Luxuries of Milan and the Lakes District Tour

A 8 day trip to Italy 
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Luxury will be well within reach throughout your idyllic handcrafted Italy tour that will highlight the opulent villas, the lavish gardens, and the beautiful waters of the lakes districts. Wander through the gilded galleries of a palace, and then experience the pleasure of stepping into a storybook as you cross over a moat and drawbridge to reach the historical town center on the other side. Find letters of gratitude and love addressed to Juliet from Shakespeare’s tragedy in Verona, and then trace the legendary chess game of aristocrats who played for the love of the noble's daughter. From city streets to lakeshores, you will bask in extravagance as you explore it all.  For even more inspiration for your Italy vacation tour, consider browsing some of our itineraries and tours.

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General Information

Photos
Dining Room at Santa Marta Suites. Photo Credit: Santa Marta Suites
Hotel Lobby at Santa Marta Suites. Photo Credit: Santa Marta Suites
Hotel Terrace at Santa Marta Suites. Photo Credit: Santa Marta Suites
Hotel Suite Lounge at Santa Marta Suites. Photo Credit: Santa Marta Suites
Luxury Suite at Santa Marta Suites. Photo Credit: Santa Marta Suites
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Milan, Baveno, Stresa, Como, Lake Maggiore, Bergamo, Lake Garda, Marostica, Bassano del Grappa, Arco, Modena, Sirmione, Garda Town, Limone sul Garda, Barromean Islands  

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Milan – Arrive in Milan for a Grand Walking Tour of the Fashionable City

Milan stands as an icon of fashion and creativity, highlighting the modernity of Italy while gaining endless inspiration from the beauty and culture of the past. Sustainable architecture creates a nearly futuristic skyline set against the elegant domes of the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery, the latter of which was constructed in the 19th century. Graceful filigree decorates the boutique windows that frame the lavish displays as the sunlight permeates the glass domes that reach nearly 60 feet above the marble flooring. Before exploring it all, your flight will land at Milan’s Malpensa Airport, and your private transfer will await your arrival.

Venture into the heart of the city and find the decadent aroma of espresso drifting out of the corner bars. Locals embody the chic style for which the city is known, and your luxurious hotel, Santa Marta Suites, is located at the doorstep of the Piazza del Duomo in the heart of the city. Nearby shops showcase the handmade leather goods along Via della Spiga as locals sip espresso at the outdoor tables and enjoy watching the city pass them by. Your guide will greet you in the lobby eager to introduce to you to the impeccable city that begins with the captivating Gothic architecture of the Cathedral.

The edifice was built in the 14th-century with a flamboyant texture that emanates from the nearly 2,250 marble statues. 52 great pillars add to the illustrious skyline, and the interior will glow with stunning stained-glass windows set amidst the lingering aroma of frankincense. The delicate colors were crafted in the 15th and 16th century, and remain some of the largest in the world. After the tour, you will make your way to a renowned restaurant to experience the chic design and indulgent cuisine that are shaped around the daily inspirations of the chef, including a celebrated risotto with raw prawns.

What’s Included: accommodation at Santa Marta Suites, transfer, tour, dinner

Day 2: Milan – Discover the Artistic and Cultural Treasures of Milan with a Guide

The splendors of Milan go beyond the opulent architecture with the exceptional artistry and culture that captivates both locals and visitors alike. At breakfast, the aroma of frothy cappuccino fills the hotel dining room as the cafés return their tables and chairs to the cobblestone walkways. Your guide will greet you in the lobby and escort you to the 15th-century rosy brick edifice of Santa Maria delle Grazie Church. The familiar scent of frankincense and myrrh drifts through the nave as you enter into the refectory of the former Dominican monastery to discover the breathtaking work of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper.

The fresco was crafted in the mid- to late- 1490s and upended previous depictions of the dramatic Biblical scene that came to mark a new stage in art. The details of each character are majestic, made greater by the preservation of the material over more than a half millennium. After taking it all in, you take an evening stroll along the Navigli canal and enjoy the flickering lights that are draped over the narrow waterway. The vibrant neighborhood brims with life that spills out of the exuberant bars and cozy restaurants. You will venture to a traditional eatery that serves delectable local dishes on a prix fixed menu, allowing you to indulge in the various flavors of Milan accompanied by precisely chosen wines. 

