From: July 24, 2019
To: July 28, 2019
July 24th, Wednesday
A private coach will meet you at Malpensa Airport – it is scheduled with the arrivals of Norwegian and SAS respectively. The coach will depart from the airport around 14.00. A pleasant drive takes you through Lombardia into Piemonte – to Asti. Here you check into Cascina Desderi, wonderfully located on a hilltop just outside of the wine capital of Asti. The farm offers sweeping vistas of mountains, valleys and vineyards. An arrival snack with Desderi wines is served this afternoon. Enjoy the lush surroundings; the garden, terraces and the pool. This evening, a Welcome to Desderi-dinner is served under the portico – all dishes accompanied by the farm’s own wines.
July 25th, Thursday
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast outside – with a mixture of delicacies from Italia and Norway. Today offers an excursion in the region of Piemonte “a journey in the realm of Wine and Savoia”. First we cross through Asti from east to west. On small country roads we drive alongside the river Po, through rolling hills and rustic villages towards Torino. This majestic city is the former capital of Italia – from where the Savoia dynasty ruled Italia for hundreds of years.
The mountain range Alpes Maritimes is visible west of the city, while the summit of Superga is towering above the city center. The summit offers fantastic vistas of Torino. We pay a visit to the chapel and its famous bar (!) – this is also holy ground for the Savoia family as most of their royal ancestors have their sepulchres here.
After a refreshment in the «Chapel Bar» we start our descent to Torino. We cross the Po River – and drive along the embankments to the elegant centro of the city, to “Via Roma”. From here most major sights are within walking distance: Palazzo Reale, Palazzo Madama and the famous Torino Duomo. Lunch is served in one of the sophisticated arcades, in a restaurant appropriately called Ristorante Arcadia. Time for shopping along Via Roma after lunch, then we return to Cascina Desderi. No dinner is planned for this evening.
July 26th, Friday
If you are in dire need of a cup of coffee early in the morning, this will be served on the terrace today – as brunch is being served somewhat later. The brunch of course includes a Mimosa… It is time for relaxation, reflections and carpe diem before we head into the countryside to experience a “Journey in the realm of Wine and Savoias”. Our first visit is to the impressive Gothic cathedral of Asti; Santa Maria Assunta. We proceed on narrow country roads to the hilltop village of Govone – boasting a proud palazzo, once the property of the Savoia family. From here we descend to the Valley of Tanaro and start a new ascent to the village of Barbaresco – resting on the edge of a cliff with sweeping vistas of the Tanaro Valley. Before entering the enchanting Barolo wine district, we make a stop in Alba – conveniently located in an enclave between Barolo, Barbaresco and Langhe. On our way to Barolo, we are in the heart of the wine country and start our ascent to La Morra – the highest located of the 11 Barolo wine villages. It is time for dinner, and a sumptuous table is awaiting us in the famous Ristorante Bovio. While relishing a seven courses “cena” accompanied with white Arneis wine and red Nebbiolo wine, we enjoy the most wonderful panorama from our table. The dolce is of course served with Asti Spumante. On our way back to the farm, we listen to the smooth voice of Andrea Bocelli. Buona notte! It is time to get ready for tomorrow…
July 27th, Saturday
Today we are heading south. If the group is small, we travel to Pisa by train and taxi – if the group is sufficiently large – we will travel by coach all the way to Pisa. Regardless if bus or train will be our means of transportation, we will experience a scenic ride through Liguria into Tuscany. We drive along the serene Mediterranean Sea before turning inland to Pisa on the Arno river. Here we check into our conveniently located hotel, just across the piazza from the railway station. We grab a pizza at the railway station, before walking the 20 minutes it takes us to reach the Tower of Pisa – the leaning one! We return to the hotel to freshen up as we are leaving for Lajatico around six o’clock. Like so many other Tuscan villages, Lajatico is a hilltop village, this village has, however, a world-famous citizen; Andrea Bocelli – whom we are here to experience in a unique concert this evening. The venue is Teatro del Silenzio where Andrea will host two concerts the summer of 2019; on July 25th and 27th.
In Lajatico we enjoy dinner before attending the concert at 20.30. A table has been reserved for our exclusive group at Ristorante il Villaggio di Gabriele Todisco. Here we enjoy a typical Tuscan dinner before walking over to the Teatro del Silencio to get seated for the concert with the world-famous tenor Andrea Bocelli. We inhale the sweet scent of the Tuscan night while listening to the smooth voice of Andrea – and maybe also of one of his sons. The concert is over before midnight, then we head back to Pisa where we estimate to arrive somewhat after midnight. Sweet dreams while the alluring tones of Andrea still is humming in our heads. Buona notte!
July 28th, Sunday
After breakfast at the hotel, it is up to each guest to choose the remains of the day – if you want to explore Tuscany or see more of the country, as we really are in the very heart of Italia. If you plan to fly back to Norway, Norwegian flies from Pisa airport this afternoon. The airport shuttle departs conveniently from our hotel. If you want to see more of Piemonte and relax at Cascina Desderi, then you can return to Asti with Roald and Trond. Whatever you do; make it a carpe diem stay!
CroisiEurope’s new venture in Southern Africa is a safari planned around their new ship ”the African Dream”. The ship that will traverse rivers and lakes is small and rather exclusive. All she can accommodate is 16 passengers in 8 cabins. The cruise on Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe lasts three exciting days, with Johannesburg and three days at the luxurious Cascade Lodge in Botswana with safaris in Botswana, Namibia and Zambia. The tour ends at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge – a short drive from the cascading Victoria Falls.More Details List of Tours
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