Customize your Italian vacation experience
At Villa Tre Angeli our goal is to help you make memories of a lifetime. Whether you like hiking and museums, wine tasting and castles, ancient cities and medieval villages, we’ll find the ideal combination for you. Below is a sample of the different sites to see in our region. Many of these sites (marked with an asterisk) are less touristy and off the beaten path.
Tour 1) Lucca – This Tuscan medieval city is surrounded by the original Roman walls with tunnels once used for ammunition storage. People enjoy renting bicycles and riding atop the tree-lined wall, once used as a race track. Lucca’s charming baroque, romanesque and gothic architecture features dozens of churches, palaces, piazzas and an ancient Roman amphitheater. Famous for its “tree tower” with a spectacular view of the city, visitors can also enjoy the shops, restaurants, and markets. (1 hour 45 min. ride from Bedonia)
Tour 2) Lake Garda – Part of Italy’s world-renowned lake region and one of Italy’s most beautiful lakes. Lago di Garda (Lake Garda)with a spectacular view of the Dolomite Mountains, shops, a fortress, Roman ruins of the villa of the poet “Catulla”. It is over 2000 years old and you can still see the way the rooms were separated and the layout of the mansion. Wander through the narrow streets of the quaint villages or take a ferry ride for the view from the water. See artifacts in the local museum or shop in a wide variety of boutiques. (2 hrs. from Bedonia)
Tour 3) The Cinque Terre – 5 Small fishing villages set on the mountainside, overlooking the coast. Until the 1900’s the only way to get to any of these villages was by foot or by boat, now easily accessible by car and train. (1:30 min. from Bedonia) Portovenere- This charming port town is moments away from The Cinque Terre. The Catholic church stands on the remains of a Pagan chapel and a stone fortress at the top of the mountain. Portovenere’s panorama of the Mediterranean Sea includes Lord Byron’s Cove, where Byron is said to have swum each day to visit his mistress and to write poetry.
*Three days of hiking to & through the Cinque Terre – Add a few days to your trip with an incredible hike to the Cinque Terre. You will hike to these 5 small fishing villages and encounter the culture first hand. Most people hike the trails within the Cinque Terre. There are very few that hike “to” the towns themselves. Not many tourists get the chance to delve into the Italian life in this fashion. (added cost 500 euros)
*Tour 4) – Parmesan Cheese factory -During our private morning tour of the family-owned cheese factory you will witness the daily production of our beloved local specialty. You will learn about the aging process and specifications to label a product Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. At the end of the tour, you can purchase cheese at amazingly low prices — package to take home or eat right away. (2 min. from the villa). Click HERE to see a NY Times “Where It’s Made” video.
*Trattoria on the mountain top – At this little hideaway you will enjoy a traditional homemade Northern Italian meal prepared with all local ingredients. In Italy, pasta is a first course, or primo, served as an appetizer, not as the main event, so don’t fill up on the first course or you won’t have room when the meat courses arrive. A primo consists of hot food and is usually heavier than the antipasto, but lighter than the second course. Non-meat dishes are the staple of any primo piatto: examples are risotto, pasta, soup and broth, gnocchi, polenta, casseroles, or lasagne. The secondo piatto (second course) may include different meats including turkey, sausage, pork, steak, stew, beef, cinghiale (local wild boar), chicken, or a roast. Dance off the meal with the locals as a live band featuring accordions and Italian folk tunes plays under the pavilion. Or challenge a local to a game of Bocce. (part of the tour including the Parmesan Cheese Factory – 30 min. from Bedonia)
*Tour 5) Veleia/Grazzano Visconti – This ancient Roman vacation town, now in ruins, was a popular spot for the Romans to visit and relax. Only the wealthy had a home here. You can still see the layout of the town, the temple and the public baths. A museum with artifacts and jewelry is on the premises. Instead, Grazano Visconti is a castle where the Visconti still live. It cannot be visited, but the village that was made in the early 1900’s is a charming replica of the medieval times that once surrounded its structure. There are shops and trattorias that play into to the theme of the land. (1:30 min. from Bedonia) -ATTENTION: The road to the above town is windy and if you suffer motion sickness you will probably be in need of a Dramamine!
