A trip to Northern Italy is a trip to one of Italy’s most beautiful and romantic regions. Milan, Italy's second-largest city, is a world capital of art and design. Whether experimenting with better ways to lay paint on walls, as with The Last Supper (an experiment that, admittedly, was not entirely successful) or developing better ways to help people spend their money on fashion, as with the glass-vaulted Vittorio Emmanuele II shopping arcade, Milan takes the lead in innovation. From there you’ll move to the more leisurely pace of the lake region, at Lake Maggiore, Lake Como, and in the beautiful town of Bellagio. Then it's on to Verona and Venice – a couple of the world’s most romantic cities, at least according to Shakespeare. Your tour of Northern Italy is a springboard for your next trip here, with the help of your friends at Your Own Italy.
• Private Mercedes transfers to and from the airport and train stations
• Business class seats on high-hpeed trains
• English-speaking tour guide throughout
• 10 nights’ accommodation. Your choice of apartments in historic center in Milan - 3 nights, Como - 2 nights, Verona – 2 nights and Venice – 3 nights
• Private Walking tour of Milan with visit to see The Last Supper
• Day excursion to Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands
• DayeExcursion on Lake Como to Bellagio and Villa Balbianello
• Private walking tour of Verona
• Introduction to Venice walking tour with gondola ride
• Private tour of San Marco, the Marciana Library, the Clock Tower and the Doge’s Palace
• Private boat tour of the islands of Murano and Burano with glass-making demonstration.
DAY 1: Private Transfer from Milan’s Airport and Introductory Tour of Milan
On arrival you’ll be met and transferred by private car to your hotel in the heart of the Milan, a global capital of art and design and Italy's second largest city, after Rome. Once you are relaxed from your travels, your guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you on an introductory walking tour of what is considered Italy’s most stylish city. A high point of this introductory tour is the alluring Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a 19th century glass-vaulted shopping arcade known as the "salotto di Milano," or "Milan’s drawing room" A meeting point for the people of Milan since its construction, it is filled with fashionable shops and cafes – and really gives an American shopping mall a run for its money, at least in terms of design, if not price.
DAY 2: Tour of Milan’s Unique Sites
Your guide will pick you up at your hotel for a tour of Milan’s best sites. The first stop is the medieval Sforza Castle, once the seat and residence of Milan’s (in)famous ruling family and now the home of several of the city’s museums and art collections. At the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie you will see Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, one of the world’s most famous works of art in the world and not easy to see on your own. After lunch, you will tour the Duomo, a large and striking gothic cathedral with 135 spires and 3,200 statues - let's hear it for public works projects! Your walking tour will end at Milan's opera house, the world-renowned La Scala Theater. Built in 1778, while George Washington was cooling his heels in Valley Forge, inaugurated with an opera by Antonio Salieri of anti-Mozart fame, and still in use today, La Scala epitomizes, in bricks and mortar, the glory of Western classical and romantic music.
DAY 3: Day Excursion to Borromean Islands
Take a day off from the hustle and bustle of the city! Stunning Lake Maggiore is just over an hour by private car from Milan. At the lake, located at the foot of the Alps and straddling the border with Switzerland, a private boat will take you and your private guide to the Borromean Islands, a group of three small islands and two islets that boast beautiful sixteenth century palaces and gardens in a picturesque setting.
DAY 4: Transfer to Como
Your departure from Milan to Lake Como should take about 90 minutes by private car. After arriving at your lakefront hotel, you will have the rest of the day to explore the charming medieval heart of town. Lake Como has been a popular retreat for aristocrats and wealthy people since Roman times, and is now a popular tourist destination, offering multiple artistic and cultural attractions. Its many villas, palaces, and homes of the famous and infamous hugging the shores of the lake, as well as its splendid microclimate, has earned it a reputation as the most beautiful lake in the world.
DAY 5: Day Excursion on Lake Como and to Bellagio
In the morning, you’ll set off with your private guide and captain to explore Lake Como in more detail. One of the highlights of your tour will be a visit to Villa Balbianello, the stunning lakeside retreat where the James Bond film "Casino Royale" was filmed. After this you’ll head to Bellagio, a village on a promontory jutting out into the lake, often referred to as the "pearl of the lake" and known for its cobbled lanes, elegant buildings, and Villa Serbelloni Park, an 18th-century terraced garden with lake views. Nearby are the Tower of the Arts, a venue for exhibitions and performances, and the romanesque church of San Giacomo. Close to rocky Loppia Beach, the Museum of Navigational Instruments displays sundials and compasses. You will return, by boat, to your hotel.
DAY 6: Transfer to Verona with Visit to Wine-Producing Villa
Departing from Lake Como by private car, you will head east to Verona, a journey of approximately two hours. On the way you’ll stop for lunch and wine at a wine-producing villa near Verona, where you will find, once again, that you can't get a bad meal in Italy. Your hotel will be in the lovely historic center of Verona, famous among English-speakers as the setting of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” A 14th-century residence with a tiny balcony overlooking a courtyard may be either a house that Shakespeare saw in Italy during a secret Grand Tour of the continent and that inspired him to write his play or, more likely, an enterprising Italian's idea of what the Capulet balcony might have looked like. In any case, it's pretty.
