Parma, Bologna and Ravenna

Parma, Bologna and Ravenna


Parma, Bologna and Ravenna

5 Days

Visiting: Italy

Tour operator:

Riviera Travel

Tour code:


This tour is no longer available

Tour Overview

Discover historic Parma, home to the frescoed Parma Cathedral, historic Bologna and the famous Byzantine mosaics of Ravenna.

Our base for this fascinating Italian short break is the beautiful city of Parma, with its sublime cathedral home to the famed Palazzo della Pilotta, a huge complex of brick buildings, housing works by Correggio among others. You'll also visit the understated yet truly historic city of Bologna. Bologna's series of atmospheric squares are linked by twisting alleys and tiny streets. And finally, Ravenna is nothing short of a masterpiece with a host of religious buildings, wonderfully adorned with superb early Christian paintings and the world's finest mosaics. Together with the iconic culinary delights in this region: Parma ham, Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, wild boar and truffles - this relaxing short escorted tour of Bologna, Parma and Ravenna is a true recipe for success! 


  • See one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Italy, on a guided tour of Parma 

  • which includes entry to the Cathedral. 

  • Enjoy a guided tour of Bologna, Italy’s gastronomic capital, including the well-preserved medieval centre and unique portico lined streets

  • Explore Ravenna – city of mosaics – on a guided tour and discover the city’s historic past

  • Taste balsamic vinegar made the traditional way by local artisans on a visit Acetaia Villa San Donnino.

  • The Signature Tour 

  • option includes all of the above as well as: Follow your stomach – and a local guide – through the streets of Bologna sampling some of the region's finest delicacies and gastronomic delights

  • Tour a local dairy for a true Parmigiano Reggiano discovery tour exploring the process and tasting the world-famous cheese

  • Enjoy the more exclusive atmosphere of travelling in a small group with an average of 22 guests


Expand All

Day 1

After arriving in Bologna or Milan, we'll be transferred to the four-star Starhotels Du Parc, for our four-night stay, with breakfast included.

The rest of the day is at leisure. Our hotel is centrally located and is close to Parco Ducale – a beautiful park with tree-lined avenues, water features and grand buildings. It’s the perfect place to stretch your legs after a day of travelling.

Italian food is some of the world’s most popular, known for its simple, flavourful dishes. And in Parma it’s all about their unique products. From parmesan cheese to parma ham – both of which can only be called such if it’s produced in the provinces of Parma or nearby – you won’t find better quality produce anywhere else. And this evening is your first opportunity to get a taste of the region with an evening at leisure. In Parma, you’re spoilt for choice – there are local restaurants on many of the main streets. Look out for dishes like Tortelli d'Erbetta and Tortelli di Zucca (pumpkin Tortelli) – they're local favourites. 

Day 2

This morning we’ll take a sightseeing tour of Parma to fully admire this wonderfully underrated city. 

Welcome to Parma, synonymous the world over with wonderful Prosciutto and parmigiano reggiano (parmesan) cheese. Yet despite its immense charms, it’s almost untouched by tourism. So, if you’re looking to know what like is like in an authentic Italian city, you’re in luck.  

But Parma’s has so much more to offer than the - admittedly delicious - world-famous cheese. On our tour we’ll learn more about the city's eminent history from the medieval times, through the Renaissance and Austrian control through its architecture and culinary heritage. 

Pride of place is the impressive 12th century cathedral one of Italy’s finest Romanesque buildings – a wonder in its own right, with 900 years of religious history and art, including the bas-reliefs by Benedetto Antelami and grand frescos by Antonio Allegri da Correggio.

Signature Experience:

Tour a local Parmigiano Reggiano dairy and enjoy an all-encompassing sensory experience combining history, traditions, flavours and aromas of the famous cheese which has been manufactured for almost a thousand years.

Day 3

After breakfast, we’ll visit another of Emilia- Romagna’s wonderfully attractive cities: Bologna. Beautifully maintained over the centuries, its original Roman street plan is still discernible. Twelve medieval gates encircled the historic centre and at Bologna’s heart is the majestic main square - the Piazza Maggiore. Surrounded by splendid Renaissance “palaces” and home to the enormous San Petronio, the world’s fifth largest Basilica, yet unfinished, its sponsors never achieved their ambitious goal of exceeding that of Rome’s St Peter’s!

Adjacent is another beautiful square, Piazza del Nettuno, with a splendid statue and fountain dedicated to Neptune and surrounded by grandiose medieval civic buildings. And, while we would never usually pit one stunning Italian city against another, Bologna does have one surprising claim to fame, "outdoing” the more popular city of Pisa – it has not one, but two medieval leaning towers. The Garisenda Tower leans at a disconcerting 4 degrees – making it more askew than Pisa too.

