The Heart of Friuli

Celebrate the wine, culture & cuisine of northern Italy with Master Sommerlier Bobby Stuckey

June 24 - July 1, 2023

8 Days, 7 Nights from Trieste and Cormons to Venice


Per person, limited to just 12 guests

Contact Us

+1 (503) 487-0363

A hanging branch, a simple twig, a flowery bough—in Friuli it’s called a frasca, and in the last few days, you’ve learned how this age-old symbol for new wine has shaped centuries of winemaking tradition. It’s a story that resonates as your footsteps whisper off the walls of an ancient cellar while you listen to and learn from one of the world’s most innovative winemakers. He recalls the season when the rain puddled around the roots of the vines — creating a distinctive vintage he now beckons you to taste. This is a winemaker who does not see any visitors, ever, and yet here you are, fully immersed in the history, cuisine and wine of this truly unique pocket of Italy — one seldom explored, and never like this.

Along with you is Bobby Stuckey, a master sommelier and cofounder of Colorado’s Frasca Food and Wine, and one of the world’s authorities on wine. Bobby’s muse is Friuli, the little-known province in northern Italy and one of Europe’s most innovative wine regions. This is a deeply personal excursion into the heart of Friuli and Venice alongside one of its preeminent experts, meeting local winemakers, farmers and artisan chefs he’s proud to call friends. This is your exclusive invitation to experience Friuli and Venice through the relationships Bobby has cultivated over years and decades.

Join Bobby on this celebration of Friulian culture and cuisine—and, of course, of wines that rival the best in the world.

The Paragon Experience

Join us in celebrating the beauty of human potential

Intimate Access

Paragon provides unparalleled access and intimacy. Go behind the scenes with Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey and meet winemakers like Enzo Pontoni and Christian Patat, and discover the secrets of Friuli and Venice like no other traveler can.

Force for Good

Paragon supports causes handpicked by our luminaries. On this departure a $20,000 donation is supporting first-generation student scholarships at the School of Hotel & Restaurant Management at Northern Arizona University's W. A. Franke College of Business.

Pinnacle of Craft

This is a singular opportunity to meet, learn and celebrate with passionate winemakers and chefs at the peak of their creativity and craft, providing unparalleled access and intimacy at Michelin-star meals, exclusive tastings and private cellar visits.

Celebrate People & Place

Bobby Stuckey is an award-winning Master Sommelier and co-founder of Frasca Food and Wine. Bobby has visited Friuli more times than bottles in his wine cellar, each visit deepening his bonds with local winemakers, farmers and artisan chefs he’s proud to call friends. Thanks to Bobby’s deep connections, we’ll have profoundly personal access to the beating heart of Friuli at renowned wineries, and at rustic lunches in local homes and exquisite Michelin-star kitchens.

The Giveback

We believe that exploration and discovery are essential elements of the human experience.


Force for Good

It is time to redefine luxury as an experience that serves a higher purpose, one that serves to improve the lives of people and places. It's the reason why we are a Certified B Corp. Because how we travel matters.


Handpicked Causes

Each Paragon experience supports charities handpicked by our Luminaries. We call it the The Paragon Giveback. On this departure a $20,000 donation is directly funding scholarships for first-generation students at Bobby's alma mater, the School of Hotel & Restaurant Management at Northern Arizona University.


People and Planet

Our goal is that the places we visit are protected and flourishing for future generations. It’s why we are a certified Climate Neutral business, and why we support environmental and social-justice nonprofits.

Day by Day

Day 1: Trieste

Benvenuto to Trieste, a cosmopolitan port city with wide boulevards and grand Habsburg architecture – a reflection of Trieste’s history as part of the Austrian Empire, giving it a graceful central European feel, culturally more Balkan and Austrian than Italian. We’ll meet up with Bobby at our hotel, the impeccable Grand Hotel Duchi d’Aosta, on the waterfront in the heart of Trieste’s old city. From there, we set off to explore the city, taking in some of Bobby’s favorite sights followed by a toast with wines selected by Bobby from the surrounding Friuli-Venezia Giulia region.

