The University of Melbourne: Experiencing Foodscapes

30 Jun – 16 Jul 2018

  • Region:
    • Europe
    • Italy
    • Spain
  • Status: open
  • Code: CC21808

Course Overview

EURO20008/EURO30007: Experiencing Foodscapes: Italy & Spain
Semester: Winter Term – Off Campus
School: School of Languages and Linguistics, The University of Melbourne
Course Lecturers: Matthew Absalom & Lara Anderson
Credit Points: 12.5 credit points. Undergraduate Level 2 & 3
Enrolments: Credit & Cross-Credit Students


Italy and Spain are undoubtedly the culinary epicentres of Southern Europe with food cultures that have intersected repeatedly since ancient times. In this two-week intensive in-country subject, students will learn about the centrality of eating to Italian and Spanish ways of life and consider the relationship between identity, place and food. Through a series of programmed food activities students will explore different facets of Italian and Spanish culinary traditions, from handling food as a material object to understanding its place in a sociocultural context. Students will experience firsthand two of the most important food trends in Italy and Spain and understand how in the absence of a national cuisine slow food in Italy and haute cuisine in Spain function as de facto representations of the food nation in the consciousness of both locals and visitors alike. Both Spain and Italy share robust, enduring and immediately recognisable food traditions. However, recent food trends in the two countries seem to suggest the absence of such a historically embedded food culture. Students will be asked to consider the effect of globalisation on the current state of these two cuisines.

Students will spend one week in northeast Spain and one week in central Italy with arrival and departure from the countries’ capital cities. Accommodation will be shared. While there is no need to speak Spanish or Italian to complete this subject, special arrangements can be made for language students.

Further Information

For reservations and travel information:
Australians Studying Abroad
Tel:                  03-98226899
Fax:                 03-98226989
Email:             [email protected]

Academic enquiries only
The Lecturer-in-Charge of this subject is Matthew Absalom; Room 514 Babel Building
c/o School of Languages and Linguistics
Tel:                  03-8344 6986
email:              [email protected]


The itinerary outlined below is subject to change as required by the teaching schedule for this subject. The program includes breakfast daily, lunches & evening meals indicated in the detailed itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=dinner.

Madrid - 2 nights

Day 1: Saturday 30 June 2018. Arrive Madrid
  • Arrive at Madrid Airport on flight CX315 at 0845hrs.
  • Transfer by coach to the hotel in Madrid city centre.
  • The rest of the day is at leisure.
  • Group Dinner

Today we will arrive in Madrid and get settled in our accommodation. We will have a short orientation session in the afternoon and a group dinner together. (Overnight Madrid) D

Day 2: Sunday 1 July, Madrid
  • Museo Nacional del Prado

Our visit to the Museo Nacional del Prado will have a distinct food focus. The rest of the day you are free to experience the Spanish capital. (Overnight Madrid) B

Barcelona - 2 nights

Day 3: Monday 2 July, Madrid – Barcelona
  • Train Madrid – Barcelona
  • Group Dinner

Today we will arrive in Barcelona and our appointment will be at dinner time with our Catalan collaborators – get a taste of local cuisine with a casual and vibrant dinner. Details of forthcoming days will be shared while drinking natural and biodynamic wines of family-run wineries and eating traditional recipes from Barcelona in a modern, cool venue. (Overnight Barcelona) BD

Day 4: Tuesday 3 July, Barcelona
  • Workers’ Breakfast in a Casa de Menjars
  • Sagrada Familia

Seasonal cuisine: start the day with a morning walk through a local market to learn about Cuina de Mercat (a.k.a. ‘seasonal cuisine’), tasting some ingredients of our traditional cuisine. We will have a workers’ breakfast in a Casa de Menjars, exploring the area’s most delicious humble recipes. In the afternoon we will visit Sagrada Familia with a private guide. (Overnight Barcelona) B

Girona - 3 nights

Day 5: Wednesday 4 July, Barcelona – Girona
  • Sustainable farm
  • Cheese Maker

Rural artisans: Explore peasant recipes in a day trip to the roots of Catalan cuisine. We will leave Barcelona early in the morning to visit a sustainable farm where a chef cooks everything his brothers grow at the same property. After having breakfast there, we will visit a shepherd and a cheesemaker to taste their cheeses matched with local wines. Lunch will be at a traditional rural food house. (Overnight Girona) BL

Day 6: Thursday 5 July,  Girona
  • Old Town of Girona

Days of conquest: Catalan history is reflected in Girona, an ancient city built atop layers of Christian, Jewish and Muslim heritage. We shall spend the morning exploring the Old Town in Girona with an expert and we’ll have time to taste xuixos, a famous local pastry. For lunch, we will organise a casual feast to talk about the history of Catalan cuisine while eating some of its most iconic ancient recipes. (Overnight Girona) BL

