Verona, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Milan and the Italian Lakes
10 Days / 9 Nights
Verona Lake Garda Venice Bologna Florence Siena San Gimigniano Pisa Cinque Terre Milan Lake Maggiore Lake Como
Northern Italy and the Lakes will inescapably grab you with its charm, history and character. From Lago di Garda – the largest lake in Italy, via Verona, Venice, Bologna, Florence and Pisa to Milan and the picturesque Lago Maggiore. Feel invited!
Arrive at Milan airport and travel east towards Venice and the Veneto region with a drive along stunning Lake Garda to the beautiful city of Verona, 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. Overnight Verona/Venice area where you stay tonight.
Morning soaking up some of the splendid atmosphere of the beautiful city of Venice on a walking tour to see the principal sights including the Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, St Marks Square, the Grand Canal and the Rialto. There so many things to enjoy in this wonderful place known as La Serenissima – the Serene. Free time during the afternoon – perhaps take a ride on a waterbus and visit the pretty island of Burano with its painted fishermen’s houses and 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 area.
This morning head south toward Bologna, in 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. 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 Florence area.
After breakfast enjoy a guided tour of the classic sights of Renaissance Florence, including the Duomo, Piazza Signoria, the Ponte Vecchio bridge and Dante’s birthplace. In the afternoon freetime to explore or 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. Alternatively 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 Florentine countryside in the Fiesole hills and of the city in all its glory viewed from Piazzale Michelangelo. Overnight Florence area.
Today sit back and enjoy the beauty on an excursion into the 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 medieval 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 brings 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 “medieval Manhattan” with its many soaring towers. Overnight in Florence.
After breakfast – leave Florence and head west making a photo-stop at the Piazza dei Miracoli 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/Milan area.
Visit the cosmopolitan “capital” of Northern Italy, 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. Enjoy a panoramic tour of Milan with its stunning Duomo with free time here for lunch and perhaps a little more shopping in Italy’s fashion capital. Continue towards the snow capped Alps mountain range en route for the Italian Lakes. Overnight Lake Maggiore area.
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 your hotel. Overnight on the shores of picturesque Lake Maggiore.
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. The day includes 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 andOcean’s 13. Overnight on the shores of Lake Maggiore or Lake Como.
It’s just a short return transfer to Milan airport for your homeward journey.