Bike, Hike, Walk, Ski

You pick your activities; we’ll create your perfect tour. Kathy and Vernon work directly with you to create a trip to match your desires for accommodations, daily mileage, terrain, and activities such as wine tastings, cooking classes, shopping, and city tours.


Food and Wine

Any tour of Italy is incomplete without indulging in the amazing food and wine. But to truly appreciate It, and what makes Italy so unique, requires a understanding of the regional history, culture and geography. All become part of your adventure with Kathy, chef, cooking instructor and food blogger, and Vernon, mountain guide, MS in European Literature and avid history enthusiast.


Your Unique Adventure

Not all private trips are custom. Most tour companies don't have the flexibility to deviate from their set itineraries, so there are always compromises. With Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine, your adventure will be as unique as you are, and your itinerary will be personally designed by Kathy and Vernon to meet the fitness goals and varied interests of your group.


The ItaliaOutdoors Difference

Truly Personalized Service and a Custom Plan for Every Trip

Kathy and Vernon


You communicate directly with Vernon and Kathy. We know your dreams for an Italy adventure, we’ll have it ready for you when you arrive.

No Group Too Small


Our small footprint allows us to travel like locals and enjoy spontaneous adventures as we explore the path less traveled.


Custom Plan


Each tour itinerary is unique and serves as a framework for an exceptional journey, where a thoughtful plan adjusts to your pace.




We focus on just a few select tours to provide an exceptional level of regional knowledge and an unforgettable authentic experience.

Customize Your Adventure - Bike - Walk - Hike - Ski
With Italys "Best Local Guide 2013"

Read about our tours in Adventure Cyclist August 2015

Our passion is creating intimate, personalized cycling, skiing, walking and hiking adventures that explore an authentic Italy
- its outdoor beauty, its hidden back roads, its small family producers, its traditional wines, at your preferred pace.
Tell Me More!

Radicchio, a member of the chicory family, was first introduced to the Republic of Venice from Asia around 1400. It began to be cultivated fairly extensively in the region, but it served primarily as animal fodder, and the roots were dried and mashed and used as a substitute for coffee. It was also included as an ornamental plant in the botanical gardens of the Venetian aristocracy. It wasn’t until the 19th century that radicchio was introduce into the cuisine of the Veneto. It does make an occasional appearance in its raw form, but the preferred method of use is as an ingredient in pasta fillings, rice dishes, or sauteed and served as a side dish to braised meats.

radicchio precoce regional foods italy tours
Precoce radicchio in Italian market

Here in the US, we see predominately the Radicchio Rosso di Chioggia form, which was first grown in the town of Chioggia on the Venetian Lagoon. This type is ball-shaped, like a small cabbage, and mostly purple in color with larger white streaks, or veins. In the Veneto region, however, there are many other varieties, each making an appearance at a slightly different time of year, and displaying its own culinary characteristics.

There are two varieties of Radicchio Rosso di Treviso which are grown in and around Treviso, and both are protected by their own IGP quality designation. The Precoce variety appears first in the season, and has deep red leaves, with an elongated shape. It has the sweetest and most delicate flavor in the radicchio family. The second type, Tardivo, is more elongated, with a more pronounced vein. As with most radicchios, both undergo a forcing, or ‘whitening”, imbianchimento, in which field-harvested plants have their upper halves cut off, and then are replanted in running water. After a few days, the deep red inner ‘heart’ begins to grow, which is sweet and tender, with a touch of the original bitterness still remaining. The older outer leaves are removed and the heart is what you will see in the market.

Radicchio di Verona is a variation of the Treviso Precoce variety, grown in the Verona area, and again, protected by its own IGP.

The province of Vicenza has its own favorite variety of radicchio, with the center of production in Asigliano Veneto, in the southern part of the province, as well as the Berici Hills, Noventa Vicentina, Poiana Maggiore, Sossano and Orgiano. This particular variety is more compact and oval shaped, with dark red leaves and white veins. These are first planted in July, with a first harvest in October, and a second harvest in December. In December, the harvest does not mean the work is completed - the heads are piled and left in the field for a few weeks of final ‘ripening”.  

radicchio castelfranco culinary tours italy bike walk
Radicchio from Castelfranco Veneto

There is also the heirloom IGP Radicchio Variegato di Castelfranco, which is creamy white, variegated, with an open rose-like shape. It has a tender, softer flavor and some claim that is it actually a hybrid of radicchio and belgian endive. Finally there are some lesser know types, including the Radicchio Bianco di Bassano del Grappa, from the northern towns of Bassano, Rosa, and Marostica. This is a white, varigated chicory, with a rounded shape, and a more open, rose like heart. This type is also forced, with the green leaves turning to white. It is both crunchy and tender, with a delicate flavor.

Then there is the Luisa White, Luisa Varigated, Chioggia Giante, the Fior di Masera White...makes our selection in the US look a little sparse, doesn’t it?