Italy Tour finale dinner at Villa d'Este
FINAL DAY - Day Fifteen
Our final day on tour started with a lake cruise on Lake Como. Tour guide Donatella gave our group a fabulous insight to the beauty of the lake and the real estate surrounding its hills. Of course we got an up close view of George Clooney's house! In the afternoon we played our final round on tour at the magnificent Villa d'Este Golf Club set on the gentle undulating hills of the city with views of Lake Montorfano. Our final round winners were Reggie and Jan who took home the Fiat and Ferrari.
In the evening we celebrated our tour with a finale dinner at the Villa d'Este Golf Club. With a wonderful 4-course Italian dinner and local wines for enjoyment we presented tour winners - Colin (Australia) and Betty & Jan (New Zealand) with their tour mementos. All agreed our 2015 Italian tour was a huge success.
The group was on George Clooney alert with news that he was in town at his house on the Lake! With the weather forecast not that positive we ventured out on the winding road around Lake Como up to Menaggio Golf Club. In full wet weather gear we played the front nine and dashed back to the clubhouse to sit by the fire and enjoy the local wines and beautifully prepared food from Chef. A few hardy souls managed to play 18-holes. A shame as Menaggio Golf Course is always a tour favourite to play.
Thankfully with a spare day up our sleeve we returned to Royal Park Roveri to play Round 7. The Pramerica Course was in superb condition and many played under their handicaps. Over lunch on the patio we presented the Fiat to Fiona and Ferrari to Nick who with scores of 63 and 59 respectively were runaway winners on the day. From Torino we transferred to the beautiful Lake Como for our final stop on tour.
A highlight of our stay in Torino was the truffle tasting expedition. After touring the countryside to Alba then onto Rhoddi, we were welcomed by a local family who were 'truffle experts'. Chef David prepared for our group a fantastic 7 course lunch featuring truffles with a variety of local produce delicacies. Lunch was accompanied by the local red wine - a winner of a day! To top off a great day we returned to our hotel to watch Lydia Ko take out her first major at The Evian Masters.
Our day playing Royal Park Roveri Golf Club, a Robert Trent Jones Senior design was billed as our best course on tour and the top course in Italy. But with thunderstorms and lightning it wasn't meant to be! With a quick change of plans we will return to the course on Tuesday to play with a spare day up our sleeve.
We play Torino Golf Club, the oldest in the area dating back to 1920. The group enjoyed playing this old English style parkland course with the members being very welcoming of visitors. While we didn't get the opportunity to meet the Molinari brothers, we did find their parents playing in the members day. Well done to Betty and Carl our fist couples win on tour.
Reluctantly we depart Venice for our journey to NW Italy, to the city of Torino. This city not on your typical tourist route through Italy is a hidden gem. Home to the once Royal Family of Italy - there are many House of Savoy palaces and residences around the city including the Royal Hunting Grounds where our 2 golf courses on tour are located.
A 'bucket list' day on our tour in Venice. After enjoying breakfast at our hotel on the Grand Canal the group boarded water taxis for a ride across the sea to Lido Island. Rumours were rife that Johnny Depp was in town for the festival so we were hoping to catch a glimpse of the mega movie star. From our water taxi we crossed the bridge and walked the tunnel into Venice Golf Club, one of Italy's Top 10 and oldest courses. The group loved the links style course with its open fairways. After golf we dined on the local seafood before returning home to Venice. Warwick and Jenny were our car winners on the day
A wonderful day was spend at Borolo Castle near Sienna. The estate is home of the Risicolo Family one of Italy's largest and oldest wine producers since 1104. The group enjoyed wine tasting the famous Classico Chianti and a lunch at the foot of the castle. From Florence we ventured north to Venice to stay 3 nights, right on the Grand Canal at the Hotel Monaco.
The group travelled north into the Mugello region of Florence to play Round Four at the 5-star Poggio De Medici Golf Club. This was quite a different test of golf than the previous day now playing a hugely undulating golf course. Golfers enjoyed views of the wine growing hills around Tuscany as well as listening to the Ferrari testing track in the village of Scarperia next door. The course was being prepared for an amateur teams championship the next day so was in excellent condition. Our Ferrari and Fiat winners on the day were Linda and Robin.
The first of our two Tuscany courses on tour was Le Pavoniere Golf Club, an Arnold Palmer design located NW of Florence. This superb course, beautifully manicured proved to be a testing challenge with its waterways and tight approaches. The day at golf was capped off by a pasta and red wine lunch in the Clubhouse. Winners on the day were Rick and Jocelyn.
A free day to explore the city, many taking the opportunity to enjoy the city's landmarks, wonderful museums and art galleries. The girls went wild in the leather shops, returning home with credit card dented and loaded with jackets and bags! In the evening the group was invited to a Tuscany Cooking School to prepare a 4 course dinner. Our 3 chefs expertly guided us through the complex menu with many of our golfers showing professional cooking skills, others their unfamiliarity with the kitchen! The meal served with Italian wines was the highlight of the evening. Who had made the best pasta is still being hotly debated! Well done to all. We walked off our dinner with a night tour home past the Duomo.
We saw a different side to Rome through the eyes of our hilarious but expert guide Salvatore who took us on a journey around the city's famous landmarks and interesting back streets. Our walking tour threading our way through the crowds from the Spanish Steps to Trevi Fountain to the Pantheon concluding at Piazza Navona was entertaining to say the least, Salvatore giving us his personal opinion on how the city was at last moving on from its austerity measures. After a fabulous wine and pasta lunch around Piazza Navona we just dodged a thunderstorm to board our bus to make our way from Rome to Florence, checking into the Bernini Hotel in the city's best location to the shopping and attractions.
For Round Two we travelled just south of Rome to play the Robert Trent Jones Snr designed Castelgandolfo Golf & Country Club (1987). This resort course built in the crater of an inactive volcano is a wonderfully designed course meandering around the Castel Gandolfo Lake with pine tree and olive grove lined fairways. The group enjoyed golf Italian style with a stop halfway for a full pasta break before continuing on to play the second nine. The course has views of the Pope's Palace, his summer residence which many believed may give divine intervention for their golf scores. (NOT!). Our Ferrari and Fiat winners on the day were Karen & Ian.
After a Welcome Dinner at our 5-star Westin Hotel, featuring a fabulous menu, typical of Roman cuisine our Italian Golf Adventure got underway playing the Acquasanta Golf Club. Known as the oldest golf course in all of Italy, Acquasanta built by the English back in 1903, is an exclusively private course located not far from the city centre. While a little rusty on our golf after a few days playing tourist around Rome, the group enjoyed this unique undulating parkland style course with its views of the acquaduct and St Peters back towards the city. Winners on the day taking home a Ferrari and a Fiat Bambino were Colin & Annie.