Day 7: Friday 6 July,  Girona
  • Catalan fishing port
  • Fish Auction

Catch of the Day: the Mediterranean Sea is overexploited but there are some few local fishermen who still keep an old way of living – a life related to the ocean and seafood culture. Today we will walk around one of the most important fishing ports in Catalonia, known for its red prawn. We’ll visit the docks, meet the fishermen and take part in a show-cooking lunch, where we’ll taste seafood recipes. Afterwards we will attend a fish auction. (Overnight Girona) BL

Bologna - 4 nights

Day 8: Saturday 7 July, Girona – Barcelona – Bologna
  • Farmers Market
  • Tasting Menu Lunch with Paired Wines
  • Coach to Barcelona
  • Flight to Bologna
  • Transfer to Hotel

Adéu: Our last day in Catalonia will be dedicated to experiencing modern cuisine. After visiting a farmers market in a rural town we will enjoy a high-end tasting menu which is designed as a homage to Catalan cuisine but with a fine dining twist. Lunch will be paired with wines. We then transfer by coach to Barcelona Airport, where we board our flight to Italy. On arrival in Bologna we transfer by coach to our hotel. (Overnight Bologna) BL

Day 9: Sunday 8 July, Bologna
  • Day at Leisure
  • Group Dinner

Enjoy a lazy Sunday in the capital of Emilia-Romagna – Bologna, known as ‘la grassa’, due to its culinary traditions. In the evening, we meet up for a group dinner to experience what everyone’s talking about. (Overnight Bologna) BD

Day 10: Monday 9 July, Bologna – Eataly – Bologna
  • Guided tour of FICO Eataly
  • Group Lunch
  • Workshop on the suino nero

After a grand tour of FICO Eataly’s 10-hectare food wonderland, enjoy a typical lunch followed by a workshop on the autocthonous suino nero. This breed of pig has been revived and you’ll have a chance to try products produced in the traditional way from its meat. (Overnight Bologna) BL

Day 11: Tuesday 10 July, Bologna – Eataly – Bologna
  • Pasta Workshop
  • Group Lunch
  • Food Photography Workshop

Day two at Eataly world will see us complete a pasta workshop followed by a pasta lunch. In the afternoon, you’ll do a workshop on how to make Italian sorbet. (Overnight Bologna) BL

Chianti - 1 night

Day 12: Wednesday 11 July, Bologna – Siena – Chianti
  • Siena
  • Castello di Meleto

We will rise early and be taken to Siena, with its unique shell-shaped piazza. Here you will find out the secrets of panforte. You’ll be free to roam Siena for a few hours and we will then make our way to the Chianti – home of the renowned Tuscan wine. We will stay at the Castello di Meleto where we will have wine-tasting, a visit of the castle and grounds, as well as a scrumptious dinner of local produce matched with their fine wines. (Overnight Chianti) BD

Prato - 2 nights

Day 13: Thursday 12 July, Chianti – Prato
  • Leisure time in Prato
  • Museum visit with tastings
  • Walking tour of Prato

From the Chianti we will go to Prato, a little-known city within striking distance of Florence. You will be free during the day but in the late afternoon we will visit a museum with tasting of local wines and mortadella. After dinner, we will come together for a unique urban trek where we will discover the architecture and the bread traditions of Prato. (Overnight Prato) B

Day 14: Friday 13 July, Prato – Florence – Prato
  • Biscottificio Mattei
  • Florence Mercato Centrale
  • Evening Aperitivo

After a quick stop at the Biscottificio Mattei to find out about the biscotti di Prato, we will head to Florence by train. We will meet at the Mercato Centrale to experience the breadth of local culinary traditions. We will come back together in the late afternoon for a local visit followed by an aperitivo, which will include an extensive buffet. (Overnight Prato) B

Rome - 2 nights

Day 15: Saturday 14 July, Prato – Rome
  • Morning coach transfer to Rome
  • Pasticceria Bompiani
  • Aperitivo at Mercato Centrale
  • Night visit to the Colosseum

Arriving in Rome, we will make a visit to the Pasticceria Bompiani to experience food as art. Your day will be free and capped off with an aperitivo at the Mercato Centrale followed by a night visit to the Colosseum. (Overnight Rome) B

Day 16: Sunday 15 July, Rome
  • National Museum of Rome
  • Farewell Dinner at a Local Restaurant

It is fitting that for our final day we will experience the food of ancient Rome in the National Museum of Rome. To round out the subject we will have a final group dinner together in a characteristic venue. (Overnight Rome) BD

Day 17: Monday 16 July, Depart Rome
  • Walk to Termini Station and Terravision bus to Fiumicino Airport
  • Flight CX to Hong Kong departing 1305hrs

(In Transit) B


17 days in Italy & Spain

All hotels are rated 2- star or 3-star locally. Single rooms may be requested – and are subject to availability and payment of the single supplement. Further information on hotels will be provided in the ‘Tour Hotel list’ given to tour members prior to their departure.

