Featured holiday Food and wine holiday in Franciacorta Italy

5 nights/6 days
This is a five-night food and wine holiday based at the Hotel l’Albereta, a 5-star hotel surrounded by Franciacorta vineyards within sight of Lake Iseo. Included is a 4-course dinner with wine, a tasting session of Franciacorta wines, and a 90-minute cookery lesson. There is time to explore the region on your own with a hire-car too.
Included in your Expressions holiday
  • Accommodation in a double or twin room on bed and breakfast
  • Scheduled flights with British Airways London to Milan return, economy
  • Hire of a Group B car for the duration of your stay
  • Dinner with wine, wine-tasting and one 90-minute cookery lesson
  • Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Luxury tailormade food and wine holiday in Franciacorta

This five-night luxury food and wine holiday in Lombardy is based at Hotel L’Albereta, a charming and luxurious 5-star hotel near the shores of Lake Iseo, just over one hour’s drive from Milan. Sample the sparkling wines of the Franciacorta wine region against the dramatic backdrop of the Italian Alps in the distance, taste locally produced olive oil, and learn the methods for cooking traditional Italian pasta from professional chefs. This holiday is available throughout the year and includes flights to Milan and a hire-car, allowing visitors to explore the surrounding region and the nearby Italian Lakes at leisure.

Highlights

One 4-course seasonal dinner with wine, water and coffee included • 45 minute tasting session of 3 Franciacorta sparkling wines (Bellavista Satén, Pas Operé, Almaterra) at the hotel, served with finger food • Tasting session of 3 Curtefranca still wines at the Bellavista winery (Convento della Santissima Annunciata, Uccellanda, Almaterra). The winery is located only 1.5km from Hotel L’Albereta and is easily accessible on foot • Ninety minute cookery lesson where guests learn to cook two Italian dishes (Pasta Cacio e Pepe and Pizzaiola Fassona Beef fillet) followed by lunch of dishes they have created, dessert, water, bottle of wine and coffee

Holiday price guide Sample prices are per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room for 5 nights.

From about

£1,980

Holiday Code FHIT09

The prices displayed here are a guide only. Each holiday price will be tailor-made at the time of booking to reflect all actual costs including up-to-date special offers.

Luxury tailormade food and wine holiday in Franciacorta

Begin your culinary retreat in Milan, where your flight from London arrives. Here, collect your hire-car and drive east towards Lake Iseo and the Hotel L’Albereta, which is situated near Erbusco. The charm of this luxury retreat is evident as you approach the entrance, with its Juliet balconies, leaf-covered façade, and terracotta roof. Its verdant exterior reflects the cosy sophistication of the suites and public rooms. The hotel stands in its own grounds of lawn and flowerbeds and is surrounded by vineyards. On the evening of your choice, enjoy a four-course dinner which consists of seasonal dishes from the local area and includes a bottle of Franciacorta sparkling wine as well as coffee. At the hotel, indulge yourself in a tasting experience of three of the best Franciacorta sparkling wines which are accompanied by finger food. Several local wines are available to buy at the hotel's shop, including a Chardonnay that is produced using the Albereta's own grapes. Also included at the hotel is a cookery lesson, where guests learn to cook two popular dishes: Pasta Cacio e Pepe and Pizzaiola Fassona Beef fillet. This ninety-minute lesson is led by an experienced chef and is followed by lunch including dessert, wine and coffee.

