Highlights of Northern Italy Vacation

A 10 day trip to Italy 
4.866665
4.87 out of 5 stars
15 reviews

Journey from the gently rolling hills of Piedmont to the deep-blue lagoon waters of Venice on this exclusive tour through Northern Italy. Sample delectable red wines at a local vineyard, cruise along the glistening waters of Lake Como, savor traditional, mouth-watering cuisine while dining al fresco in the late afternoon sun, and get lost in the winding streets of Venice. Here, every new twist and turn of the cobblestones is full of surprises. From the towering splendor of the Alps to the ringing church bells of quaint villages, this luxurious, 10-day adventure is sure to captivate anyone who wants to experience la dolce vita.

Customize This Trip For Me
Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Turin, Alba, Piedmont, Milan, Varenna, Verona, Venice, Murano, Burano

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Turin - Arrive in Turin for a Half Day’s Walking Tour

Your flight will arrive at Turin-Caselle Airport, where your private driver will meet you and chauffeur you to your luxurious accommodation in the heart of Torino, Turin. Set against the backdrop of the snow-capped Alps and nestled alongside the River Po, this elegant city in Italy’s Northwest region boasts many important claims to Italian culture. Turin was the first capital of Italy from 1861-1865 although many of its stately palaces and impressive piazzas date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Today, it is best-known for producing some of the finest chocolate and automobiles the world has to offer.

You will arrive at your deluxe hotel, and once you have had sufficient time to check-in, your guide will meet you in the lobby and escort you on a guided, half day’s walking tour of this notable city. You will visit the iconic Mole Antonelliana, which is the prominent landmark with a 120m dome and spire that welcomes all to the city of Turin. It is also the tallest building in all of Italy. Here, you can ride the crystal elevator to the rooftop, where you can enjoy the best view in all of Turin with views the Alps, the plains, and the charming city. In addition, you will witness the Palazzo Madama, which is the former palace of the 17th-century, Savoy Queen Madama Maria Cristina and has since been turned into a museum, and the Palazzo Reale or Royal Palace is a grand, Baroque building of brick, stone, and marble that showcases the city’s royal history. You will culminate your evening walk by visiting the most intriguing site in all of Turin: the Duomo di San Giovani. Considered by millions of Catholics to be the burial place of Jesus Christ, you will view the four-foot shroud that many believe to be the sheet of linen that Jesus was buried.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation, tour

Day 2: Alba - Roam through the Piedmont Region on a Chauffeured Wine Tour

The rolling green hills of Piedmont sit quietly under the majestic Italian Alps. Vineyards that produce some of the world’s most delicious wines, such as Barolo and Barbaresco, will be right at your doorstep. Imposing mid-evil castles rise from small, red-roofed villages that dot the horizon. Today, you will traverse the winding valleys and hills of this region on your private wine tour, visiting boutique wineries and sipping fresh wine that the soil beneath your feet produced. The local Sommeliers will gladly introduce you to the bold reds and sweet white wines that will tickle your taste buds with delight before teaching you about the varieties of grapes that are grown in the Piedmont region. You will also discover how these wines are perfectly paired at Italian dinner tables to complement the rustic fare that characterizes the incomparable gastronomy of Italy.

Once your tasty and relaxing tour is complete, you will enjoy a quiet afternoon and evening of exploring the centro storico of picturesque Alba. Perched high on a hill that overlooks the sunshine-drenched Langhe Valley, this town is known for being the inventor of Nutella and is the headquarters of the chocolate company Ferrero. You will begin your stroll at Piazzo Michele Ferrero, and you will encounter numerous restaurants that entice you with their invigorating aromas. Quaint enotecas and cafes with colorful umbrellas line the cobblestone streets and showcase the region’s most appetizing delicacies, including Abla’s renowned egg pasta tagliolini.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodations, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Alba - Truffle Hunting in Piedmont

While being unearthed from the ground, a truffle is unremarkable to observe. Despite the outward appearances of this fungus, a truffle is an extremely valued commodity all throughout the culinary world. You will be provided with the opportunity to partake in this unique treasure hunt with your own truffle seeker and their specialized truffle hunting dogs that are known as tabuis. With your experienced guide, you will venture through the dense woods and enjoy the crisp air while watching the eager dogs as they comb through the forest, looking for the region’s edible gold. Your guide will educate you on the background of the truffle, how it is found, what it is used for throughout the world, the specific methods of collection, and how the dogs are specially trained to seek out this rare delicacy. Once a tabui catches the scent of the hidden truffle, he will begin pawing and digging at the ground while the trifulau grabs his shovel and digs out the truffle. An intoxicating aroma will burst from the ground where the truffle was found, and elated cheers can be heard in the midst of the quiet forest. All of these will be signs that your treasure has been found.

