We begin this exciting tour of Italy’s northern region in Bologna, one of Italy’s most fascinating cities with its incredible maze of porticos and arcaded walkways clustered around two lively main squares.
Perfect for exploring on foot, Bologna is home to the oldest university in Europe and known for its great love of food and wine. We will experience the best the area has to offer during our walking tour of the city and dinner at a local farmhouse. From here we will also visit the quintessential Italian city of Parma, recognized for producing the world-famous Parma ham and Parmesan cheese (which we will of course sample during our visit).
Next we travel to beautiful Lake Garda for a 4-night stay in the charming town of Desenzano. Garda is the largest lake in Italy, dotted with pretty villages and modern towns. En route we visit medieval Verona, the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, which remains steeped in romance and cultural treasures. While in Lake Garda we will enjoy a boat trip to medieval Sirmione, uniquely positioned on a narrow peninsula jutting out into the lake with a maze of pedestrian streets and lakefront promontory ideal for strolling, and the Alpine capital of Trento to the north.
Then we explore the Franciacorta wine region, famous for their high quality sparkling wines, en route to the praradise of Lake Lugano for our final 4 nights. This stunning glacial lake is situated on the border between southern Switzerland and northern Italy, surrounded by mountains and breathtaking panoramic views. We will stay in the city of Lugano, in Switzerland’s Italian-speaking Ticino region. The Swiss-Mediterranean mix of cultures here is reflected in the city’s architecture (the main square, Piazza della Riforma, is ringed with pastel-coloured, neo-classical palazzi). From our base here we will explore the region around the lake as well as neighbouring Lake Como, including a visit of the historical Villa Carlotta.
***Those joining any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.