Milan and the best of the Italian Lakes - 2022

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Tour Details

Milan and the Best of the Italian Lakes – 2022


This small-group tour (max 12 guests) begins in the vibrant city of Milan. We explore some magical lakes, staying on the famous Lakes Como and Maggiore and visiting the lesser-known but equally beautiful Lakes Orta and Iseo. We also stay in the charming medieval town of Bergamo. With private boat trips, guided tours in many locations, exclusive visits to wineries and producers, meals in carefully selected, authentic restaurants, and long stays in each location, this is the best way to see this wonderful area of Italy.

Milan • Certosa di Pavia • Bergamo • Franciacorta • Lake Iseo • Lake Endine • Bergamo • Lake Maggiore • Verbania • Isola Bella • Lake Orta • Lake Endine • Verbania • Lake Como • Bellagio • Varenna • Como • Villas of Lake Como • Bellagio • Milan 

The tour begins in the vibrant city of Milan, the capital of the Lombardy region and the style capital of the Italian fashion world. In Milan we see some of the major sites; the Duomo, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and some of the less famous sites like Sant’Ambrogio church and the Poldo Pezzoli museum. 

We explore magical lakes, staying on the famous Lakes Como and Maggiore and visiting the lesser-known but equally beautiful Lakes Orta and Iseo. We also stay in the charming medieval town of Bergamo.

We stay in just four bases on this tour with three nights in Milan, three nights in Bergamo, three nights in Verbania on Lake Maggiore and four nights in Bellagio, on Lake Como.

Highlights include
  • Guided walking tour to see the main attractions in Milan 
  • The gem that is the Certosa di Pavia, a monastery still run by an order of silent monks 
  • Medieval Bergamo with its beautiful piazza and interesting boutiques and restaurants 
  • A visit to the award-winning, family-run Al Rocol vineyard in the Franciacorta region to learn about (and try!) this important champagne-style wine
  • Private visits to the Villa Carlotta and Villa Balbianello on the shores of Lake Como 
  • Private tour of Lake Como on luxury boat 
  • Our time spent on the Italian Lakes and, in particular, heavenly Bellagio!
  • The slightly OTT opulence of Isola Bella on Lake Maggiore 
  • Delicious meals, many of them in Slow Food restaurants

Tour Dates

1 – 14 September 2022

Pricing from:

$8190 AUD per person (twin share)
$9290 AUD per person (solo traveller)

The Tour does not include

*Due to technical and/or logistical issues, itineraries can be amended.

**Rates do not include city tax when applicable. City tax will have to be paid directly from clients at the Hotel upon arrival or at check out. We remind you that the city tax may change according to the hotel category.

The tour begins in Milan, where you can check into the hotel during the day to rest up for the excitement ahead or get a head start on the sightseeing and shopping.

We meet in the early evening for aperitivi and the chance to watch the Milanese fashionistas doing la passeggiata (the Italian promenade) before we enjoy a welcome dinner at a local trattoria. Spend overnight in the hotel in Milan.

Dinner Included

Day 2 – Central Milan
We begin our tour in the fashion capital of Italy, but before we start considering Italian designer ‘investment’ pieces, we’ll spend some time acquainting ourselves with the centre of Milan and visiting some of the major attractions.

Our morning walking tour will take us to visit the Duomo, the second largest Gothic church in the world, with its famous facade covered in sculptures. We will walk through one of the most beautiful shopping arcades in the world, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II, and see La Scala, the opera house that is home to some of the most famous operas that have shaped musical history.

In the afternoon we visit the Museo Poldo Pezzoli, a fascinating house-museum showcasing one man’s extensive collection of art and artefacts. Head back to your hotel in Milan for an overnight stay.

Breakfast included

After breakfast we will visit Sant’ Ambrogio, one of the oldest churches in Milan, from whose fortress-like structure the bishops of the early Middle Ages wielded their unrivalled power over the city. Our walking tour also includes stops at San Maurizio, home to one of the most complete Renaissance fresco cycles in Milan.
The afternoon is free time for you to stock up your wardrobe or visit one or two of Milan’s art galleries or museums, whose collections are said to rival those of Florence and Rome. Spend overnight in your hotel in Milan.

Breakfast and Lunch Included

Today we leave Milan for Bergamo, but there is something important to see before head to our new base – The Certosa di Pavia. It is one of the most impressive monasteries in the whole of Italy and was built as a mausoleum for the Visconti family.
In the afternoon we head to our new base in Bergamo  where we will check in to our hotel in the Medieval part of the town, for dinner and an overnight stay.

Breakfast and Dinner Included

We’ll spend our first morning discovering the marvels of this hilltop city. Its gargantuan walls have preserved some stunning Medieval and Renaissance buildings and art and at the same time spared it from being overwhelmed by tourism.

