The favourite summer retreat for the who's who of Italy for centuries provides an enchanting backdrop for your first day in Italy. Airport transfers will be provided at set times from Milan Malpensa Airport to your hotel in the charming resort of Baveno on the shores of Lake Maggiore. Enjoy a Welcome Reception this evening to meet your fellow travel companions and Travel Director before embarking on your At Leisure jaunt.
Journey through Italy's exquisite Lake District to scenic Lake Como. Walk through the beautiful Como waterfront or relax alongside the lake indulging in a tasty gelato. Then it's time to ease into la dolce vita, ambling along the glamorous Baveno Marina - the gentle sounds of this lakeside setting are a soulful way to enjoy your afternoon. Spend free time exploring Baveno with its Romanesque bell tower and octagonal baptistery.
The enchanting lanes of Bergamo, near the foothills of the Alps, yield architectural and artistic treasures which we will have an opportunity to explore this morning. Wander past centuries-old Renaissance façades and into the exquisite Piazza Vecchia built on the site of an ancient Roman Forum. See the ornate Contarini Fountain and 12th-century Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica. We continue our love affair with the Italian Lakes, travelling to Lake Garda for a relaxing five-night stay. This evening, we 'Connect With Locals' over a Be My Guest dinner featuring local fare.
Romance in the air, we journey to Verona engaging in the tragic tale of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers at Juliet's Balcony. Our walking tour with a Local Specialist will also take us past the Roman Arena, still in use today, followed by some free time to explore the city alone. See the seven medieval towers of Castelvecchio, relax under the shady trees in Verona's expansive Piazza Bra or clamber up Lamberti's Tower for magnificent views.
We embark on a full-day excursion today to the ancient walled town of Marostica, most renowned for its living chess event held every second year, although the gigantic chessboard is visible in the Piazza Castello all year round. We enjoy a leisurely exploration of the city's iconic sights, including its old city walls, Castles and Romanesque bell tower. We venture to the banks of the River Brenta for an unhurried visit to Bassano del Grappa, celebrated for its white brandy (Grappa) and magnificent scenery. This evening we return to Lake Garda.
Indulge in a full day at leisure to soak up the picture-perfect setting of Italy's largest lake. Journey along its tranquil shores, stopping at lakeside villages to savour the intoxicating aroma of lemons around every turn. Enjoy the flavours of delicious local olive oils and cheese at local markets, stroll along flower-lined lakeside paths or visit the lake's extraordinary sights, including the 13th-century Scaliger Castle, Grottoes of Catullus or the 5th-century wooden statue of St. Peter near Bogliaco. Perhaps join an Optional Experience to visit the magnificent Dolomite mountain range, a World Heritage Site comprising 18 peaks over 3,000 metres high.
Sparkling Lambrusco, salty prosciutto and the intense aromas of parmigiano await in the gastronomic hub of Modena, which we explore today in the company of a Local Specialist. Wander past pastel-hued façades in Modena's Old Town into the magnificent Piazza Grande which, along with its 12th-century cathedral and Torre Civica, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sample the intoxicating flavours, including their world famous balsamic vinegar, of a city that was the birthplace of Ferrari and Pavarotti, home to Michelin Star restaurants and tortellini. Our gourmet interlude nearing its an end, we take a short drive to the Ferrari Museum where we'll 'Dive Into Culture' and explore the history of this Italian icon founded by Enzo Ferrari. This evening, we enjoy a leisurely dinner at our hotel.
In search of spires that reach the sky, we leave our tranquil lakeside setting behind for the chic northern capital of Milan. Admire the extraordinary Gothic Duomo, ornate La Scala Opera House and 19th-century Galleria with its impressive glass and iron-domed roof. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure to jostle with the ambitious Milanese for your spot on the runways of Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga and Via Sant'Andrea. This evening we indulge in a Farewell Dinner, joining our fellow travellers to celebrate the end of an exquisite holiday together.
Our leisurely jaunt through the Italian Lakes has come to an end. We say arrivederci to Italy and your companions. Airport transfers are available. Conditions apply.