  • Madrid (2 nights): 3-star Hotel Ganivet OR 3-star Hotel HRC Madrid – both modern hotels in the centre of Madrid, near the Puerta de Toledo. /
  • Barcelona (2 nights): Hostal Centric – a modern hotel located 400m from Universitat metro station & 10 minutes’ walk from the Rambla.
  • Girona (3 nights): 3-star Hotel Peninsular – located in the heart of Girona’s historical and shopping area.
  • Bologna (4 nights): 3-star Hotel Palace – located in the historic centre of Bologna.
  • Chianti (1 night): Castello di Meleto – charming accommodation in an historic castle
  • Prato (2 nights): 3-star Hotel Giardino – a small family-run hotel in the historic town centre
  • Rome (2 nights): 3-star Hotel Milani Rome – a modern hotel located a short walk from Termini train station.

Notehotels are subject to change, in which case a hotel of similar standard will be provided.

How to book

Applications & Enrolments

To make a reservation on this course, please send Australians Studying Abroad a deposit of $500.00 per person together with a completed & signed ASA Reservation Form. Please note that these charges and deposits are not tuition fees and are travel and tour charges, and do not replace HELP or other normal student fees. ASA is arranging your travel and tour; the University is responsible for all academic matters.

You will be notified shortly afterwards whether you have been selected to participate in the subject.

  • If you have not been selected you will be given the option of having your name put on a waiting list for a possible second round offer.
  • If you have been selected your reservation is subject to the understanding that you will be undertaking this course as originally indicated on your ASA Reservation Form. In the event that you fail to enrol in this subject under the category you have indicated, then ASA reserves the right to cancel your reservation.

In addition to fulfilling ASA’s requirements, all participants must be accepted to enrol in EURO20008 Experiencing Foodscapes: Italy & Spain at the University of Melbourne. Please read the following enrolment options carefully. Application forms and further information are available from the Faculty of Arts.

Email: [email protected]

Gallery Tour Map
Physical Endurance & Practical Information
Physical Rating

The number of flags is a guide to the degree of difficulty of ASA programs relative to each other (not to those of other tour companies). It is neither absolute nor literal. One flag is given to the least taxing tours, seven to the most. Flags are allocated, above all, according to the amount of walking and standing each tour involves. Nevertheless, all ASA tours require that participants have a good degree of fitness enabling 2-3 hours walking or 1-1.5 hours standing still on any given site visit or excursion. Many sites are accessed by climbing slopes or steps and have uneven terrain.

This 17-day subject involves:
  • Stays in 2-star and 3-star hotels throughout and the Castello di Meleto (1 night) in Chianti.
  • an extensive amount of walking and use of public transport
  • porterage is not included; participants MUST be able to carry their own luggage.

It is important to remember that ASA programs are group tours, and slow walkers affect everyone in the group. As the group must move at the speed of the slowest member, the amount of time spent at a site may be reduced if group members cannot maintain a moderate walking pace. ASA programs should not present any problem for active people who can manage day-to-day walking and stair-climbing. However, if you have any doubts about your ability to manage on a program, please ask your ASA travel consultant or Matthew Absalom whether this is a suitable subject for you.

Please note: it is a condition of travel that all participants agree to accept ASA’s/Matthew Absalom’s directions in relation to their suitability to participate in activities undertaken on the program, and that ASA/Matthew Absalom retain the sole discretion to direct a participant to refrain from a particular activity on part of the program. For further information please refer to the ASA Reservation Application Form. It is a condition of travel that students notify Mr Absalom and ASA at the time of applying, of any medical conditions, or treatment for any chronic condition, mental or physical, of any kind, that might in any way affect participation during the tour.

Practical Information

Prior to departure, tour members will receive practical notes which include information on visa requirements, health, photography, weather, clothing and what to pack, custom regulations, bank hours, currency regulations, electrical appliances and food. The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers:

Tour Price & Inclusions

$8290.00 AUD Course price (Multi-share) incl. airfare (15-17 students)

$8090.00 AUD Course price (Multi-share) incl. airfare (18-19 students)

$7990.00 AUD Course price (Multi-share) incl. airfare (20 students)

