Italy: A culinary tour

La Bella Figura, lightly translated,  means a beautiful figure.

But, la bella figura is, as Elia Iafelice writes,  “…much more than appearance.  It is also about dignity, hospitality and politeness.  …la bella figura is about behaving with respect.”

Two weeks and a day of visual and culinary beauty

October 9-23, 2023

Steve Boss as master of cultural and food appreciation

Optional pre-tour with Matthew Beaufort to experience the art of Italy

The Taste of Italy

The intention of this tour is to pay respect to Italian culture, and understand its many layers, from Italian card games to finding pleasure in everyday experiences: taking coffee at the cardgame bar, strolling outside in the evening (passeggiata) with other families, and slowly savoring each lick of gelato made daily by a fifth generation gelatiera.

What you see here is our initially proposed itinerary, but we are open to suggestions and will firm up exact elements as we get closer to the actual tour date. Please subscribe to the text alerts (see below) to stay up to date.

Oh how we will eat, and where
  • We’ll experience regional Italian food and culture through on-site visits to  farms, olive groves, dairies, wineries and other facilities that craft the most delectable artisanal items.
  • We’ll eat at family-owned trattorie, bars, pasticcerie, markets, and pizza spots serving the best local and seasonal ingredients.  Places down tiny alleyways.  Neighborhood spots.  No “tourist menu” in site.
  • You will enjoy satisfying and delightful new food experiences, including fulfilling vegetarian and vegan options.

 A Beautiful Story…

There is a beautiful story waiting to be shared by everyone we’ll meet along the way as we explore three distinctly different regions- Lazio (Rome), Veneto, and Sicily – at a time of the year when the amazing culinary diversity of Italy is at its peak.

In the Fall…

Fall is when grapes and olives are harvested, and you can share in the joy of tasting the sweet, complex must and the sharpness of olio nuovo.  It’s a season when you can gorge yourself on figs and still never get enough.  Mushrooms, porcini, and truffles abound.  The smell of roasting chestnuts.  Bean soups.  Zucca-pumpkin (and not like any pumpkin you have ever tasted).  Served in risotto or stuffed pasta.  The first puntarelle (a type of chicory) of the season, shredded and served by marketplace vendors whose hands have been performing such actions for decades.

It all starts in Rome…

We’ll meet in Rome and make it our base for five days and five nights.  Then off to Catania in Sicily by plane for five more.  Then another handful in fair Verona.

It’s food, but it’s really about people…

Throughout the trip we’ll meet local people who will share their thoughts, feelings, and love for their particular corner of Italy and what makes their life and culture unique.

The Boss is in the house

Steve Boss, host of the long-running radio program Great Taste, will accompany us on the tour.  Steve’s passion for food (and especially Italian food) knows no bounds, and he’ll introduce us to some of his friends, plus serve up insights into the specifics of Italian food culture from aperitivi (pre-meal drinks (and nibbles)) to merenda (morning and afternoon snack), and antipasti (appetizers) to dolci (desserts).

Rome (Lazio)

  • Vatican Museum, St. Peter’s and Sistine Chapel
  • Street food tour – Roman pizza and gelato
  • Market walks
  • Coffee culture
  • Baths of Caracalla
  • Rome at night
  • Day Trip – Ostia Antica, Tivoli
  • Day Trip – Naples – the birthplace of modern-day pizza


  • Mt. Etna and environs
  • Brontë pistachios
  • Olive culture and tasting
  • Sicilian DOP cheeses
  • Street food – shopkeepers and vendors in Catania, Taormina and more
  • Pastries, chocolate and granita


  • Verona-the city of love
  • Day trip-Lake Garda (Sirmione),
  • Day trip-Padova- art, food markets, architecture
  • Wine country-Diving into Italian organic wine, olive oils, cheeses, rice, and more
  • Venice-Day trip

About the Art Pretour

If you want to enjoy the art of Italy, consider the Italy Arts Treasure Pre-tour with MIU Art Historian Matthew Beaufort

To be alerted to tour updates, final prices, etc. or to express your in taking this tour, text “ciaoitaly” to 844-410-0396 or scan the QR code using your smartphone photo app.