Next up on our trip to Italy… our amazing Food and Ferrari Tour through the Emilia-Romagna region. What an incredible day! I cannot say enough good things about this tour.
The entire purpose of staying the two nights in Bologna was because my dad and Jay wanted to do a tour of the Ferrari museum and test drive Ferraris in nearby Maranello. I am so glad the guys wanted to do this because I loved Bologna, and it allowed us to experience this amazing tour. The tour was very small – a group of only 14 people. Our tour guide, Olga, was hands down the best tour guide I have ever had on any trip I have ever been on. She was so friendly, accommodating to everyone on our tour, so knowledgeable, and most importantly so enthusiastic about everything we were doing. You would never know that she does this almost every day! Our private bus driver, Max, was also a pleasure.
Our first stop was a Parmesan factory where we got really lucky because the inspector was there, so we got to see how they inspect the cheese. We then went to the prosciutto factory, where again, we got very lucky because the inspector was there too! At each of these places, Olga took us through the entire factory step by step, then we did tastings of each with endless amounts of Lambrusco, which is local to the Emilia-Romagna region. Olga just kept magically pulling bottles out! We then went to the balsamic vinegar factory which was SO COOL! I had no idea how they make it, and we are now all balsamic vinegar snobs. We had another incredible tour from the owner (and his 5-year old daughter too – so cute!) and then another tasting there – balsamic vinegar on cheese, balsamic vinegar on gelato….on everything. It was awesome!
Then, on to the Ferrari museum! The car that Jay had reserved to test drive was not available, so he instead selected another one, the California Turbo. Unlike the car that he reserved, this one had a backseat and allowed him to take a passenger, so I of course jumped on the opportunity. Dad also selected a passenger car to test drive and took my mom along. While waiting for the test drive, we toured the museum and Olga, being amazing again, took us through the museum and gave us a private tour.
The test drive was…scary…exhilarating…thought we might die…but ultimately we lived to tell the tale! Jay drove with the instructor in the front seat and me in the backseat. They do not take you on a closed track…they instead take you through the town of Maranello on the very narrow roads and with other cars on the road. At certain points the instructor let Jay go as fast as he could (the instructor was even pushing Jay’s leg down on the gas haha!) Jay absolutely loved it. I had fun too, but was kind of glad when it was over and we were still alive. We then met up with the rest of the group, had an amazing 7 course lunch and lots of wine (which I needed after that test drive!) After lunch, we went up to the kitchen were two women were preparing stuffed tortellini by hand for that night’s dinner. They let us in the kitchen to observe and we actually got to try to make some tortellini with them!
After lunch, we headed back to Bologna and were dropped back at our hotel at around 6:00 p.m. We went to our rooms to change, then went to dinner close by on recommendation from the hotel. The next day we got up, explored the park near the hotel, took a walk through an antiques market, visited Basilica di San Petronio and grabbed a quick espresso before embarking on our train to Venice!
Photos taken by Jay Brodeur and Alicia DeAngelis.