What’s Included: accommodation at Santa Marta Suites, tour, breakfast, dinner

Day 3: Baveno – Venture to Lake Maggiore to Explore Baveno and Como at Leisure

The sunlight will wash over the city and cast a special glow over the Renaissance palace of Brera, which was constructed between the mid-17th and late-18th centuries. The palace contains the city’s Academy of Fine Arts with a celebrated library and fantastic observatory as well for an array of regional history expressed through arts and science. After breakfast, your private transfer will escort you out of the grandeur of Milan to reach the secluded luxuries of Baveno, found on the shores of Lake Maggiore.

The orange-tiled roofs stand out from the surrounding pine and evergreen trees that climb the hillside. The granite shaded mountains flicker with silver as the white cliffs soar into the sky.  The town itself stands at an elevation of nearly 675 feet above sea level, and a herbaceous aroma emanates from the trees. The light will glint off of the cobalt hues of the pristine, calm waters while a lakeside promenade offers spectacular views as you stroll along the cobbled lanes.  The charming cafes, hidden markets, and the serene ambiance spread from the Romanesque church bell tower at the heart of town outwards into the unforgettable hills that lead into the Alps.

The remainder of the day will be yours to explore and indulge in the splendors of Baveno accompanied by your private guide. Pass through the town center to visit the Roman ruins and find the tranquil ambiance of Como before venturing to the Borromean Islands. Your boat will arrive at Isola Bella, and the remarkable 17th-century villa will bring insight into the opulent living of the Borromeo family, who took refuge from the heat in their summer palace on the water. Artificial caves decorate walkways beneath the gardens as terraces blossom in view of the Grand Salon.  

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

Day 4: Baveno – Traverse Lake Maggiore to Visit Charming Bergamo and Stresa

In the morning, the cafes will set out their tables and chairs along the promenade to offer a perfect view of the Borromean Islands, the surrounding mountains, and passing boats. Your private driver will greet you at the hotel after breakfast ready to whisk you around the shores of Lake Maggiore at your preferred pace. A short drive will bring you to Stresa, where the serene architecture of belle époque design embodies the elegance of the past that once made the town a favorite for artists traveling through Europe.

The cobbled streets wind like a maze, eventually leading to the promenade and the city center of Piazza Cadorna. The seductive aroma of cappuccino accompanies the return of the bright sunlight of mid-day while cypress trees line the walkways that lead into Villa Pallavicino, each carved into archways like a tunnel crafted from the landscape. The palace grounds combine the manicured blossoming flowers of a botanical garden with the active wildlife of an impressive, accessible zoo.

Magnolia trees bloom near sequoias as rhododendrons and azaleas create brilliant bursts of color. Llamas and zebra openly graze on the hedges as flamingos perch in the pond. For a beautiful view of the lake, you can board the cable car that leads to Monte Mottarone. The steep climb will carry you to nearly 1,500 feet above sea level, with a chair lift taking you the remainder of the way to the summit. You can look down on the shores of Lake Orta and savor a rare view over the chain of Italian Alps.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Sirmione – Relish Time in Fair Verona before Traveling to Lake Garda

In the morning, you can bask in the refreshing aroma of fresh espresso while the rich scent brings to mind the impressive and unforgettable view from the top of Monte Mattarone. After the meal, your private transfer will escort you down the foothills of the Italian Alps to visit the charming city of Verona as visitors from around the world seek the home of Juliet Capulet from Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. A bronze statue adorns the courtyard of the heroine’s home beneath a small balcony associated with the memorable midnight meeting between the two star-crossed lovers.

Stroll through the city at your preferred pace and linger in the cozy ambiance of Piazza delle Erbe. The morning market will fill the air with the vibrant aromas of apples, pears, and eggplant as the cafes offer seats that look out to the 14th-century fountain. Your guide will explain that the sculpture on the fountain depicting the Madonna Verona was a Roman statue crafted in the 4th century AD. Remnants of Roman settlement continue to decorate the city, from the Roman arena in Piazza Bra to the gate of Porta Borsari. The old entrance to the city marks the southern edge of the former settlement as contemporary life and Baroque architecture frame the antique arches.