Course Price includes:
  • Return airfare, economy class with Cathay Pacific Airlines. Note: tickets are valid for 12 months from the date of departure. Please talk to your ASA consultant if you wish to extend your travels in Europe.
  • Flight with Vueling Airlines from Barcelona to Bologna on 7 July 2018
  • Airfare taxes to the value of $533.00 AUD
  • Accommodation in twin-share rooms (breakfast included) in Madrid (30 June – 2 July; 2 nights), Barcelona (2-4 July; 2 nights), Girona (4-7 July; 3 nights); Bologna (7-11 July; 4 nights); Castello di Meleto (11-12 July; 1 night), Prato (12-14 July; 2 nights) & Rome (14-16 July; 2 nights)
  • 30 June 2018: Coach transfer from Madrid Airport to Hotel
  • 2 July 2018: Coach transfer from Hotel to Madrid train station
  • 2 July 2018: Train from Madrid to Barcelona (2nd class ticket)
  • 2-7 July 2018: detailed program in Barcelona and Girona arranged by the University of Melbourne, including coach travel, guides and entrance fees to specified sites
  • 7-12 July 2018: detailed program in Bologna and Chianti arranged by the University of Melbourne, including guides and entrance fees to specified sites
  • 7-14 July 2018: Coach transfers in Italy
  • 4 dinners, 6 lunches, and 2 aperitivi, arranged by the University of Melbourne
  • Return train fares (2nd class) Prato – Florence – Prato
  • Miscellaneous fee of $150.00 per person to cover general entrance fees and public transport
  • Ticket on Terravision Bus from Rome Termini Station to Fiumicino Airport if departing on the group flight on 16 July 2018
Course Price does not include:
  • Lunch or evening meals other than those listed above
  • Personal spending money
  • Luggage in excess of 20kg (44lbs)
  • Porterage
  • Travel insurance
  • Airfare taxes exceeding the value of $533.00 AUD
  • Public transport within cities, and entrance fees to museums and galleries, not specified in the inclusions above
  • Frequent flyer points with Cathay Pacific Airlines
Terms & Conditions

A deposit of $500.00 AUD per person is required to reserve a place on an ASA program.

Confirmation of Your Booking

When we have received your ASA Course Reservation Application Form together with the deposit or full payment for the tour, and assuming there is a place available on the program, we will send you confirmation of your booking and relevant travel details. It is from this moment that a firm contract exists between you and Australians Studying Abroad Pty Ltd (hereafter called ASA) on the basis of this itinerary, together with ASA’s general brochure, and any brochure or itinerary amendments communicated to you, these booking conditions and the travel details sent to you. If a place is not available we will return your payment. ASA does however reserve the right to refuse to accept a booking without necessarily giving a reason.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • $500.00 deposit – non refundable
  • 75-46 days prior 25% of total amount due
  • 45-31 days prior 50% of total amount due
  • 30-15 days prior 75% of total amount due
  • 14-0 days prior 100% of total amount due

We take the day on which you cancel as being that on which we receive written confirmation of cancellation.

Unused Portions of the Program

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the program, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Will the Course Price or Itinerary Change?

If the number of participants on a program is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates or airfare taxes ASA reserves the right to amend the advertised price. We shall, however, do all in our power to maintain the published price. If an ASA program is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all tour monies paid. Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of ASA make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes in due course.

If The University of Melbourne Cancels the Course

In the event the academic program be cancelled as a result of the University of Melbourne, in response to Federal Government travel advice, designating the locations of the program to be unsafe: participants will be charged the cancellation fees as indicated in these booking conditions (refer to the paragraph ‘Cancellation Fees’).

Travel Insurance

ASA requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. A copy of your travel insurance certificate and the reverse charge emergency contact phone number must be received by ASA no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the tour.

Passport Details

All participants must provide no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the program a photocopy of the front page of their current passport.

Final Payment

The balance of the tour price will be due 75 days prior to the tour commencement date.

Limitation of Liability

ASA is not a carrier, event or tourist attraction host, accommodation or dining service provider. All bookings made and tickets or coupons issued by ASA for transport, event, accommodation, dining and the like are issued as an agent for various service providers and are subject to the terms and conditions and limitations of liability imposed by each service provider. ASA is not responsible for their products or services. If a service provider does not deliver the product or service for which you have contracted, your remedy lies with the service provider, not ASA. ASA will not be liable for any claim (eg. sickness, injury, death, damage or loss) arising from any change, delay, detention, breakdown, cancellation, failure, accident, act, omission or negligence of any such service provider however caused (contingencies). You must take out adequate travel insurance against such contingencies. ASA’s liability in respect of any tour will be limited to the refund of amounts received from you less all non-refundable costs and charges and the costs of any substituted event or alternate services provided. The terms and conditions of the relevant service provider from time to time comprise the sole agreement between you and that service provider. ASA reserves the sole discretion to cancel any tour or to modify itineraries in any way it considers appropriate. Tour costs may be revised, subject to unexpected price increases or exchange rate fluctuations.

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