- Soak up the sunshine on the shores of Lake Como and hike the mountains surrounding Lake Garda
- Discover the cuisine of Verona during a gastronomic tour, with plenty of tastings along the way
- Explore Venice’s waterways alongside a local guide and learn about its history
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FLIGHT TO MILAN
Catch your two-hour flight from London to Milan, where you’ll collect your hire care and drive to Lake Como, a journey which takes around an hour-and-a-half. Settle into your Lake Como hotel and spend the remainder of the day exploring the area. Sometimes referred to as ‘the jewel of the Italian Alps’, Lake Como embodies the best of the Mediterranean within mountain scenery. Relax and unwind after your travel day with treatments at your hotel spa, before tucking into some traditional Milanese dishes for dinner.
Over the next two days, you’ll have the chance to properly explore Lake Como. First and foremost a stunning natural landscape, the region also plays host to a number of beautiful houses with elaborate gardens. The city of Como is equally charming, with its old centre, where you can enjoy a martini and some people-watching. If you’re particularly interested in the architectural treasures, you can tour one of the palatial villas which overlook the lake. Two of them even appear in the James Bond film Casino Royale: Villa Balbianello in Lenno and Villa La Gaeta in San Siro. Cruising across the lake on the Concordia steamboat, whose paddlewheels have been pushing it across the lake since 1926, is another means of exploring the area. Alternatively you can hike up to the Sacro Monte di Ossuccio, home to fourteen UNESCO World Heritage-listed Baroque chapels. There are also a selection of beaches dotted along the lake, where you can soak up the sunshine and go for a dip.
LAKE COMO - LAKE GARDA
This morning you’ll set off from Lake Como and drive to another of the Italian Lakes, Lake Garda. The journey takes about three hours and you’ll be treated to some lovely views along the way. Upon arrival, settle into your hotel for the next two nights and enjoy some more classic Lombardy cuisine. If you wish, you can explore Lake Garda by hiking one of the many trails that traverse the area, or opt to relax at your hotel with a dip in the pool.
Today you’ll discover more of Lake Garda’s treasures. Make your way to the renowned spa town of Sirmione, south of Lake Garda. The small town boasts some impressive architecture and you’ll explore it during a private walking tour with a local expert guide. Visit the imposing Scaliger fortress and the church of Saint Maria Maggiore, complete with preserved frescoes from the 15th and 16th centuries. Enjoy dinner this evening back at your hotel, or take a recommendation for our local Concierge, who is incredibly well-versed in Italian food and wine.
Calling all foodies (and it would be difficult not to be one in Italy), this is the activity for you. Hop in your hire car this morning and drive to Verona, located one-and-a-half hours from Lake Garda. Famed for being the setting of Shakepeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the city has an ever-present romantic feel to it and boasts a rich cuisine, influenced by Venetian flavours. Explore the city and its medieval old town during a private gastronomical walking tour, alongside an expert guide. The has always provided a bounty of high-quality agricultural products, such as delicate olive oil from Lake Garda and excellent local wines. During the tour you’ll visit the Melegatti Palace, where Pandoro is made (a sweet pastry served at Christmas); the Rossi pastry shop; the market of Piazza Erbe and Piazza dei Signori. There will, of course, be tasting opportunities at every stage.
LAKE GARDA - VENICE
Today you’ll depart from Lake Garda and drive to Venice, which takes just over two hours. Return your hire car at the Santa Lucia Station and transfer by boat taxi to your Venetian hotel. Venice is a truly unique destination and there’s so much to discover along its narrow walkways and winding canals. Best explored on foot or by boat, the city is your oyster this evening; sip on a cocktail at the iconic Harry’s Bar, sample cicchetti (Venetian tapas) at a waterside restaurant or glide along the canal in a gondola as the sun sets.
It’s time to delve deeper into Venice’s history and culture during a walking tour of the city with a private guide. Start at the very beginning by heading to the Grand Canal, before visiting St. Mark's Square, the San Marco Basilica, the Doge's (Duke's) Palace and the Basilica dei Frari. Stop along the way for a coffee and zaletti (Italian cornmeal biscuits) to replenish energy levels, before heading to the Gallerie dell'Accademia, which houses works by Veronese, Canaletto, Tintoretto, Tiziano and Bellini. If you’re a seafood lover, take a stroll around the fish market of Rialto and stop off at a traditional bacari (tavern) for some more cicchetti and wine. End the tour with a gondola ride at Punta della Dogana. As this is your last night in Venice (and Italy), indulging in a plate of risotto al nero di seppia (risotto cooked with cuttlefish ink) – the city’s signature dish – is a must.
Sadly your Northern Italian tour comes to an end today. Enjoy one final hearty breakfast, before being privately transferred to the airport in time to catch your flight home, which takes about two hours.
A la carte
Private tour of Villa del BalbianelloAt the end of the point that rises like a sentry over Lake Como, Villa del Balbianello stands among cypresses and cedars, in an enchanting setting. This 18th century residence exhibits the Asian, African and Pacific art collections of Guido Monzino, a wealthy entrepreneur (1928-1988) and exploration and travel aficionado. The gardens are beautiful and are well worth a visit.
Private Venetian artisans tourThis private walk accompanied by a personal guide takes you to a 'squero', a gondola building workshop, and a mask shop. Squeri are becoming increasingly less common (and, for this reason, more and more valuable) and are places of traditional craftsmanship where artisans dedicate themselves to the renewal and maintenance of the boats. Masks are as emblematic of Venice as the gondolas, and the workshop visited on this tour is a true homage to traditional art.
A Rough Idea of Price
- International flight to Milan, return flight from Venice
- Airline taxes and fuel surcharge
- Private transfers included in the itinerary
- Five-seater car hire for seven days
- Three-night stay in Laglio (Lake Como) in a double room with breakfast included
- Three-night stay in Gardone Riviera (Lake Garda) in a superior double room with breakfast included
- Two-night stay in Venice in a double room with breakfast included
- Sirmione Private Tour
- Private gastronomical walking tour of Verona
- Private tour of Venice, with a private guide
- Our local Concierge service
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