There is plenty of time to discover the local produce and delicacies, such as the sardines caught on the island of Monte Isola in Lake Iseo, which can be bought in the Soardi family shop. Dine in the garden or on the veranda of the island town's La Foresta Restaurant and taste the variety of fresh fish caught in the lake before sailing back to the mainland on one of the regular ferries. The old town of Iseo beckons, with its medieval town centre and outlying ancient ruins of a pile-dwelling civilisation in the peat bogs. Explore the austere 12th century Pieve di Sant’ Andrea, with its Romanesque bell tower and beautifully painted interior, or the 11th century Castello Oldofredi, now converted into a cultural centre. The church of Santa Maria del Mercato houses important frescoes from the 14th to 18th centuries, while the church of San Silvestro and the baptistery of San Giovanni are also both worth a visit. Iseo’s own gastronomic tradition has been built around the exquisite local freshwater fish. The Clusane quarter specialises in the Tench, or ‘doctor fish,’ which even has an annual festival dedicated to it. Erbusco, the nearest settlement to the Hotel L’Albereta is one of the main centres of Franciacorta wine production, being as it is the headquarters of the Consortium for the Protection of Franciacorta Wines. Alongside its reputation for excellent wine, Erbusco, though small, is rich with its own personal history, and its more modern streets are contrasted wonderfully with a number of prehistoric and Roman ruins. The Villa Lechi, built between the 16th and 17th centuries, is reputedly one of the most spectacular villas in the region, though Erbusco has been popular with Brescian nobility since the 15th century. The distinctive silhouette of the villa and its ample loggias have become somewhat iconic for the town, as unique and recognisable as they are. The picturesque old town centre is the site of the old castle, now the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta. This church is one of the finest examples of the Lombard Romanesque style, notably decorated with 15th century frescoes. Perhaps plan your visit to Lake Iseo for after the olive harvest in October to make the most of a visit to Azienda Agricola Leonardo, a farm around 30 minutes' drive from Hotel L'Albereta. Take a sample of the oil made from the hand-picked olives, or a selection of the oil-based cosmetic products as a memento. Wander just under a mile to the abundant vineyards of the Bellavista Winery, where you taste three still Curtefranca wines which are all made with Chardonnay grapes. The winery boasts 190 hectares of vineyards, all located within the Franciacorta wine region, and produces a variety of still and sparkling wines. Franciacorta sparkling wines are known as being comparable to Champagne and are produced from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes using traditional methods. Spend time exploring the ruins, churches, and monasteries that line the banks of Lake Iseo, as well as enjoying the countryside, by bike, on foot, or perhaps on a caving expedition. Your short stay in Lombardy can be extended to allow more time for the avid explorer to get in touch with the lifestyle and history. This holiday, however, aims to tantalise the taste-buds as well as the imagination, scratching the surface of the culture of the northern Italian lakes.

Depending on the time of your flight back to London, spend more time exploring Franciacorta or other places in Lombardy or drive to the airport and return your hire-car ready for the flight back.

Holiday price guide Sample prices are per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room for 5 nights.

From about

£1,980

Holiday Code FHIT09

The prices displayed here are a guide only. Each holiday price will be tailor-made at the time of booking to reflect all actual costs including up-to-date special offers.

Our prices include ● Scheduled flights with British Airways from London Heathrow to Milan Malpensa, economy
● Hire of a Group B car for the duration of the holiday
● 5 nights' bed and breakfast in a Classic double room at the Hotel L’Albereta, near Erbusco
● One 4-course seasonal dinner with wine, water and coffee included
● 45 minute tasting session of 3 Franciacorta sparkling wines (Bellavista Satén, Pas Operé, Almaterra) at the hotel, served with finger food.
● Tasting session of 3 Curtefranca still wines at the Bellavista winery (Convento della Santissima Annunciata, Uccellanda, Almaterra) The winery is located only 1.5km from Hotel L’Albereta, and is easily accessible by car or on foot.
● Ninety minute cookery lesson where guests learn to cook two Italian dishes (Pasta Cacio e Pepe and Pizzaiola Fassona Beef fillet) followed by lunch of dishes they have created, dessert, water, bottle of wine and coffee.
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Holiday price guide Sample prices are per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room for 5 nights.

From about

£1,980

Holiday Code FHIT09

The prices displayed here are a guide only. Each holiday price will be tailor-made at the time of booking to reflect all actual costs including up-to-date special offers.

