Location: Reggio Emilia - Parma - Cremona - Brescia

The fortresses and castles located on the territory of the “Different Italy” preserve very old memories . Noble families, feudal lords, chieftains, who bravely fought against enemies in this frontier land, lived within those walls. Patrons called great artists to give glory to their residences, fine courts where sweet and violent love affairs took place. These castles witnessed familiar and personal epics, betrayals and fights. Castles are residences, defensive bulwarks, centres of power, administrative and political offices. Culture, arts and environment, together with a great culinary tradition are the essence of this land.

Day 1 – REGGIO EMILIA

Reggio Emilia is a city with a long history, its birth can be dated
to the second century BC by the Romans.
The main feature of its historical center is the hexagonal shape, where many buildings and monuments of great artistic interest are located.
Curiosily, the Tricolour flag was born in Reggio Emilia on 7 January 1797.
The Giardini, the neoclassical gardens where the Vecchia Cittadella stood, are definitely worth visiting for their beautiful structure and fountains.
Lunch at a restaurant.
In the afternoon transfer to Canossa and visit of the castle. The Castle of Matilda di Canossa was erected around 940. This castle is famous because the Repentance of the Emperor Henry IV in the presence of Pope Gregory VII took place there in 1077.
In the evening, transfer to Parma neighbourhood.
Dinner and overnight stay in a castle.

Day 2 – PARMA

Breakfast at the hotel and guided tour of PARMA.
You can visit medieval buildings such as Piazza Duomo, the cathedral, the Baptistery and Palazzo Vescovile. A few dozen meters from the cathedral you can see San Giovanni Evangelista, a Renaissance building which houses the dome frescoed by Correggio in 1520-21 and some frescoes by Parmigianino.
The visit continues with Parco Ducale, a magnificent example of French garden, which surrounds Palazzo Ducale.
Lunch at a restaurant.
In the afternoon, transfer to Colorno for a guided tour of its Palace, centre of a fine court and a prestigious collection of paintings by Titian, Correggio, Mantegna and Raphael. After the tour of the Palace, you can visit the historical garden, open from 7.00 am to sunset.
Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 3 – CREMONA

Breakfast at the hotel and check-out.
Transfer to Cremona and guided tour of the town.
In Cremona you can visit: the charming medieval square where Palazzo Comunale is located, the Baptistery, the Cathedral andTorrazzo, one of the highest bell-tower in Europe (100 metres
high), the Stradivari Museum and the Collection of the most famous Old Violins in the world. Late in the morning visit to a lutist shop to find out how violins, violas, cellos and double basses are made, today as in past
centuries, with the opportunity to attend a private concert.
Lunch at a restaurant.
In the afternoon, transfer to Cigole and visit of the beautiful Palazzo Cigola Martinoni, an imposing palace that rises in the lowlands of Brescia and dominates its park and the surrounding area.
After the visit, transfer to Padernello, famous for its castle, built at the end of 1400, and still keeping its beautiful lines of a manor surrounded by its moat. The castle has its undoubted charm, to which certainly contribute
the beautiful environmental setting, and the still intact agricultural village in the nearby. The adjacent farms and stables, as well as the beautiful park that frames the building on three sides are worth visiting.
Dinner in one of the rooms of the castle.
After dinner, transfer to the hotel in Brescia. Overnight stay.

Day 4 – BRESCIA

Breakfast at the hotel, guided tour and departure for a walking
tour of the city. In the heart of the city is one of the most interesting archaeological areas in the north of Italy.
You can see the imposing ruins of the Forum, the Capitoline Temple (73 AD), the Basilica (I century AD), but also those of private houses with mosaics and frescoes. The III century theatre is nearby. It was the third in size in northern Italy, and could hold 15000 people.
Leaving behind Via Musei, within minutes you will reach the splendid view of the Cathedral Square (Piazza Paolo VI). The old Cathedral (Rotonda) is one of the few circular Romanesque churches, its shape goes probably back to that of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The New Cathedral was built between 1604 and 1825. With its 80 meters internal height the dome is the third largest in Italy after St. Peter’s in Rome and Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence.
Leaving Piazza del Duomo and walking under the characteristic arcades, you will reach Piazza della Loggia.Lunch in a restaurant. After lunch, you can reach the medieval Castle which is one of the most fascinating fortified complexes in Italy. The central building, the imposing crenellated walls and the tower are of viscountcy influence, while the mighty ramparts and
the entrance with the drawbridge witness the power of Venice who governed the city for more than four centuries. From the square top of the castle you can admire the beauty of Brescia from above.