Dinner tonight is at Trieste’s only two Michelin star restaurant, Harry’s Piccolo, literally in our hotel. It’s an intimate celebration over seven courses of Friuli-Venezia Giulia’s finest ingredients — langoustines and wild sea bream from the Adriatic, produce and cheese sourced daily from local farms. It’s a passion for the freshest ingredients and the finest wine that we’ll encounter over and over again in Friuli. It’s the perfect introduction to the region, and the ideal start to our  journey together.

Day 1: Trieste Highlights

  • Arrivals throughout day
  • Car service from airport to hotel
  • Private dinner at two Michelin star Harry's Piccolo
  • Stay ay Grand Hotel Duchi d'Aosta

Day 2: Trieste

Breathe in the aroma of freshly ground coffee in one of Trieste’s best brew houses, served in a private tasting room with a behind-the-scenes look at perfecting a cup of Italy’s finest caffè.

Next, we’ll point our compass toward Carso, past rows of mature vines painting the hillsides. At Vodopivec Winery we’ll have the rare opportunity to taste Vitovska, an ancient greenish-gold grape; owner Paolo Vodopivec works exclusively with Vitovska in his 15 acres of vineyards. He’s an organic producer and advocate of using buried amphorae as fermentation vessels; nearly all Vodopivec wines spend a minimum of 12 months in subterranean amphorae. Paolo will lead us through the winery and on a private tasting of his varietals, perfected over generations. 

After lunch, we return to Trieste for an exclusive visit to the city’s marquee Castello di Miramare, commissioned by Archduke Maximilian of Hapsburg, and worthy of his name and rank. The 19th-century palace overlooks the Gulf of Trieste in neo-Gothic majesty; we’ll be guided through it by our own art historian.

Day 2: Trieste Highlights

  • Private coffee experience
  • Vodopivec Winery visit & private tasting
  • Castello di Miramare visit with art historian
  • Stay ay Grand Hotel Duchi d'Aosta

Day 3: Cormons

We dedicate our morning to the sea: first, by private boat as we cross the gentle azure waters of Grado lagoon to Isola di Anfora. Then, on this speck of an island barely 200 meters wide, we’ll sit down to lunch at Trattoria ai Ciodi where Cristiano Tognon and family serve the freshest seafood — caught, in many cases, just offshore— in a lovely garden setting.

From Grado, we’ll spend a hour or two exploring the ruins of Aquileia. One of the early Roman Empire’s largest and wealthiest cities, Aquileia was destroyed by Attila in the mid-5th century and still, today, lies mostly unexcavated beneath the fields. An archaeologist leads us through this stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In Cormons, we’ll check in to La Subida and settle in to our private cottages, enveloped by the scents and scenes of the surrounding forest. Dinner tonight is at La Subida’s own Michelin star kitchen, Trattoria al Cacciatore, helmed by Chef Alessandro Gavagna. His menu spins tradition on its head with dishes like tortellini filled with partridge and chocolate, and an elevated version of Friuli’s classic peasant dish toc’ in braide.

Day 3: Cormons Highlights

  • Private cruise to Isola di Anfora
  • Lunch at Trattoria ai Ciodi
  • Aquileia UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Dinner at Michelin star Trattoria al Cacciatore
  • Stay at La Subida

Day 4: Collio

Collio, on the border of Slovenia, is one of Bobby’s most cherished wine regions. The distinct terroir starts with the signature ‘Ponca’ soil: sandstone and marl rich in clay and silts, cooled by Adriatic Sea breezes in summer, and sheltered by the Alps in winter. The resulting white wines of Collio are bold and rich, highly textured — and highly prized.

Ronco del Gnemiz has been one of Friuli-Venezia Giulia’s leading wineries for more than a decade. Here we’ll meet Bobby’s friend and winemaker, Christian Patat, for a personal tour of the hilltop winery, tasting one of the world’s great Sauvignon Blancs and the native red Schioppettino. 