*Tour 6) Langhirano/Torrechiara – The first stop is where the majority of Prosciutto from Parma is made. It is the perfect spot to cure the Parma Ham, because of the height of the mountains surrounding the area, the amount of sea air that arrives in the location and the altitude. We will see the process of aging the Prosciutto and then have the chance to sit on the terrace and have a lovely meal based on the cured meats of the area, parmesan cheese of the region and wine of the valley. This is a place frequented by Italians and Europeans. Not too many Americans find their way here. (1:30 min. from Bedonia)
*Then it is off to the Castle of Torrechiara. (The movie Lady Hawk by Richard Donner was filmed here). This castle was used as a fortress as well as a residence. Therefore, almost every wall or ceiling is covered in frescos. Even though it suffered from the earthquake in 2008, it is still one of the most well preserved fortresses in Italy. The “Camera d’Oro” or the “Golden Room” *1) is one of the most famous erotic chambers in Italy. There is also a small, original village behind the wall of the castle that welcomes a stroll from the castle’s visitors. (5 min. from the Prosciutto Factory)
Tour 7) Verona – This city has a working open, Roman arena. During the summer they have concerts, ballet and operas performed within its walls. The streets are paved with architecture from different eras and it is very interesting to see the eras change while strolling down the road. It is also said that Shakespeare got his story for Romeo and Juliet from a couple that actually suffered the same fate as his characters. We can see her balcony and her tomb. (2 hrs. from Bedonia)
*Tour 8) Cremona – A small city, famous for Torrone (the Christmas candy) and the Stradivarius violin. There is the school where the students learn the mastery of violin making. These violins sell for tens of thousands of dollars and more. They are still being made the way they were made in the past and the students become masters of the craft. The piazza is loaded with culture. There is also the museum of violins. It is a welcome visit to stroll these rooms, read the history and hear the sounds these stringed instruments echo. (1:45 min. from Bedonia)
*Tour 9) Parma – A great, little city of about 120,000 people. There is the Basilica, the Duomo, the Farnese Theatre, along with the art gallery that houses a painting of Leonardo da Vinci and Saint Paul’s Room which has beautiful frescos of Correggio and the Parmegianino. These spots are all included in this tour package. There is also the possibility of visiting the Theatre Reggio and the Antique Pharmacy, among other things in this whimsical province at an extra cost. Parma also offers great shops and trattorias. (1 hr. from the villa)
Tour 10) The Italian Riviera – Santa Margherita, Rapallo or Portofino are some of the most well-known Riviera spots to visit. The Italians love to vacation there and many have a second home in the area. The water is clean and deep blue. What most people find so fascinating though is the fact that the mountains come right out of the sea: so there is a backdrop of small villages nestled in the mountains that add to its amazing perspective! (1:45 min. from Bedonia) -ATTENTION: The road to the above town is windy and if you suffer Motion sickness a Dramamine will be in order.
*Tour 11) Mountain Hike – We will hike up the local mountain to a spot at the top, where on a clear day, you can see as far as Corsica. The panorama is breath taking! We will have a picnic at the top while we enjoy the view. (30 min. drive, 2-4 hr. hike) -Choice of hike difficulty: Medium/difficult
*Tour 12) The Castle in Compiano – This castle, built in the year 814, and small hamlet is one of the most prestigious of its kind. Well preserved with a view from the top that falls on the mountains and valley below. It has great little cobblestone streets and architecture that stays true to its era. We will visit the village, have the chance to take photos and walk through the castle that was refurbished when the Countess Gambarotta bought the structure in the 1960’s. We will then have an aperitif in a little bar in the town or back in Bedonia. (3 min. from the villa)
*Tour 13) Wine Tasting – We will see how they make wine and then be escorted to their balcony to enjoy a few variations of their products along with some finger foods, while overlooking the vineyard. There is no hurry here. We can stay as long as we’d like. (1:30 min. from the villa) Vigoleno- After the wine tasting we will visit this medieval town, in the province of Piacenza. It was constructed in the tenth century. It has kept its charm and character over the years to spite the battles through the ages. This small town behind the walls has wonderful alleyways that add to the charm of this hamlet, considered one of the most beautiful of its kind. (10 min. from the winery)
*Tour 14) Bardi – (Departure 9:00) This is a small Medieval village with the castle set on a hill. It is said that Count Dracula stayed here as a guest many years ago. The structure is in good condition. Most of the rooms are not decorated; however, there is the torture chamber that is equipped with many devices used in medieval times. (30 min. from Bedonia) The small town affiliated with the castle offers bars, trattorias, and shops for the locals. We will stop for lunch and then have the chance to check out some of the shops.