Of course, one of Bologna’s ‘must sees’ is Europe’s oldest University – founded in 1068 its illustrious alumni include Dante, Copernicus and Marconi. Perched on a hilltop with splendid views across the city and the surrounding region, Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca is renowned for its extraordinary claim to fame, the world’s longest portico supported by no less than 666 arches leading to the edge of the historic city itself!

Bologna is one of Italy’s most prized culinary bastions – one of its many nicknames is “La Grassa” (the fat one) - and time at leisure here is the perfect opportunity to explore its many gastronomic delights in the local restaurants during a late lunch.

The Bolognese do a handful of dishes very well – especially fresh pasta. And, while you’re in the capital of the Emilia-Romagna, you could sample the region’s finest ingredients such as aged parmigiano-reggiano, balsamic vinegar, dry cured prosciutto di Parma – as well as lesser-known gems like culatello and crumbly squacquerone which deserve more recognition. Not sure where to go? Your Tour Manger will have the inside scoop on the most authentic spots to try.

Signature Experience:

We’ll explore the maze of tiny alleys and historic streets of Bologna with a local guide, tasting the gastronomic delights of the city along the way. Join the city natives as we wander past artisan shops bursting with regional produce, from tangy parmesan to cured meats, fine olive oil and hand-made pasta, and browse in the markets where the rich colours of globe artichokes and cavolo nero contrast with glistening displays of the freshest fish.

Day 4

Today we’ll take a drive east towards the Adriatic coast, exploring the little visited - yet amazingly historic – Ravenna, city of mosaics. An important Roman settlement, Julius Caesar gathered his forces here before famously “crossing the Rubicon” and in 402AD, after Rome’s fall, it became the last capital of the Western Roman Empire then capital of Ostrogothic and Byzantine Italy. By 700AD Ravenna became one of Europe’s most important cities of the era. Despite its turbulent history, Ravenna’s compact centre retains unique buildings spanning a period of 1500 years with no less than eight UNESCO World Heritage sites. To understand what makes Ravenna so special, we have a guided walking tour bringing these amazing buildings, their intricate mosaics and stories to life -elsewhere in Europe similar quality art was created about 1,000 years later, making them even more astonishing.

After discovering the city’s historic past, a treat awaits just outside Modena. We’ll visit Acetaia Villa San Donnino, where the art of producing traditional balsamic vinegar - a craft as scientific as winemaking and noted across the globe - is still undertaken by local artisans. Here the passion of present-day masters displays great pride in upholding this magnificent tradition. It’s enthralling. And, of course, we wouldn’t leave without tasting the vinegar which really is superb!

Day 5

Today we’ll say Ciao to Italy and transfer to the airport for your return flight.

What's Included

The price of this holiday is per person based on two people sharing a twin room. Sole occupancy rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement. The price includes:

Four nights with breakfast;in four-star accommodation
Return flights
All local taxes
Return transfers
All tours as mentioned
Entrances to Parma Cathedral and five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ravenna
The services of a Riviera Travel tour manager

Check out our Q&As

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    For almost 40 years

  • I have reduced mobility; can I still travel?

    We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to contact us to discuss these concerns

  • Do I require travel insurance?

    It is a condition of booking that you carry suitable travel insurance.

  • What is my luggage allowance?

    You will receive details of your luggage allowance with your final travel documents, which are sent approximately 10 days prior to your date of departure.

Reviews of this operator

David Clarke (Google Reviewer)  

This review is for the...


This review is for the italian Lake Como trip Aug 1-8 Wow what a trip. Riviera from start to finish were excellent the booking and help line answering questions were very good and clear. The travel booklet you get is laid out that it is simple to read and follow with step by step info from booking in to flights to meeting the guides. Our guide Matt Purse was just the best guide and real credit to Riviera with his knowledge and straight forward approach to running the trips. Matt kept us informed and told us all the sort of info you want to know without going over the top....This chap should teach other reps ..thank you so much. The coaches they use are all clean and well equipped with usb chargers and have aircon. The places chosen to visit were well researched even down to where coaches park or drop you off. The Bernina Express was the highlight for our family and matts photo tip was welcomed. The only down point was the hotel,a little dated and evening meal in main restuarant was a bit of a let down. I think we were lucky with our room on level 7 and with balcony as the walls are very thin and noise travels. We would book again with riviera

Barbara Shillaker (Google Reviewer)  

I have been on three...


I have been on three trips with Riviera Travel so far, with two more booked during 2024. Highly recommended. Excellent tour guides. Great program of visits. Great hotels used.

Mrs Bodnarec (Google Reviewer)  

Thankyou Riviera and all the...


