Due to the overwhelming interest in this signature trip of LA VIA GAIA we are happy to announce an additional trip with Chefs Nick Elmi and Jeff Michaud.
New England natives, these 2 talented chefs both excel in their different culinary styles.
They first connected as guests of each other restaurants in Philadelphia but their friendship developed around the love of heirloom ingredients, family and jiu jitsu.
Friends for years, they can't wait to travel together again and invite you on their joint culinary adventure in Italy!
The Best of Milan
Milan is art and culture, from Leonardo's Last Supper to the Duomo. A city that made traditional dishes, like risotto alla milanese and ossobuco, famous all around the world
Europe's Famous Island On A Lake
On a private boat, we'll reach the picturesque island of Montisola on Lake Iseo. We will lunch on freshly caught fish while marveling at the lush mountain landscape and the charming villages
The Venetian Walls of Bergamo
These massive fortress circuit has been enclosing the beauties of the Upper Town for more than four centuries. A UNESCO World Heritage site that offers spectacular panoramas of the entire region
Our luxury retreat where unwind sipping aperitifs on the terrace surrounded by centuries-old vines
"The story of a region, a chef and a family are the most valuable ingredients of our unforgettable cooking classes"
Memorable interpretations of the authentic Italian flavors in unique Michelin-star dining experiences
Experience ancient traditions in the Orobie Mountains where your tastebuds will be spoiled with mouth-watering cheeses and alpine flavors
Benvenuti! After meeting at the Milano Malpensa Airport, we'll reach our retreat, the Relais San Vigilio. Built into a 6th-century fortress at the very top of Bergamo's Citta Alta (upper town) this boutique hotel is exclusively reserved to us. Its elegant rooms feature exposed brick archways, heated floors, and fantastic views of Bergamo. The Relais is connected to the fortress lookout tower and has a renowned restaurant. After a light lunch on the terrace, we'll get settled in before a guided walk in the ancient town and discover artisan ateliers, hidden courtyards, historical places, and beautifully long shadows.
Dinner tonight is at an upscale Trattoria in the small village of Ambivere. A place with an intimate and authentic atmosphere that the Visconti Family has run for three generations. Their menu is focused on local ingredients of the highest quality.
This morning enjoy breakfast and a late start of your day before our next culinary experience.Let's get cooking! Today, we'll engage in an intimate cooking class with our chefs and Mamma Pina at Jeff's Italian home. The meal will be served al fresco and will be driven by fresh, seasonal produce from the garden and may include dishes like sweet peas with wild boar, savory crespelle (crepes) with hand picked porcini mushrooms, and golden polenta stirred by hand in a generations-old copper pot. We cook with Chefs Jeff and Nick, share recipes and stories but we also enjoy Mamma Pina’s peaceful grounds as we sip on espresso and homemade limoncello. Afterward, we'll take the party to the cobblestone streets of Citta' Alta (the upper town) on foot or ride the funicular for a unique top-to-bottom view of the city.
Dinner that evening will be relaxed as we sit on the terrace and take in the expansive views of Bergamo and the surrounding region.
After breakfast, this morning we reach the DOC Wine district of Val Calepio.
The Testa family will share their story as we taste their award-winning Brut and Extra Brut sparkling wines, reds and their signature small-batch aged balsamic vinegar produced by the women in the family.
Hungry? No worries, after our visit, we head back to Citta Alta and savor a light lunch in the Piazza Vecchia (Oldest square) and enjoy a nice break before our next experience.
This evening you'll meet one of Chef Michaud's mentor and friend Michelin-star chef Pierantonio Rocchetti at his place in Trescore Balneario, for a private and fun cooking demonstration and dinner. Their lavish Italian aperitivo is waiting for us as we engage in preparing and plating our dinner or visit the Chef’s vegetable garden. Get ready to be wowed by dishes like Buffalo mozzarella Ravioli with Black Truffles, Roasted Duck stuffed with chestnuts, and crème brûlée served on a raspberry merry-go-round. Oh yes!
After breakfast, we set off for Ornica, a quaint and secluded village in the Orobie Mountains. Here we meet Ferdinando, known as Ferdy. His life is devoted to the old roots of both his family and the whole Valley ancient traditions. We join him in an experience where he shares his Wild Lifestyle made of raw milk cheese production, wild hand picked herbs and use of meat from only autochthonous animal breeds.
We have some free time to explore or take a funicular ride to the town for some shopping or just unwind at the Relais.
This evening we “stay in”... Dinner at our Relais restaurant will be delicious and relaxed as we sit on the terrace and take in the expansive views of Bergamo in a magical setting.
This morning we head to the Franciacorta Wine Region to visit Barone Pizzini Winery. We follow the progress, from vineyards to glass, of wines that are conceived, cared for and produced according to the principles of organic and sustainable viticulture. We indulge in some of the wines that put them on the map like Franciacorta Rose’, Satin and Animante.
After that, it's time to eat!
Just a short ride away is Lake Iseo and we treat ourselves to lunch on a castle terrace. The menu will no doubt feature freshly caught fish and stunning views of the mountains and medieval buildings around the lake.
