Luxury Northern Italy Tour Milan, Lake Como and Venice

ITALY : TOURS - EUROPE

Luxury Northern Italy Tour - Milan, Lake Como, and Venice
From Milan to Venice - 9 Days

Milan is Italy’s city of the future, a fast-paced metropolis where money talks, creativity is big business, and looking good is an art form. Milan’s long and rich history is encapsulated in the Duomo, Milan’s grand gothic cathedral that is the city’s center. Built on the site of the Roman basilica, it was extended and refaced numerous times throughout the middle ages, with final flourishes and iconic pinnacles added under Napoleon’s orders that were finally completed in the 20th century. Modern skyscrapers, such as the iconic Pirelli Tower, glisten to the north, and heading west you can see da Vinci’s Last Supper at the Santa Maria delle Grazie, or partake in Milan’s other religion, football, at the grand San Siro. Hearty Lombard cuisine and sociable aperitivo are regional specialties, but fine representatives of the rest of Italy abound, as do the trendier fringes of the culinary arts.

Lake Como has been a popular retreat since the time of the Roman Empire, and its popularity shows no signs of waning. Shaped like an inverted ‘Y’, the lake is long and slender and one of Europe’s deepest. Surrounded by the Rhaetian Alps and close to the border with Switzerland, its enviable position means few fail to be charmed by its beauty. Picturesque towns, grand villas, and beautiful gardens are scattered around the lake, and exploring them is easy thanks to the ferry service.

Venice is formed of 118 islands which are dissected by some 170 canals and connected by over 400 bridges. The entire city is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an extraordinary architectural masterpiece in which even the smallest building may contain works by some of Europe's greatest artists. Iconic attractions on the main Rialto islands are evocative by name alone -Piazza San Marco, the Rialto Bridge, Doge’s Palace, Saint Mark’s Basilica, and the Grand Canal - a unique collection of brooding Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. Witness the ancient skill of glassblowing, -Murano and Burano- now practiced by precious few masters. Watch artisans create delicate works of art using rare traditional practices. Delight in the magic of this charming city as you are serenaded, traveling through the atmospheric canals by gondola.  

Itinerary in Summary (See "Information" for detailed Itinerary)

Day One – Arrive in Italy

The Golden Age of the Renaissance in Milan, An Aperitivo Tour of Milan

Day Two – Milan

Live Like a Milanese, Lunch, Artisanal Milan, The Tastes of Milan

Day Three – Milan to Lake Como

Tour of Como and Wine Tasting en route

Day Four – Lake Como

Full-day Lake Como Boat Excursion with your own private guide!

Day Five – Lake Como

Hiking around Tremezzo, At leisure: Lombardy Cuisine Cooking Class

Day Six – Lake Como to Venice

Tour of Padua en route

Day Seven – Venice

Miracle of Venice, Lunch, Murano Glass Making Master Tour, Venice by night

Day Eight – Venice

Live Like a Venetian, Lunch, Row Your Way through Venice, Ombre e Cicchetti

Day Nine - Depart Italy

***Itinerary highlights***

The Golden Age of the Renaissance in Milan

An Aperitivo Tour of Milan

Live Like a Milanese

Artisanal Milan

The Tastes of Milan

Private transfer from Milan to Hotel in Lake Como, with a Tour of Como and Wine Tasting en route.

Lake Como Boat Excursion with your private guide

Hiking around Tremezzo

Lombardy Cuisine Cooking Class

Private transfer from Lake Como to Hotel in Venice with a Tour of Padua en route

Venice Murano Glass Making Master Tour

Live Like a Venetian – Private transfer from Hotel by a Venetian boat with an English-speaking assistant

90-minute private rowing lesson in a traditional batellina boat

Venice by night

Classic Venetian walk visiting pubs through the charming Romantic streets and canals of the fairytale city!

***What's included***

Luxury accommodation throughout

Private English-speaking guide

Private transfers including English speaking guide

Full support from your Travel Designer and Concierge before, during, and after your trip

Our help with restaurant recommendations and reservations

Expert guides in each destination

Luxury Northern Italy Tour - Milan, Lake Como, and Venice
Itinerary
Day One – Arrive in Italy

Private transfer from Milan MXP Airport to Hotel in Milan

Upon arrival at Milan Malpensa Airport, meet your private English-speaking driver (who will be holding a sign with your name) at the arrivals hall (after passport control, baggage claim, and customs), and be transferred to your hotel. (Includes a private transfer by Mercedes vehicle with an English-speaking driver).