Our prices include • Scheduled flights with British Airways from London Heathrow to Milan Malpensa, economy
• Hire of a Group B car for the duration of the holiday
• 5 nights' bed and breakfast in a Classic double room at the Hotel L’Albereta, near Erbusco
• One 4-course seasonal dinner with wine, water and coffee included
• 45 minute tasting session of 3 Franciacorta sparkling wines (Bellavista Satén, Pas Operé, Almaterra) at the hotel, served with finger food.
• Tasting session of 3 Curtefranca still wines at the Bellavista winery (Convento della Santissima Annunciata, Uccellanda, Almaterra) The winery is located only 1.5km from Hotel L’Albereta, and is easily accessible by car or on foot.
• Ninety minute cookery lesson where guests learn to cook two Italian dishes (Pasta Cacio e Pepe and Pizzaiola Fassona Beef fillet) followed by lunch of dishes they have created, dessert, water, bottle of wine and coffee.
• Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

The journey and how you get there There are several British Airways flights to Milan Malpensa from London Heathrow every day. From Milan Malpensa, you collect a hire-car and the driving time to Erbusco is about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Luxury tailormade food and wine holiday in Franciacorta

Expressions Holidays includes this hotel in this holiday.
Hotels included in this tour
Erbusco
Hotel l'Albereta

Hotel l'Albereta is a 5-star boutique hotel in a beautiful natural location. Stunning cuisine, a divine spa and convenient proximity to Lake Iseo afford guests a relaxing and restorative retreat among the rolling hills and vineyards.

Classic double room

Holiday price guide Sample prices are per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room for 5 nights.

From about

£1,980

Holiday Code FHIT09

The prices displayed here are a guide only. Each holiday price will be tailor-made at the time of booking to reflect all actual costs including up-to-date special offers.

Our prices include • Scheduled flights with British Airways from London Heathrow to Milan Malpensa, economy
• Hire of a Group B car for the duration of the holiday
• 5 nights' bed and breakfast in a Classic double room at the Hotel L’Albereta, near Erbusco
• One 4-course seasonal dinner with wine, water and coffee included
• 45 minute tasting session of 3 Franciacorta sparkling wines (Bellavista Satén, Pas Operé, Almaterra) at the hotel, served with finger food.
• Tasting session of 3 Curtefranca still wines at the Bellavista winery (Convento della Santissima Annunciata, Uccellanda, Almaterra) The winery is located only 1.5km from Hotel L’Albereta, and is easily accessible by car or on foot.
• Ninety minute cookery lesson where guests learn to cook two Italian dishes (Pasta Cacio e Pepe and Pizzaiola Fassona Beef fillet) followed by lunch of dishes they have created, dessert, water, bottle of wine and coffee.
• Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

The journey and how you get there There are several British Airways flights to Milan Malpensa from London Heathrow every day. From Milan Malpensa, you collect a hire-car and the driving time to Erbusco is about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Luxury tailormade food and wine holiday in Franciacorta

About Italian Lakes

An Expressions tailor-made holiday to the Italian Lakes spans the northern Italian regions of Lombardy, Piemonte and the Veneto. We offer hotels located by the undisputedly beautiful Lake Maggiore, Lake Como and Lake Garda and also the smaller, quieter lakes of Orta and Iseo, both well-worth exploring in their own right. Each lake has its own character and atmosphere, distinctive terrain, architecture and style. Placed as the lakes are to the south of the Alps and to the north of the Po Valley, they naturally possess a charming mixture of the vibrant coolness associated with the Alps but enlivened by the warmth of the South. The landscape around the Italian Lakes is one of deep blue waters surrounded by greenish-blue tinged mountains, often snow-capped. On the shores of the lakes and the lower slopes of the hills you find a profusion of lemons and olives, chestnuts and palms, magnolias and camellias. Pretty villages with rustic stone and wood houses hug the sheltered bays and fishing boats still moor next to sailing boats. Wrought-iron balconies and colourful shutters adorn gaily-painted houses with terracotta roofs. Dining is usually al fresco in the summer months and a magical atmosphere is created with the lapping of the waters and the twinkling of the lights around the lake and in the hills above. The close proximity to Milan and Verona as well as other less well-known but artistically interesting cities means that you can visit the Italian Lakes quite easily for just a weekend or short break as well as a longer holiday. The Italian Lakes can all be visited as part of a rail holiday, and the many beautiful gardens located in the vicinity of Lakes Como and Maggiore are well worth a visit as part of a garden tour holiday. Our favourite four and five star hotels for luxury holidays in the Italian Lakes include Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni and Villa d'Este on Lake Como, and the Hotel Cannero Lakeside Resort on Lake Maggiore.