After your fill of truffle hunting, you will sample local wines that are specifically matched with delicious traditional foods of Piedmont such as bagna cauda, which is a warm sauce of olive oil, garlic, and anchovies paste. Other dishes that will be available include agnolotti, which is egg pasta that is stuffed with roasted meat, and risotto al Barolo and brasato al Barolo. Your private transfer will then return you to Alba so you can enjoy the rest of your afternoon at your leisure.   

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Milan - Explore the Fashion Capital and View the Infamous Duomo

The countryside of Piedmont will fade in your rearview mirror, and you will soon be arriving in the bustling city of Milano. Here, Fiats zip through the narrow streets, men in Gucci suits walk quickly down the sidewalks as they indulge in a cone of gelato, and women in heels navigate the precarious cobblestone divots with graceful ease. You have arrived in the fashionable, beautiful, and industrious city of Milan.

Prada, Armani, and Versace all proudly call Milan home in addition to the car manufacturer, Alfa Romeo. If you are interested in the highest end fashion, then your tour guide will lead you to the quadrilatero d’oro, which is otherwise known as the golden quad. Haute couture is displayed in every window in this corner of Milan, and you can stroll down the Via Monte Napoleone if you are looking for inspiration for a new style. The newest trends can be seen in all of the fashion designers’ glamourous boutiques from high-end names that are known throughout the world to independent designers that are still waiting to be discovered.

You can meander through the glorious four-story Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. This major landmark of Milan was opened in 1877 and is the country’s oldest active shopping mall. Light pours in through the large glass vaulted ceilings, and the marble floors lead you past immaculate storefronts. Here, the rich scent of unique Italian leather will tickle your nose. The Galleria, being a sight to see in and of itself, will surely not disappoint you when it comes to finding immaculate fashion either. You can allow yourself to be enchanted with Italian and international labels alike, including Luis Vuitton and Borsolino. If you need to rest your weary shopping feet, then you can take a break at a coffee bar or stop for an aperitif at one of the many cafes that dot the promenade. When you are fully rested, you can follow the promenade out of the galleria to visit one of the most striking cathedrals in all of Italy: the Duomo di Milano.

As you walk down the crowded streets through the shopping district, a large gothic building will loom in front of you. The mid-afternoon sun casts long shadows over the shops, and the closer you get to the structure, the more mesmerized you will become. Milan’s Duomo is nothing short of completely spectacular: it took nearly 500 years to complete and is currently the fifth largest church in the world with over 3,500 statues that decorate the exterior of the building. As you enter inside, the noise of the outside world will come to a complete halt, and a respectful hush will settle within the halls. Deep-hued light will seep in through the dozens of huge, stained-glass windows, and the 52 towering pillars continue to hold up the giant five naves. If you want an amazing view, you can make the climb or take an elevator, to the top of the Duomo, and on a clear day, you can clearly see the Alps.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Varenna - Wander through Quaint Villages in Lake Como

After a relaxing morning of sipping espresso and eating Italian pastries, it will be time to leave the busy city of Milan behind to visit one of the most iconic places in all Italy: beautiful, luxurious, relaxing and invigorating Lake Como.

The wealthy have left their footprint on this wish-bone-shaped lake, and it will not be long until you see sweeping regal villas with perfectly manicured bushes and hanging purple bougainvillea. Your private transfer will drive you to the town of Varenna, where you will be staying for two nights in the center of the village. Stepping out of your luxurious accommodation, you will be face to face with the beautiful Alps that frame the crystal-blue lake. Here, a variety of pastel colors paint the landscape, palm trees spring up next to the Italian cypress trees, walkways line the lake for you to dip your toes into the refreshing water, and benches invite you to take a seat and absorb the whole view.

