Giving to
Bryn Mawr

Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center

Flavors of Northern Italy

September 27 - October 5, 2014

Where else, but in Northern Italy–where passion for local foods and soul satisfying cuisine easily rivals the other famous love affair from Verona. Here, cheeses are straight from Parma, balsamics from Modena, and risotto is proudly sourced from the Veronese plain and infused with Amarone. Savor them all, share your table, raise a glass, and join the celebration! We invite you to join us on this wonderful trip to a very special part of Italy, led by our own Nick Patruno

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Preliminary Itinerary
(please click on location to reveal details)


Day 1–2: En route from U.S. / Arrive in Verona

Welcome to Italy! Transfer to your historic Italian wine estate in the countryside just outside Verona, where you will spend the next seven nights surrounded by olive trees and vineyards. Meet your traveling companions for a welcome drink and concoct a pizza, Italian-style, to your liking. Overnight: Borgo San Donino (D)

Day 3: Verona

Explore Verona, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a city with a long and colorful history and artistic architectural landmarks. Begin your guided sightseeing with views of the Renaissance Gates of the 16th century, the 14th-century Scaliger Castle and Bridge, followed by Roman monuments. Continue walking alongside your guide to the city center with stops at the Roman amphitheater, the Piazza delle Erbe, Juliet’s balcony, and more. Lunch is on your own, followed by free time to further experience romantic, bustling Verona. Finish the day by returning to Selva Capuzza for dinner and wine tasting. Overnight: Borgo San Donino (B,D)

Day 4: Vallegio sul Mincio / Borghetto / Valpolicella

Head southwest to the tiny town of Valeggio this morning to spend time with the family owners of Pastificio al Re del Tortellino, learning the art of preparing fresh tortellini in a pasta-filled shop. After the lesson, sample regional specialties in the home of the owner. Following lunch and a scenic stop in the village of Borghetto, head to the small village of Marano in the hills of Valpolicella to meet winemaker Giuseppe Lonardi, one of the best producers of Amarone in Italy. Daughter Silvia assists in the wine production, while Chef Vittorio runs a tiny bistro near the winery. Enjoy a tasting where he will demonstrate a sumptuous slow-cooked, Amarone-infused risotto. As it’s stirred over a wood fire, observe the finer points of making polenta, learn about other seasonal and regional fare, then sit down to a freshly prepared meal that includes the Amarone risotto. Overnight: Borgo San Donino (B,L,D)

Day 5: Vallagarina / Lago di Garda

This morning, head north to the de Tarczal estate in the mountainous Trentino region of Northern Italy. Renowned for centuries for the quality and variety of its distinguished grapes, this prestigious small family vineyard specializes in classic local varietals. Enjoy a tour of the cellars, wine tasting, and lunch in “la Vineria,” featuring the gastronomic products of Trentino. Your leisurely drive takes you along the shores of Italy’s largest lake, Lago di Garda, where you stop in a picturesque town for coffee or gelato. Later this afternoon, get your sweet tooth ready for a dessert focused cooking class and olive oil tasting at Selva Capuzza. Enjoy your hand-made treats after another delicious dinner. Overnight: Borgo San Donino (B,L,D)

Day 6: Modena / Reggio / Parma

Begin your day with a visit to Castello di Vignola, a 9thcentury fortress transformed into a beautiful castle with ornate décor and beautifully preserved frescoes. Set off for Modena to visit Simone Caselli. This award-winning producer of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena will give us a private tour before we compare the tastes of aged balsamic vinegars and sample a buffet of regional flavors. Stop by ancient Reggio before touring the Duomo in Parma, a 12th-century Romanesque cathedral filled with Renaissance art and Correggio’s ceiling masterpiece. Later, discover how Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano-Reggiano—two of the most renowned Italian foods—are so carefully created. Overnight: Borgo San Donino. (B,L,D)

Day 7: Lessinia / Soave

Today you discover the culinary delights of the Lessinia region, known for its lush pastures, olive groves, and cherry and chestnut orchards. Visit a family-run artisan cheese maker in the Ronca municipality for a demonstration and sampling of some of the best local products. Make a short stop in the walled medieval town of Soave and visit its famous castle, learn about the town's important position in the town, and its historic relationship with wine. Then, enjoy a light lunch, tasting, and wine at Monte Tondo, a wonderful small winery outside of Soave. Enjoy some free time back at the estate before a dinner featuring a variety of slow foods. Overnight: Borgo San Donino (B,L,D)

