Milan, Verenna, Bellagio, Verona, the Dolomites, Vicenza, Padua, Venice, Florence, Siena, Pisa, Cinque Terre
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
This is the Italy of Michelangelo and the Medici, the Italy of Dante and the Dolomites. It’s the Italy of hearty food and rich wines, unmatched art and incomparable style, the height of culture and the pinnacle of natural splendor. It’s the Italy of opulent duomos and luxurious villas, the canals of Venice and the cliffs of Cinque Terre. This private Northern Italy vacation package will show you areas unlike anywhere else on Earth.
Milan - Touching Down in Northern Italy
Your tour of Italy begins in marvelous Milan—the largest city in Northern Italy and one of the great fashion cities in the world. A private driver will take you from the airport to the quaint and darling town of Varenna on the shores of serene Lake Como. After dropping off your bags at your comfortable and elegant hotel, you can enjoy lunch before setting out for an afternoon cruise. Here, you’ll learn about the rich and vibrant history of the city and the country surrounding it, from their conflicts with Como and Milan to the city-wide celebration of San Giovanni’s Day on June 24th. Marvel in the edifice of Vezio Castle, constructed in the early-12th century and stroll through the castle’s gardens, which are some of the most beautiful in the area.
Lake Como - Cruise the Enchanting Lake
Today is dedicated to exploring the area around bucolic Lake Como, from the spectacular scenery and stunning natural landscaping to the glamorous resort towns that line its shores. You can check out the gorgeous villas at Cernobbio and Moltrasio, revel in the botanical gardens at the Villa Melzi in breathtaking Bellagio, or simply enjoy the great outdoors in this unforgettable setting.
Those who are looking for a more active afternoon will not be disappointed, as a wide array of trails line the edges of Lake Como, varying in length and difficulty, so hikers of all stripes have the chance to truly enjoy this remarkable country. You’ll make your way past primeval groves of chestnut trees and through gently rolling forest meadows until you perhaps stop for a brief nap or quick bite at a lakeside rifugio (lodge), where you’ll find delicious fare and delightful personalities.
Verona - The City of Literature’s Most Famous Lovers
This morning, you turn southeast to visit the magical city of Verona, the setting for Shakespeare’s immortal classic Romeo and Juliet. It’s a charming northern Italian locale, filled with neighborhood trattorias serving local specialties, beautiful city squares filled with markets on the weekend, and gelaterias serving up the finest Italian delicacies. You’ll hit all the highlights of this delightful place, from the alleged balcony that Juliet once occupied to the renowned Verona Arena, one of the oldest and best-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world. Don't forget to visit the breathtaking tombs of the Scala Family and the Piazza Signori, considered the heart of the city.
After lunch in Verona, you’ll turn to the borderlands and enter the domain of the Dolomites, part of the Southern Limestone Alps and the geologic marvels of Italy. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009, these dramatic ridges and fantastic outcroppings are truly awe-inspiring in their grandeur and unforgettable in their beauty, carved by glacial valleys and jutting fiercely into the blue Italian sky. Dinner this evening is at a traditional Tirolean restaurant, where you’ll get a great sampling of the hearty and delicious fare that makes up the cuisine of the region.
Verona - Works of the West’s Greatest Architect
Continue your excursions through the sensational towns and cities of Northern Italy as you make your way to Vicenza, lauded as “The Gorgeous City” centuries ago and regarded by many travel experts as one of Italy’s hidden jewels. Your day is dedicated to an eye-opening and engaging tour of the great works of the unparalleled architect Andrea Palladio, beginning at the sensational Teatro Olimpico and continuing along the Corso Palladio, lined by the extraordinary palaces that make up the primeval center of the city.
The tour moves on, further into Vicenza, where you encounter the main square of the Piazza dei Signori and the fantastic Basilica Palladiana, dominated by the soaring clock tower standing proudly in the sky and featuring delightful design touches by the young Palladio, including the dramatic loggia and the windows that now bear his name. The afternoon sees you exploring two of Palladio’s best-loved villas before returning to Verona.
