Romantic Venice and Majestic Lake Como
SPLENDORS OF EUROPE offers this one week luxury escorted tour to Italy featuring romantic Venice and Lake Como. This is a small group tour of Italy that includes walking tours and excursions which highlight Italy’s wonderful architecture, art, history, churches, palaces, villas, and museums, and its scenic lakes and mountains. This tour has a regional focus in northern Italy and provides outstanding in-depth cultural and grand gourmet culinary experiences. Two professional escorts ensure that everyone in our small group of 12 or less has a personally rewarding experience. Travel in Italy is by first class train. This tour includes visits to the best sights in Venice, Bellagio and along Lake Como. The tour also includes Milan. Explore Venice and Lake Como with SPLENDORS OF EUROPE and you’ll enjoy elegant and romantic experiences daily on this tour. You'll have the best vacation trip ever. Visit the hotel, restaurant, and tour photo galleries at the end of this page.
Built on 117 islets, this 1500 year old city was once an economic powerhouse enjoying its privileged location to control trade. With wealth came lavish architecture and great works of art assembled by a populous that was obsessed with opulence, and luxury. Venice survived largely intact and unchanged. The ancient glass industry and lace industry that started here both continue on today with great artistic style. The myriad of canals, and miles of Renaissance facades results in a most romantic setting. You will enjoy great art treasures, extraordinary architecture and a romantic gondola ride. You’ll enjoy the wonderful ambiance of intimate cafés and elegant restaurants that will serve you gourmet cuisine while watching Venetian life unfold on the Grand Canal.
THE LAKE COMO REGION and the ALPS
Palatial villas, charming old world towns, terraced gardens and untiring views all come together at Lake Como, Europe’s deepest lake. This marvelous Lake in northern Italy has Europe’s best combination of beautiful scenery and masterpiece architecture. This gorgeous region benefits from an elegant Italian architectural style and the magnificent setting created by the Alps tumbling into pristine Lake Como. You’ll cruise on the lake, stroll in exquisite gardens, explore enchanted villas, and dine enjoying unparalleled views.
9 Day Itinerary
SATURDAY - International flight to Venice
SUNDAY - Arrive at Venice Marco Polo Airport. Travel to Venice.WHS Your host/guides greet you at Marco Polo Airport near Venice. Here we take a motor launch across the lagoon and arrive in Venice by boat. We check you in at our Venetian hotel. Relax and get acquainted with your beautiful hotel, your hosts, and fellow travelers before lunch at a local restaurant.
This afternoon we take you on an orientation walk around Venice. We go to the Piazza San Marco, where we take the elevator up the 300 foot Campinella de San Marc bell tower and get a bird’s eye view of the island. On a clear day you can see all the way to the Alps.
Next we visit the Basilica di San Marco, an opulent church of Byzantine and Romanesque styles.
The church contains some of the best mosaics in the world and a wide collection of treasures that were purchased and looted from other eastern cities during the middle ages.After we relax in a café.
Tonight we enjoy cocktails before a gourmet welcome dinner in Venice. Why not take a romantic stroll through the narrow streets near our hotel before retiring for the evening. L+D
MONDAY - Venice
This morning we start at the Piazza San Marco the heart of Venice and enjoy the rich architecture that surrounds it. We visit the Doges Palace, an extravagant Gothic Renaissance palace that symbolizes the glory days of Venice. Inside we enjoy the ornately decorated walls and ceilings covered by works of great artists including the world’s largest oil painting, the 23x75 foot Paradise by Jacopo Tintoretto.
We see the prison where Casanova was held before his daring escape.
After our visit of the palace, we take pleasure in a wonderful lunch overlooking the canals.
Next we visit Museo Correr and trace the history of Venice through paintings, maps, coins, statues and art works. See the famous painting of a young man in a red hat by Carpaccio (c1490).
The remainder of the afternoon your free to self discover Venice.
