Chef Jenna Arcidiacono of Amore Trattoria invites you to join our fifth Amore in Italy culinary adventure. We’ll visit two legendary destinations: the Cinque Terre and Lake Como.

The Cinque Terre is a magical stretch of coastline encompassing five fishing villages built on cliffs with pastel-colored buildings, grapevines and olive groves, and charming piazzas. Life centers around the Mediterranean sea with heart-stopping views and fabulous fresh seafood. The vast Cinque Terre National Park surrounds the stretch of coastline from Riomaggiore to Monterosso and the inland terraced gardens. This stretch of coastline is a UNESCO world heritage site, because it represents “the harmonious interaction between people and nature to produce a landscape of exceptional scenic quality.” It is truly a sight to behold and we’ll have four nights in the Cinque Terre to soak it in.

Lake Como is equally beautiful, the most spectacular of the northern Italian lakes positioned in the shadow of the Alps. Spend three nights in Bellagio, a charming town with cypress groves, gardens, and a waterfront of bobbing boats. The lake is 30 miles long and 1,350 feet at its deepest point. The majestic shores are peppered with gardens, estates, and villas. It’s a romantic destination, with an aristocratic 19th-century air.

Join Chef Jenna to eat well, cook local specialties, and enjoy la dolce vita from the Ligurian coast to Lombardy’s glacial lake region. Andiamo!

Friday, October 6—Welcome to Italy!

  • Pitstop in Piedmont for an epic lunch
  • Cocktails and a Mediterranean sunset with new friends

Benvenuto! We’ll meet this morning at the Milan Malpensa Airport and take private transportation to the Ligurian coast, home to five fishing villages called the Cinque Terre. The Cinque Terre is difficult to access but once we arrive, you’ll understand the allure. En route to the coast, we’ll stop for lunch in Piedmont, the region the lies between Milan and Liguria. Piedmont sits at the foot of the Alps and is famous for Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera wines, plus the rich foods that pair well with full-bodied red wines. We’ll enjoy a delicious lunch in the region that founded Slow Food. Then, just like that, we’re off to the sunny seaside.

For the next four nights, we’re based in Monterosso, the Cinque Terre’s largest village, known for having a large stretch of beach with colorful umbrellas. This is a quintessential resort town, charming and walkable with a beautiful promenade. We’ll reside at Hotel Marina, a small family-owned hotel with a rooftop lemon garden. Take some time this afternoon to relax.

We’ll convene before sunset to enjoy a spritz together… such as limoncino, a refreshing cocktail with local lemon liqueur, prosecco, and mint. Then it’s time for a delicious feast, with views out to the sea illuminated by the moonlight. For dinner consider to-die-for squid ink with tagliolini pasta and prawns or another local specialty: pesto with handmade trofie pasta. Buon Appetito!

Meals Lunch, Dinner

Saturday, October 7—Drinking in the Landscape

  • Walking tour with local guide to several villages with unique vistas
  • Get up close and personal with the vines: visit a vineyard on a terraced hillside and sip local vino

Enjoy a delicious Italian breakfast spread as you will each morning. Then, let’s dive right into discovering this unique landscape! Our local guide, Margherita, will share her local insight and knowledge. The Cinque Terre’s villages used to only be accessed by sea or a vast network of foot paths. In the late 19th century, a train was built and it is now great fun to take the quick train ride between villages, admiring the character and depth of each. Margherita will introduce us to Monterosso in depth, plus we’ll visit nearby villages Manarola and Riomaggiore.

In Riomaggiore, we’ll enjoy a special visit to a local winemaker. By now you’ve noticed the beautiful terraced hillsides, still alive with agricultural activity. Historically, each family had its own small vineyard. Today, there are still family-owned wine-making operations plus the picturesque stone walls. In fact, the Cinque Terre has over 4,000 miles of dry-stone walls that need a good deal of maintenance as they’re built without mortar. It’s an art. We’ll visit a small vineyard and taste three local wines. And the views are sensational! Soak up the scenery and the dolce vita. Once back in Monterosso, enjoy a free afternoon and evening to wander town. Onward Travel will provide a list of suggested restaurants and sights.

Meals Breakfast, Lunch

Sunday, October 8—Daytrip to Portovenere

  • Boat ride along the picturesque Cinque Terre coastline
  • Explore charming Portovenere

Truthfully, it’s no secret, the Cinque Terre has been discovered. An anticdote to the “thriving” tourism industry on this stretch of coastline is to venture a bit further afield. So this morning, we’ll meet our captain at the dock in Monterosso and board a private wooden boat to travel along the coast to Portovenere, a charming town considered the unofficial “sixth” village. Margherita will join us to point out sites of interest from the boat, plus walk us around the interesting town and the San Pietro Church built in the 12th-century. Take some time to wander the shops and admire the scenic marina and grab lunch on your own. Or if you’d rather stay on the boat and cruise around the islands and enjoy a swim, you’re welcome to do so!

Early afternoon, we’ll board the boat, once again marveling at the coastline as we travel back to Monterosso. Enjoy wine and snacks as we leisurely cruise. When we return, freshen up and catch the sunset. Tonight we’ll take the train to Vernazza, a snazzy little village, just a three minute ride from Monterosso, for a lovely dinner at one of the area’s finest restaurants.

Meals Breakfast, Dinner

Monday, October 9—Ligurian Kitchen

  • Scenic hike in the Cinque Terre National Park or a leisurely, low-key morning
  • Hands-on cooking class in a Ligurian kitchen

If the Mediterranean sun in shining, wander down to the beach and swim in the sea or perhaps grab a cappuccino with the locals. You may simply relax this morning or grab your sturdy shoes and join Molly and Margherita for a scenic hike. The Cinque Terre National Park consists of over 10,000 acres and is home to many beautiful footpaths affording great views. So, depending on the group’s interests and energy, we’ll choose a path and enjoy the bucket-list worthy activity of hiking in the Cinque Terre. For lunch, a cone of fried fresh seafood and a lemon gelato may be just the thing. Lots of options, so lunch at your leisure.