Padua - A Delightful University Town
Today, you visit the village of Padua (known as Padova to Italians), home to an eponymous university and one of the most revered saints in all of Catholicism: St. Anthony. You can meander through the enchanting town center and take in the sights of this ancient metropolis. Enjoy the incredible frescoes by Giotto that cover the walls of the Scrovegni Chapel. Visit the courtyard of the University of Padua, where one could often find a young Galileo giving out math and science lessons. Then, make your way between the three major piazzas of the city before finding a local café, where you can grab a quick lunch, a delicious espresso, or maybe a scoop of gelato.
The afternoon is spent discovering the most religious sites of Padua. From the winding streets and impressive edifices that fill the old Jewish ghetto to the opulent and impressive Basilica of St. Anthony. The Basilica is a stunning religious building that has become a major pilgrimage site for those who seek to cure an illness, protect a loved one, or pray for one who has passed on. There is an impressive – though somewhat gruesome – reliquary that purportedly holds the saint’s tongue and vocal chords that attract most of the foot traffic in the basilica.
Venice - Winding Your Way Around Venice
Make for the shores of the Adriatic, to the lagoon and archipelago that makes up the famous city known during the Renaissance as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and now known as one of the most romantic cities on Earth. There is much to see in this captivating city, from the span of the Rialto Bridge to the soaring bell tower that dominates the skyline to the graceful domes and gorgeous mosaics of St. Mark’s Basilica, the iconic landmark of this singular metropolis.
You can explore the city in true Venetian fashion by winding through the serpentine canals on board a romantic gondola, or stop by some of Venice’s famous bacari, a typical Venetian bar where you can enjoy the typical small, tapas-like dishes known as nizioleti and a glass of good local cicheto wine. However you wish to introduce yourself to Venice, your first night here is sure to be an auspicious beginning.
Venice - City of the Canals
Your private guided tour of Venice begins at the center of it all, the graceful and elegant Piazza San Marco, where you’ll visit the incomparable Basilica of St. Mark and the impressive Doge’s Palace, the former residence of the Duke of Venice. Continue along the waterfront to encounter the legendary Bridge of Sighs, romanticized by Byron and remembered as the place where sentenced convicts would get their last glimpse of beautiful Venice. Color will fill your eyes at every turn; music will fill your ears, and the valiant tales of the past will fill your heart as you discover the highlights of this magnificent city.
The evening features a special treat, as you’ll enjoy a show at the Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto, a former townhome of a Venetian nobleman that now hosts revivals of the Italian tradition of “Salotto Musicale.” You will have a unique experience of feeling like you are in the action as the traditional boundary between audience and cast become blurred beyond recognition, giving you a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the power of Italy’s music.
Florence - The Vivid Past of a Vivacious City
Turn to Tuscany, and visit the center of the greatest art movement in Western history as you walk the hallowed streets of famous Florence, home to the Medici and the heart of the Italian Renaissance. After a delicious Tuscan lunch, you’ll be met by your tour guide, who will lead you on an engaging and informative journey through this world wonder, taking you to see some of the greatest artistic achievements in Italy’s rich history and astounding architecture that continues to inspire.
Begin at the famous Museum of the Accademia of Florence, the main art school in the city and home to some of the greatest works by Michelangelo. Its collection is highlighted by his triumphant David, one of the most iconic and important sculptures in the history of art. Continue to the heart of Florence and the bustle surrounding the famous Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as the Duomo of Florence. It's known the world over for its massive dome and the truly incredible baptistery doors that Michelangelo himself named “the Gates of Paradise.” Finish your tour with a triumphant view over the city from the nearby campanile, built by Giotto and ornately decorated with colored marble.
Florence - The Art and Culture of Florence
Because one day in Florence simply isn’t enough, today is dedicated to seeing everything you might have missed, taking in the unmatched art and stimulating culture of this marvelous metropolis. Start at the Uffizi Gallery, the main art museum in Florence and one of the greatest of its kind in the world. The Uffizi houses an impressive collection of masterpieces by the geniuses of the Renaissance, from Botticelli’s "Primavera" and "The Birth of Venus," to the frightening and famous "Medusa" by Caravaggio.