After lunch, let’s jump on our boat! We're so excited to take you on a private cruise of little-known Lake Iseo and the "pearl of the lake," Monte Isola, a beautiful island that stands at its center.
Choose your own adventure later that afternoon, lounge at the Relais or follow our chefs for some exploration before heading to one of Chef Michaud favorite spot. Jeff worked in this Michelin star restaurant while training in Italy, and Stefano, the owner, is sure to pull out all the stops for us, including a mouth-watering aperitivo in his evocative cellar. A world-class tasting menu that balances creativity and original Italian flavors.
After our breakfast, we grab our bags and say goodbye to Bergamo. This day is all about Milan, the fashion and design capital of the world. First up is indulging in an iconic Milanese Aperitivo. We are, after all, in the birthplace of the ritual of Happy Hour!
We stroll the famous city for an inside view of historic sites like the Duomo di Milano (the world's 2nd largest cathedral), the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and some of the places that once were familiar to Leonardo Da Vinci.
After some sightseeing, we enjoy some free time for shopping or join the chefs for a gastronomic discovery of the city's best food finds. We then meet for an early dinner in the Navigli (canals), the lifeblood of the city with waterfront cocktail bars, art galleries, and boutiques.
Our last supper together is a true classic Milanese dinner. A renowned trattoria in one of the most lively neighborhoods of the City. We indulge in authentic Milanese cuisine such as saffron-hued risotto and richly flavored ossobuco, mondeghili, and the true Costoletta alla Milanese.
That evening we check-in at our hotel near the Milan Malpensa Airport for a well deserved restful night.
In the hope this week fulfills your search for deeper gastronomic experiences and leaves you with a lot of great memories, we enjoy our last breakfast and say ARRIVEDERCI! See you soon Italy!
Can't travel on these dates?
Give us a call at 267.528.6508
So many questions, right?
That’s OK, we have answers. Read our FAQs below. Or email us at email@example.com.
What does the price include?
Five nights luxury accommodation in double occupancy at the Relais San Vigilio in Bergamo and one night at the Sheraton Milan Malpensa Hotel; private van with driver for all trips and excursions in itinerary; group transfers from and to the Milano Malpensa Airport (see arrival/departure details); private tours with local guides and cultural experts; exclusive VIP access and tastings; guided activities; entrance fees; daily breakfasts, lunches and dinners with wine; gratuities.
What does the price not include?
International roundtrip airfare; travel insurance; transportation to the trip’s starting point; activities not included in the trip itinerary; hotel incidentals including room service, laundry service, and hotel bar tabs; food and beverages not included in the itinerary.
What are the arrival & departure details?
We recommend that you arrive at the Milano Malpensa Airport (MXP) in Milan, on or before Sunday May 22, 2022. We’ll meet as a group between 9 and 10 am at the Airport and depart together for Bergamo. The last day of our culinary trip is Saturday May 28th, 2022. We’ll spend the night of May 27th at the Sheraton Hotel, enjoy our last Italian breakfast and walk to our departure terminal at the Milano Malpensa Airport so you can catch a flight home on May 28th.
Who is going on this trip?
We limit the group to no more than 14 travelers, your host Jeff Michaud and our guest chef Nick Elmi. In our culinary trips, you can expect to be joined by a group of like-minded people, who share your passion for Italian food and traditions - including solo travelers, couples and friends traveling together. This trip is recommended for travelers aged 18 and above.
Who is leading this trip?
This trip is led by our founder, Chef Jeff Michaud. He lived and extensively trained in Bergamo and through the region and crafted your itinerary for the week. Our special guest for the week will be our friend, Nick Elmi, Chef and Owner of Laurel and In the Valley in Philadelphia and The Landing Kitchen and Lark in the Mainline. We’ll be joined throughout our adventure by local artisans and expert guides who are deeply knowledgeable with respect to local cultures, customs and history and are passionate about sharing that with us.
What is the cancellation policy?
You may cancel on or before January 22nd, 2022 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per person service fee. If you cancel on or after January 23rd, 2022 there is a 50% cancellation fee. On or after March 23rd, 2022 there is a 100% cancellation fee. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance as we are not able to make exceptions to this policy in cases of family/medical emergency or cases of the trip being canceled (See our Terms and Conditions for full details).
What Travel documents are needed?
U.S. citizens are not required to have a visa for tourist visits to Italy but are required to show a valid US passport. It is recommended that your passport is valid for six months after your travels are over. As of now, travelers must present proof of a negative result from a molecular or antigen test taken within 72 hours of arrival in Italy and provide valid proof of vaccination.
Can this itinerary be booked for a private group?
Yes! We can customize this trip and itinerary at a time that is most convenient for you and your friends. The minimum number of participants for a private trip is 8. For more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I need to pay a solo traveler supplement?
Yes, there is a $1200 supplement for solo travelers, to be paid at the time of booking to secure a private room. Single spots are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. (See our Terms and Conditions for full details).
Still have questions?
Email us at email@example.com