Detailed Itinerary (or download a PDF copy here)• Day 1 (Sunday, May 13)
Our tour group gathers at our hotel near Malpensa Airport, Milano. From here we make the short drive to Lake Orta and the charming village of Orta San Giulio. Then it's on to the first of our three major Italian lakes – Lake Maggiore – and three nights in flower-filled Pallanza. After a get-acquainted stroll through the streets, we have a WELCOME APERITIF, followed by DINNER. OVERNIGHT – PALLANZA
• Day 2 (Monday, May 14)
After a morning orientation to Northern Italy and to our tour, we get out to see it in person! Today we explore this area's star attraction – the lovely Borromean Islands, just a short boat ride from Pallanza. Here, where Hemingway set A Farewell to Arms, we visit Isola Bella, with its Borromeo Palazzo, as well as the splendid botanical gardens on Isola Madre. LUNCH on Fishermen's Island. OVERNIGHT – PALLANZA
• Day 3 (Tuesday, May 15)
Our first stop today is just outside Pallanza: the abundant gardens of the Villa Taranto. Then it's on to the bustling lakeside town of Verbania for strolling and lunch. In the afternoon, we explore the old streets of the enchanting lakeside village of Cannaro Riviera before returning to Pallanza. OVERNIGHT – PALLANZA
• Day 4 (Wednesday, May 16)
Our route today takes us to our second major lake, Como, via its namesake main town. We visit Como's picturesque old town and have lunch before moving on to the lake's most beautiful village, Bellagio. Arriving in late afternoon, we check into our central hotel and enjoy free time. If you wish, walk to the in-town gardens of Villa Melzi. In the evening, we have DINNER at a fine restaurant. OVERNIGHT – BELLAGIO
• Day 5 (Thursday, May 17)
Bellagio, a world-class lakeside resort, is considered one of the prettiest spots in Italy. We get to know it well, exploring its stair-step streets and visiting the gardens of Villa Serbelloni. After LUNCH, we have free time in Bellagio; or come along on a 20-minute stroll to the tiny fishing village of Pescallo. OVERNIGHT – BELLAGIO
• Day 6 (Friday, May 18)
By lake steamer today we arrive on the western shore of the lake for a look at Como's most famed palace, Villa Carlotta, with magnificent gardens. Around noon, via another steamer, we come to the attractive village of Varenna, perched on a lakeside promontory. Here too we find gardens to visit. At day's end we return to Bellagio. OVERNIGHT – BELLAGIO
• Day 7 (Saturday, May 19)
It's time to leave Lake Como. By late morning we are in the imposing fortified town of Bergamo for lunch and sightseeing. Then we arrive on the west shore of our fourth lake, Lago di Garda, with extensive views across the water to the soaring peaks of Italy's Eastern Alps. Late in the day, we'll explore pretty Riva del Garda on foot and enjoy DINNER in the old town. OVERNIGHT – RIVA DEL GARDA
• Day 8 (Sunday, May 20)
Today we get to know Lake Garda by lake steamer. Garda's narrow northern reaches, squeezed by steep mountains, are considered the most beautiful part of the lake. Our day pass allows us to cruise to delightful Limone sul Garda, without a doubt the upper lake's prettiest village. After LUNCH here we reboard the steamer to visit lively Malcesine, on the eastern shore, sheltered at the base of Monte Baldo. We return to Riva late in the day. OVERNIGHT – RIVA DEL GARDA
• Day 9 (Monday, May 21)
Leaving Riva, we head north to the important town of Trento, and visit its majestic cathedral. Trento was the site in 1563 of the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church's answer the reformation promulgated by Martin Luther and others. A bit farther north we come to wine country, and enjoy a cellar visit, tasting and LUNCH at the award-winning Alois Lageder winery. Finally, we come to the pretty mountain town of Bolzano. OVERNIGHT – BOLZANO
• Day 10 (Tuesday, May 22)
Italy's mighty Dolomite Alps, little known to Americans, are very steep, their rock a lovely, light color. Today we get to know their valleys, peaks, forests and charming villages of steep-roofed houses, looking very Austrian. There's a reason – this German-speaking area of Italy was part of the Austrian Empire until 1918. Today's sightseeing takes us past the resorts of Canazei and St. Ulrich, the deep Val d'Ega gorge, and the highest Dolomite, Marmolada (10,964 feet). OVERNIGHT – BOLZANO
• Day 11 (Wednesday, May 23)
Today we get to know town that Italy calls Bolzano and German-speaking locals call Bozen. Here we the renowned Südtiroler Archäologiemuseum, covering the history and archaeology of the southern Alpine region. It is best known as the home of Ötzi the Iceman, whose mummified body from about 3300 BC was found in the Alps in 1991. With the body were found an extensive kit – complex fire lighting equipment, a quiver loaded with 12 arrows, clothing and a flint knife complete with sheath. LUNCH today. OVERNIGHT – BOLZANO
• Day 12 (Thursday, May 24)
On our last day, we first come to the university town of Padova (Padua), home of a magnificent cycle of 39 frescoes by Giotto dating from 1305 – a masterpiece of Western art. Later we stop along the Brenta Canal (which links Padova and Venice) to visit a palace designed in 1721 by Andrea Palladio, the best-known Italian architect of his day. It's Villa Pisani, a sumptuous mansion boasting frescoes by Tiepolo. OVERNIGHT – VENICE AIRPORT
• Getaway day (Friday, May 25)
You will depart Venice airport for your trip home, or remain in Venice for independent exploration – ask Intimate France for advice.
IMPORTANT — THIS TOUR DOES NOT VISIT VENICE. WE WILL HELP YOU PLAN AN INDEPENDENT VISIT TO THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY.
MEALS Tour includes breakfast every day, as well as eight other meals (lunches and dinners), as indicated in BOLD CAPS on the itinerary.
Hotel San Gottardo, Pallanza
Hotel Bellagio, Bellagio
Hotel Europa, Riva del Garda
Hotel Figl, Bolzano/Bozen
Hotel Antony, Venice airport
HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS listed are subject to availability.
ITINERARY Details of this preliminary itinerary could change. A final itinerary will be issued closer to trip departure.
SIGHTSEEING All sightseeing listed in itinerary is included as part of the tour.
* TOUR PRICE of $3,995 per person is an estimate as any significant decline in the value of the U.S. dollar vs. the euro may result in imposition of a currency surcharge. Ask us for details.
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