|8 days and 7 nights|
Italy (Sirmione, Milan, Bergamo, Maggiore Lake, Iseo, Bellagio, Como, Brescia)
Day 1 Lake Maggiore
Arrival in afternoon. Check-in at your hotel, then you are free to soak up the charming atmosphere of the town or enjoy a glace of wine as the sun sinks slowly over the landscape. Dinner and overnight stay in Varese
Day 2 Lake Maggiore: Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori
We will spend a full day exploring the famous Borromean islands. We wiil travel to the charmant town of Stresa for a short cruise to Isola Bella to see the 17th century baroque palace built by Carlo III of the House of Borromeo for his wife Isabella. Surrounded by terraced gardens that were inspired by the ‘Hanging Gardens of Babylon’, the palace was the scene of sumptuous and lavish parties, attended by the cream of European nobility. We then continue to Isola Pescatori, the ‘island of fishermen’, with its narrow cobbled streets and pretty harbour. The island was thought to be first inhabited in the 10th century and there are now approximately 50 residents. Return for dinner and overnight stay in Varese.
Day 3 Lake Lugano: Morcote, Lugano
This morning we will travel to the Lugano Lake in the south of Ticino region. An ever growing number of celebrities, entertainers and successful athletes have residences along the shores of this scenic lake. Our first stop is the small and charming town of Morcote. Once a famous lake port, today Morcote is known for its charming lanes and the gates to the old aristocratic mansions - valuable architectural monuments with lush vegetation. We continue on to the Swiss city of Lugano which is also known as the "Monte Carlo of Switzerland". We will have time to sip an espresso on the Piazza Riforma and to stroll along the fashionable shops on refined Via Nassa offering the best Swiss luxury goods and delicious chocolate. In late afternoon we leave Switzerland and cross back into Italy, driving to Varese for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 4 Lake Como: Como, Bellagio
The Como Lake is said to be Italy’s most beautiful lake, and you’ll understand why it entrances celebrities, aristocrats and jetsetters when you see it for yourself today. We start with the charming town of Como itself, which boasts a picturesque historic centre, enticing shops and attractive lakeside walks, then continue on to Bellagio, one of the prettiest village in all of Italy. Bellagio sits in front of Lake Como with its promenade, stairways and streets from the bottom to the top, lined with shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. Return for dinner and overnight stay in Varese
Day 5 Bergamo, Franciacorta, Lake Iseo: Montisola
Today’s travel to Lake Iseo take you across lush rural landscapes to the ancient Bergamo. Settled in the Alpine foothills, Bergamo is the most striking town in Lombardy. Structured in two levels, the ’lower’ city is more modern and dynamic, whilst the famous ‘upper city’ boasts a stunning historic centre full of medieval and Renaissance buildings centred round the Piazza Vecchia. The cobbled streets are lined with traditional shops displaying a mouth-watering range of delicacies. We will enjoy a guided tour followed by some free time to explore at your own pace. We continue on to Franciacorta, a renowned area area where the most famous sparklig wins are produced. Here we will taste some wine and snacks. In the afternoon we will have a scenic tour to Lake Iseo with a visit to Montisola, the largest lake island in Europe. We continue on to Desenzano del Garda for dinner and overnight.
Day 6 Lake di Garda: Sirmione, Lazise, Bardolino
In the morning we visit Sirmione, a historical town perched on a thin and craggy peninsula jutting four kilometres into the lake and whose beauty has attracted the most famous artists in history. Strolling its cobbled streets we discover the imposing Rocca Scaligera, a beautifully preserved 13th century castle surrounded by the large water-filled moat, and above all, of one of the largest Roman villas in Italy lying at the tip of the promontory: the Grotte di Catullo. The next stop, a short one, is Lazise, where we will admire the medieval walls and the Port with the Old Customs House, then we continue on to Bardolino. This charming Italian town is still maintaining the look and feel of the medieval Europe with the old streets, roadside cafe, villas, olive cloves and vineyards It has beautiful lakefront views, much like any of the other towns on the lake. However, the world-renowned local wines contributed heavily to the establishment of Bardolino as an ideal vacation destination: the Bardolino ‘rosso’ wine is well-known throughout the world. Dinner and overnight stay in Desanzano del Garda.
Day 7 Brescia, Milan
Depart to Brescia, a rich industrial city in the foothills of the Alps. We will see the Tempio Capitolino, old Roman ruins, the last remains of what once was the city’s forum during the Roman Empire built by the emperor Vespasian, and then Santa Giulia’s cloister, an impressive complex of buildings. The next stop is Milan. Panoramic tour of this amazing city which combines art, fashion, style and finance. We will see the Duomo, the Vittorio Emanuele Gallery (called Milan’s lounge), the Scala Opera House and the amazing Castello Sforzesco, once home of the Sforza family, which houses Michelangelo’s last unfinished masterwork, the „Rondanini Pietà”. Then we will admire „The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci in Chiesa Santa Maria delle Grazie. The rest of the day is free to explore what interests you most. You can admire works by Raphael, Bellini and other great Italian masters at the Pinacoteca di Brera; or maybe you want to spend your free time in the shopping area of Via Montenapoleone, where all major Italian stylists have their boutiques. Dinner and overnight in Milan.
Day 8 Milan
Breakfast and departure for return journey. End of our services.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Santa Maria delle Grazie with “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci & Lake Maggiore, Lake Como, Lake Garda, Lake Lugano, Lake Iseo, Milan, Bergamo, Brescia
Accommodation, depending on your option, in good 4* hotels centrally located or 3* not centrally located hotels, double occupancy rooms, as described:
4 night accommodation in hotel in Varese on a half-board basis, drinks not included
2 night accommodation in Desenzano del Garda on a half-board basis, drinks not included
1 night accommodation in hotel in Milan on a half-board basis, drinks excluded
Local English speaking guide in Milan. Other languages are available on request.
Entrance to Santa Maria delle Grazie Church and to the Duomo in Milan
Wine tasting accompanied by snacks in Franciacorta
Lake Iseo & Montisola tour by boat
Cruise to Borromean Islands on Lake Maggiore
Bus GT for the entire tour with arrival and departure from Milan airport, including all expenses (check point and parking fees, board and lodging for driver)