You can explore the lovely town of Varenna, which is one of the most beautiful towns on the lake and the best city to make your home base in as it is well connected with the ferries and easy to explore. Dark yellow homes with green shutters stand next to pink and blue homes with wrought iron terraces, flower boxes line the balconies, women reach out their windows to hang their daily laundry, and small fishing boats are pulled up onto the stone walkways, bringing in their daily catch and preparing it to serve at the local restaurants. This dreamy, mid-sized village has plenty of medieval walkways that will take you past shops, cafes, beautiful buildings, and even a castle. You can visit the Hotel Royal Victoria, which is the gorgeous hotel where Queen Victoria stayed in 1839. If you are feeling adventurous, you can make the climb up to the Castle of Vezio and take in arguably the most beautiful view in all of Lake Como. The lake is more turquoise than blue, and it appears to sparkle with millions of diamonds. The fresh mountain breeze will sweep over the lake, and you will now begin to see why George Clooney chooses to call this lake his home.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation, breakfast           

Day 6: Varenna - Embrace the Beauty of the Lake on a Private Boat Ride

The mist hangs mysteriously over the expansive lake. The sun may be up, but you cannot see the whole lake just yet because it reveals itself slowly to you as the morning air warms. Here, you can indulge in an espresso exactly as you like it, and if you choose to order one, your biscotti will still be warm from the oven. It will be another day in Varenna, and the town will be starting to wake up with the glad shouts of the locals.

After breakfast, you walk down to the water. By now, the sun will be shining brightly, so you will be able to see for miles. The gentle waves lap against the shore, and your private boat will take you on an excursion around the lake. There is no better way to enjoy the lake than to actually be on the lake. Your English-speaking guide will show you the well-known and hidden gems of the lake as you glide across the water with your hair blowing in the wind. If it is warm, feel free to take a dip in one of the little coves along the lake. Considering Lake Como is nearly 30 miles long and the deepest lake in all of Europe, you will have plenty of room to find your own private spot to relax.

You will then visit the lovely town of Tremezzina to see two villas that will be sure to take your breath away: Villa Carlotta, the neoclassical estate with gorgeous gardens, and Villa del Balbianello, which was the setting for one of the Star Wars films. Maybe you will desire to travel over to the village of Mennagio, which is a scenic village that has a relaxing, lakeside promenade, or the 17th-century churches with beautiful period paintings. The town of Bellagio is considered to be the crown jewel of the area and the most luxurious village on the lake. Stately buildings with wide verandas line the lakefront walkway, and the coffee shops next to the dock are extravagant, large rooms with crystal chandeliers and plush chairs. The smell of fresh croissants will waft into the air and greet you as you step off the dock. For now, the town may be quiet as it hums along with the sound of porcelain cups as they clink on plates, local shop owners that exchange greetings, and tourists that stroll about on the narrow streets. Later in the afternoon, an orchestra serenades diners by the waterfront in the many delicious restaurants that offer some of the most spectacular front row seats of the lake.

What’s Included: accommodations, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Verona - Discover the Enchanting Village of Romeo and Juliet

Verona is frequently overshadowed by her two more popular neighbors: Venice and Milan. The idea of romance lures many to this city, which is nestled next to the Adige River. Famously known for being the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Verona showcases many medieval buildings, bridges, and a 1st-century amphitheater, which was built by the Romans and still holds operas, fairs, and shows.

You will arrive in the morning for a guided tour through the charming streets. Unlike some of the more touristy towns, Verona has a very authentic feel to it. There is a genuine, understated beauty to it that has captivated so many who have visited before you. As you traverse the streets, it will feel as if you are living in one of your own Shakespearean plays. You can explore this ancient city on foot and enjoy lunch or creamy gelato, or both.

The house that is said to have inspired William Shakespeare to write his infamous play of Romeo and Juliet is located in the centro storico of town. Tucked away in a tiny square, this legendary house can be toured, or you can just take a photograph of the notorious balcony if you are not that interested. According to tradition, this 13th-century structure was once the home to the powerful Capulet family. You may get tingles up and down your spine, as you read love notes that people from all over the world have written on scraps of paper and stuck to the outside of the building. For a few moments, as you stand next to the Juliet statue in the courtyard, Shakespeare’s poignant stories can be brought to life.