The Golden Age of the Renaissance in Milan

Meet your private English-speaking guide in the lobby of your hotel and set out to learn how Milan rose to extraordinary economic and artistic heights in the 14th and 15th centuries. The ruling family, the Sforza, were prominent patrons, hiring brilliant artists like Leonardo and Bramante to adorn the city with magnificent churches and splendid frescoes. Accompanied by your guide, this tour takes you to some of the masterpieces of that time, including the Sforza Castle, whose Sala delle Asse was frescoed by Leonardo and which houses the last Pietà by Michelangelo; the church of Santa Maria Presso San Satiro and the Church of San Maurizio (called the Sistine Chapel of Milan), which was entirely frescoed by Leonardo’s pupils. Last but not least, you will have a chance to marvel at Leonardo’s legendary painting, The Last Supper. At the end of your tour, continue to your next experience. (Includes a 3-hour tour with a private English-speaking guide and skip-the-line admissions; transportation is not included).

An Aperitivo Tour of Milan

Together with your guide, continue your evening and enjoy a fabulous aperitivo walking tour in Milan! This long-held Milanese tradition of serving a premeal drink to whet the appetite is the local way of winding down from the day and easing into the evening. Visit three of these fashionable neighborhood bars, each with its own specialties, in the chic Arco Della Pace and Corso Como areas, where, along with a tasting of cocktails, a buffet of delicious Italian finger foods is served. At the end of your tour, return to your hotel or enjoy a delicious dinner at a local restaurant. (Includes a 3-hour walking tour with a private English-speaking guide and 3 drinks per person; transportation and dinner are not included).

Day Two – Milan

Live Like a MilaneseMeet your private English-speaking guide in the lobby of your hotel and set out on a wonderful tour of Milan and live as the Milanese do—fabulously! Begin your adventure with a walk through Parco Sempione, the beautiful large park in the center of the city where the Milanese gather and admire its lovely, leafy setting filled with famous landmarks and monuments. Then walk to the city center along with Via Dante, the elegant pedestrian street, lined with lively theatres, shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars, as well as fine 18th- and 19th-century palaces, where the well-dressed Milanese take their morning and afternoon strolls. Pay a visit to an artisan’s workshop to learn how fine gold jewelry is made (and which you can purchase if you wish!) and then stop by one of the city’s best bakeries, where the locals go to buy their fresh-baked bread! At the end of your tour, enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant. (Includes a 3-hour walking tour with a private English-speaking guide and a jewelry workshop tour; transportation and lunch are not included)

Lunch & Artisanal Milan

After lunch, rejoin your guide in front of your restaurant and together discover artisanal Milan, where centuries-old traditions meet the latest, cutting-edge designs to produce some of the most unique and renowned luxury goods in the world! Visit exclusive and off-the-beaten path shops and witness master craftsmen at work, as you shop for incomparable, one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories that only Italians can create! At the end of your tour, continue with your guide to your next experience. (Includes a 3-hour tour with English-speaking guide; transportation is not included)

The Tastes of Milan

Together with your guide, set out to explore the trendy Brera district, as you stop to sample delicious tiramisù and the best coffee in town. Then head to a celebrated Milanese trattoria to discover the secrets of the famous cotoletta alla Milanese. Crown your visit with a taste of cassoeula Milanese, a delectable dish known only to locals, and end with the city’s best barbajada—a frothy concoction of coffee, chocolate, and milk! At the end of your tour, return to your hotel for an evening at leisure. (Includes a 3-hour tour with a private English-speaking guide and tastings; transportation is not included).

Day Three – Milan to Lake Como

Private transfer from Hotel TBA in Milan to Hotel TBA on Lake Como, with a Tour of Como and

Wine Tasting en route

After breakfast and checkout, meet your private English-speaking driver in the lobby of your hotel and be transferred to Lake Como. En route, stop to explore the legendary city of Como, with a private wine tasting!

Wind your way through the sparkling heart of this lakeside city, celebrated for its art, churches, palaces, and gardens. Begin at the Como Cathedral, founded in 1393, which combines Gothic, Renaissance, and Rococo elements, including paintings by Bernardino Luini. Next discover the medieval quarter of La Cortesella, where the past comes to life! Stroll the narrow streets lined with unique stores (specializing in the famous Como silk), cafes, and art galleries. Then take a short break at Piazza San Fedele to sample some of the local delicacies, accompanied by a glass of wine, and lunch. Afterward, take a light walk along the imposing 12th-century walls that surround the historic center, finishing at the modern Piazza Cavour. Later, enjoy a private wine tasting at a local wine establishment in a captivating setting, before rejoining your driver and continuing your transfer to your hotel.

