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DAY 1: MILAN > LAKE ORTA > STRESA > COMO
Departure at 8:30 am from Milan to Lake Orta, a small and charming lake situated in the North-eastern side of the region Piedmont. Stop in the beautiful village of Orta San Giulio for a short visit. Then, tour by private boat to reach the island of San Giulio, just in front of the village: it is the pearl of the lake, almost entirely occupied by the Monastery Mater Ecclesiae, famous for studies on antique books. After a short visit, back to Orta and departure by bus to Stresa, on Lake Maggiore, one of the largest Italian ones. Wedged between the foothills, and of clear glacial origin, it is framed in its lower section by the soft hills of the region of Novara, and in the upper section, by high mountain peaks, some of which with perpetual snow. These features make possible an average temperature during all seasons, milder in winter than in the inner areas and cooled down in summer by the breezes that blow on the water’s surface changing its colour. Due to its mild climate, many species of flowers and plants typical to the sub-tropical climate could adapt to the lake areas climate.
Arrival in Stresa, an international tourist resort situated in a central but also panoramic and picturesque position along the lakeside roadway, stands just in front of the ‘Borromee’ islands. Free time for lunch. In the afternoon, a tour of the Pescatori island (Fishermen island) by private boat. The island was named after the main activity which over the centuries has characterized this fishermen town. Although only a few families still maintain the original activity, the identity of the small community appears intact. Tourists are fascinated by its simple houses, the narrow lanes, the stone portals and the attractive underpasses. We will continue to the Bella Island. Return to Stresa. At the end of the visit, departure to Como. Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 2: COMO > BELLAGIO > VARENNA > BERGAMO > BRESCIA
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before setting off on a short visit to Como, a small town with amazing natural panoramas of mountains, Lake Como, and wild alpine valleys. You’ll also see the industrialized Brianzola hill, downtown Como, and the small houses in the village. The lake itself, sometimes called Lario, has long been famous for its y-shape, its three branches intersecting at Bellagio, that you will visit via boat. Separating the lake’s two southern arms with the alps dominating the horizon to the north, Bellagio is home to some of the most charming landscapes in Italy. Spend some time strolling this picturesque village with its small streets, luxury hotels, villas, and gardens, stopping for lunch in one of the many cafés in town (not included).
Back on the boat, you will make your way to Varenna that afternoon, where you will have a panoramic tour before moving on to Bergamo, a truly historic and artistic jewel characterized by its urban structure: the “lower town” (città bassa) is modern and dynamic, while the famous “upper town” (città alta) houses the city’s medieval history. After a short walking tour in the city center, departure to Brescia, where you will check-in at your new hotel for the night. Meals: B
DAY 3: BRESCIA > SIRMIONE > RIVA DEL GARDA > VERONA
Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy, is the next destination. After breakfast at your hotel, you will have a panoramic tour of the lake’s west coast, taking in the splendid natural scenery: brilliant colours, the Dolomites of Brenta, and the gentle slopes of the moraine hills. Enjoy the area’s rich vegetation, including lemon trees, oleanders, magnolias, and bougainvillea that flourish thanks to the Mediterranean climate. So be sure to taste some of the olive oil and wines made locally. Next, you will move on to Sirmione, where you will see the lake Garda and its surroundings at its finest. See the sun shining off of the lake’s blue waters and tree-lined shores, the Sirmione cape, the Castle, and the Catullo’s ruins during a boat tour. Back on land, you will have free time for lunch before departing for Riva del Garda on the north side of the lake, where you will see its Venetian-style historic center. Verona will be your final stop of the day, where you will check in to your hotel for the night. Meals: B
DAY 4: VERONA > MILAN
Fuel up on breakfast at your hotel before setting out to see the famous city of Verona, a work of art in itself. This fascinating crossroad of historical periods and cultures (both classical and Germanic) is a blend of both Nordic and Mediterranean influences that are both ancient and modern. A walk through its narrow streets will allow you to get in touch with Verona’s varied and fascinating past: traces of its splendid Roman origins, its medieval structures, its magnificent renaissance palaces, as well as the impressive fortifications protecting it. The combination of art and history will fascinate you. Spend some time eating lunch (not included) before departing for Milan, where your tour will come to an end. Meals: B