DAY 1 WEDNESDAY MILAN – CASALE MONFERRATO – TURIN
Welcome to Italy! After meeting at Milan’s Malpensa Airport, drive to Casale Monferrato to visit the ornate, breathtakingly lavish 16th-century synagogue gleaming with gold leaf. The synagogue is among the most remarkable synagogues in Italy. Continue to Turin, the capital of Italy’s beautiful Piedmont region, so culturally rich with monuments and galleries that it is known as “the Paris of Northern Italy.” This city is also famous for the original Fiat car factory (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) and was the host city for the Winter Olympics in 2006. Check-in at the hotel in the late afternoon. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Grand Sitea Hotel.
DAY 2 THURSDAY TURIN
With its location at the foot of the majestic, snow-capped Alps and boasting a rich array of architecture, it is no surprise that Turin has a fascinating history. It is also the center of Piedmont’s Jewish community, working to preserve services for the Jewish population. Begin with a walk through the former ghetto to the JCC, easily found with its Moorish-style towers atop the Great synagogue. The building was damaged during WWII and has since been carefully restored. Tour the Jewish Center, its small but significant Museum, and two synagogues. Lunch. In the afternoon, continue via Vittorio Veneto to the Mole Antonelliana (“Mole” means monumental building; “Antonelliana” refers to the architect Alessandro Antonelli). Originally conceived as a synagogue, this magnificent structure, the city’s iconic symbol, is one of Turin’s best-known landmarks. Later, visit the grave of Primo Levi at the Jewish cemetery. Cap the day with a visit to the unusual National Museum of Cars, showcasing the history of automobiles –including famous Italian brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Grand Sitea Hotel.
DAY 3 FRIDAY TURIN – CARMAGNOLA – SALUZZO – TURIN
This morning, continue a historical journey in the Piedmont region, where Jewish communities once thrived. Only a few spots continue to have a Jewish presence, but you will see this history expressed through synagogues, ghettos, and elaborate cemeteries. After a short drive, visit the elegant Baroque Carmagnola Synagogue, located on the second floor of an 18th-century house. This shul and the Casale Monferrato Synagogue are proud examples of Piedmont’s Jewish legacy. Continue south to the small town of Saluzzo, where the smallest ghetto in Piedmont once existed. It consisted of a tiny block, but with people living close together, it was home to a hidden synagogue in the courtyard. Visit the Ghetto, the synagogue, and its curated collection of Fascist antisemitic posters from the Holocaust. Return to Turin in the early afternoon and visit the Egyptian Museum. Dinner. Grand Sitea Hotel.
DAY 4 SATURDAY TURIN – MONT BLANC – TURIN
Enjoy a peaceful Shabbat in Turin, or join an excursion to the Highest Mountain in the Alps, Mont Blanc (the Italians call it Monti Bianco.) Depart Turin in the morning and drive towards the mountain region. Upon arrival in Courmayeur, board the Skyway Cable Car and soar to the highest point in Italy — the Helbronner Station, with vistas of towering snowcapped mountains. Here, at an elevation of more than 11,000 feet, you can enjoy stunning panoramic views of Mont Blanc and its majestic, snow-capped environs. Later, descend to the bus waiting at Courmayeur and drive back to Turin in the afternoon. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Grand Sitea Hotel.
DAY 5 SUNDAY TURIN – ALESSANDRIA – PARMA
This morning, depart Turin. Before leaving Piedmont, visit the newly restored synagogue in Alessandria. While most synagogues in Piedmont don’t have a recognizable façade, the Synagogue in Alessandria boasts a dominant one. Inside, you will see the wholly restored synagogue. Later, drive towards the Emilia-Romagna region, famous for many agricultural products. No one is more famous than Parmigiano-Reggiano makers, known for Italy’s beloved cheese. (To be known as Parmigiano-Reggiano, a cheese must come from this region and be aged for three years.). Here, visit a producer who also makes Kosher cheeses, which you can enjoy. Next, visit the Jewish Museum in Soragna, dedicated to Fausto Levi, a former resident of Parma. Fausto Levi collected relics belonging to the extinct communities in the Parma region. After the visit to Soragna, continue to the hotel in the city. Grand Hotel de Ville.
DAY 6 MONDAY PARMA – MODENA – FERRARA – PADUA
Drive to Modena, known for its Ferrari factory and famous for its prized balsamic vinegars. Visit the former ghetto and the impressive Synagogue. Later, visit the Estense Library, regarded as one of the most important in Italy. It was founded by the Estense family of Ferrara, who later settled in Modena. Here, you will visit their significant Hebrew collection. Later, drive to Ferrara, a magnificent Renaissance city built by the Estense family dynasty. After a walk in the well-preserved Ghetto of Ferrara, visit the Italian Judaism and Shoa Museum, which covers Jewish history in Italy from the Roman Empire until today. Continue to Padua in the late afternoon. Dinner. NH Hotel Padua (or similar).
DAY 7 TUESDAY PADUA – VENICE
Tour the historic Padua area in the morning. Since the 1100, this has been a vital Jewish city. Indeed, during the Middle Ages, Padua was an important center for Talmudic studies. Many famous rabbis lived here, and the Yeshiva attracted students from all over Europe. In addition, Padua was the only university city in Europe to admit Jewish students to the study of medicine. Visit Padua’s Jewish Heritage Museum and Synagogue in the Padua Ghetto. Later, continue a short drive to Venice Island. Here, continue by boat along the canals of Venice to the Cannaregio area and the hotel. The Jewish presence has been here since the 14th century. Lunch. Enjoy a walking tour in the Ghetto Vecchio –- where the Italian word “ghetto” was first used. In the 16th century, Jews were confined to this area, which was walled and gated. This area is still central to Jewish life in the city and is frequented by tourists worldwide. Visit the Jewish Museum, composed of different synagogues. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Hotel Residenza Cannaregio (or similar).
DAY 8 WEDNESDAY VENICE
This morning, tour the Island of Venice, including the famous Piazza San Marco, with its cafes, pigeons, enormous Basilica, and Doge’s Palace (a masterpiece of Venetian architecture). You will also see the Ponte dei Sospiri (the Bridge of Sighs, immortalized by Romantic poet Lord Byron) and the Ponte del Rialto, the oldest bridge, spanning the Grand Canal. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure in this dreamlike, water-colored city. Perhaps a gondola ride or a trip to nearby Murano to see the glorious glassworks? Dinner. Hotel Residenza Cannaregio (or similar).
DAY 9 SUNDAY VENICE
In the morning, transfer to Venice Airport by private boat and check-in for the flights back to the USA.