Located just outside of this square, local merchants cram the piazzas all through the town, selling household goods, colorful fruits and vegetables, meats, antiques, and everything in between. If you lift your eyes above the commotion, you can see the looming brick and stone towers that are over 500 years old. You will then meander through Piazza Bra, which is the main square in town and where there are cafes that line one side of the street with the Verona Arena on the adjacent side. You can even catch a show if one is about to start or purchase a ticket to tour the well-preserved arena. Gladiator games may be a thing of the past, but there are always fantastic shows to be seen.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Venice - Enjoy a Walking Tour of Venice and an Evening Gondola Ride

Venice is likely one of the most unique cities that you will visit. Comprising of 118 islands that are connected by numerous shallow canals and over 400 hundred bridges, Venice is sure to leave you speechless. You will arrive at the dock, where your superior accommodation will have a private water taxi that is waiting to take you and your luggage through the canals and directly to the doorstep of your luxurious accommodation.

Once you are checked-in, your private guide will lead you on a walking tour of the most noteworthy sights in Venice. The maze of streets will be laid out before you, but your guide will show you many of the most essential sights, so you can appreciate the beauty without feeling overwhelmed. You will pass through narrow lanes and cross the delicate bridges that span the light blue lagoon waters, witnessing firsthand the allure and fascination of this charming city.

Two large columns will welcome you to the heart of Venice of St. Mark’s square, which is the 16th-century’ religious and political epicenter. The large domes of Basilica di San Marco dominate the view with its stunning Byzantine architecture and glorious mosaics. Completed in the 11th century, the church is unique in many ways as it was initially consecrated to be the Doge’s Palace but later became the basilica to hold what is believed to be the tomb of Jesus Christ’s disciple, Mark. Even today, you can visit the Apostle Mark’s grave, which is located behind the altar. Unlike so many churches in Italy that are covered in fresco wall paintings, St. Mark’s is covered in brilliant gold and glass. As you walk through, the dim light throughout the church will cast a dazzling glimmer throughout this impressive building.  

The Doge’s Palace, which is dripping with opulence and was divinely appointed supremacy, is adjacent to the square. This Gothic palace was once the home of the ruling authority in the Venetian Republic. Today, you can tour the museum and view the grand rooms that are flanked with gold and elaborate chandeliers. The huge paintings that cover the ceiling will transport you back to a time when Venice was the ruling power of the empire. You will continue to walk through the palace and will then come to the Bridge of Sighs, which is the bridge that connects the grand palace to the dungeon where prisoners were sent to live out their life. According to tradition, prisoners crossed over the covered bridge, looked out the tiny window that overlooks Venice for the last time, and sighed.

Your tour will lead you to a beautiful gondola ride that will take you through the tiny canals. This will allow you to rest your sightseeing feet and embark on a tour as your gondolier effortlessly navigates you through the narrow waterways. You will experience Venice from its traditional angle, floating through the neighborhoods and into the pink and purple sunset that casts golden hues throughout the city.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Venice - Observe the Ancient Art of Glassblowing and Lace Making

Venice is an absolute spectacle to behold, but there is so much more left to explore on the outskirts of this city. You can step out of your hotel and onto the deck of a private boat that will whisk you to the tiny islands across the lagoon. The sweeping views of Venice from this perspective is precisely what so many commercial traders witnessed as they approached Venice half a millennia ago. Your boat will glide over the tame waters to two of the most treasured islands in the lagoon.

Murano differs from Venice in so many ways. While Venice is full of sightseers and pigeons, Murano is full of quaint, colorful charm and local secrets. For nearly 800 years, Murano was home to the art of glass-blowing and was the only place for centuries where mirrors were constructed. You can walk through the peaceful town and watch local glassblowers turn formless liquid into a beautifully shaped piece of glass art. Then, they refine and cut the glass with fine-tipped torches, and right before your eyes, art will be created. Following this demonstration, you will have time to shop for your own souvenirs of Murano glass, which are famous throughout the world.

Finally, it will be time to transfer to Burano, which is one of the most colorful villages in the entire world. Tall, flat-front buildings pop in vivid colors. You can walk down the sidewalk with your guide, along the sleepy little canals with fishing boats tied to the sides, and explore the wonders of this quaint, little town. You can watch women as they gently stitch lace, using the same method that generations before them have used to make the finest garments. The detail will be exquisite, and the fabric will be silky between your fingers. You will leave amazed at the art that these women are able to produce in such a short amount of time.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation, breakfast, tour

Day 10: Venice - Depart for home from Venice Marco Polo Airport

Venice begins to wake up long before the sun comes up. You can have a leisurely morning and enjoy your hot Italian breakfast and delicious espresso before indulging in one more visit to your favorite corner of this colorful city. You will then meet your private transfer at the boat dock who will drive you to the airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$2,745
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.