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  • Overview
  • Accommodation
  • Itinerary
  • Fares

A journey overview

  • Venice
  • Verona
  • Sirmione
  • Brescia
  • Lake Como
  • Lugano
  • Lake Maggiore
  • Orta San Giulio
  • Milan

17 Days Exploration
  • Departing:
  • 23 May 2024 On Request

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 24 guests will engage in this pursuit of pleasure, hosted by renowned wine expert Michael Trembath.

Journey Map

Tour Manager - Michael Trembath

Tour Doctor - Dr Julie Verran

As Your Tour Manager, Michael Trembath Welcomes You On This Journey

Your Accompanying Tour Doctor For This Journey is Dr Julie Verran

From the historic city of Venice, we transfer to Verona. On arrival, we make ourselves comfortable at the renowned NH Collection Palazzo. 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 Campidoglio Bistrò, 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.

We take the road to Pieropan this morning, for a discovery of its wine cellar and vineyard. There will also be time for a tasting. 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 Enoteca Valpolicella, a short drive then 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.

Today, we depart Verona for Sirmione. 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 Grand Hotel Terme, on the shores of Lake Garda. A local restaurant sets the stage for this evening’s dining experience.

Reaching the northern shores of Lake Garda, our adventure continues as we explore the striking resort town of Riva del Garda during a guided walk. Cobblestone pathways trace the water’s edge before a backdrop of verdant, precipitous cliffs, while the waterfront and the town’s square are graced with many pastel-coloured buildings. For lunch, we dine amid a flourish of red and white décor at AI Volt. 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. Perhaps discover more of the lake’s charms on your own schedule this afternoon or relax back at our hotel. Select from Sirmione’s many quality restaurants for dinner this evening.

Farewell Sirmione this morning, as we head north along the lake to Salò. We savour our final glimpses of the lake during lunch at QbDuePuntoZero Ristorante in Salo, before once more joining the road towards our hotel. Enchanting rooms await us at L’Albereta Relais & Chateau, set amid hillsides dense with vineyards, within the small town of Erbusco.

Brescia’s history is a compelling one. This morning, we discover some of its stories at the Museo di Santa Giulia. We also visit the circular Romanesque cathedral and the Duomo Vecchio during a walking tour. While stopping in at the Mille Miglia Museum, we see how it has honoured the road race of the same name. After pausing for lunch at your choice of venue, return to our stunning resort for an afternoon at leisure. This evening, we retreat to a local restaurant for dinner.

Our time in the country 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. This evening, we dine within one of Bellagio first-rate restaurants.

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. During lunch, we relish Ristorante Crotto dei Platani’s prime position on the edge of Lake Como. 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 make our way to Lake Como’s southern shores, where we find the clifftop village of Brunate. In the nearby city of Como, enjoy lakeside dining at your choice of restaurant. Soak in the aura of Lake Como further as we dine this evening at Ristorante Alle Darsene di Loppia.

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 lakefront Ristorante Lago, in nearby Menaggio, 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. Savour fine Mediterranean cuisine this evening at our hotel’s La Veranda restaurant.

A guided tour of the city this morning further demonstrates the region’s beautiful lakeside settings. Lugano’s delightful squares, colourful buildings, and mountain panoramas are revealed before we choose from its many tempting restaurants. Perhaps take the afternoon to shop or relax on your own schedule before we reconvene for dinner at a local restaurant.

Our time in Switzerland draws to a close and we make our final border crossing back to Italy. Arriving in the lakeside town of Arona, we peruse the stalls of its morning markets. Afterwards, relax along the shores of Lake Maggiore and compare your respective finds, whether clothing, fresh produce, or some handcrafted ceramics. Following our relaxing afternoon, we come together at Ristorante Taverna del Pittore, overlooking Lake Maggiore. We then follow the shores of the lake north, along roads that wind their way through charming villages and past lush hillsides, on our way to Stresa. 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. At Villa Cavalieri, we enjoy a tasting of local winery Colombera & Garella’s varietals. 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 Pettenasco rests on the shores of Lake Orta. It’s here that we come across our luxurious, contemporary hotel, Laqua by the Lake. This evening, we gather for dinner at the lakeside restaurant Ristorante Giardinetto.

This morning, 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 celebrated chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo fuses past and present, serving a range of inspired dishes from our hotel’s restaurant.

Today, we enjoy a relaxed morning 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.