The seven towers of the old castle add to the skyline of the city while the fortress remains an imposing figure that overlooks the historical city center. After passing through the home of Juliet to view the statue and witness the layers of notes that fill the tunnel that leads to the courtyard, you can stop for lunch at the nearby restaurant of Il Desco. The chef will offer classic Italian dishes with attention to the finer details of each dish, along with a tasting menu meant for those eager to experience the innovative local ingredients that inspire the chef.

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

Day 6: Sirmione – Indulge in Elegance Touring Marostica and Bassano del Grappa

The splendor of Sirmione emanates from the charming moat, the old drawbridge, and the enchanting castle walls that surround the lakeside town. The cobbled lanes are free of cars and allow for locals and visitors alike to stroll past the cafes, homes, and churches at a leisurely pace. The scent of almond cookies and lavish cakes drift out of the bakery doors and blend with the aroma of decadent hot chocolate. The ruins of Villa Romana, an ancient Roman palace, are perched on a plateau that overlooks the water. Chess was once considered the sport of kings and champions, requiring intellect and foresight. The prestigious reputation led the game to Marostica, a medieval town known for its cherries in summer and chess game in the fall.

The protective walls were erected in the 14th century and reach a height of nearly 40 feet tall with over 20 towers. You will pass through the doors of Porto Breganze and into the demanding presence of the ancient palace. The Piazza Castello has an elegant ambiance framed by arcades, cafes, and restaurants all with views of the former armory, which is now a bank. The clock tower soars above the 14th-century Inferior Castle, and you find the Venetian lion column decorating the heart of the piazza. The marble paving was designed to resemble a chessboard, where the aristocracy played a life-sized game. The town comes together every two years to reenact the tradition made famous in the mid-1400s when two noblemen in love with the lord’s daughter played for her hand.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Sirmione – Delight in a Gastronomical and Cultural Excursion to Modena

The morning light will filter through the rose window of Santa Maria Maggiore and spread across the preserved 15th and 16th-century frescoes that decorate the interior while terracotta decorations accentuate the flying buttresses around the five outer arches.  After a short walk to enjoy it, you will travel south to the city of Modena, made famous for its rich gastronomic traditions, including balsamic vinegar. The city rises above the plains along the edge of the Po River and the cafes bustle with activity before opening to craft handmade tortellini. Wine shops fill their windows with the dark green bottles of sparkling Lambrusco and lead you into alleyways filled with renowned restaurants known only to locals.

Life returns to the city each morning around Piazza Grande, the heart of Modena. The Romanesque cathedral shimmers with dark stone against the Comunale Palace, which houses the current town hall. The church is celebrated amongst architectural purists for its fascinating, opulent display of historical design and offers an example of the finest Romanesque church in all of Italy. You will visit a small cellar along the winding streets that houses a collection of wines and balsamic crafted outside of the city.

The aroma of oak and citrus will fill the cool air as the roots of balsamic in Modena reaches back to the 11th century. Your guide will explain the characteristics of the grapes of Modena as they must be cooked over direct heat and simmer slowly during the reduction, and then rest in oak, chestnut, or even juniper barrels. At the end the tour, your guide will pour you a sample of balsamic vinegar that has aged more than 12 years and the flavors of cherry, chocolate and fig will erupt on your palate.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Sirmione – Depart for Home

The water along Lake Garda will shimmer like a jewel along its southern edges while in the north, the rugged hills climb into the Dolomite Mountains. The cafes and confectionaries around Sirmione fill the air with the aromas of cakes, chocolate, and rich espresso. The 19th-century resort town of Gardone Riviera sits on the hilltop with its towers and palatial accommodations in view of the crystal clear water and rolling peaks of the Italian Alps. Your private transfer will greet you in the lobby of your hotel after breakfast and guide on on your way to the Malpensa Airport in Milan to complete your time in Italy.  You could also travel to Florence to continue the rich, luxurious, and private immersion into culture and prestige.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Price 

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.