DAY 7: Tour of Verona
Verona is an exceptionally romantic city with a rich architectural heritage. It is strategically set at the crossing of two vital trade routes on the Adige River, and has been an important cultural and commercial hub since the third century. Today, Verona’s streets reveal that rich, multi-layered history, with a medieval core, a labyrinth of cobbled laneways, and grand squares with ancient Roman structures, all of which you will take in during your three-hour, private guided walking tour of Verona. The most complete of its ancient structures is the still-functioning first-century Roman amphitheater, smack in the center of the city, where Verona's renowned summer opera festival is held every year.
DAY 8: Transfer to Venice and Tour of Hidden Venice
You be driven to Venice by private car. Upon arrival, your guide will meet and lead you to a private taxi-boat for your entrance on the Grand Canal into one of the most unique cities in the world. Your private walking tour of the labyrinth also known as “hidden Venice” will introduce you to the city's piazzas ("campi" in Venetian), shops and cafés and culminate with a glide along the city's canals. If you wish, a tenor will join your gondola ride and sing opera as you sip on a glass of wine.
DAY 9: Tour of Venice’s Unique Sites
Your private tour guide will introduce you to the main attractions of this most unique city, including the Piazza San Marco (famous for its winter flooding), the rich and almost ostentatious St. Mark's Basilica, and the Doge’s palace, the fourteenth century building from which the Venetian republic exerted control over the surrounding area. Passing through the famous Bridge of Sighs, you will reach the New Prison, which may cause visitors to wonder just how bad the Old Prison was. Your tour will culminate with a climb to the top of the prison bell tower for magnificent views of the city.
DAY 10: Explore Murano and Burano
You will be picked up at the dock of your hotel by a private boat and sped along the Venetian Lagoon to two islands famous for their handicrafts and architecture: Murano and Burano.
Known for its glassware shops and factories, Murano boasts a long and still-thriving tradition of glass-making dating back to 1291, when artisans moved their kilns from the old city center. At a glass factory you can watch a skilled glassblower create works of art, at a museum you can survey the history of the craft, and throughout the island you can admire the magnificence of Murano’s Veneto-Byzantine-style palaces and churches, some with mosaics and ornamental motifs designed in the 12th century; if the weather cooperates, you can catch a glimpse of San Michele, Venice’s 19th-century cemetery, across the water. The island of Burano, in contrast, is marked by brightly-painted fishermen’s cottages and has been famous, since the sixteenth century, for its lace, once considered the most refined in Europe. Browse local shops and find lace on display at a museum dedicated to the craft of lace. Lunch will be at a restaurant on the canal with the colorful backdrop of the fuchsia, blue, and vibrant yellow houses that characterize this lovely island town.
DAY 11: Departure
Your guide will meet you at your hotel and accompany you by private boat to Venice’s airport for departure. We salute you with a warm and heartfelt “arrivederci.” See you again! Now that you’ve traveled with us, know that you have friends here in Your Own Italy.
• St. Mark’s basilica may be closed due to high water or religious ceremonies. When it is open with high water, skip-the-line tickets will not be accepted, as there will be only one means of ingress to the church. Guaranteed skip-the-line entrance to St. Mark’s Basilica is available only from April to October.
• There is a dress code for churches and basilicas. Shoulders and knees must be covered; shorts, miniskirts and sleeveless shirts are not permitted. It is recommended that you not take large bags or backpacks on tours that include churches, as storage accommodations are not always available.
• This tour takes place in a historical area and is not fully accessible for wheelchair users or those with walking limitations. Please contact us directly and we will devise alternative routes suitable for you.
• Please wear comfortable footwear as the tours on your vacation involve a lot of walking.
• Contact Your Own Italy for customization options on your vacation.
• Refer to our website for details on our Cancellation Policy.
- When should we start planning our trip?
- Ideally, we ask for at least 3 months' advance notice, especially in the high season (May to September). Arrangements can be made on shorter notice, but you run the risk of missing out on the availability of our favorite hotels and guides. We want the best for our clients, and the more time we have, the more we can guarantee just that.
- What are YOI's payment terms?
- For our customized vacations, we require a 20% deposit upon approval of the itinerary we have presented to you. The balance is due 30 days prior to your arrival date.
- What happens after I've made a reservation through your website?
- Upon submitting your reservation through our website, you will be provided with a voucher with a reservation number that will be used for payment by credit card on the online portal of Blue Pay, our credit card processor.
- Should I purchase travel insurance?
- We strongly encourage you to buy travel insurance at the time of booking, in the event you must cancel and forfeit funds or in the unfortunate case of injury or loss. We also recommend checking with your credit card company, which may offer travel coverage.
- What kind of information will we receive before our trip?
- Approximately one month prior to your departure date, you will receive a Your Own Italy travel packet consisting of a detailed day-to-day itinerary, our list of recommended restaurants, a “Helpful Hints Guide” for Italy, and your specific destinations, plus detailed information and contacts for your accommodations, tours, excursions, and transportation.
- Can you give me a cost breakdown of my customized vacation and what is included?
- The vacations we create are bundled packages and therefore we do not provide a cost breakdown. Our local suppliers often give us a bundled price for the services provided and so we do the same for our clients. We arrange for all your accommodations, transportation, local tour guides, restaurant reservations, and any other fun activities and experiences from the moment you arrive until the day of your departure.