Early afternoon we’ll head to the hills in the nearby town of Levanto where we’ll roll up on sleeves for a hands-on cooking class at a beautiful villa. The class takes place in the villa’s 18th century kitchen and concludes with a candlelit dinner on the terrace. We’ll cook with fresh and local products, with fruit, vegetables, and herbs picked from the garden; it’s an abundant time of year. Our multi-course dinner will be complemented by local wines. We’ll toast the evening with a sip of the Cinque Terre’s famous sweet wine: Sciacchetrà, made from the grapes you see on the terraced hillsides.

Meals Breakfast, Dinner

Tuesday, October 10—One Waterside Paradise to Another

  • Visit Portofino, a famous resort-town
  • Dine on a terrace overlooking Lake Como

Enjoy one last breakfast in the lemon garden, but don’t be sad, we’re headed to Bellagio. Say goodbye to Monterosso this morning and prepare for the next adventure.

En route, we’ll stop in legendary Portofino for a light lunch and a quick jaunt around town. This high-end fishing village is famous as a celebrity hotspot and yacht magnet. It mirrors the coastal beauty and charm of the Cinque Terre. After a fun exploration of Portofino and a three and a half hour drive north, we arrive in beautiful Bellagio. We’re based at Hotel Metropole for the next three nights. Enjoy a lake-view room at this charming hotel in the center of the village. It has been a long day, so we’ll dine at the hotel’s restaurant tonight, on a terrace overlooking Lake Como. Bellagio is located in the crook of land where the lake divides into two, and the views are unforgettable.

Meals Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Wednesday, October 11—Luxury on Lake Como

  • Explore Lake Como from a water limo
  • Picnic at one of the lake’s most spectacular villas

Enjoy another lovely Italian breakfast spread, and prepare for a fantastic day. If you’re an early bird, we’re just a few minutes walk from the beach if you want to dip your toe in the lake. Or head to Bellagio’s daily market to peruse the stalls. Mid-morning we’ll meet a third-generation boat operator to take a tour in his custom-crafted water limousine. Enjoy an hourlong cruise on the central lake area, seeing villas and quaint towns from the water. We’ll end at Villa Carlotta, a Lake Como must-see.

We’ll take a guided tour of Villa Carlotta and picnic on the grounds. The villa is sprawling and home to a beautiful botanical garden. Built in the 17th century, the villa has an impressive art collection and opulence to spare. Once we’ve gotten our fill, it’s a swift back to Bellagio on the water limo.

Enjoy time to explore Bellagio and poke in the shops. We’ll meet again for a festive group dinner on the outskirts of town.

Meals Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Thursday, October 12—Cucina Italiana with Chef Luigi

  • Savor a day in Chef Luigi’s kitchen
  • Take in unparalleled views at Serbelloni Gardens

Today we’ll head into the kitchen for a cooking class with Chef Luigi at his restaurant, Salice Blu, a short transfer from town. Chef Luigi worked in the illustrious Villa D’Este for seven years and has already won 40 gold medals in international culinary competitions. He’s pleased to welcome us to his elegant restaurant today. Chef Luigi is committed to using local ingredients, so when we arrive we’ll enjoy a cappuccino and time to visit the herb garden behind the restaurant. Don your apron and roll up your sleeves, today we prepare several times of fresh pasta. We’ll enjoy lunch on the terrace and take home a booklet of Luigi’s recipes.

If you want to walk off the food coma, take the afternoon tour at Serbelloni Gardens. Or head back to the hotel and relax on the sun terrace. We have been unable to shake the views from Serbelloni Gardens after visiting with a group a few years ago. The landscape is amazing and the property is owned by the Rockefeller Foundation, currently home to an artists-in-residency program. Spend the evening as you please, restaurant suggestions provided.

Meals Breakfast, Lunch

Friday, October 13—La Dolce Vita

  • Cruise down Lake Como
  • Experience a Michelin-starred lunch in a palazzo

It’s our last day together so we’ll make the most of it! This morning we’ll board the ferry to Como and cruise down the lake, Prosecco in hand. No doubt you’ll have an appetite when we arrive, and we’ll have a delicious gourmet lunch at Michelin-starred Theoria, an elegant restaurant in a renovated two-story palazzo. Lunch will be so beautiful, it’s no surprise the restaurant is also an art gallery.

After lunch, we’ll take the Funicolare Como-Brunate cable car up a hilltop for a vast view and enjoy some time for sightseeing on our own. Before we leave town, we’ll have a scoop of artisanal, homemade gelato. Our driver will meet us in Como and transport us to our convenient Milan Airport hotel. Tonight we’ll share a casual dinner and drinks and toast the good times we shared!

Meals Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Saturday, October 14—Arrivederci!

We’ll be at a hotel convenient to the Milan—Malpensa International Airport, so book your departure out of Milan and take the shuttle to the airport at your leisure. A train station is also available at the Milan Airport and Onward Travel can help organize transfers to other cities or airports. Get in touch and we’re happy to assist! Journey home with wonderful memories.

Meals Breakfast

  • $3,595 based on double occupancy.
  • Air travel is not included but Onward Travel is happy to assist. Onward Travel has a United Airlines block reserved, roundtrip Grand Rapids—Milan, for $1,325 per person. Inquire if interested.
  • Contact Molly with questions at 267-825-5880 or