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NORTHERN ITALY & THE LAKES

Nothern Italy and the Lakes will inescapably grab you with its charm, history and character. From Lago di Garda - the largest lake in Italy, to the picturesque Lago Maggiore. Feel invited!

DAY
1

Milan – Lake Garda – Venice

Arrive at Milan airport and travel east towards Venice and the Veneto region. Make a stop en route close to lake Garda in the beautiful town of Verona, (add comma) home to Shakespeare’s tragic lovers Romeo and Juliet. The play is taken from a true story and we have time to see the actual balcony from where Juliet pronounced those famous lines “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo.?” Verona is home to a stunning Roman amphitheatre and Arena that rank amongst the best examples in the world and where opera and pop concerts are still held in the summer months.

Carry on to the unique and magnificent “floating” city of Venice where you stay tonight.

DAY
2

Venice

Today is for soaking up some of the splendid atmosphere of this beautiful city with a walking tour of the principal sights. There so many things to enjoy in this wonderful city - perhaps take a ride on a waterbus and visit the pretty island of Burano with its painted fishermen’s houses for lunch in one of its particularly lovely fish restaurants.  Or why not join a workshop to create and paint your own Venetian mask or enjoy a ride in one of the city’s famous black gondolas through the canals and backwaters of this unique floating city.

Overnight in Venice.

DAY
3

Foodie tour

Leave Venice this morning and head south toward Bologna and into Tuscany. You pass through the region of Emilia Romagna which is home to some of Italy’s most famous culinary exports - Parmesan cheese, Balsamic vinegar, Parma ham and Bolognese sauce so a stop is made to visit a Parmesan producer to see how this delicious cheese is made and of course to taste it over lunch!  

In the afternoon continue over the undulating Apennine mountains and into glorious Tuscany.

Overnight in Florence.

DAY
4

Florence

After breakfast enjoy a guided tour of the classic sights of Renaissance Florence, Piazza Signoria, the Ponte Vecchio bridge and Dante’s birthplace. In the afternoon perhaps enjoy a masterclass and discover how to make perfume in the company of a professional perfume maker exploring the ingredients and methods for this traditional Florentine profession. Or maybe see Florence in a very different way – on an electric bicycle tour! In the company of a knowledgeable cycling guide spend a couple of hours enjoying some spectacular views of the Florence countryside in the Fiesole hills and of the city in all its glory viewed from Piazzale Michelangelo.  

Overnight in Florence.

DAY
5

Chianti,  Siena & San Gimignano

After breakfast leave for a drive through delightful Tuscan countryside and the winegrowing region of Chianti. Your visits today include both San Gimignano and glorious Siena two of Italy’s most beautiful mediaeval hilltop towns and both are surrounded by the classic Tuscan landscape of rolling hills, olive groves and vineyards.  A walk through the narrow twisting lanes of Siena bring you to probably Italy’s most beautiful square – Piazza del Campo, famous for the Palio horse race run at break-neck speed around its fan-shaped perimeter. San Gimignano is famous as a “mediaeval Manhattan” with its many soaring towers.

Overnight in Florence.

DAY
6

Pisa & the Cinque Terre

After breakfast – leave Florence and head west making a photo-stop to see the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, a true Italian icon, before arriving in La Spezia from where you take the train to visit the beautiful Cinque Terre villages clinging to the cliffs on the Ligurian coast. These inaccessible settlements could once only be reached by mule-track or by boat until the arrival of the railway.  For the fit and adventurous there are many exhilarating walk along the clifftops.

Overnight in the Genoa area.

DAY
7

Milan Designer Shopping  – The Italian Lakes

Leave the wonderful Italian coast today and travel north towards Milan making a stop en route at the Serravalle Designer Shopping outlet. renowned for its excellent range including the Italian classics such as Prada, Versace, Gucci, Missoni, Diesel & Bulgari. We make a panoramic tour of Milan with its stunning Duomo and have some free time here for lunch and perhaps a little more shopping in Italy’s fashion capital.

Overnight on Lake Maggiore.

DAY
8

Lake Maggiore

Your day is spent by boat exploring the gloriously beautiful Borromean islands – including Isola Bella with its wonderfully romantic  palace and gardens and pretty Isola Pescatore (Fisherman’s island) where you take lunch.   In the afternoon perhaps visit the stunning gardens of the Villa Taranto before returning to our hotel.

Overnight on the shores of picturesque Lake Maggiore.

DAY
9

Lake Como

Spend a day with an experienced guide exploring the stunning scenery of Lake Como and Como itself, one of the silk capitals of the world. We visit the city on the lake and take a trip by public boat seeing some of the beautiful villas and gardens for which the lake is so famous – many have been used as glorious settings in films such as Star Wars, James Bond’s Casino Royale and Ocean’s 13. 

Overnight on the shores of Lake Maggiore.

DAY
10

Departure to Milan Airport

Milan airport is only a short transfer away….