For lunch we meet another friend of Bobby’s, winemaker Andrea Felluga, who opens the door to his family home for a country feast paired with Picolit and Friulano varietals, and refined blends like Terre Alte and Abbazia di Rosazzo, from his Livio Fellugo winery. 

In the evening fourth-generation vintner, Giampaolo Venica, leads us through Venica&Venica’s bucolic rolling vines, tasting as we go. Our private cellar dinner here celebrates the remarkable wines of Collio.

Day 4: Collio Highlights

  • Private visit at Ronco del Gnemiz with winemaker Christian Patat
  • Country lunch with winemaker Andrea Fellugo
  • Venica&Venica tasting and private cellar dinner
  • Stay at La Subida

Day 5: Udine & Slovenia

After breakfast we’re off to Udine, all cobbled streets and painted pastel facades. The drive through the Friulian countryside leads us to a 19th-century farmhouse, Borgo Nonino, for an appreciation in the art of grappa riserva — the traditional digestivo‘s barrel-aged, distinctly elevated form.

In Udine we pay homage to one of Italy’s most renowned artists and arguably the greatest painter and frescoist of the 18th century, Tiepolo, with private access alongside an art historian to his masterpieces hanging in the halls of 16th-century Casa Cavazzini. After a lively osteria lunch, we’ll have the afternoon to explore Udine on our own.

A sunset aperitivo sets a joyful mood as we head for an unforgettable dinner adventure over the border in Slovenia. At two Michelin star Hiša Franko, Chef Ana Roš doesn’t adhere to any particular culinary style. She’s a self-taught chef with a simple philosophy: follow nature, take what the seasons offer, don’t be afraid to take risks.

Day 5: Udine & Slovenia Highlights

  • Borgo Nonino grappa cellars
  • Casa Cavazzini art walk with historian
  • Dinner at two Michelin star Hiša Franko
  • Stay at La Subida

Day 6: Sauris & Venice

We lift off this morning in private helicopters, gliding smoothly over the jagged peaks of the Friulian Dolomites. Our destination is the village of Sauris, nestled in a valley dense with fir and beech trees. Here, for three generations, the Petris family has crafted prosciutto di Sauris, lightly smoked fiocco and soppressa, pancetta and salsiccia. We’ll have a behind-the-scenes look and sample some of Italy’s finest cured meats.

Among Friuli’s formaggio, Montasio DOP, made exclusively from cow’s milk, is highly prized. We’ll meet local cheesemakers and journey with them up to a malghe (mountain hut) where cows graze under the cool breezes sweeping down from the peaks.

For lunch we are hosted by the Schneider family, friends of Bobby’s and owners of Alla Pace. This Michelin-recommended kitchen occupies a noble mountain villa that’s been in the family since 1804. We’ll sit down for a true Alpine feast: smoked ricotta, freshly foraged mushrooms, pitina slowly smoked with pine embers.

From here, it’s on to Venice. We’ll drift down the mountain through pristine wine country and watch in awe as the pastoral landscape gradually gives way to one of the most enchanting cities in the world.

We’ll join Bobby for a sunset aperitivo at the Aman, and then take the evening to explore Venice on our own. 

Day 6: Sauris & Venice Highlights

  • Private helicopter flight to Sauris
  • Prosciutto & cheese tastings
  • Country lunch at Alla Pace
  • Transfer to Venice
  • Stay at Aman Venice

Day 7: Venice

Yesterday, we began with a helicopter. Today, we go by boat.Few places are as mesmerizing, intoxicating as Venice. There’s beauty everywhere in this city of winding waterways and grand architecture in garish reds, muted yellows, and bright blues. 

We’ll join Bobby on a personal exploration of his favorite spots, tucked along the canals and hidden in quiet courtyards, stopping for a brief visit to the garden and vineyard at San Francesco della Vigna. Then it’s back to the water as we sail past the iconic Venitian Aresenal to accept our private invitation to enjoy an apertif at one of Venice’s most stunning renaissance-era palaces.

