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Women Tour Italy with Venice

  • 1 night in Milan
  • 3 nights in Lake Como
  • 4 nights in Venice's San Marco District
  • Delicious a la carte meals - traditional Venetian and Northern Italian cuisine
  • 8 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners, including drinks
  • Private history and art tours in Milan, Bellagio, Verona and Venice
  • Itinerary
  • Package Inclusions

OVERVIEW

Milan is a magnet for designers, artists, photographers and models, but the city's history goes back to when Gauls defeated the Etruscans in 400 B.C., and when in 222 B.C. it became part of the Roman Empire. In the 1300s, the Visconti family brought a period of glory and wealth to the city, and it was during their reign that the amazing Duomo, which became the symbol of Milan, was built. Even though Milan is an ancient city with a medieval center, it is complemented with baroque palazzos and high design contemporary architectural masterpieces and the world of fashion and glamour.

The poetic Northern Italian Lakes district is a place of romance, a playground of the glitterati for decades. Lake Como is framed against a delightful backdrop of majestic mountains that seem to slide into the water, hidden by deep blue shadows, except for the high peaks awash in apricot alpenglow. The towns and the opulent villas lining the water's edge seem to float on the mirror smooth lake, as they echo a bygone era and the mild climate supports the vibrant colors of Alpine wildflowers and lush semi-tropical gardens cascading down to the lake. Nowhere else does stunning scenery, mellow air and rich history come together with such romantic results.

The timeless beauty of Venice has put painters and poets under its spell for centuries. The city is filled with fabulous architectural wonders: the stunning Doges Palace, the Rialto Bridge, Piazza San Marco, the grand palazzos along the Grand Canal, the rich churches upholstered with masterpieces. But the real magic of Venice is in its moonlit canals, in the music of Vivaldi, light reflected on the water, the secret passageways in the maze of narrow streets, the barely audible splashes of water, the ever-present scent of candles in Byzantine churches, silent gondolas at sunrise, shimmering and delicate Prosecco wine, and in the translucence of the sea captured in Murano glass.

The Venice and the Italian Lakes Tour offers an intimate, in-depth look into Northern Italian history, art and cuisine. Accompanied by a passionate and knowledgeable local guides, we'll experience the most magical aspects of Milan, Northern Italian Lakes and Venice. In Milan, we'll walk among the stone forest of spires and statues on top of Milan's Duomo, dine at a historic cafe in Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II, and see Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper. In Lake Como, we'll visit opulent villas and gardens cascading down to the lake, take a private boat cruise, tour Bellagio and Varenna and admire vistas of the gentle hills and the rugged Alps. In Venice, we'll take a romantic gondola ride, attend a Vivaldi music concert, marvel at the opulence of the Doges' Palace, discover our favorite Titian at Frari Church, find our "secret" canalside walk and the perfect Murano glass masterpiece. We'll stay at a hotel on a canal, sample local Prosecco wines and the amazing Venetian cuisine while listening to stories of forbidden love, intrigue, spies and courtesans.

Day 1

On your arrival at the Milan airport, you will be met by your chauffeur for a private transfer to the centrally located Milan hotel. After some rest, we'll meet other travelers, and we'll set out to explore the city of Milan. Associated with Barbarossa, Napoleon and Victor Emmanuel II, Milan has a fascinating history: founded by Celtic tribes in the 7th century BC, then conquered by Rome in 222 BC, today its Italy's most prosperous city, synonymous with high fashion, design and art. We'll start by visiting the magnificentDuomo Cathedral, then take the elevator to its roof to walk among the forest of 3,200 statues, spires, pinnacles and pillars and to admire the stunning view of the city. Then, we'll take a short walk, past PinacotecaAmbrosiana and La Scala, and finish at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, "Milan's drawing room", where we'll enjoy our welcome dinner at one of the historic cafes.

Meals: Dinner

DAY 2

We'll start the day by visiting Santa Maria della Grazie, and seeing one of world's most recognizable works of art: Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper. Then, we'll leave the city and continue to Lake Como and our lakeside hotel. Lined with villas set in tropical gardens, verdant hills, and snowy Alps in the distance, the Italian Lakes signify grandeur, tranquility and understated elegance, and the poetic Lake Como which has been a resort since the days of the Roman Empire is known for its peace and serenity. In the afternoon, we'll venture out to visit Villa Balbianello, one of the most seductive grand houses on the lake, complete with fountains, statues and lush flower beds, and in the evening, we'll celebrate our beautiful surroundings with a lakeside dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3

In the morning, we'll take a private, half-day cruise on Lake Como, studded with belle epoque palaces and gardens. We'll start with Varenna, perhaps the loveliest spot on the whole lake, shaded by pines and palm trees and dominated by narrow stepped alleyways and waterfront cafes. Then, we'll continue to the town of Tremezzo where we'll visit the amazing Villa Carlotta, Lake Como's best known villa, Villa George Clooney notwithstanding. Built in the 17th century, this place of rare beauty perfectly combines stunning interiors of stuccos, ceiling frescoes and a great art collection with luxuriant, terraced gardens tumbling down to the lake.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4

