A Gourmet Discovery of Northern Italy with WSJ+

We’re working with WSJ+ to create entirely customizable and private trips for you, their members. Our Travel Experts are here to make your trip entirely your own. Private, customizable, and totally flexible. This is what we do. This month, we’re introducing a new highlight itinerary to Italy that you can embark on today. Take it ‘as is’ or customize it to your heart’s content.


Tucked away in the foothills of the Alps, Piedmont does not allow Italy’s gourmet reputation to falter. Far from it. This seven-night journey will see you traverse Lake Orta and the UNESCO Langhe Valley in pursuit of the finest culinary experiences. You’ll do it all in the highest luxury, with vintage cars and sleek boats to take you into unknown corners –and Michelin stars and Aperitivos to greet you when you get there. Come Fall, this corner of Italy is at its most enigmatic as Barolo and Barbaresco come into harvest and Tabui dogs unearth prized black truffles.

To add extra magic to your time away, WSJ+ members will enjoy complimentary rental of a vintage Alfa Romeo Spider. The perfect way to explore the quiet hillsides of Piedmont, we’ll send you out with a map and a picnic basket and leave the rest up to you.

Exclusive to WSJ+ members

This trip has been designed exclusively for WSJ+ members, drawing on our travel experts’ in-depth knowledge of Italy. The experience, however, is yours and yours alone, with all of our trips private and customisable. What you’ll find below, therefore, is simply a suggestion. Our Travel Experts will work with you to devise an itinerary based on your inquiry, budget, group size, and desires. Typically, this will include everything from the experiences you do (and the guides that will take you there) to the hotels you’ll bed down in and the trains, planes and automobiles that will take you in between. We can also help with international flights, if you like.

WSJ+ members will receive:

  • Immersive experiences tailored to your interests. This could include anything from closed-door cellar access to after-hours tours in Milan.
  • Exclusive benefits to elevate your experience, including complimentary rental of a vintage Alfa Romeo Spider.
  • Stays in Italy’s most luxurious hotels.
  • Access to expert guides throughout.
  • Up-to-date COVID travel advice – including arrangements for any required PCR testing whilst traveling.
  • Unrivalled expertise in planning your trip to Italy.

Make this itinerary yours

Like what you see? Contact us today to find out more about our exclusive itineraries. But remember: each and every Black Tomato trip is tailored exactly to who you are and what you want to do so tell us about yourself and we’ll create something that’s entirely you.

Start Planning Here

What to do

This experience is best enjoyed in the late summer and into the fall, when the days remain balmy and Piedmont braces itself for the beginning of a new vintage. Start your discovery on the stylish streets of Milan where we’ll send you out in the company of an expert guide on a private city tour, bespoke to your interests. You might start in lively Brera with a visit to the renowned Pinacoteca di Brera, home to works by Raphael and Caravaggio to name a few, or you might instead choose to explore the contemporary works of Fondazione Prada. Wherever you start, be sure to finish at Milan’s ornate Duomo where we’ll lay on aperitivos worthy of the setting.

From Milan, you’ll then continue north to Lake Orta. A picturesque drop in the Piedmont hillsides, leave Como and Maggiore to everyone else as we let you in on this, our best kept secret. Drawn by the idyllic Isola San Giulio, we’ll arrange a private boat tour of the lake, gliding across its serene waters to discover quaint towns and centuries of history. Start in medieval Orta San Giulio, which strikes out into the heart of the lake to establish itself as one of the most beautiful towns in Italy, before continuing onto Pella and a gelato tasting at one of the area’s best gelaterias. In the evening, Michelin-starred dining beckons at Ristorante di Villa Crespi.

You’ll then end your trip in the UNESCO listed Langhe valley. Here, the fall season really comes to the fore as Barolo and Barbaresco wines come into harvest and local Trifulaus set out in search of fresh truffles. Tomorrow, you’ll join them. Set off in the company of your local hunter and their Tabui dogs on a gentle walk through the forests of Piedmont as you learn about the skill and tradition of truffle hunting. The Langhe is renowned for its truffles and we’ll ensure you don’t go home empty handed. Having unearthed this black gold, you’ll then join a local cheesemaker for a tasting of the region’s finest produce.

Whilst here, we’ll also arrange for you to have a vintage Alfa Romeo Spider at your disposal. The perfect way to explore these rolling hills, we’ll help you curate the most scenic route before packing you a gourmet picnic and sending you on your way. Returning to your hotel, we’ll then acquaint you with a local sommelier guide who will take you behind closed doors to the private cellar of an historic Barolo winery for a tasting of their best vintages. For contrast, you’ll then head down the road to a family owned Barbera and Moscato winery. Compare methods and tastes before watching the sunset from the hilltop village of La Morra.

Where to stay

Throughout your trip, you’ll stay in the best hotels Italy has to offer. In a city synonymous with style, that therefore means staying at Sina The Gray in Milan. In the shadow of the Duomo’s gothic architecture, this contemporary boutique hotel stands out for its exclusive feel and design-led approach. Design continues to pave the way in Lake Orta with a stay at the intensely private Casa Fantini. The 11 minimalist suites create a feeling of a private home, whilst panoramic lake views leave you in no doubt as to the status of the address. Finally, and in keeping with Piedmont’s personality, you’ll end your trip at the quietly charming Relais San Maurizio. A former Franciscan monastery, this hilltop retreat now offers Michelin-starred dining and sweeping vistas.

Anything else?

This experience is yours and yours alone, so feel free to customize it however you wish. Over our years exploring Italy, we’ve built up a handy network of contacts and exclusive experiences and can help take your experience to the next level. In Milan, that might mean after-hours access to the Duomo where we’ll arrange for you to enjoy a private concert before taking to the Cathedral’s rooftop terraces in total solitude for an inimitable sunset over the city. Alternatively, in the Langhe we can arrange exclusive access to the oldest Barolo winery before a private dinner atop the Torre di Barbaresco from where the hillsides extend as far as the eye can see.