Day 8: Sirmione

Enjoy a leisurely morning, highlighted by a pasta cooking class in the kitchen of your estate. Prepare and enjoy some typical dishes of the region. In the afternoon, you have the option of venturing to nearby Sirmione for last minute shopping or sightseeing. A special farewell dinner and performance marks the end of a fabulous week. Overnight: Borgo San Donino (B,L,D)

Day 9: Depart Verona

After breakfast this morning, transfer to the airport for your return flight home or to the train station for an extended journey to Venice. (B)

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Cost and program Inclusions

Classic Room$4,695
Superior Rooom $4,995
Single $6,199
Optional Venice Extension:$1,395*
Program Inclusions
  • Seven nights accommodation at an historic family-owned country retreat on a working wine- and olive oil-producing estate
  • Visits to vineyards and cellars in the famed Valpolicella and Trentino wine regions with exclusive private tastings
  • Cheese making demonstration and tasting in the heart of Lessinia, home to a delicious variety of Italian cheeses
  • Guided visits to historic sites such as Verona's famed Roman amphitheater and the Duomo di Parma with frescoes by Correggio
  • Tasting and lunch with a maker of fine and aged Modena Balsamic vinegar
  • Regional wine served with included meals
  • All lessons, presentations, tastings, and excursion transportation, as well as admission and entry fees
  • Airport transfers for guests arriving and departing on the suggested flights; as well as gratuities to guides, drivers, hotel porters, and hotel housekeeping staff
Program Highlights:
  • In the famed Valpolicella and Trentino wine regions, visit picturesque vineyards, discover local varietals, and enjoy exclusive tastings and presentations.
  • While chefs and producers divulge secrets of their crafts, sample the best of Northern Italy’s bounty—from delicious cheeses, salumi, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil, to specialties like spiedini and sweet sbrisolona.
  • Take in the area’s layered history, with visits to Verona’s 2,000-year-old Roman arena, contrasting with the magnificent medieval Castelvecchio along the River Adige; and Parma’s domed Romanesque cathedral.
Activity Level:

Easy: Guests should be able to enjoy an hour or more of walking and be sure-footed on stairs and cobbled streets.

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Faculty Study Leader

Nick Patruno, Professor Emeritus of Italian
Professor Patruno

Professor Patruno retired in May 2008 after almost 40 years of service. His main academic interests focus on 19th and 20th century Italian literature, translation, and on the pedagogical aspect of language teaching (with the aid of computers). He has published works on Giovanni Verga, Elio Vittorini, Eugenio Montale and on Primo Levi. His most recent work deals with Primo Levi and Italian women voices of the Holocaust. His book, Understanding Primo Levi (University of South Carolina Press, 1995) originated with a call from the press. He has appeared on NBC's The Today Show to comment on Primo Levi's life.

Professor Patruno's teaching has been recognized by a prize awarded by the American Institute for Italian Culture for "outstanding teaching at the college level" and by the American Association of Teachers of Italian of the Delaware Valley and vicinity. His research has been supported by the American Philosophical Society. He has directed the Bryn Mawr-University of Pennsylvania Summer Institute in Florence, Italy, for several years and was the Co-Director of the Summer Study in Pisa Program.

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Borgo San Donino

A few miles west of Verona and south of Lago di Garda lies Borgo San Donino on the Selva Capuzza wine estate. Nestled among working vineyards, olive groves, and truffle grounds, this beautiful, family-owned estate and farmhouse will be our home base, providing rustic comfort within arm's reach of the rich Veneto and Emilia Romagna producing regions.

Soaking in the surrounding beauty is one of the pleasures of this remarkable place. As you stroll its grounds, you might see people tending to the orchard or harvesting grapes just steps away from the restaurant and cellars where they are proudly served, or stumble upon stone-built remnants from its ancient past. Belonging to the "Strada dei Vini Bresciana del Garda" (Brescia wine route), the restaurant at Selva Capuzza features local produce in season and wine pairings with the estate's own Colli a Lago wine cellar.

After a day's adventures, restore your senses with a dip in the pool. Or, have some down-time in your room, enjoying the colors and soothing comfort of its environmentally-friendly decor, with touches of wood, stone, hand-worked iron, and natural materials like linen and cotton — inspired, as you will be, by the beauty of Northern Italy's landscapes.

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