The afternoon can be spent reconnoitering some of the city’s best churches, home to stunning architecture, beautiful interiors and the remains of some of the great citizens of Florence. Ogle at the multicolored façade of Santa Croce – the largest Franciscan church in the world – and explore the church’s tombs and funerary monuments. You’ll find the remains of some of the greatest artists and thinkers of Renaissance Italy, from Ghiberti to Galileo and from Machiavelli to Michelangelo. Stroll across the famed Ponte Vecchio and be sure to stop to admire the wares of the bridge's resident fine jewelers. Find a local trattoria and enjoy a rich and filling Florentine meal.
Siena - Jewel of the Italian Countryside
Leave the streets of Florence and return to rural Italy as you’re bound for the rustic towns and bucolic scenery of Tuscany. Begin your expedition through Tuscany at Greve, the center of the Chianti wine region and one of the great wine areas of the world, producing delicious reds and crisp, refreshing whites that perfectly complement the local cuisine. Lunch is at a nearby farmhouse, where you’ll enjoy a traditional meal accompanied by wines from nearby vineyards.
The afternoon sees you in scintillating Siena, a historic town that is best known for being the site of the famous Palio horse race, held twice a year throughout the streets of the city. You’ll be enchanted by the well-preserved medieval cityscape, the impressive art galleries that can be found here, and the delicious food whose savory aromas fill the air. You can visit the sumptuous interior of the Siena Cathedral, or simply walk around the Piazza del Campo, one of the most breathtaking stretches of public space in the world.
Siena - Stories of Life in Northern Italy
Stay in Siena to get an in-depth look at the lives of the people who have called this area home over the centuries. Start at the incredible Siena Cathedral, whose floors are decorated with scores of mosaics telling the stories of pre-Christian gods and heroes, and where you’ll find a series of sculptures by Michelangelo, including a self-portrait. Visit the local Contrada, a city ward of Siena that serves as a powerful origin of identity for the Sienese. Your tour concludes with a trip to the studio of a local artist, where you’ll discover the traditions and techniques of glass making. The afternoon is at your leisure and can be used to discover the exhibits at one of Siena’s fine museums, from the Pinacoteca to the Church of San Domenico.
Cinque Terre - A Leaning Tower and the Stunning Coast
Your travels continue on the shores of the famed Italian Riviera, the home to the famous five coastal towns known as Cinque Terre, one of the most breathtaking spots in all of Italy. Before reaching Cinque Terre, you’ll stop by the Tuscan town of Pisa, where the undulating hills and expansive meadows of the countryside converge into one of the most iconic and unforgettable monuments in the world: the unmistakable Leaning Tower of Pisa. After snapping a few quick pictures and learning about the circumstances that led to this famous architectural mishap, you’ll enjoy lunch at a local Pisa establishment, getting a final helping of hearty Tuscan fare.
The afternoon sees you at your elegant and comfortable hotel in Cinque Terre, overlooking the endless blue spread of the majestic Mediterranean and filled with the reminders of the charm of Northern Italy. You’ll get a guided tour of one of Cinque Terre’s villages or an active and invigorating hike along scintillating paths affording unbeatable vistas of the terraced cliffs and the brilliant blue sea.
Cinque Terre - The Famous Five Cities
Today is yours to explore this famous area at your leisure, reveling in the peace and serenity that seems to fill every square inch of this Italian Eden. Enjoy the delicious food that comes from the countryside of Liguria, from the delicious pesto that is unlike any you’ve had before to the crisp yet airy focaccia that reminds you why bread is one of humankind’s great inventions. Trek through some of the surrounding landscape to get better views of this spectacular collision of nature and man and sea and shore. Or simply find a great spot in a darling Piazza and while your day away with a good book and a better cappuccino, living la dolce vita as every true Italian would want.