Tour 15) Modena/Maranello – We will see how Balsamic Vinegar is made and have a chance to taste it. You will be amazed at the difference a year makes in the flavor of the vinegar. (1:45 min. from Bedonia) Then it is off to The Ferrari Museum in Maranello where the Ferrari was born and is still being made today. Wandering through this museum takes you back in time to see all the different changes the Ferrari has made over the years. (15min. from the Balsamic factory)
*Tour 16) Vinci – This is a small town where Leonardo da Vinci was born. We can walk through his house and see some of his sketches and artwork that are not available in other museums. Visit the Church of Santa Croce, built in the 13th century but later remade in neo-Renaissance style and the Museo Leonardian. Interesting fact: Vinci is the sister city to Allentown, PA, USA (2 hrs. from Bedonia)
Tour 17). Genoa – This city is the home of Christopher Columbus. We will see where he lived, walk the alleyways, check out the shops and architecture. Genoa is famous for 3- dimensional painting on their buildings to make it seem that there is frame work around the windows and doors and stonework on the edifices. We will also see the house of the Boia, (only seen from the outside). This is the place where the men of the State lived while performing the beheadings of the local criminals condemned to death. (2 hrs. from Bedonia)
*Tour 18) Cooking lessons – Come and learn how to make homemade pasta, pizza, typical savory tarts of the area, gnocchi or other Italian favorites. We call in a chef or a little old Italian housewife that has been making these things all their lives to teach you, first-hand the secrets of mastering the art of the Italian cuisine. Dinner will be included in this tour choice. (Eat what you make!) (10 min drive from the villa)
*Tour 19) Villa Verdi – Busseto is the birth place of the great Opera master, Giuseppe Verdi. You can see his birth place and childhood home. After that, you can visit 5 rooms in Villa Verdi that he reconstructed in 1848 and lived in until his death in 1901. It is still owned by descendants who open their doors to the public for Verdi lovers. The Sanctuary of the Holy Virgin is a church near his home that offers a chilling story that horrified Verdi as an adolescent. This event reflected in his opera “The Curse”. (1:15 min from Bedonia)
*Tour 20) Fontanellato Castle and Maze – This is a castle that has been recently restored and opened to the public, with a mote around it. After exploring the Castle we will visit the maze. This Labyrinth is the world’s largest structure of its kind. It covers 17.5 acres of land and follows the original design of Michael Angelo’s star map to protect Florence. The symbolic meaning behind the maze is life’s voyage from ignorance to enlightenment. (1:30 min. from Bedonia)
*Tour 21) Cycling – Bicycle through the mountains with little effort. We have bicycle assist or E-bikes which allows you to peddle through even the toughest areas. When you need assistance it is there to power you through. This is an innovative way to experience the mountains of Italy even if you are not in the best of shape. Our guide will be there every step of the way, so you can enjoy the views with no worries of getting lost! This is a 2 hour ride, picnic lunch and return back to the villa. (departure directly from Bicycle through the mountains with little effort. We have bicycle assist or E-bikes which allows you to peddle through even the toughest areas. When you need assistance it is there to power you through. This is an innovative way to experience the mountains of Italy even if you are not in the best of shape. Our guide will be there every step of the way, so you can enjoy the views with no worries of getting lost! This is a 2 hour ride, picnic lunch and return back to the villa. (departure directly from Bedonia)
*Three day or 1 – week tour cycling with e-bikes- We can set up several days or an entire week of travel through these amazing mountains and country roads, stopping in various places along the way to experience food, wine and Italian atmosphere. Just let us know what your favorite pastime is and we will arrange it accordingly
Tour 22) San Marino – This is a small town on a mountain that is its own country within Italy, like the Vatican City. It is surrounded by a wall. It has its own government, its own army and prints its own money. (3 hrs. from Bedonia)