Today, we'll explore the chic Bellagio, the "pearl of Lago di Como". Bellagio has been considered a place of romance and a playground of the glitterati for decades. After visiting the Romanesque church of San Giacomo, we'll take a leisurely walk to the nearby Villa Melzi, whose terraced gardens have replaced the vineyards that once surrounded the villa, and now boast more than 500 species of exotic plants. After lunch of local specialties, such as freshly caught fish with risotto and ravioli, there will be ample time to stroll Bellagio's narrow streets that lead down to the lake, linger at a café or shop for silk accessories that made Bellagio famous ever since the times of Marco Polo.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5

In the morning, we'll leave Lake Como, and travel the scenic route through the culturally rich and visually stunning Veneto region. Our first stop will be Verona, one of Italy's most beautiful cities, known as piccola Roma. Here, we'll tour the pink marble Roman Arena, where grandoise operas are still regularly staged, enjoy a gourmet lunch at one of the exquisite cafes, then visit Casa di Giulietta, and breathe in the spirit of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. In the afternoon, we'll continue to Venice, and after a romantic ride in a water taxi, we'll check into our hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6

Our first day in Venice will be devoted to Venetian history. We'll start with an introductory walk of the city and see Piazza San Marco, the Grand Canal, the Bridge of Sighs, Teatro La Fenice, the Rialto Bridge, the Campanile and other significant locations in San Marco area. Afterwards, we'll take a private, guided tour of St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace. During our free afternoon, you can either indulge in more art and visit the Accademia Gallery or Peggy Guggenheim Collection or you can wander along the ancient, narrow streets in search of that perfect Venetian mask or a piece of Murano glass. In the evening, we'll celebrate the magic of Venice with aVenetian dinner, where the culinary emphasis will be on seafood, with such regional specialties as risotto with cuttlefish, pasta and bean soup, thick spaghetti with duck ragout, and the Venetian coffee-and-cream dessert tiramisu.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7

Having gained the appreciation for the Venetian history, today we'll explore the world ofVenetian art, which over many centuries defined this city. After a walk through the "secret Venice", we'll take a private tour of the Frari Church showcasing Titian and Bellini masterpieces and Scuola Grande di San Rocco with Tintoretto's dramatic cycle of paintings. Afterwards, we'll have a leisurely, rustic lunch of Venetian specialties in a local trattoria, and in the afternoon, we'll enjoy the quintessential Venetian experience: a romantic gondola ride, followed by a Vivaldi music concert in the atmospheric interiors where it was originally performed.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8

Today, we'll travel over water to the island of Murano, where we'll learn about the history of glass making, visit glass makers' studios and artisans' shops, where skilled glass blowers follow the exact procedures of their predecessors to produce stunning masterworks. Then, we'll continue to a colorful island of Burano known for its lace-making traditions and spend some quiet time experiencing the way of life that was that of Venice itself. In the afternoon, there will be time to explore the enchanting Dorsoduro district with Santa Maria della Salute Church, before we celebrate our adventure with a canalside Venetian dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9

In the morning, we'll say good-bye to Venice with two private water taxi transfers to the Marco Polo Airport, or, if you are joining the Classic Tuscany Tour, you will travel by train to Florence from Santa Lucia train station.

Meals: Breakfast

Inclusions

  • 1 night in Milan
  • 3 nights in Lake Como
  • 4 nights in Venice's San Marco District
  • Delicious a la carte meals - traditional Venetian and Northern Italian cuisine: 8 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners, including drinks
  • Private history and art tours in Milan, Bellagio, Verona and Venice
  • Cultural activities as per itinerary: private boat tour of Lake Como, gondola ride,Vivaldi music concert
  • Visits of Milan's Duomo, Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, Villa Balbianello, Villa Melzi, Villa Carlotta, Verona's Arena, Giulietta House, Doges' Palace, St. Mark'sBasilica, Frari Church, Scuola San Rocco
  • Professional tour director, experienced local guides, guided tours, all sightseeing and admission fees
  • Private, comfortable bus transportation between Milan, Lake Como and Venice. All transportation in Milan, Lake Como and Venice

Exclusions

  • Airfare/train fare
  • Any meals other than specified in "Cost Includes" column
  • Personal expenses like Portage, Tips, Laundry, Telephone Calls etc
  • Child rate is separate and will be calculated based upon age
  • Entrance fee to places of visit
  • Any item not specifically mentioned in "Cost Includes" column
  • Visa/ Insurance charges
  • Peak Season surcharge
  • Rates may change in case of change in hotel rates, transport rates, or government taxes
  • Our packages can be customized at no extra cost

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