Thankyou Riviera and all the staff on the William Wordsworth Danube River cruise. My husband and i have just travelled on the Danube to celebrate my husbands 60th and we had such a lovely experience. We were younger than most of the travellers but we met so many lovely people so this wasnt a problem. The staff were so lovely and professional. The service we experienced was so high. The boat was beautiful, the food amazing and the excursions were informative and well managed. I would definately recommend riviera as a company. In fact we are now considering their Japan holiday.

Valerie Pascoe  

We would go again in a heartbeat


Oh my goodness, what a relief it was to actually get away! Full marks to all at Riviera for keeping us up to date before our trip and for the help so cheerfully and patiently given with the extra admin that Covid brought our way. We felt totally safe with the measures taken on board, thank you very much for this. Without exception, Staff were fantastic and our every need was attended to. The additional Covid testing ran smoothly, organised by our Riviera Reps. The guided tours were most interesting: the guides very knowledgeable and more importantly, interesting to listen to. We loved this trip and would do it again in a heartbeat. Thank you again Riviera, you were FAB!

Chris Wilson (Google Reviewer)  

Second escorted tour with this...


Second escorted tour with this company. Did 5 days in Iceland tour. Everything went smoothly, excellent tour guide, Per. Extremely knowledgeable and interesting guy. Very friendly too. Highly recommend. Just let down by the room given at the hotel, but I guess the travel company doesn't have control over this.

Kathryn Jurin, GB  

Riviera South Africa tour - awesome


Riviera have amazing holidays and tours to choose from. The one we chose was South Africa and wow! It turned out to be our best trip ever - incredible memories we will never forget. We’ve been all over the world which was because of all our experiences, this one was awesome. The organisation of the holiday, the guide and the travel was e cells that. The choice of hotels, meals, restaurants, trips was absolutely fantastic - very good quality and character - nothing bland or boring! The Riviera guide was permanently with us along with a South Africa guide and they were both extremely friendly, professional, informative and you could ask any questions you want! I would massively recommend this holiday/trip and when you’ve experienced it, you realise how reasonable the price is. We reflect on this trip a lot and thank you Riviera for giving us such a wonderful experience.

Barry, GB  

Rhine Christmas markets cruise


Just completed a 5 day trip on the Rhine. Our first river cruise and a tester for future cruises. The boat was well appointed and the cabin and public areas were spotlessly clean. The staff were attentive and contributed to the very relaxed atmosphere on the boat. The quality of the food surpassed that which we have experiened on sea cruises in recent years. I have written little because it was a faultless experience. We have booked a further cruise (in France) on the basis of our experience.

Christine Hardy (Google Reviewer)  

Although most people seem to...


Although most people seem to book and pay for their holidays online, because we live close by we prefer to make a personal visit. In my opinion if they are offering this as an option they should be better equipped to accommodate visits in person. We have not been on our river cruise yet, so can't comment on that yet.

Rob Steele (Google Reviewer)  

My 3rd Riviera trip within...


My 3rd Riviera trip within a year and I wasn't disappointed 😁 This time it was This trip, although not cheap, it really offers exceptional value for money as you see a lot of Tamil Nadu and Kerela, stay in fantastic hotels, excellent breakfasts every day as well as some lunches and dinners also included. George Bareham, our "Tour Manager" was brilliant, very professional, but also friendly and diligent. Satheeshan, our local guide was helpful and picked me up antibiotics when I got ill, he was a nice chap, if (for my taste) went on a bit and used 20 words when 1 would suffice. Mr Sweeny, our coach driver was fantastic,really professional and an exceptionally good driver. His assistant, Murgon wad a delight, always smiling and attentive. This is a full on trip, early morning starts and quite a packed itinerary, but still leaving time to laze around some brilliant hotel swimming pools. Only a couple of suggestions to improve the holiday. More shopping time in Cochin and change carriers from Etihad who, unfortunately aren't the excellent airline they used to be. But, will I use Riviera Travel again - Yes 😁

Barbara Parkes (Google Reviewer)  

Presently in Croatia staying at...


Presently in Croatia staying at Arauana Hotel, supposedly a 4 star property, but wouldn't give it any star rating. Rooms are small and dirty. Wallpaper blistering. Meals served in a shed like lean-to. Food like warm, greasy and always self service. Second holiday with Riviera this year and neither at standard advertised. Have travelled with them previously and everything was fine, but standards have really dropped. Have booked a holiday with them next year and now dreading it. Certainly don't provide the standard advertised. We have never stayed in such a hovel and have visited youngsters in back packers accommodation which was far better than this supposedly 4 star accommodation. There are no indoor bars or lounges only a shed as a so called restaurant. Absolutely disgusting. Won't be boking with them again

Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    Riviera Travel requires a minimum deposit of 250 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 75 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of riviera travel charges.

    Up to 75 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 74 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 70% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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