Depart the United States on an overnight flight bound for Venice, Italy.
Benvenuto in Italia! Upon arrival in Venice, you will load up your rental car and drive off into the Italian countryside to reach Padua, one of the oldest cities in Northern Italy. After dropping your bags at your hotel, you may choose to step outside right onto the Via Belludi, the perfect channel to guide you to some of the best sites Padua has to offer.
Pick up your tickets and be welcomed into the Scrovegni Chapel by elaborate paintings coating the walls and ceilings that tell stories of the Virgin Mary and Christ. This masterpiece from Pre-Renaissance artist, Giotto di Bondone, will feel almost like a less-traveled Sistine Chapel in all its glory.
Today, you will travel to Corvara, and along your route you may choose to stop in the National Park of the Belluno Dolomites to traverse its breathtaking landscape of lakes, waterfalls, and mountain peaks. No matter how rugged you choose to make your journey, your hotel in Corvara will be waiting for you with a sauna and cozy cafe.
This morning, you may choose to drive to Bolzano, a destination that delightfully melds a medieval city center with a backdrop of soaring mountains and lush greenery. On your way back to Corvara, be sure to stop and witness the emerald green Lake Carezza.
Those who crave more stunning natural scenery may choose to spend the day hiking the jagged Tre Cime di Lavaredo. For those less inclined to the outdoors, you may choose to visit charming Cortina.
Today, you may choose to head back toward Bolzano and explore some of the surrounding gems. See as little or as much as you want at your own pace, with options ranging from Castel Roncolo embedded in the cliffs to the tiny mountain village of Colle.
Day 8: Travel to Riva del Garda
Drive through the mountains to Riva del Garda, a tranquil town perched on the northern shore of Lake Garda. Drop your bags and head out to discover the beauty of this community. In the evening, return to your hotel, grab a drink at the bar, and enjoy a sprawling lake view from the comfort of your own room.
To experience Lake Garda from a different angle, you may choose to use the day to drive over to Limone. Ascend the cliffs and visit Limonaia del Castel to wander through the old lemon gardens and terraces overlooking the historic center.
Cruise along the water of Lake Garda, passing by monuments like Scaligero Castle and the Catullo Grottos. Your boat trip will make two long stops at the towns of Sirmione and Bardolino for the opportunity to explore and find lunch.
Day 11: Travel to Verona via Malcesine
Have one last glimpse of Lake Garda by stopping in Malcesine and riding the rotating cable car to the top of Monte Baldo before continuing on to Verona. Upon arrival in the city made famous by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, settle into your hotel with dinner at the restaurant.
Day 12: Valpolicella Wine Tour
Journey into the “valley of many cellars”, Valpolicella, and discover the creation of acclaimed Amarone, made from rare corvina grapes. The first stop on your private tour will be at winery for some tastings. From there, you will wind your way along green hills and find the stone church of San Giorgio di Valpolicella before reaching your second and final winery for another round of tastings.
Day 13: Travel to Guarene
Drive from Verona to Guarene, where you will stay at 18th century castle overlooking the UNESCO-preserved Langhe hills. You may choose to roam the grounds and swim in the pool of the underground spa or return to your car and go to explore the wondrous nearby town of Alba.
Through this private tour you will not only be offered the chance to taste world-class wine, but also appreciate finest of Piedmont’s culture. Stop at the first producer for a tour and tastings before going to lunch at one of the region’s top restaurants. Afterwards you will head to the second producer for another tour and tasting before concluding with an apperitivo at a local bar.
You may choose to extend your knowledge of the Piedmont region by driving to Monferrato and Gavi. Admire the castles and rolling hills of Monferrato, stop for lunch in Casale Monferrato, and indulge in the fine white wines of Gavi before circling back to Guarene.
Day 16: Travel to Bellagio
Depart from the Piedmont region bound for Bellagio, the pearl of Lake Como. Once your reach your hotel, unpack before using the afternoon to explore the waterside gem of a village all around you. This evening, bask in the serenity of Lake Como from the comfort of your own hotel room, lounging on your balcony with a glass of wine in hand.
Board your water taxi for a tour of Lake Como’s other sights, from the town of Tremezzo to Villa Balbianello, accessible only by water and featured in blockbusters like Casino Royale and Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones.
Begin your day with a cup of coffee and visit to a restaurant’s herb garden with an esteemed chef before they lead you inside and instruct you on how to turn ingredients into Italian masterpieces like risotto and ravioli. After eating the lunch you just made, you will receive a diploma and the recipes so you will always be able to recreate a piece of your trip in your own home kitchen.
Say farewell to Italy as you make your way to the airport for your flight back to the United States.