Milan - The Many Marvels of Magnificent Milan
Return to the center of the Italian peninsula as you make for the streets of marvelous Milan, one of the world’s fashion capitals and the home to a surprising collection of great works of Italian art. After a morning transfer through the scenic Italian countryside, you’ll have a guided tour of this stirring city. Visit the gigantic Gothic masterpiece that is the Duomo of Milan – it’s one of the largest church buildings of any kind in the world and the last great example of Gothic architecture left in Italy. Also, visit the imposing battlements and rust-colored walls of Sforza Castle, once the home of the Duke of Milan and one of the largest citadels in the continent. Have lunch at one of the city’s many excellent eateries. Milan’s gelato is particularly delicious and certainly worth trying.
Your tour concludes at the subtle and somewhat hidden church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a beautiful structure with an apse allegedly designed by Bramante, a beautifully decorated nave, and one of the world’s most famous frescoes, Leonardo’s crowning "The Last Supper." Great measures have been taken to preserve and maintain this magnificent work of art, which was miraculously spared during the heavy bombing campaigns during World War II that destroyed much of the rest of the church. The evening is spent in Milan, enjoying one final night in enchanting Italy.
Milan - Coming Back Home
After a leisurely morning, a private car will take you from your hotel to Milan’s Malpensa airport, where you’ll board the flight that will take you back home. Your heart will be filled with the magic of the past two weeks; your mind will be filled with the memories made and friends met, and your hands will be busy as they write the plans for your return visit to this incredible nation.
- Make your way along the captivating coast of famous Lake Como, marveling in the scenery, delighting the locals and reveling in the grandeur of its most luxurious towns
- Visit Verona, an Italian city steeped in literary lore and filled with unforgettable sights, before heading into the mountains and the awesome peaks of the Dolomites
- Explore the works of the West’s greatest architect in Vicenza and revel in the indisputable allure of Padua as you make your winding way through the Italian north
- Cruise the canals and visit the gorgeous buildings of magical Venice, the Floating City that continues to enchant all those who stop here, filled with relics to a glorious past and urban scenery that is truly one-of-a-kind
- Spend some time in Florence, from the Ponte Vecchio spanning the winding River Arno to Brunelleschi’s crowning dome that dominates the city’s skyline, before turning to the Tuscan countryside, where you’ll uncover some of Italy’s best-kept secrets
- Enjoy the life of luxury on the rugged yet gorgeous cliffs of Cinque Terre and take a day to enjoy the high fashion and high culture of Milan, one of the great cities of northern Italy
Nowhere screams history like the north of Italy, where the words of the country’s great poets fill the air, the art of the country’s great sculptors fill the city squares and the smells of the country’s great cooking wafts over city streets and rolling hills. This 15-day private Northern Italy vacation package will hit all of the highlights of this captivating region, from the cliffs of the Italian Riviera to the shores of the Adriatic, filled with exciting activities and engaging people that you are sure never to forget.
Revel in the untrammeled splendor of the natural beauty of the area, from the roiling surf of the Mediterranean pounding against the cliffs of Cinque Terre to the jagged teeth and soaring ridges of the mighty Dolomites. Live the life of small-town Italy as you walk the streets of hidden gems from Verona and Vicenza to Padua and Pisa. And discover the amazing offerings at some of the greatest centers of art in the world, from the faultless acoustics and inspiring façade of Milan’s La Scala opera house to the Byzantine decadence of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice to the staggering works of genius that fill Florence’s Accademia and the Uffizi Gallery.
The south may have Rome and the marvels of Pompeii, the island retreat of Capri, and the incredible food of Umbria, but there is truly nowhere in the country that can match the cultural, historical and natural grandeur of the northern Italian peninsula. Come for the stirring art or inimitable architecture, for the fantastic food and the unparalleled luxury, for the bustle of a night in Milan or the peace of an afternoon on Lake Como: Why ever you choose to visit, make sure you don’t miss Northern Italy.
$8,695 per person (excluding international flights)
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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