*Tour 23) Balestrino – This once lovely city, was abandoned in the1960’s due to unsettling Landslides. We can explore this Ghost town, see how they lived and capture some awesome snap shots of a village of inactivity. (2:30 min. from Bedonia)
*Tour 24) Arese, Milan – This town is the home of the Alfa Romeo Museum. We will have the opportunity to check out the history of this amazing car and touch early innovation. (2:30 min. from Bedonia)
Tour 25) Volterra – This area is full of Etruscan ruins that are 3 and 4000 years old. We can explore the museums, walk the archeological grounds and then visit a local studio where they master the art of sculpture in alabaster. (3 hrs. from Bedonia)
*Tour 26) Ravenna – Once the capital of The Western Roman Empire, this charming city is on the Adriatic and is famous for its mosaics, architecture and Dante’s Tomb, among other things. (3 hrs. from Bedonia) The next few cities are more famous and touristy. It is your option to choose them, as well.
Tour 27) Venice – We will take you to Saint Marks Square, the Rialto Bridge, wander the famous alleyways, see the Jewish Ghetto and help you rent a gondola (not included). (3 hrs. from the villa)
Tour 28) Florence – We will visit the Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio, the Open Air Market with the Wild Bore statue (made of bronze) …Rub its nose…it brings good luck. If you would like to see The David, let us know. We will order your tickets in advance at an extra cost. This is an excellent place to buy leather goods. Florence is famous for good quality and great prices. (2:30 min from the villa)
Tour 29) Pisa – We will visit the piazza where you can see the Duomo, the Basilica and the tower from the outside. Pisa, however, is much more than that! Walking the streets, checking out the stores and seeing the architecture and the masterful paintings on the walls of some of these buildings is definitely a must see. Visit the small but special church of Santa Maria della Spina. The name of della Spina (“of the thorn”) derives from the presence of a thorn, putatively part of the crown of thorns placed on Christ during his Passion and Crucifixion. The relic was brought to this church in 1333.
Anyone interested in visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa, please check out this video for more info on the climb. Your tickets for the tower should be ordered in advance and can be done through this site.http://boxoffice.opapisa.it/Turisti/ (2 hrs. from the Villa) OR…do something really different!
*Cooking lessons – One day not enough…Make a week of it. Learn as much as you can while hanging out in this quaint, little town with the locals. Come and learn how to make homemade pasta, pizza, typical savory tarts of the area, gnocchi and/or other Italian favorites. We call in a chef or a little, old, Italian housewife that has been making these things all their lives to teach you, first hand, the secrets of mastering the art of Italian cuisine. Dinner will be included each night in this tour choice. (Eat what you make!)
*All tours with the asterisk are less touristy and off the beaten path.
All tours finish back in our town in time to have dinner at your leisure, except tours 22-29.
Nervous about traveling in a country where you don’t speak the language or know how to get around? Keep in mind that we take people all over Italy, so if you want to have someone at your beckon call 24/7 we can take you anywhere you want to go. Call Valerie for prices (732)927-0610 or visit our website at www.VillaTreAngeli.com
The days that you have free time at the Villa you can walk into town, shop in the stores, sit with a cappuccino and people watch, explore the restaurants, go to the public swimming pool, take a walk or swim at the swimming hole in the river. It is a great little spot the locals like to hang out. There is a small bar on the stone beach and a big rock to climb and dive off of. The water is crystal clear and very refreshing!
All rooms have T.V., D.V.D. players, private bathrooms and kitchenettes/sitting areas. There is a communal TV lounge, DVD’s and books in English on loan. There is a washer and dryer on premises.
Tours can be added to accommodate those who wish to always keep moving. We bend to your needs. Those of you who would like to do things more laidback, just let us know and we will arrange your week accordingly.