(Includes a private transfer by Mercedes vehicle with an English-speaking driver, a full-day excursion with a private English-speaking guide, driver and car at disposal for the day, wine tastings, snacks, and lunch).

Day Four – Lake Como

Full-day Lake Como Boat Excursion with your own private guide!

Meet your private English-speaking guide in the lobby of your hotel and transfer to the private dock of your hotel. Here, meet your private skipper and depart for a fabulous excursion in a private Venetian water coach of the legendary Lake Como! Gliding over the lake, explore the enchanting villages that dot the coastline, including Tremezzo, where you admire Villa Carlotta—the spectacular 17th-century villa built for a Milanese marquis. From there, continue by boat to the elegant, luxuriant town of Bellagio, known as “the pearl of the lake,” thanks to its privileged position in the middle of Lake Como. Here, stop for a light lunch, and later, proceed with your guide and skipper to Isola Commacina to visit the ancient Roman ruins and learn about the famous local legend of this bewitching island. Enjoy a nice swim in the freshwater of the lake, before your guide and skipper transfer you back to your hotel.

Day Five – Lake Como

Hiking around TremezzoMeet your private English-speaking guide in the lobby of your hotel and take a beautiful 3-hour hike above the idyllic town of Tremezzo on the western shore of Lake Como. Set out through the picturesque streets of Tremezzo, a lovely town famous for its gorgeous gardens and villas. Ascend to San Martino Griante, enjoying the breathtaking panoramic views of Varenna and northern Lake Como. Then explore the Chiesa di San Martino Griante—known as San Martino—a small, pretty church perched on the mountainside, with a spectacular view of Lake Como, Bellagio, the town of Griante directly below, and the mountains lining the eastern shores of the lake. Afterward descend with your guide and continue to your next experience. (Includes a 3-hour hiking tour with a private English-speaking guide; transportation is not included).

At leisure - Lombardy Cuisine Cooking Class

Meet your private English-speaking driver in the lobby of your hotel and set out to learn the secrets and the recipes of homemade Italian pasta and other Northern Italian specialties in this intimate 4-hour cooking class with a private English-speaking chef! Your chef shows you how to prepare an authentic 3-course Lombardy meal, including pasta and dishes with fresh local cheeses. End with a delicious dessert! Sit down and enjoy the marvelous meal you have just prepared, accompanied by a bottle of red and white wine. Then relax, taking in the incomparable views of Lake Como. Afterward, rejoin your driver and return to your hotel for an evening at leisure. (Includes a private transfer by Mercedes vehicle with an English-speaking driver, a private cooking class with an English-speaking chef, the meal you have prepared, and drinks).

Day Six – Lake Como to Venice

Private transfer from Hotel TBA on Lake Como to Hotel TBA in Venice with a Tour of Padua en route

After breakfast and checkout, meet your private English-speaking driver in the lobby of your hotel and be transferred to your hotel in Venice. En route, enjoy a half day’s excursion to the vibrant city of Padua. Upon arrival in this gorgeous city, meet your English-speaking guide and together discover the treasures of northern Italy’s oldest city, among them the remarkable Basilica of St. Anthony, with its lovely cloister and fine works of art, and the magnificent Scrovegni Chapel, adorned with Giotto’s fresco cycle (including the famous Kiss of Judas), considered to be one of the masterpieces of Western art. At the end of your tour, enjoy a delicious lunch in a local trattoria before rejoining your driver and continuing your transfer to Piazzale Roma in Venice. Here, meet your private English-speaking assistant and transfer to your hotel by Venetian boat. (Includes a private transfer by Mercedes vehicle with an English-speaking driver and by Venetian boat with an English-speaking assistant, 2-hour tour of Padua with a private English-speaking guide, and admissions; lunch is not included).

