Highlights: Venice, Padua, Lakes Garda, Como & Maggiore
This is my favorite way to explore Italy, with long stays in each hotel, daily excursions to great sights, fantastic foods and passionate people. Set against the foothills of the Alps, Northern Italy offers dramatic scenery and a respite from the summer’s heat. We will travel with our friend and Italian born host, Mariangela. This is not your average, cookie-cutter tour! This Northern Italy trip is more food and wine centric than most but still an in-depth experience which showcases their wonderful life and culture, at a price you won’t find anywhere else. Come see why this is a favorite getaway for the international elite.
– Chuck Cinelli, Owner of Coco’s
Day 1 Overnight Flight – Padua
After arriving in Italy, we take a scenic 45 minute drive to Methis Hotel & Spa, our home for the next three days. This wonderful hotel is beautifully set on the banks of the Naviglio River, just outside Padua’s historic centre, near Galileo’s Specola Observatory. After we freshen up, I will take you to a great spot for an Apertivo, my favorite Italian tradition of cocktails and light sandwiches. We will stroll through Padua’s large piazza and anticipate what the next three days will hold for us.
DAY 2 Padua
Your journey begins in Padua, an ancient city rooted in legend. Set in the picturesque Veneto region, some believe that Padua was founded by war heroes after the fall of Troy. The Bacchiglione River carves its way through the town, resulting in lovely riverside promenades and stone step-bridges. You will love Padua’s arcaded streets and stylish cafes frequented by students. The University of Padua, established in 1222 was host to mathematics professor Galileo from 1592 to 1609. Tonight we dine with fellow travelers, get to know our guide Mariangela a little better while enjoying a taste of Italian culture at our welcome dinner.azza and anticipate what the next three days will hold for us.
DAY 3 Padua – Murano – Venice
Have your cameras charged because, after breakfast, we take a scenic boat ride to Murano Island, known for its intricate glass making. We get a glimpse into the methods behind this fine art and actually watch a fascinating glassblowing demonstration. Next, everything you’ve always seen in postcards comes alive as you make your way to Venice, We meet up with our local expert as they guide us through this amazing floating city. We start with the sprawling St. Mark’s Square and admire the Campanile, a brick bell tower that rises above the piazza. After, we step outside the main square, explore the Castello district, and walk the narrow streets past historic buildings and architecture. This afternoon, we enjoy an afternoon in Venice at leisure. I will guide you to a couple of my favorite lunch spots or perhaps you will opt for a gondola ride through the picture-worthy canals, taking in the city from a different perspective. Tonight, Mariangela and I have a wonderful dinner planned for all of us.
DAY 4 Padua
Have a hearty breakfast as we start the morning by strolling the streets of Padua with our guide. We will marvel at the rich history inside the Basilica of St. Anthony, a stately cathedral built in the 13th century. Engage with locals and feel the dynamic energy as you walk along open-air markets and street vendors setting up shop in the piazzas. Pass by the ornate Palazzo della Ragione, the former meeting place for the town’s council. Feel the history in the air when you see Caffe Pedrocchi, a famous coffee shop frequented by the intellectuals that influenced the Italian Risorgimento of the 19th century. The rest of the day is yours to discover the town however you wish. Perhaps you will choose to go on an exclusive optional tour down the Brenta Canal, enjoying an aperitif on your private boat as you admire the opulent homes on the water’s edge. Later, I will help you choose a restaurant or other activity in this wonderful city.
DAY 5 Padua – Lake Garda – Lake Maggiore
After breakfast we head to Sirmione, an old village situated on the shores of Lake Garda. We embark on a boat ride through the Sirmione peninsula and see the famous sinking castle, a rare example of medieval port fortification. At our leisure we will discover the narrow streets or simply relax alongside the bright blue waves of the lake. There is no better way to end the day than being on stunning Lake Maggiore and toast to the start of your leisurely 4-night stay at Zacchera Hotel, family owned for over 150 years and known internationally for it’s historic elegance.
DAY 6 Lake Maggiore
After breakfast we start the day at leisure and take in the nearby lakeside streets and spend the day where the jet setters of the world vacation. There is an optional tour where we coast along the gracful water of Lake Maggiore by boat for an up-close look at the Borromean Islands before docking at Isola Bella, known as the “beautiful island.” There we will join a local expert and venture into the Borromeo Palace, a seaside Baroque beauty with exotic gardens. Then, return to your boat and cruise by the remaining Borromean Islands. Tonight, Mariangela and I have a glorious dinner planned for us all.
DAY 7 Lake Maggiore
The entire day is yours! How often does that happen on a guided tour? Let me tell you….NEVER. So enjoy the glamorous life in Italian Lake district. Maybe soak up the sun on the beach, relax in an outdoor café, or head out on the waves by boat. We have an optional tour to Lugano, Switzerland, where you can see the lake from the other side of the Italian border.
DAY 8 Lake Maggiore – Lake Como
Indulge in a day of sunshine and scenic peaks at the paradise of Lake Como, nestled against the Alps and a beloved retreat for the rich and famous. There we enjoy a guided cruise of the waters before stopping in Bellagio, the pearl of the lake, an ancient peninsula that fosters winding streets and unparalleled views. Enjoy some free time to discover the city’s secrets on your own now that you are a seasoned traveler or ask me for some recommendations. Later we return to Lake Maggiore and venture to Isola dei Pescatori by boat, enjoying a farewell dinner of local cuisine to celebrate the end of your trip.
DAY 9 Lake Maggiore – Milan
After breakfast we say arriverderci to Italy as our tour comes to a close. Ask Cynthia about extending a couple extra days in Milan, a chic and sophisticated metropolis known for being a hub of high fashion and historic architecture.
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