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AN ENCHANTING SUMMER ON ITALIAN LAKES

  • Overview
  • Accommodation
  • Itinerary
  • Fares

A journey overview

  • Milan
  • Verona
  • Riva del Garda
  • Brescia
  • Lake Como
  • Lugano
  • Lake Maggiore
  • Orta San Giulio
  • Milan

17 Days Exploration
  • Departing:
  • 25 May 2023 Sold Out

As spring becomes summer, we savour an extraordinary gourmet journey through northern Italy. The region’s freshest produce is accompanied by the finest local wines. Each destination’s majestic residence is enhanced by its respective lakeside setting. Just 22 guests will engage in this pursuit of pleasure, hosted by renowned wine expert Michael Trembath.

Map
Lake Como
Lake Maggiore Isola Bella

Sojourns on Sun-drenched Shores

Behold the shimmering waters of northern Italy’s famous lakes, lapping at the shores of idyllic harbours and pretty islands. Pastel-coloured houses populate waterfronts along Lake Garda, Como and Maggiore. We also cross into Switzerland for a stay on Lake Lugano.

Orta San Giulio
Gourmet Dining

Gourmet Food Experiences

Savour a Michelin-starred dining experience with matched wines and stunning lake views at I Due Sud. Later in our journey, celebrated chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo serves a range of inspired dishes at the Two Michelin-starred restaurant within Villa Crespi.

Vineyard
Italy Limoncello

A Taste of the Region

Italy’s home-grown grape varieties come to the fore during our journey. Wine cellars and vineyards play host as we meet with the region’s most prominent producers. We also visit the historical home of limoncello at Limone sul Garda.

Gourmet Dining
Michael Trembath

Hosted by Michael Trembath

Our journey through Italy and Switzerland is hosted by Italian wine expert Michael Trembath. With over 25 years’ experience importing Italian wine, Michael has a mastery of the local viticulture, as well as the region’s cuisine.

Lake Como
Lake Como

Italy’s Alluring Lakeside Gardens

Discover the exquisite gardens of Villa Balbianello, on the shores of Lake Como. Immaculate and sweeping lawns are bounded by extensive hedges, while the property’s unparalleled setting is also populated by many towering trees, including planes, oaks and beech.

Itinerary

Arrive in the stylish metropolis of Milan and transfer to Verona by coach. On arrival, we make ourselves comfortable at Verona’s renowned Due Torri Hotel. This evening’s dining takes place at Michelin-starred Il Desco.

This morning, the city of Verona reveals itself during a guided tour. Contemplate Shakespeare’s tragic tale as you stand beneath Juliet’s balcony. From here, we cross the Adige River and take a short stroll to admire the grandeur of Giusti Garden. The residents of Verona are rightly proud of this exquisite garden, whose French-style parterre and labyrinth are bordered by magnificent cypress trees. Following lunch at Trattoria dal Taio, we get ready for today’s main event: our arrival at the city’s ancient Arena. Built in the first century AD, the celebrated amphitheatre now serves as Verona’s opera house. Take a behind-the-scenes look as we wander through the bowels of the great edifice, before getting a close-up view of the stage and beyond. Our dinner this evening is at the distinguished Palazzo Verità Poeta, where we also enjoy a private concert.  

A short drive this morning brings us to Speri Winery. Stylistic integrity and consistency are always front of mind for the Speri family, whose entire range is certified organic, drawing only upon Valpolicella native grapes. After our visit, we travel to the medieval town of Soave; its ancient castle still keeping watch from its strategic hilltop position. Following lunch at Il Drago, we make our way to Pieropan, for a discovery of its wine cellar and vineyard, while ensuring time is also devoted to a small tasting.

Today, we depart Verona for Riva del Garda. Along the way, we stop for lunch at Osteria Alla Torre, a local tavern. With our palates warmed up, our next stop is the alluring Selva Capuzza, a winery established on principles of sustainability, with an equal dedication to the biodiversity of its surrounds. Shortly, we arrive at our grand hotel, the Lido Palace, on the shores of Lake Garda. Our hotel’s restaurant, Il Re della Busa, sets the stage for this evening’s dining experience.