Highlights of the Italian Lakes

Historic villas are to be found on every lake from the Grotte di Catullo Roman villa at Sirmione on Lake Garda to Villa Melzi and Villa Olmo on Lake Como and the Palazzo Estense in Varese. Most of these villas also have extraordinarily beautiful gardens (which can be visited as part of an Expressions Garden Tour holiday) such as the Villa Carlotta on Lake Como, the Isola Bella in Lake Maggiore and Villa Taranto at Punta della Castagnola on Lake Maggiore. Monte Mottarone above Stresa on Lake Maggiore and Monte Baldo above Lake Garda can both be reached by cable car and afford spectacular views. At Gargnano on Lake Garda you can see the stone pavilions where lemons were traditionally cultivated. Within the region there are national parks such as the Stelvio National Park north of Orta and the Parco Nazionale della Val Grande above Verbania on Lake Maggiore.

Cultural highlights of the Italian Lakes

Much of the artistic and architectural cultural wealth in the region is concentrated in the great cities such as Milan and Verona but also in the less well-known but culturally-rich centres of Bergamo, Brescia, Pavia, Mantova and Vicenza (not directly on the Lakes but within reach for a day`s excursion). Highlights include the frescoes by Masolino at Castiglione Olona, the Rocca (castle) at Angera, the Flemish tapestries on the Isola Bella Lake Maggiore, the marble cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore at Como and the works of art in the Galleria dell`Accademia Tadini at Lovere on Lake Iseo. Milan has La Scala, the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, the Brera Gallery (containing Raphael`s `Marriage of the Virgin` and the Montefeltro altarpiece by Piero della Francesca) and its Gothic cathedral. Verona has its annual opera festival from June until the end of August, the Romanesque church of San Zeno, the Renaissance Loggia del Consiglio and the Roman Arena.

Festivals in the Italian Lakes

The Verona Opera Festival takes place in the Roman Arena every year with performances running from June until the end of August. Verona also celebrates Carnival every year culminating on the Friday before Shrove Tuesday. Como holds a flea market, the Fiera di Pasqua, over the Easter weekend. Music festivals take place in Bergamo throughout the year. The Mille Miglia veteran car race starts and ends in Brescia (via Ferrara to Rome in May each year).

Gastronomy in the Italian Lakes

The cuisine of northern Italy tends to contain more meat and butter than further south and rice and polenta compete with pasta. Saffron is used extensively as in Risotto alla Milanese. Bresaola is cured raw beef served as an antipasta (now often with rocket and parmesan). Manzo al Barolo (beef in Barolo wine), Costolette alla Milanese (veal cutlets in breadcrumbs) and Ossobucco (veal in wine and tomatoes) are all popular dishes. Panettone cake and Zabaglione are two regional desserts. This region produces some of Italy's most famous cheeses such as Gorgonzola, Bel Paese, Fontina and Taleggio as well as some of Italy's most exportable wines such as Soave, Bardolino and Valpolicella. Less well known but interesting wines are produced in the Valtellina in the north of Lombardy and in Franciacorta near Lake Iseo.

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