A small group to experience the very best Italy has to offer. Al Vecchio Convento, a family run hotel situated in the small village of Portico Di Romagna. A wonderful hotel coupled with an itinerary taken by a member of the Travel Options 4U team that offers a variety different experiences. From day trips, to wine tasting, truffle hunting with Matteo the chef and his dogs, and finally, classes such as cooking, painting and language. As well as more which can been seen below.
Al Vecchio Convento, a 19th Century Palazzo maintains many of its original features which are complimented with elegant antique furnishings. Works from local craftsman are displayed throughout the rooms.
The Restaurant is one of the best of its traditional style in Romagna. The son is the head chef at the property, and his cooking is incredible. The variety of dishes use local produce, from truffles, mushrooms, game & homemade pasta just to name a few. Served with a selection of Italian wines. Weather permitting its possible to dine in their wonderful garden and really take in the unforgettable atmosphere.
The hotel is family run & informal. With exceptional hospitality, you are made to feel like you belong as one of the family.
While away in Italy there will be three class / activities for you to partake in, run by the hotel and local specialist, to truly give you an Italian experience. These workshops will take place four times over the course of your seven night stay. You have the option to mix & match, or if you prefer, you can fully concentrate and develop one skill. The following classes are;
Italian Language Classes; Within Portico, 100 meters from the hotel, hosted in another historical building, La Canonica. Working alongside highly qualified teachers with over ten years of experience teaching Italian. Suitable for all levels, from beginner to advanced. Starting at 09:00 and finishing at 13:00.
Cooking Classes; under the guidance of the incredibly talented head chef, Matteo, you will spend your mornings in the hotel kitchen learning how to make some wonderful local dishes and discovering the secrets to Italian cuisine. Using locally sourced ingredients such as truffles. The meals you prepare during these classes will be for you and your fellow tour members to enjoy during lunch. Taking place at 10:00 to 12:00.
Painting Classes; With endless different vistas to admire, there is no shortage of opportunities to create your very own art. Operating parallel to a local artist who will guide you to creating your very own masterpiece and translating the beauty of Portico onto your canvas for you to bring home. From 10:00 - 12:00
In September of 2023 we ran our first group holiday to this incredible destination. Which was an even bigger success than we could of hoped. As soon as you arrive at Al Vecchio Convento it feels like time has stopped. This beautiful property is completely run by the owners and they make you feel at home and part of the family, the son, Matteo is a great chef and the food is some of the best we have eaten anywhere.
Cookery, Painting & Language classes
Day Trip to Ravenna
Truffle hunting with dogs
Carry on & Hold Luggage Included
Free time to explore
Quality full board included
Return flights from Heathrow
Experience the City Forli
Sunday 2nd of June:
Travel as a group from Bradford on Avon to Al Vecchio Convento. Drinks on arrival followed by a welcome meal. To make sure your trip is as stress free as possible we will travel as a group from Bradford on Avon to Heathrow. Our flight departs 08:50am & arrives in Bologna at 12:00pm. We will then be collected by a transfer that will take us to our accommodation, Al Vecchio Convento. Once we reach Portico, our destination. We will then be welcomed by drinks. Followed by a bit of downtime before our first evening meal.
Monday 3rd of June:
We will be provided with a detailed breakfast buffet with a wide selection to choose from every morning. Following breakfast you will then have a choice between three activities / classes (listed above). At 13:30 we will then have a light lunch (drinks not included). Portico di Romagna, where you are staying, is a charming village located in the mountains and boasts endless amounts of natural beauty and with a true feeling of Italy. Ulla will provide us with a guided tour of the village. Helping you settle and familiarize yourself with the destination. To finish off everyday we will be eating at the Al Vecchio Convento restaurant which holds a top class reputation. Creating local, authentic and high quality Italian cuisine. Headed by chef Matteo who has worked in some of Europe's best restaurants. Using the inspiration of these places to create dishes that combine his love for Romagna cuisine with new techniques and ways of thinking about cooking. Not to mention the owner Marisa Raggi provides excellent hospitality while enjoying the highest quality food. Al Vecchio Convento also lays claim to their very own wine cellar. Complimenting their restaurant fantastically. Possessing over 150 wine labels. Covering the entire national territory, priority is given the best wines from their territory, Romagna and Tuscany.
Tuesday 4th of June:
Indulge in your class/activity in the morning. Truffle hunt with Matteo and his dogs in the afternoon. Shortly after breakfast you will again partake in your selected class / activity for the morning. Once your activity is finished, you will then be served a light lunch (drinks not included). After lunch you will then head out truffle hunting with Matteo and his dogs. This will all take place in the surrounding mountains, roughly a 20 minute drive. You will have an up close and first hand view of the dogs doing what they love, finding truffles! Giving Matteo a much needed extra hand to make sure his dogs don’t enjoy the truffles themselves, before he can get to them. Post truffle hunt, you will then have the opportunity to go and see the volcano at the top of the mountain. You then have the option to walk back to Portico (5.5km) or, if you prefer, you can get a lift back. You will dine at the restaurant at Al Vecchio Convento, 19:00.
