7/15 New York City To Milan
(air arrangements on own)
The Duomo, majestically overlooking the large eponymous piazza, is unquestionably one of the major symbols of Milan, together with the Teatro alla Scala and the Castello Sforzesco. However, the city centre, which has long been identified with the economy and finance of Piazza degli Affari, has a lot more to offer visitors: to the eastern side of the piazza lies Corso Vittorio Emanuele which is one of the city’s busiest shopping thoroughfares ; to the north is the stunning Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Milan’s sitting room; to the south, via Torino, a major commercial artery from which narrow and picturesque streets branch off leading to enticing tucked-away corners of Milan; then to the west is the medieval Piazza dei Mercanti and the scenic Via Dante from which visitors can admire the Castello Sforzesco.
July 16 Car Rental Milan - return July 30
Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Lakes in the World, Lake Como, also called "il Lario", is about 46 kilometers (29 miles) long with a maximum depth of 400 meters. The characteristic Y-shaped Lario makes it even more recognizable than many other lakes.
The city of Como is the capital of the Province of Como and it is the perfect starting point to explore many locations around the Lake. Once in Lake Como, a unique experience is to take time to get to know the towns and villages all around the lake and on the surrounding mountains. Bellagio, Varenna, Cernobbio, Torno, Menaggio, Argegno are some of the most famous locations, but there are many others places to discover. A tour of the Lake is a must, preferably by boat, in order to see beautiful villas not visible from the street.
Lake Como is also famous around the world for its luxury villas and gardens. In spring, neoclassical Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo offers to visitors a mangnificent spectacle of rhododendros and azaleas. Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, "the pearl of lake", is the place to breathe history, art and culture of a glorious past when Leonardo da Vinci, poet Giuseppe Parini and Queen Victoria used to spend their time here. Villa Melzi's gardens (open from March 25th to October 31st) are worth a visit, especially in fair weather. The mountains surroundings Lake Como offer many hiking and climbing opportunities, and also walking trails for everyone. In the warmer seasons, the lake is also a place to swim and play watersports: from surfing to kite surfing, to swimming, sailing and wakeboarding. An increasing popularity of street and mountain biking is creating more and more opportunities to enjoy the Lake and explore its territory.
7/19 Drive from Milan to Venice
"Known as the 'Queen of the Adriatic' this magical floating city is like no other! Take a stroll through St. Mark's Square, sit at a sidewalk café and enjoy the view as you take in the magnificent Basilica. Tour the surrounding island of Murano, famous throughout the world for its colorful and elaborate glassmaking. No trip would be complete without a gondola ride along the Grand Canal, so sit back and prepare to be romanced! Let us create your own Venetian Escape with your choice of hotel, sightseeing tours and transfers."
Accommodation for 3 nights: July 19 – 22
7/22 Transfer Venice to Siena
But first thing’s first. Where exactly is Tuscany anyway? If your points of reference end at Florence’s Duomo and “Under the Tuscan Sun”, there’s more to know! Besides the Renaissance splendor of Florence, Siena is a popular city (and also a province in its own right), with a strong medieval presence and a fabulous Gothic cathedral. Nestled in the sun-soaked landscape between Florence and Siena is the countryside of Chianti, the place to be for wine tastings and a lovely drive through its world-famous vineyards. Also in the hills around this area are the characteristic towns of San Gimignano (the city of medieval towers), Volterra (the ancient Etruscan walled town) and Monteriggioni (a pretty town organized inside its circular walls).
Going west from Florence, you have the iconic Square of Miracles in Pisa, as well as the attractive and walkable center of Lucca. But also don’t pass by the pretty city centers of Prato and Pistoia, the sophisticated Terrazza Mascagni promenade in the port city of Livorno, or miss out on the thermal waters in the town of Montecatini Terme. To the east of Siena, you will find the lovely, artistic cities of Cortona and Arezzo.
The less-visited southern region of Tuscany includes coastal Maremma, with a wild and rugged reputation, as well as charming hill towns waiting to be explored. The Val d’Orcia, on the UNESCO World Heritage list, blends striking natural scenery with art, gastronomy and vino. Particular products include cacio pecorino from Pienza, Val d'Orcia honey, extra-virgin olive oil from Castiglione d'Orcia, the salames of Cinta Senese, as well as mushrooms and truffles, and of course, the world-renowned Brunello di Montalcino wines. Montalcino and Montepulciano provide gorgeous medieval scenes, and you can discover the Etruscan heritage in the town of Chiusi.
Accommodation for 4 nights: July 22 – 26
7/26 Drive to Santa Margherita
At Santa Margherita, both maritime scenery and sensational hillside views can be enjoyed. Santa Margherita Ligure is situated on the Levante Riviera of Liguria, in the eastern part of the Portofino peninsula and it is the furthest inland area of the Golf of Tigullio. This province, which is located about 35 km (22 miles) from Genoa, is surrounded by hills, covered with Mediterranean foliage, on which villages and gardens can be found that allow stunning views of the Costa dei Delfini which surrounds the town of Portofino.
The harbour is used for mooring luxurious motor boats next to traditional fishing boats. It is also the location for important maritime sports activities, such as sailing, rowing and scuba diving, and of social events such as the hosting of great international regattas.
The landscape – preserved as much as possible from major alterations through building expansion – tells the complete story of the city and of a hard-working and strong community. This facet shows itself in the cyclopean work of using big, irregular stone blocks for the terracing of bordered terrains to make the most of olive cultivations, and in the cobbled paving of the streets that climb up and across the hills, as well as in the last surviving, traditional olive presses and in small, isolated country houses.
Accommodation for 4 nights: July 26 – 30
Created with images by rmac8oppo - "lake como northern" • randyjournalism - "water nature travel" • Walle1886 - "lake como italy mountains" • Crava_Emanuele - "lake como door palma" • Robert Tudor - "untitled image" • Burghard - "lake como basant di como menaggio italy" • Jānis Skribāns - "untitled image" • Annie Spratt - "The historic Grand Canal, Venice" • nouveaumonde34 - "carnival of venice mask of venice masks" • Pietro De Grandi - "untitled image" • Mentor_Henry - "venice italy bridge sea times travel venice" • Robin Joshua - "Il Redentore Venice" • Isabella McKenzie - "untitled image" • MikeGoad - "church on the rock saint malo malo" • Domenico Loia - "Warm Tones in Siena" • Ricardo Gomez Angel - "untitled image" • stux - "pulpit lion dom" • Websi - "italy tuscany siena" • Kai Pilger - "untitled image"