Detailed Itinerary (or download a PDF copy here)
• Day 1 (Sunday, September 1)
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, September 2)
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, September 3)
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, September 4)
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, September 5)
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, September 6)
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, September 7)
It's time to leave Lake Como and head into the Alps. By mid-morning we are at the astonishingly beautiful Pallazo Salis, a 17th-century palace of opulent, frescoed rooms, as well as an award-winng winery. After a visit we enjoy LUNCH, then continue to the remarkable mountain village of Bormio. Here, stroll through the charming, arcaded streets, breathing the clean mountain air of this thriving resort. OVERNIGHT – BORMIO
• Day 8 (Sunday, September 8)
We take a break from our travels, spending all day in or near delightful Bormio. Options include soaking in Bormio's hot springs, exploited since Roman times, or taking a spa treatment; and the Civic Museum, tracing Bormio's past from medieval times to World War I. A simple stroll around town reveals medieval frescoes, ancient carved wooden doors and rustic fountains, all surrounded by steep Alps. In the afternoon, we'll make an optional day trip to a nearby village, hidden in the hills. OVERNIGHT – BORMIO
• Day 9 (Monday, September 9)
We climb to the lofty Stelvio Pass, at 9,045 feet above sea level the second highest road pass in the Alps, then descend to pretty, walled Glurns/Glorenza before pushing on to Braugarten Forst, where LUNCH comes with a generous helping of oompa. Late in the day, following a break in Meran/Merano, with its Passer/ Passerio River promenade and arcaded shopping streets, we arrive in Bolzano/Bozen, the traditional capital of Italy's German-speaking Südtirol region (in Italian, Alto Adige). OVERNIGHT – BOLZANO/BOZEN
• Day 10 (Tuesday, September 10)
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). DINNER and OVERNIGHT – BOLZANO/BOZEN
• Day 11 (Wednesday, September 11)
Today we get to know the town that Italy calls Bolzano and German-speaking locals call Bozen. Here we visit 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 frozen, mummified body from about 3,300 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/BOZEN
• Day 12 (Thursday, September 12)
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 visit the sumptuous Basilica of St. Anthony, ful of masterful artworks. This domed church from the 13th century houses the tomb of the saint and is a major pilgrimage destination. OVERNIGHT – VENICE AIRPORT
• Getaway day (Friday, September 13)
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 Aquadolce, Pallanza
Hotel Bellagio, Bellagio
Hotel San Lorenzo, Meran/Merano
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 $4,295 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.