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Walking the Italian Lakes: Tranquil Waters at the Foot of the Alps

Program Number: 17290RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/2/2013 - 6/13/2013; 9/21/2014 - 10/2/2014; 10/5/2014 - 10/16/2014; 4/19/2015 - 4/30/2015; 5/3/2015 - 5/14/2015; 5/17/2015 - 5/28/2015; 9/20/2015 - 10/1/2015; 10/4/2015 - 10/15/2015;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: Italy
Price starting at: $3,485.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 27; 10 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian    

Northern Italy is ringed by a series of lakes whose blue waters and Mediterranean vegetation frame a vista of snowcapped peaks trimmed with olive and dark cypress trees and dotted with traditional villas clinging to the hillsides. On expert-led walks, discover the history, culture and architecture of these areas while learning about the geology, flora and fauna behind their unmatched natural beauty.




Highlights

• Expert-led walks take you along the shores of beautiful lakes and through charming villages.
• Partake in aspects of local culture, such as learning to play the Italian game of bocce.
• Learn to prepare authentic local cuisine during a hands-on cooking class.



Activity Particulars

Walking 4-8 miles (3-5 hours) per day; relaxed pace, frequent stops; up and downhill over uneven terrain, well-marked trails, roads, some valleys and meadows, areas around lakes and rivers. Sturdy walking/hiking shoes are required (ankle-high shoes are not required, but highly recommended).



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Milan; coach to Stresa, 4 nights; coach to Menaggio, 5 nights; coach to Milan, 1 night; departure.



Overnight flight from U.S.
1 night
Arrival Milan
Coach to Stresa
4 nights

Its views of the Borromean Islands and location under majestic Monte Mottarone make the small lakeside resort of Stresa Maggiore’s most beautiful town. Venture onto trails around Stresa, Monte Mottarone, Lake d’Orta, Magognino and Monte Croce. On a boat excursion to the Isola Bella, step back in time at the Borromean Palace and enjoy nature at the sacred hilltop sanctuary of Monte d’Orta. Lectures address local history, highlights along the trail and area culture, including how to play the game of bocce.



Coach to Menaggio
5 nights
Coach to Milan
1 night
Departure

Menaggio’s mild lake climate favors the growth of exotic flora in the parks and villa gardens. Walking field trips and lectures take you along the shores of Lakes Lugano and Como, through the mountain villages of Breglia, Stampa, Soglio and Castasegna, and into the towns of Lugano, Gandria, and Como. While in Bellagio learn to cook in the true Italian way in a hands-on cooking lesson.




Italy

“Dolce far niente,” the “sweetness of doing nothing.” This ode to leisure is a distinctly Italian phrase, and yet the expression does not do justice to the hard-work ethos of the nation’s inhabitants. The monuments, art and civilization bequeathed to the people of modern Italy are a testament to the industry of their forebearers, and the legacy lives on in today’s Italians, who work hard to better enjoy the sweetness of repose.



Accommodations
Stresa: Family-owned three-star hotel in heart of quaint lake village. Menaggio: Three-star hotel in center of town on Lake Como with fantastic views of lake. Milan: Airport hotel.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Ristornate Fiorentino
  Stresa, Italy 4 nights
   Hotel Bellavista
  Menaggio, Italy 5 nights
   Novotel Milano Malpensa Airport Hotel.
  Malpensa Milan, Italy 1 night
 Hotel Ristornate Fiorentino
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Owned and operated by a local family and is located in the heart of this quaint lake village, and an excellent base for the many sights of this Piemonte region. Local and international specialities are served in the high maintained restaurant. 3-star hotel.
  Contact info: Via A.M. Bolongaro, 9
Stresa (VB),  28838 Italy
phone: +39 0-323-3025 4
web: www.hotelfiorentino.com
  Room amenities: TV, phone, hairdryer and AC.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant and garden restaurant, laundry service at a high cost,
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404

