I love creating unique and inspiring itineraries which include some of the usual ‘must see’ destinations as well as some ‘off the beaten path’ things to do and see. This particular itinerary is one I have traveled on myself numerous times and because Venice is a city I always enjoy going back to, I have included it here as it is a great starting point for this journey through Northern Italy’s less traveled roads.
As each itinerary is completely custom designed, it is easy to add days in some areas, even add another destination like Cinque Terre or Portofino, which would fit very nice with this particular journey. We can also chose different hotels and remember, that on our European itineraries, we only offer accommodation we have had first hand experience and are completely confident that our clients will be well taken care of.
Day 1 – US/Italy
Today you will depart for your overnight flight to Venice, Italy
Day 2 – Venice
Upon arrival in Venice you will be taken to your hotel by private transfer. The next 3 nights you will be staying at the lovely Duodo Palace Hotel which is only a short distance from Piazza San Marco and the Teatro La Fenice.
Day 3 – Venice
Since you have 2 full days in the fascinating city we recommend to spend some time walking around the quaint walkways along the canals in the morning and purchase a water bus ticket with which you can get to the different parts of Venice. Stop for lunch at one of the little cafés and enjoy the atmosphere. If in the evening you are not to tired due to jet-lag, enjoy a gondola ride or go out for a nice meal.
Day 4 – Venice
Today you have another wonderful day in Venice to visit some of the highlights you haven’t been able to see yet. Visit San Marco Basilica, the Rialto Bridge and Marco Polo’s home to name a few.
Day 5 – Venice to Lake Como
After breakfast you will pick up your rental to begin your drive to Lake Como. It will take you just under 4 hours and if you leave before lunch you will still have time in the afternoon and evening to enjoy the local area. While in the Lake Como area you will be staying at the Hotel Bellavista in Mennagio which is a lovely smaller 3 star property in a lake view room (upgrade to the Hotel Belvedere in Bellagio is available, please see the note below).
Day 6 – Lake Como & Lugano, Switzerland
Today you have a full day to enjoy this picturesque area. We recommend to drive across the Swiss border to Lugano, it’s a beautiful town surrounded by mountains and views of Lago Maggiore. The drive will only take about 35 minutes and the border crossing usually doesn’t take to long. If you opt for the Hotel Belvedere in Bellagio it will take a little longer to get to Lugano, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Day 7 – Lake Como to Tuscany
After breakfast you will begin your drive to Tuscany which will take you about 4 hours. You will be staying at the beautiful Villa Ravelli Boscarecce, located ½ hour from San Gimignano, Florence and Siena. It is the perfect location for day trips in Tuscany.
Day 8 – Tuscany
Today you will have the opportunity to have an exquisite wine tasting experience: It includes the visit of the Castle, birth place of Giovanni da Verrazzano, the gardens and historic cellars followed by a guided tasting of the wines produced at the estate together with a selection of local gastronomic specialties.
As you drive the road to reach the Castle it winds through the splendid Chianti hills so you have your first taste of the colors and beauty of Tuscany. We include detailed driving instructions for you.
The Castle, birth place of Giovanni da Verrazzano and stately home, is the seat of the harmonious wine estate. The visit comprises the guided visit of the gardens and the historic cellars, during which the production is illustrated in detail and where it is possible to meet the enologist or the wine maker. The visit takes place during the everyday activity of the estate and offers the opportunity to observe a typical day on a wine farm and the possibility of meeting the owner.
The visit is concluded by a tasting of the wines produced at the estate accompanied by typical local food specialties.
– “Ser Chiaro” Tuscan White IGT or “Rosso di Verrazzano” Tuscan Red IGT
– Chianti Classico DOCG
– Chianti Classico Riserve DOCG
– Vino Santo DOC, with biscotti “cantuccini”
Day 9 – Tuscany
This morning you will visit a small local winery and organic Olive oil farm and continue on to visit hill towns. For the afternoon we have arranged a “hands on” Cooking class which will begin around 4:30 pm.
You will be preparing traditional Tuscan recipes based on the fresh ingredients of the day and season which will include a pasta course, main course and a dessert course. It is all done in a professional kitchen and classes are normally no more than 4-6 people. After your cooking class you will enjoy your own prepared meals for dinner and you will also receive a cook book which includes the recipes of what you have learned that day, and a certificate of completion. If you have any specific requests for a recipe, the cook will try to include that for you as well.
Day 10 – Tuscany
Spend your last day discovering the beautiful towns of Tuscany on your own. My own personal favorites are San Gimignano and Siena.
Day 11 – depart home
After breakfast you will drive to Florence airport, return your rental car and depart on your flight back home.
Cost for the above itinerary is $2,990.00 per person.
– Hotels with value added tax, service and breakfast
– Private transfer as noted: Venice airport to hotel based on 4 passengers one transfer
– Car rental with manual transmission, taxes and insurance package quoting a station wagon or minivan for luggage space
– Winery visit, which includes a tour of the castle’s grounds and wine tasting
– Cooking class as noted: Seasonal cooking class begins late afternoon of seasonal foods, all courses. Includes dinner that evening, cookbook and certificate of completion
– Winery and Olive oil small farm visit include tastings
– Independent touring booklet; this booklet will include walks we have put together for our clients that show the traditional sights as well as little unknown sites, shopping info, restaurant suggestions and much more. You will also receive print out maps for all your drives between cities.
In the Lake Como area we can offer to upgrade to the Hotel Belvedere in Bellagio – a 3 star superior for an additional $ 340.00 per person for a lake view room.
As this is a custom designed itinerary we can make any changes you might like to have made so that this journey will be everything you are hoping for it to be and give you the most memorable experience possible.
Contact us for more information on this particular itinerary or if you would like for me to create your own customized journey.
May all your travels stir your soul and change your life forever – Ales.