Tonight your free for dinner with numerous fine restaurants many offering wonderful views. B+L
TUESDAY - Enjoy Romantic Venice, and the Grand Canal
This morning we visit Ca d'Oro, a lovely Gothic palace adored with marble and ornaments once covered by gold.
We take the vaporetto down the length of the Grand Canal enjoying perhaps the best view in town.
We stop at the Rialto Bridge, a picturesque land mark in the center of Venice. We visit the shops that operate on and near the bridge. We enjoy lunch at one of the nearby restaurants with a wonderful view of the canal traffic and the bridge.
After lunch we enjoy a romantic gondola ride through the canals of Venice.
Many more fascinating sites remain in Venice for you to explore on your own. Your hosts will assist you to make selections. Shopping is an adventure with many remarkable boutiques to discover.
Consider the Accademia Gallery for example which houses the most magnificent collection of Venetian art in the world. Here you’ll see the massive Feast in the House of Levi by Veronese, and the famous Tempest by Giorgione.
A gourmet dinner is enjoyed our last evening in Venice. A romantic evening stroll is a must. B+L+D
WEDNESDAY - Lake Como and Bellagio
We leave Venice this morning for enchanted Bellagio. We travel by first class train to Milan where we board the train to Como. Lunch is enjoyed on Board. In Como we board the ferry for a cruise on Lake Como to Bellagio.
Bellagio located on the small peninsula in the center of Lake Como has been voted the most beautiful village in Europe. We check into our hotel near the lake. This enchanted spot has been a favorite of European royalty for over a century.
This afternoon we visit the small town of Bellagio. This evening your at your leisure experience the romantic beauty of Bellagio at night. Tonight we enjoy dinner al fresco with a view of the lake. In Bellagio an orchestra frequently plays on the wharf providing an invitation to dance under the stars.B+D
THURSDAY- Discover Lake Como, Visit Villa Carlotta
Today we take an excursion across Lake Como enjoying the splendid views of the exquisite villas and the majestic mountains.
We visit Villa Carlotta, built in the Italian style by Marquis Clerici in the XVIII century. We enjoy the gardens and the villa with its exceptional works of art.
For lunch we dine on the lovely terrace of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo with views Bellagio across the lake. This afternoon we cross the lake again where we visit the exceptional gardens of Villa Melzi.
You are free to enjoy dinner and the evening at your leisure. B+L
FRIDAY- SCENIC DRIVE with visits to Villa Este and Villa Balbianello.
Today we make a scenic drive along Lake Como. We stop for a lovely lunch in the garden at the magnificent Villa D’Este.WHS
After lunch we proceedup the coast to the little village of Lenno. Here we take a motor launch arriving at the Villa Balbianello.
Villa Balbianello is the most enchanting villa in Italy with breath taking views, magnificent stone staircases, terraces and statues. We explore the enchanting gardens and the villa.
We enjoy an exceptional lunch in the garden at the celebrated Villa D’Este.
This evening we savor an elegant dinner on the terrace at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni and enjoy the ambiance of one of the best hotels in Europe.
SATURDAY – Milan, Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, The Last Supper
We leave Lake Como this morning for some exceptional venues in Milan.
We arrive at our hotel in Milan where we enjoy lunch at a favorite local restaurant.
This afternoon, we go to the Santa Maria dele Grazie and see the world’s most famous fresco, The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci.WHS
Next we visit the Duomo, Italy’s largest Gothic structure that took 500 years to complete.
It’s a fantastic cathedral. The building is adorned with 2245 marble statues, and has a capacity of 40,000! It is the second largest church in the world. We marvel at the largest stained glass windows in the world and enjoy the view of Milan from the roof.
Next we visit the Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle where we enjoy refreshments in one of the fine cafés. The fines shops are a pleasure to explore.
We complete our tour of Milan with a visit to La Scala, the most famous opera house in the world.
Alas our tour is over and we head for our hotel and enjoy cocktails before dinner where we regale about our splendid tour in Italy.B+L+D
SUNDAY - Transfer to Milan Linate or Malpensa Airport and your return flight home or extend your stay in Europe with the next tour. B