The afternoon is yours to enjoy our hotel — the Aman Venice is an oasis of tranquility, in a 16th-century palazzo overlooking a serene garden terrace and the Grand Canal — or dive deeper into Venice.

We’ll reconvene with Bobby for a spectacular celebration of our time together: a private dinner in one of the Aman’s ‘hidden’ salons, impressively frescoed and lit by grand chandeliers with outstanding views. Dinner is a multi-course feast for the senses crafted by legendary Chef Norbert Niederkofler of three Michelin star St Hubertus in San Cassiano. It’s our last night, so of course we’ll celebrate with the finest wines and toast Bobby, each other, and this incredible journey.

Day 7: Venice Highlights

  • Transfer to Venice
  • Venice city tour
  • Private farewell dinner at the Aman
  • Stay at Aman Venice

Day 8: Departures

Alas, our journey together has come to an end. After breakfast we’ll say farewell to Bobby, and transfer to Venice Marco Polo airport to meet your departing flight. 

During our eight days in Italy, we’ve been welcomed into the homes, vineyards and cellars of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, alongside Bobby and experiencing this unparalleled wine region in ways no other travelers can. We hope as you go forward in life, that this truly special experience stays with you, a reminder of the essential truth that often gets lost in the shuffle—that the world is a beautiful place and that we humans are, indeed, limitless, and full of hope, joy, audacity and light. Until next time!

Day 8: Departures Highlights

  • Breakfast & farewells
  • Private transfers to Venice's airport

Where We Sleep

Our boutique luxury hotels mix elegant character and timeless charm with the rich history of Friuli and Venice.

Grand Hotel Duchi d’Aosta


The grand dame of Trieste, this luxury hotel has welcomed royalty since the late 1800s. It's in the heart of the city, on Trieste's famed Piazza Unità d’Italia, with incredible sea views from rooms adorned with rich, bold colors and all the modern comforts you'd expect. Harry’s Piccolo, Trieste’s premiere fine-dining restaurant, occupies most of the ground floor.

La Subida


La Subida has been in the hands of the renowned Sirk family since it was opened by Josko Sirk and his wife, Loredana, in 1960. Originally run as a small osteria and inn, the estate has grown with the family (who still lives on the wooded grounds). Each of La Subida's private guesthouses is unique, mixing modern design with elevated rustic charm. The property hosts the highly acclaimed Michelin-star restaurant, Trattoria Al Cacciatore.

Aman Venice


Venice's most iconic luxury property is this grand 16th-century palazzo overlooking the Grand Canal. Renaissance tapestries, trompe-l’oeil staircases, original frescoes by Tiepolo — art is everywhere, with 24 impeccable rooms and two precious modern treasures: private outdoor gardens on the canal. Up on the rooftop terrace you may bump into the young aristocratic owners, Count Giberto and Countess Bianca, who still live in the palazzo with their family in a private apartment.

Bobby Stuckey Friuli & Venice


Per person
Based on double occupancy

Essential Info

For questions or to speak with a Paragon travel concierge, please call or text +1 (503) 487-0363 or email

  1. What does the price include?

    Seven nights at unique, exclusive four- and five-star accommodations including some of northern Italy’s top properties; exclusive VIP access and tastings; private travel and transportation from beginning to end; airport transfers; all entrance fees; daily breakfasts, most lunches and dinners including Michelin-star dining at some of the region’s most iconic kitchens.

  2. What does the price not include?

    International roundtrip airfare to Italy; travel insurance; activities not included in the Itinerary; hotel incidentals including room service, laundry service and hotel bar tabs; food and beverages not included in itinerary; gratuity for our Paragon tour leader.

  3. Who is going on this trip?

    This exclusive Paragon experience is limited to 12 guests, plus Bobby Stuckey and our Paragon team.  You can expect to be joined by a diverse group in terms of age, background and interests—including solo travelers, couples and friends traveling together. This adventure is for travelers age 18 and above.