Day Seven – Venice

Miracle of Venice

Meet your private English-speaking guide in the lobby of your hotel for a wonderful visit to Venice’s most memorable sites. For centuries, the center of international commerce and culture, Venice is nothing short of a miracle: 118 tiny islands linked by land and sea to form an enchanting, jewel-like maze of light, water, and stone! Moving by land, wind through the magical streets of Venice to explore its legendary monuments: Piazza San Marco, the Byzantine Basilica of San Marco, the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale), the 17th- century Campo Santa Maria Formosa, and the famous merchants’ school of San Marco, all within this miraculous, fairytale city of light and life! At the end of your tour, enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant. (Includes a 3-hour tour with a private English-speaking guide and skip-the-line admissions; lunch and transportation are not included)

Lunch & Murano Glass Making Master Tour

After lunch, rejoin your guide in front of your restaurant and together depart, in a private boat, to take an unforgettable excursion to an exclusive glass factory, normally closed to the public, on the magical island of Murano. There, a renowned master demonstrates the marvelous ancient art of glassmaking just for you. Experience first-hand how these exquisite, ethereal glass masterpieces, celebrated over the centuries, are made!

At the end of your tour, continue to your next experience. (Includes a 3-hour tour with a private English-speaking guide by private boat, and a meeting with a glass master) 6 pm-8 pm – Venice by night.

Together with your guide, experience the once-in-a-lifetime dream of gliding through the canals of Venice by night, a sight that has inspired poets and artists through the ages! Enjoy the Venetian tradition of sipping an aperitivo—a pre-dinner drink—as you glide serenely along the Grand Canal in your boat in the magic of the night with the lights of the great palazzi shimmering on the water. Stop along the way, of course, for delicious homemade gelato, as the Venetians do! After your tour, return to your hotel for an evening at leisure. (Includes a 2-hour excursion by Venetian boat with an English-speaking guide, skipper, and tastings).

Day Eight - Venice - Live Like a Venetian

Meet your private English-speaking guide in the lobby of your hotel and start this fabulous insider tour of Venice, visiting both the well-known and lesser-known highlights of the legendary city, and learning how a Venetian really lives! Begin with incredible fresh-roasted coffee in an out-of-the-way coffee shop near the Rialto market, where the most famous torrefazioni (coffee shops) began. Then cross the bustling market, enjoying the wonderful array of fresh vegetables, fruit, and fish. Take the traghetto—the gondola ferry—across the Grand Canal, just like Venetians do—to discover a remarkable church and pay a visit to a hidden Venetian wine shop. Next, explore the local history library, ordinarily open to residents only. Continue to a lovely interior Zen garden and learn about the history of the Bucintoro—the great galley used by doges of Venice. Crown your tour with a fabulous spritz aperitivo, the local pre-lunch drink! At the end of your tour, enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant. (Includes a 3-hour tour with a private English-speaking guide, transportation by gondola traghetto, admissions, and tastings; additional transportation and lunch are not included).

Lunch - Row Your Way through Venice

After lunch, rejoin your guide in front of your restaurant and set out to learn the voga alla Veneta, the unique stand-up rowing style developed for crossing the lagoon. Learn to row with professional athletic instructors teaching you the ins and outs of the voga! By participating in, and not just observing this very Venetian skill, discover the incomparable beauty of the city through new eyes and gain a deeper understanding of its ways! At the end of your tour, continue with your guide to your next experience. (Includes a private one-way transfer from your hotel by Venetian boat with an English-speaking assistant, and a 90-minute private rowing lesson in a traditional batellina boat).

Ombre e Cicchetti

Together with your guide, set out on a grand tour of ombre e Cicchetti—early evening drinks and light appetizers. Stop off at a series of lively, local pubs a few hours before dinner for a taste of prosecco, spritz or a famous Bellini cocktail, accompanied by delicious light Venetian appetizers, such as baccalà mantecato—a tasty codfish dish—marinated seafood, prosciutto and a wonderful variety of other specialties. Experience this uniquely Venetian way of welcoming the evening, as you stroll from one pub to the other through the enchanting streets and romantic canals of the fairytale city! At the end of your tour, return to your hotel for an evening at leisure. (Includes a 2-hour tour with a private English-speaking guide and tastings; transportation is not included).

Day Nine – Depart Italy

Private transfer from Hotel TBA in Venice to Venice VCE AirportAfter checkout, meet your private English-speaking assistant in the lobby of your hotel and be transferred by a Venetian boat and Mercedes vehicle to Venice Marco Polo Airport for your departing flight. (Includes a private transfer by Venetian boat with an English-speaking assistant and Mercedes vehicle with an English-speaking driver).

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