After a guided walking tour in the morning, the afternoon is free for you to relax. The città alta (or high city) where we are staying is the old Medieval part of the city.

Some people might like to walk or get the funicular down to the città bassa to see the more modern city that flourished in the early 1900s. Spend overnight in the hotel in Bergamo.

Breakfast Included

This morning we head out to the Franciacorta region, a little know wine-growing region that produces an excellent wine n the champenoise style. We will visit a family-run cantina, to learn how the wine is made, and of course to taste it!
After lunch we meander along the shores of two of Italy’s lesser known yet equally beautiful lakes, Iseo and Endine.  We’ll follow the stunning lakeside back to Bergamo, stopping for coffee and photo breaks as required. 

Overnight stay in hotel in Bergamo.

Breakfast and Lunch Included

Today we say farewell to Bergamo, and after a late start, take the road towards Lake Maggiore.

We’ll stop on the way for lunch and arrive at our new base in Verbania in time to enjoy “la passegiata” – an evening stroll – along the lake shore. Spend overnight in hotel in Verbania.

Breakfast and Lunch Included

In the 1600s Cardinal Carlo Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan set out to make two islands on Lake Maggiore a floating cornucopia of style and beauty. They are still owned by the Borromeo family and successive members have all contributed to their development over the centuries right up to the 1950s.

Our visit will start with Isola Bella, where we visit the Palace, where even Napoleon was tempted to stay, and the ostentatiously baroque gardens. We visit the Isola dei Pescatori for lunch.

Free-time in the late afternoon, overnight stay and dinner in hotel in Verbania.

Breakfast and Dinner included.

Just a short drive from Lake Maggiore, Lake Orta is one of the smallest and possibly the most charming of Italian lakes.

We will visit the main town on the lake, Orta San Giulio, with its narrow lanes, proud buildings and enchanting promenade that looks out onto the island of San Giulio. We’ll also see its Basilica, one of the most important Romanesque (9th century) style buildings in Piemonte.

After lunch we’ll take a lovely walk with views over the lake to visit the Sacro Monte, the shrine devoted to Saint Francis, before heading back to Lake Maggiore and overnight in our hotel in Verbania.

Breakfast and Lunch Included

After a late start, it’s goodbye Lago Maggiore as we head for our new base on Lake Como, the lovely lakeside jewel of Bellagio. Our route takes us across the border into Switzerland so you’ll have the chance to judge whether the “Swiss” side of the lake is any better!

We’ll arrive in Bellagio in time to check into hotel for an aperitivo and dinner.

Breakfast and Dinner Included

After a fairly long day travelling yesterday, we slow the pace down a little today.

We begin the day in style with a private 2 hour boat tour of the central lake, seeing many of the towns and villas from the best vantage point, the water. The boat tour will finish in the town of Varenna, on the east-shore of the lake.

Lunch in a lake-side restaurant.The afternoon is free time, although for the more active of you there are lots of options: a visit to the Gardens of Villa Melzi in Bellagio, an energetic walk up and over the hill to the hamlet of Pescallo or a ferry ride to the northern parts of the lake. There are lots of options we can help you plan. Spend overnight in the hotel in Bellagio.

Breakfast and Lunch Included

We have a slightly early start today to get the fast ferry service down to Como, a small and aristocratic Mediaeval city, from which the most famous and romantic of the Italian lakes – Lago di Como – takes its name.

We’ll be following in the footsteps of generations of European visitors as we visit Santa Maria Maggiore, the exceptionally beautiful duomo set in a magnificent mediaeval piazza. We’ll explore the city’s cobbled streets, stroll along the elegant lakeside promenade. In the afternoon, you are free to stay on in Como for an afternoon of shopping, or head back to Bellagio to simply relax, spend the night and enjoy one of Italy’s prettiest resort towns. 

Breakfast Included

Today we ride the ferry again, heading across the lake to visit a couple of the most charming of the aristocratic ville that sprung up along Como’s shores across the centuries.  We visit Villa Carlotta, with its spectacular gardens and Villa Balbaniello, recently immortalised as the location of Darth Vader’s marriage in the more recent Star Wars trilogy, but with a longer and very illustrious heritage. From Menaggio we head back to Bellagio for a well-earned dinner in a local trattoria and an overnight stay in our hotel.

Breakfast and Dinner Included

Our tour ends after breakfast today.

Stay for another relaxing morning in Bellagio, or take the group transfer back to the Milan’s Malpensa airport. We are more than happy to help those who wish to stay on in Italy organise the rest of their trip or book a transfer to other destinations.

Breakfast Included

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