Day #1 Overnight Flight - Your adventure begins with an overnight flight. Magnificent lakes, mountain panoramas, cosmopolitan cities and historic villages are waiting for you in northern Italy.
Day #2 Stresa, Italy - Tour Begins - Your tour begins in Stresa, on the shore of Lago Maggiore. Tonight you are transported by boat to your welcome dinner on Isola dei Pescatori, the most picturesque of the Borromean Islands - a wonderful opportunity to get to know your fellow travelers.
Day #3 Stresa - Lugano - Como - Stresa - LANGUAGE DISCOVERY: Today, your Tour Manager will help you discover the origin and history of the language(s) you will experience on your tour along with key words and phrases that will help you communicate with the locals. Driving through the stunning landscapes of the Lake District, you will cross the border to Switzerland to explore the lovely lakeside resort of Lugano. Take advantage of the excellent shopping opportunities or enjoy a stroll among the beautiful parks that make the town such a popular destination. Later, depart for the resort town of Como, on the banks of one of the most famous lakes of northern Italy, Lake Como. Take some time to enjoy the charms of the town at leisure.
Day #4 Stresa - Bergamo - Vicenza - Depart Stresa for the lofty medieval city of Bergamo. Step back in time as a local guide escorts you through the historic "upper town" surrounded by 16th century Venetian walls. See the 14th century citadel, the town square, and Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica with its exquisite collection of frescoes and tapestries. Following some free time, depart Bergamo for a local wine cellar and balsamic vinegar factory. Here you will enjoy a tour of the facilities and sample some of their most prized local products. Continue your journey to Vicenza, famous for its Palladian Venetian villas of the 16th century.
Day #5 Vicenza - Venice - Vicenza - Travel by train to the nearby enchanting city of Venice, where 117 tiny islands are connected by a beautiful latticework of 150 canals and 400 bridges. Upon arrival take a boat trip* (weather permitting) to Murano Island for a fascinating glass-blowing demonstration. A local expert will then take you on a walking tour featuring the charming St. Mark’s Square, the hub of Venetian city life. View the Clock Tower with its famous Moors, St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace and the legendary Bridge of Sighs. Before your return to Vicenza, take advantage of your free time to wander the streets of Venice in the afternoon.
Day #6 Vicenza - Sirmione, Lake Garda - Mantua - Cremona - Begin today’s journey with a special visit to Sirmione in Lake Garda, once described as "the gem of all the peninsulas". Stroll through its marvelous medieval center and admire the beautiful villas, historic churches, lush gardens and magnificent castle. Your next stop is the ancient city of Mantua, mentioned in William Shakespeare's tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. Enjoy a guided walking tour through its historic cobblestone streets. Visit the famous Palazzo Ducale made up of numerous buildings, courtyards and gardens. This famous palace is gathered around the Palazzo del Capitano, the Magna Domus, and the Castle of St. George, all dating back to different periods in Mantua’s history. Your day ends in the delightful town of Cremona.
Day #7 Cremona - Spend the day enjoying the sights of Cremona, a town steeped in musical history. Begin with an escorted walking tour featuring the stunning Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Palazzo Communale, and a local violin maker to see up-close how these instruments are so expertly crafted. A special stop includes a visit to a violin collection where you will be treated to a mini recital on a genuine Stradivarius violin!
Day #8 Cremona - Cinque Terre - Cremona - Travel south from Cremona to the magnificent Ligurian Coast. At the town of La Spezia, board a train for a spectacular journey through the villages of Cinque Terre. This rugged coastal area is an Italian treasure with terraced vineyards and fishing villages overlooking the azure beauty of the Mediterranean. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon exploring these magical villages at leisure before returning to Cremona.
Day #9 Cremona - Enjoy a full day at leisure to pursue your own pleasures in Cremona. Perhaps you will choose an optional tour to Bologna: rich in history and culinary tradition, and surrounded by rolling hills, the center of this city is virtually untouched since the Renaissance.
Day #10 Cremona - Milan - Milan/Malpensa - Say good-bye to the charming town of Cremona as you travel toward the exciting and modern city of Milan. Join a local expert on a sightseeing tour that includes the magnificent Duomo (Cathedral), the Vittorio Emmanuele II Gallery, and La Scala Opera House*. Time is allowed to explore the city at your own pace before continuing to nearby Malpensa. This evening, join your fellow travelers one last time for a farewell dinner commemorating the end of a fabulous trip through northern Italy.
Day #11 Malpensa - Tour Ends - Your tour ends this morning in Malpensa.