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Ship info
Ship: Harmony G

Language: English
Passeng. Cap.: 46
Engine:2x680kWa Cummins
Ship Speed: 11 knots
Max. Speed: 13 knots
Length: 54 m
Beam: 7,10 m
Draft: 3,6 m

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La Dolce Vita

Venice to Catania aboard Harmony G

A cruise exploring the wine and cuisine of Italy from Venice to Catania aboard the 44-passenger MV Harmony With Roger Preece. Scents, flavours and feelings - three words that help to describe Italy`s formidable food and wine culture. Italy is a republic in name only. Rather, it is a collection of ancient duchies, city-states, fiefdoms and colonies with more than a hundred dialects and native cuisines together with 250 DOC wine areas and a plethora of varietals.
Aboard the 44-passenger MV Harmony, we will taste indigenous food and wines on our journey from Venice down to Sicily, looking at how the phrase "Italy keeps all her best wine for herself" might just be true. All our vineyard visits are to producers who can best show off their region`s place in the remarkable kaleidoscope of Italian wines. To whet your appetite, we will enjoy wines with views over the Adriatic, in stunning wild countryside and even on the slopes of Mount Etna. We will encounter varietals like Nerello Mascalese, Catarratto Inzolia, Aglianico and many others.

Embarkation. Sail overnight for Ravenna.

This morning we drive inland through picturesque countryside near Bologna. They produce one of the world`s finest cheeses - Parmigiano-Reggiano. The cheese is not just manufactured, but it is made today exactly as it was made eight centuries ago. Balsamic vinegar is a treasure of the region and before lunch we will visit one of the finest producers and see the fascinating processes and barrel-ageing involved in its production. Lunch today is in a restored farmhouse in the rolling hills near Faenza, where we can enjoy local food and wines. In the late afternoon return to MV Harmony for some leisure time onboard or in Ravenna itself.

Today we take a short trip to Loreto and to a family winery in the top ten of Verdicchio producers, with their remarkable, rich, Reserva being an interesting jewel in their crown, backed up by some Sangiovese blends as well as a champagne-method sparkler. Loreto itself is a site of world-wide pilgrimage. The Holy House of Loreto is one of the most revered shrines in the world. Since medieval times, the Holy House is believed to have been the very home in which the Virgin Mary lived, conceived and raised the young Jesus. A large basilica has been built around the small shrine. Lunch today features a restaurant chef whose reputation centres on the very best of seasonal ingredients - with a modern twist. After lunch we return to Ancona and the afternoon is free for you to explore the city independently. From the 11th century Duomo you can enjoy a wonderful sea view, and also worth a visit is the art gallery (Pinacoteca Communale), situated in a historic palazzo.

This morning we visit Chieti which lies on a crest along the Pescara River with its unmistakable profile of the high belltower of San Giustino and the Majella Mountains and Gran Sasso in the background. It was a Roman town, Teate, and important medieval centre which is why, when walking through the city one can see Roman and medieval ruins side by side. Of special importance is also the Pinacoteca C. Barbella, hosting works of Abruzzese artists, as well as the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, the richest archaeological museum in the region. Continue to an organic wine estate a few miles north of Pescara which produces benchmark Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and the zesty, savoury pink Cerasuolo. After an informal barbecue lunch and wine tasting we return to Pescara.

Today we will make a visit to the littleknown province of Molise and a rising star of the DOC Biferno area, Borgo di Colloredo. The De Giulio brothers produce a range of award-winning wines including a fine blend of Montepulciano and Aglianico as well as whites from both Greco and Falanghina. We will taste their wines with our lunch in the country, with fine views of the Adriatic in the near distance. The afternoon is free for you to explore the old town or relax onboard.

This morning, we will take a drive through the Alta Murgia National Park to the old town of Gravina. Here we will visit the Botromango winery. There will be tastings of classic Primitivo as well as two extraordinary blends - a red and a white - each made with 5 different varietals. Lunch at the winery will be followed by a tour of the medieval village of Sassi di Matera, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Today begins with a short transfer to a local masseria producing a range of organic local cheeses and olive oils. We continue to the fascinating Museum Quo Quo on the outskirts of Lecce where our lunch will help us discover some of the finest products of the Salento region. In particular "frisa salentina" (hard bread), fresh home made pasta, local olive oil, meat, vegetables, fruit and a traditional dessert, all prepared by a local chef explaining the secrets of the traditional cuisine. We then make our way to Lecce, often called "The Florence of the South" with an amazing collection of Baroque architecture. During our visit you are likely to be impressed by the lavish decorations on its facades. The local sandstone, tinged a warm pink, is so easy to work with that it fostered the rise of a local style (barocco leccese) as ornate and intricate as any the world has seen.

This morning we cruise around the heel of Italy and dock at Taranto at lunchtime. In the afternoon visit a local winery and here we can taste a range of wines including classic Primitivo di Manduria. In addition to the full range of rich, long-lived reds we will taste rosé and whites from indigenous Verdeca and Alessano grapes.

Having crossed the Gulf of Taranto, today we will visit the jewel in Calabria`s wine crown - Librandi. It was the ancient Greeks who first planted vines in this sun-baked land and whilst Librandi have only been making wine for half a century or so, their quality is first rate. The company nods to the region`s history by producing two wines from varietals known to the Greeks Gaglioppo and Mantonico. As a complete contrast they also produce wines from modern varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. After a light Calabrian-influenced lunch at the winery we rejoin the ship and begin our cruise to Sicily.

This morning visit Taormina, one of the most beautiful villages in Sicily. Settled on a hill of the Monte Tauro, Taormina dominates two grand, sweeping bays below and the peak of Mount Etna on the southern side, Europe`s highest active volcano which is often capped with snow. The views are simply breathtaking, a dramatic and memorable vista over almost one hundred miles of Mediterranean Sea. We then move ever closer to Etna and visit the vineyards of Benanti, tucked away on the slopes of Etna itself; Benantini own vineyards up to an altitude of 1000m. Lunch will be taken at the vineyard followed by some wine tasting. White wines are made from the indigenous Carricante - only found on the slopes of Etna and the more-famous reds are made from Nerello Mascalese, a varietal which thrives in the unique volcanic soil structure.

Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport.

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