Our adventure continues as we explore the lake resort town of Gargnano sul Garda. A short distance away, also along the banks of Lake Garda, we find Limone sul Garda, the historical home of limoncello. Though the region only produces a fraction of the lemons it did during its heyday, its role in establishing the distinctive liqueur is still celebrated with zest by its locals. The colourful houses along its harbour seem to cling to the shore, at the foot of a sharply rising cliff face. Enjoy lake views over lunch at Trattoria San Martino. Perhaps discover more of the lake’s charms on your own schedule this afternoon or relax back at Lido Palace. Dine amid a flourish of red and white décor tonight at AI Volt.

Farewell Riva del Garda this morning, hugging the shores of the lake as we travel to Salò. Here, we enjoy a guided visit of Il Vittoriale degli Italiani, a collection of buildings, squares, gardens and streams, and complemented by an outdoor theatre, designed and built by the poet Gabriele d’Annunzio, assisted by the architect Giancarlo Maroni. We savour a final glimpse of Lake Garda during lunch at La Locanda del Benaco, before once more joining the road towards our hotel. Enchanting rooms await us at L’Albereta Relais & Chateau, set amid hillsides dense with vineyards.

Brescia’s history is a compelling one. This morning, we discover some of its stories at the Museo di Santa Giulia, and visit the circular Romanesque cathedral, Duomo Vecchio during a walking tour. After lunch at La Vineria, we join Brescia Underground, a fascinating tour of the city’s ‘buried’ rivers. These canals, once the lifeblood of the town, lay in secret for many years. Later, we arrive at the Mille Miglia Museum, which honours the road race Mille Miglia (‘Thousand Miles’). The museum also showcases many vintage vehicles from the 1920s onward. This evening, we retreat to Trattoria G.A. Porteri for dinner.

Our time in the city has found us yearning once more to be lakeside. A gradual westward journey finds us on the shores of Lake d’Iseo. It’s here that we enjoy some time at Ca’ del Bosco winery. The secrets of Italian sparkling wine are revealed during a tasting at this stunning hilltop property. Soon enough, we arrive at Lake Como and our residence Hotel Belvedere. Surrounded by a verdant landscape and soaring mountains, this astonishing setting serves as our home for the next three nights. Enjoy panoramic views of the lake and its surrounds from our position in the hotel’s La Terrazza restaurant this evening.

The region’s joining of art and nature is nowhere more evident than at Villa Carlotta. Crossing the waters of Lake Como this morning, we explore the villa’s vast art collection, acquired over three centuries. The nearby Villa Balbianello was built as a retreat by Cardinal Durini at the end of the 18th century. From the gorgeous yellow edifice of this luxurious dwelling, visitors can follow tree-lined pathways on a winding descent through immaculate lawns, and past majestic topiary, to the shimmering waters of the lake. For lunch, we step ashore on the tiny island of Comacina and make our way to Locanda Isola Comacina. Enjoy the warm summer breeze as we dine upon the restaurant’s lakeview balcony. After once more crossing the lake by boat, we wander the exquisite garden of Villa Melzi, a site that has inspired many writers, artists and poets.

We spend the morning walking the delightful waterfront streets of Como. Boarding a funicular, we gradually ascend to the clifftop village of Brunate. Il Balcone sul Lago makes for a splendid setting in which to enjoy lunch, allowing us a birds-eye perspective over the lake and its surrounds. Soak in the aura of Lake Como as we cross the water again this evening for dinner at Al Veluu. An ambience of utter tranquillity pervades our hilltop setting as we dine alfresco, overlooking the wondrous Lake Como. As our ferry departs, we’re treated to a magnificent show, Tremezzina’s lights dancing upon the lake.

