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. By noon we are at the award-winning Alois Lageder winery, where we enjoy a cellar visit, tasting and LUNCH. Later we come to the pretty mountain town of Bolzano/Bozen. Our late-afternoon arrival gives us time to enjoy the gracious squares, arcaded streets and lively boulevards of this traditional capital of Italy's German-speaking Südtirol region, also known by its Italian name, Alto Adige. OVERNIGHT – BOLZANO/BOZEN
• Day 8 (Sunday, September 8)
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/BOZEN
• Day 9 (Monday, September 9)
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 10 (Tuesday, September 10)
The extremely handsome spa resort of Meran/Merano is not far from Bolzano/Bozen. Along the way, we visit the Messner Mountain Museum, founded in a medieval castle by mountaineer Reinhold Messner. Here we learn about the science of mountains and glaciers, the history of mountaineering and rock climbing, and the life of mountain-dwelling people. OVERNIGHT – MERAN/MERANO
• Day 11 (Wednesday, September 11)
Our day in pretty Meran/Merano begins with a stroll along the Passer/Passerio River, then to the arcaded shopping street called Laubengasse/Via dei Porici. Around noon, we travel out of town a few minutes to Braugarten Forst, where Südtirol's favorite beer is brewed and where LUNCH comes with a generous helping of oompa. Late in the day we take a cable car to the charming village of Tirol, high above Meran/ Merano. This village gave its name to the entire Tirol/Tyrol region. OVERNIGHT – MERAN/MERANO
• 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 stop along the Brenta Canal (which links Padova and Venice) to visit Villa Pisani, a sumptuous mansion boasting frescoes by Tiepolo. When completed in 1721, it contained 114 rooms – because it was built for Alvise Pisani, the 114th doge (ruler) of Venice. 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 San Gottardo, Pallanza
Hotel Bellagio, Bellagio
Hotel Figl, Bolzano/Bozen
Hotel Residence Flora, Meran/Merano
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.