Wednesday 5th of June:
Your selected activity/class in the morning followed be a free afternoon to do as you desire. Before a dinner party with live music. Wednesday will also see you partake in your lesson of choice. Next, a light lunch at 13:00 (Drinks not included). After lunch, you will have the freedom to do as you please. As there is a free afternoon for you to enjoy. Spoilt for choice with ways to spend your time. Just a few suggestions from us; Have a drink in the local bar, wander round & explore the village, go for a swim in the natural pool & waterfall, or finally, relax in the beautiful gardens. If you forget your book there is no need to worry as Portico has a communal library at your disposal, with a wide selection of English books. Set up Marissa, the same lady who runs Al Vecchio Convento. To put a finish on a relaxing day there will be a dinner party within the hotel restaurant. A buffet selection including local plates, with some dishes made by fellow group members in the cooking classes. An informal event with locals engaging and creating a celebratory atmosphere that really makes you feel part of the Italian family. With live music throughout the evening.
Thursday 6th of June:
For the final time participate in your class/activity. Then a wine tasting and guided tour of a local wine producer. After Breakfast, for the final time you will be attending your activities. Yet again a light lunch at 13:00 (Drinks not included). You will then depart for Drei Dona Tenuta La Palazza. A local family run winemaker which has a rich history of producing Sangiovese grapes. Located in the ancient hills of Romagna between the cities of Forli, Castrocaro and Predappio. Once you enter the property you will be taken on a guided tour of the vineyard. Conducted by the owners, they will inform you on the processes of creating Italian wine. With many stories to tell. After, you will be taken for a wine tasting experience, being provided with some of the finest local wines Tuscany has to offer. On your return from wine tasting you will have an hour before dining at Al Vecchio Convento’s restaurant.
Friday 7th of June:
A morning excursion to see the bustling market of Forli. A whole group cooking session in the afternoon. Shortly after breakfast we will all travel to Forli. A warm and friendly city, with an array of cafes, an historic old town & a bustling local market. The city hosts many of Italy's culturally and artistically significant landmarks: the Piazza, Aurelio Saffi, the Abbey of San Mercuriale, the Palazzo Hercolani. Also with Significant traces of the Romanesque and the Renaissance throughout. One of the highlights of visiting Forli is being in the heart of the local market. You will then return to Al Vecchio Convento for Lunch. Later in the afternoon, a group cooking session will be hosted by Matteo, as mentioned previously, a talented and experienced chef who's worked all across Europe. Giving you one final chance to discover Italian recipes. The food you produce during this class will be some of the food you are served for dinner. However, if you prefer some free time, you are more than welcome to skip this class and do as you desire. Dinner will take place at 19:30.
Saturday 8th of June:
As you enter your final full day before returning home, You will be heading to Ravenna after breakfast. Described as an elegant town and earthly paradise for mosaic lovers, Ravenna has several churches and baptisteries around the town and is one of the world's most dazzling collections of early Christian mosaic artwork. Ravenna holds multiple UNESCO Heritage Monuments sites and included in the day trip we have tickets for you to enter four UNESCO sites of your choice. With no lunch planned you are free to dine where you want. With a planned departure time of 3pm to return back to the hotel. With a few hours of free time before our farewell dinner.
Sunday 9th of June:
Enjoy one last early breakfast and say your final goodbyes before heading to Bologna airport. The flight is scheduled to leave at 12:55 and arrive in Heathrow at 14:10. We will then return to Bradford on Avon via minibus, bringing our trip to an end.
Date: 2nd - 9th of June 2024
Duration: 7 Nights
2nd June: Heathrow - Bologna / 08:50 - 12:00
9th June: Bologna - Heathrow / 12:55 - 14:10
(Subject to any change)
(Single Supplement £98)
"What a wonderful holiday! You arranged it all superbly, even down to our airport transport, and made each one of us feel extra special. It was a brilliant mix of interests, as well as a delightful hotel in beautiful countryside, and the tours to Ravenna and Forlì with Ulla as a guide were fascinating, as was her tour of Portico and the story of Dante and Beatrice. The truffle hunting was great fun - not many people get to do that! - and the discovery of the waterfall and pool was an unexpected delight. The trip to the wine producer Drew Dona was another exceptional tour with a superb presentation and tasting of San Giovese wines. My Italian has certainly improved with GianPi’s excellent conversation lessons, and my love of Italian cuisine increased tenfold! The food was SO delicious and plentiful, and Laura, Matilda, Antonella and Marissa were charming and could not do enough for us.
Ulla is an amazing person running the Vecchia Convento the way she does and brought joy into all our lives. Full of fun and laughter, highly intelligent, she could not have been kinder or more accommodating. We were made to feel like one of the family.
Thank you so much, Jenette, for organising such an interesting and bespoke holiday and inviting me to join such a fun group of people. I have returned home feeling totally refreshed and with a new way of living!"
If Interested or have an queries please contact us at Travel Options 4U. You can pop into the office, email, or call us:
Limited spaces so don't miss out!