This morning, we set out for a stroll through the peaceful village of Varenna, whose waterfront is populated with an abundance of pastel-coloured houses. A final lunch sees us dine at the water’s edge at the restaurant La Vista, before we bid Italy a brief farewell. Our coach follows a spectacular route along the edge of Lake Lugano, and soon we are crossing into Switzerland, arriving in Lugano. On the banks of the lake, we’re presented with the majestic vision of Hotel Splendid Royale, our home for the next two nights. Our Michelin-starred dining experience, with matched wines, is capped off with sensational lake views from our prime position within the hotel’s restaurant I Due Sud.

We join the road this morning, travelling south to the city of Varese. Our momentary traverse back across the Swiss-Italian border gives us the opportunity to discover Italy’s ‘Garden City’. Blessed with an abundance of parks and gardens, Varese also boasts many impressive villas complemented with well-manicured lawns and hedges. From the shores of Lake Varese, we gaze skyward to Monte Campo dei Fiori, the region’s most notable mountain. Following a lunch of regional specialties, we return to our splendid hotel and take the rest of the afternoon at leisure. The second of our hotel’s renowned restaurants hosts us this evening, affording us the opportunity to enjoy the stunning views, as if for the first time.

Our time in Switzerland draws to a close and we make our final border crossing back to Italy. Arriving in the lakeside resort town of Stresa, we’re immediately struck by the nearby Borromean Islands. Isola Bella, in particular, exhibits a near-mystical appearance, with its terraced gardens, punctuated by an array of statues and sculptures. For lunch, we dine in the charming Lo Stornello restaurant. Our afternoon is free to walk the shores of the beautiful Lake Maggiore or perhaps wander Stresa’s laneways and boutiques. It’s then time to lap up the elegant interiors of the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees, our residence for the next two evenings. We make our entrance to the refined Il Borromeo Restaurant for a gastronomic experience to savour, complete with magnificent views of Lake Maggiore.

This morning, embark a boat for a cruise of the Borromean Islands. Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Madre prove equal in beauty, yet each possesses its own distinct charm. On the sparsely populated Isola dei Pescatori, we dine on the fruits of the sea at La Pescheria. Reaching Isola Madre, we admire its grand 16th-century palace and English-style garden. The striking Teatro Massimo, meanwhile, takes pride of place on Isola Bella. Its intricate arrangement of statues and obelisks makes for an ethereal experience. You may also spy the occasional peacock roaming the grounds here. At the close of another day’s adventure, we take comfort in the traditional home-style cooking at the intimate Il Vicoletto restaurant.

We bid our grand hotel farewell this morning and travel south to Masserano. Here, we discern the flavours of the local grape varieties at Colombera & Garella winery. We continue our exploration of the Alto Piemonte wine region, tasting the finest wines of two of the area’s most renowned producers. Nearby, the town of Orta San Giulio rests on a promontory, jutting into Lake Orta. It’s here that we come across the distinct façade of our hotel, Villa Crespi. Our enchanting and individually decorated suites set the tone for the exceptional experience which transpires during our two-night stay. This evening, we gather for dinner at the lakeside restaurant La Motta.

After a walking tour of Orta San Giulio, we board a ferry for Isola San Giulio. It is said this island was once overrun with snakes and monsters, until St Giulio arrived upon the island and banished them. Today, the island’s population is comprised mostly of the nuns who live at the local convent. We see the Basilica di San Giulio, with its many elaborate frescoes, and wander the island’s maze of narrow alleyways. Back on the mainland, select where you would like to dine for lunch, from among Orta San Giulio’s many fine restaurants. This afternoon is yours to explore or relax as you wish. We dine in style this evening, as Villa Crespi’s luxurious dining room hosts us for our Farewell Dinner. Celebrated chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo fuses past and present, serving a range of inspired dishes from our hotel’s Two Michelin-starred restaurant.

Today, we enjoy a relaxed morning, taking lunch at leisure before transferring to Milan’s Malpensa Airport. Our magnificent gourmet journey concludes as we farewell new-found friends and board our return flight to Milan.

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