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The Magic of the Lakes and Tuscany

Como, Bellagio, Como, Stresa, Como, Florence, Siena, Montefalco, Orvieto, Rome
12 Days
  • Our in country expert says

    Discover the best of Italy in this 12-day tour – wonderful scenery, sensational food and wine, a thousand years of history and culture plus warm and friendly people!


    Itinerary at a Glance
    Lake Como

    On arrival at Malpensa Airport in Milan, you will be met by your private driver for a scenic drive to Lake Como where you will check into your hotel for the next three nights.

    Lake Como

    After breakfast at your hotel you will do a private driver guided tour of the beautiful town of Como, which has kept much of its ancient Roman street plan, beginning in the lovely Piazza Cavour which is surrounded by quaint cafes and colorful houses.

    In the afternoon, you will travel by boat on a cruise from the town of Como, up the lake past gorgeous villas, to the picturesque town of Bellagio, where you can wander through the peaceful, narrow lanes and covered walkways lined with pastel-colored houses typical of the area.

    Lake Maggiore

    After breakfast, depart the hotel with your private driver to discover the wonderful Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands. Board the cruise and visit the Isola Bella. Tour the sumptuous Borromeo Palace, and its magnificent and massive Italianate gardens.

    You will then cruise to tiny Isola dei Pescatori, once a fisherman’s island and Hemingway’s favorite of the Borromean Islands. You can spend the afternoon exploring the island with its narrow alleyways and romantic churches before returning to Stresa by boat and transfer back to the hotel in Como.


    Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, then transfer to Milan railway station for your 1st class rail journey to Florence. Your driver will meet you at Florence rail station and transfer to your centrally located hotel. You have the afternoon at leisure to relax or, if you choose, to discover Florence on your own.


    Meet your local guide for a walking tour around the stirring sights of Florence including Giotto's Bell Tower, Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise and Brunelleschi's Dome. The tour ends in Signoria Square. In the afternoon, continue with visits to some of the greatest museums in the world, including the Academia Museum (home to Michelangelo’s David) and the Uffizi Gallery. At the end of your day of sightseeing you will be transferred back to your hotel.


    Today you will depart to the southwest, through the heart of Italian wine country, over the rolling hills of Chianti. On your way to Siena, you will visit the medieval village of San Gimignano, which is often described as “the most famous small town in Italy.” This charming medieval hilltop town is noted for its many towers and its breath-taking views of the Tuscan landscape. You will get to sample some “vernaccia”, the town’s famous wine! 

    Arrive in Siena in the afternoon where your guide will meet you for a walking tour of Piazza del Campo, through the narrow streets, and past medieval towers and walls. You will also visit the Baptistery and the Opera museum.


    Continue your journey of discovery of the best of Italy and come to realize why Tuscany is known for its food and wine! You will learn about the finest Chianti Classico Riserva, Italian Super Tuscans, and Brunello di Montalcino wines produced by the world famous Banfi vineyards in Montalcino by the Mariani family. You will then tour the Banfi estate and enjoy wine and lunch at Taverna Banfi in the Castle Poggio alla Mura. After lunch, there will be an opportunity to shop at the Enoteca and visit the Banfi Glass Museum. 

    Later in the afternoon, your tour will include a stop at the 14th Century fortified hill town of Montalcino, homeland of Brunello wine, one of the world's best and most appreciated Italian wines. You will take a leisurely walk around the historic center to see the clock tower at the Palazzo Dei Priori, and the Piazza del Popolo with its characteristic Gothic loggia.


    Today depart to Assisi where you will explore the quaint hilltop birthplace of St. Francis that still retains some of the atmosphere from the early 1200’s. Contained within the huge 13th century Basilica are many of the Saint’s possessions and a series of frescoes depicting his life. 

    You will have the opportunity to stroll the medieval streets of the compact little town and go to the Church of St. Clare to see the Saint’s perfectly preserved skeleton. The founder of the Order of Poor Clares followed the teachings of St. Francis by living a life of poverty and humility. Return to your hotel in Montefalco and have the rest of the day at leisure.


    After breakfast your driver guide will take you to Brizi Olive Oil Mill in Orviedo for a guided visit and tasting before you continue to the restaurant Alla Via di Mezzo for lunch. Visit the cathedral and Orviedo's historic center before continuing the tour south to Rome. Arrive in Rome in the evening and check-in in your centrally located hotel.


    You will be picked up at your hotel after breakfast for a guided tour of the Vatican City. The first visit will be to the Vatican Museums, a group of the most impressive buildings with hundreds of galleries filled with art treasures. You will see awe-inspiring relics and works of art donated throughout centuries as tributes of faith. Included will be The Tapestry Gallery, The Raphael Rooms and The Sistine Chapel, which houses Michaelangelo’s “The Last Judgement”.

    Later, you will enter St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest Church in Christendom - built on the site where St. Peter was martyred. Unsurpassed in beauty, a monument to the long history of the Catholic Church, to which pilgrims come from around the world, St. Peter's is the grandest of the world's churches. Marvel at Pieta and Bernini's amazing bronze canopy.


    After breakfast enjoy a day-long guided city sightseeing tour. In the morning, you will visit the glorious remains of Ancient Rome, birthplace of modern civilization and capital of the Roman Empire and learn how Julius Caesar and many almighty Emperors conquered the ancient known world and thrived in the heart of the Roman Forum.

    You will see the Colosseum where you can discover the grandeur, the glory, and bloody past of this amphitheater. The day continues with visits to the Palatine Hill, the Emperors' Palace, the Capitol, the Senate and much more. In the afternoon you will have a guided tour of “Modern Rome” and will walk in the historic center of the city through the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Montecitorio, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona and perhaps taste the wonderful local gelato (ice cream) at a gelaterie.


    Breakfast at your hotel. Private transfer to Airport.

    Prices are in US$ per person
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