
But before we leave Modena, we shall visit one of the most spectacular wine cellars in the area: the Volta Wine Cellar. The owner, Christian Bellei, was born and bred amongst the vines and his enthusiasm is palpable. In fact, his philosophy is “ Wine is not a mathematical formula, it is the fruit of careful research and unbounded enthusiasm”. Just by looking him in the eyes you can really understand that this is the underlying belief behind every aspect of activity in his winery.
The tour begins in the wine cellar and is followed by a spectacular wine tasting with accompanying tidbits. For children fruit juice is laid on with a great comic strip created by the winery to encourage an informed wine culture which explains simply and amusingly the fascinating journey from grape to wine.
For lunch instead we will sample the food at the Agriturismo Le Colline della Luna in the green hills of Medesano. Here, too, everything served is locally sourced: vegetables, flour, cold cuts, eggs, meat, jams and even the honey. The setting is lovely and there is a lot of available space to run about and play while mum and dad try the local wines.
After lunch we will move on to Castell’Arquato, one of the loveliest Italian villages. Strolling through the alleys and cobbled squares will be like going back in time; and don’t be surprised if, as though by magic, you bump into people dressed in medieval costume. The hamlet is often home to historical evocations of the exciting past.
After so much moving about what could be better than a tasting dinner. Family-friendly, obviously ! Our venue is the Vigneto Cardinali for a fascinating tasting dinner where, during warm weather, the meal is served outside on the patio of the large country house. Between chats the owner will tell the children even how to coat a glass with wine.
And to finish……..an adventure from a fairy tale as dessert is served in the forest. Illuminated only by the moon and accompanied only by the noises of the forest you will walk to a small angle of paradise to sit in candlelight, sip a moscato wine and taste some fine gorgonzola while the children help themselves to chocolate. A fitting end to a fabulous day !
Overnight stay at the Vigneto B&B
Day 3 : The Fairy Tale Park at the Castle of Gropparello
The final day of our tour feels magical. We reach the Castle of Gropparello where we will spend the whole day.
The manor house is truly fascinating and we can visit it with a guide. The real prize is, however, the Parco delle Fiabe or Fairy Tale Park in the castle woods which are transformed for the length of the weekend into a magical place of emotion as an open air stage where fairy tales come to life.
Guided by actors in costume, the children will cross the woods on a special pathway which will take them to re-live the stories of Merlin the Wizard and the White Knight. There is a final battle with the children transformed into noble knights with swords and tabards when they will learn to face up to fear and believe that good always triumphs over evil.
Lunch at the Taverna del Castello
Why not treat yourself……….??
…..Rent a vintage car and travel slowly on a stately drive to discover the territory with the eyes of the heart. The ‘slow drive’ experience at 40/50 kms per hour is a truly fascinating experience. Unfortunately, vintage cars are not equipped with safety belts so are no appropriate for families with children.
…..Fly over the Castles of the Duchy in a hot air balloon. You can land directly at Gropparello and then have an arranged transfer back to base.
…..Spend a night in the Castle itself
The tour was created, tried and recounted by Valentina Cappio of ThefamilyCompany.it as part of the project #destinationYOU
There will be qualified and licensed guides who are experts in the food and wine products of Modena, Parma and Piacenza; there will be an overnight stay in an exclusive resort; full lunches and dinners with appropriate local wines.
This is a tour which can be purchased on line for weekends, but possible on other days according to demand. The tour is subject to change according to availability of the structures.