 Hotel Bellavista
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Located directly on Lake Como in the center of Menaggio with incredible views of the lake, and an excellent location for day and night activity or relaxation. 3-star hotel. Easy access to the ferry boat, water bus, and local bus.
  Contact info: via IV Novembre, 21
Menaggio (Como),  22017 Italy
phone: +39 0-344-3213 6
web: www.hotel-bellavista.org
  Room amenities: TV, telephone, radio, mini-bar, AC, hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: Veranda restaurnat, solarium with swimming pool and terrace. Tea room, bar and internet area (there is a charge).
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Novotel Milano Malpensa Airport Hotel.
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Comfortable, convenient airport hotel.
  Contact info: Via Al Campo Cardano Al Campo
Milano Malpensa,  21010 Italy
phone: +39 0-331-2666 11
  Room amenities: TV, telephone, hairdryer, WI-FI connection.
  Facility amenities: 24-hour cafe, bar, gym, garden and outdoor pool.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Milan Malpensa Airport. Meet your group at 9:30 AM for the group transfer to Stresa (approx. 1 hour). You will be staying at Hotel Ristornate Fiorentino that night.
  End of Program:
Milan, Italy. After breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Novotel Milano Malpensa Airport Hotel. the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the return date to the U.S.
  Parking availability:
Parking at the airport.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Train instructions will be given in final packet.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Stresa
  Nearest airport:  Milan Malpensa
  Transportation to site: 1. Shuttle bus from Malpensa to Gallarate Station: bus services leave from outside Terminal 1 Arrivals area. To Milan Gallarate Station the service runs every twenty minutes from 5:35 am to 7:50 pm. (Fare = EU 1.30) 2. Train from Milan Gallarate to Stresa: train departure times are 12:58 pm, 1:27 pm, 2:01 pm, 2:58 pm until 10 pm. Duration = approximately 30 minutes. (Fare = EU 8.) 3. Taxi ride to Hotel. For persons who would prefer to make the transfer via taxi, the distance is approximately 30 miles, the duration approximately one hour. (Fare = EU 80).
  From End of Program
  Location:  Malpensa Milan
  Transportation from site: The Novotel Milano Malpensa Airport Hotel has a free shuttle bus service which runs between the airport and hotel every 30 minutes from 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM every day.
Elevation Note: A couple days will be walks between 3300-3500 feet.

Equipment Requirements: Sturdy walking/hiking shoes are required (ankle-high shoes are not required, but highly recommended).
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A. to Europe.
(Sunday, June 2)
   
 In Transit: Overnight flight from the U.S.A. to Europe.

Day 2: ARRIVAL DAY IN ITALY
(Monday, June 3)

Note: Orientation stroll in Stresa - 1.5 hours. Field lecture on the Stresa area.



   
 Arrive To: Upon arrival your Group Leader will meet you for the transfer by private coach to Stresa (656 feet, transfer time approx. 1 hour), the site for the first four nights of this program. Depending on arrival time, a light lunch will be served followed by an orientation stroll. Welcome reception and orientation prior to dinner.
 Dinner: Dinner will be taken at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Ristornate Fiorentino
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: MONTE MOTTARONE-ISOLA BELLA
(Tuesday, June 4)

Note: 3.5 hours total walking and visiting (palace) time. Field lecture on Mount Mottarone formation and the Piedmont region.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning ride a cable car to the top of Mount Mottarone (4900 feet) considered one of the most beautiful natural balconies in the whole Piedmont region. Its geographical formation allows your gaze to sweep over 360° from the Po Valley to the summits of the Alps. The visitor's eye is struck by the summit of Monte Rosa and by great views of Lake Maggiore and Lake d’Orta below. Walk on comfortable trails on the top of the mountain and return to Stresa by cable car.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: After lunch take a boat ride to the Borromean Gulf. Excursion to one of these most famous islands, Isola Bella with its 18th century Borromean Palace with a perfectly preserved Baroque garden.
 Dinner: Dinner will be taken at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Ristornate Fiorentino
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: ORTA SAN GIULIO & SACRO MONTE
(Wednesday, June 5)

Note: 3 hours total walking. Field lectures on the history of Orta and the sacred Monte d'Orta.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Today coach to Lake d'Orta and the town of Orta (961 feet) to begin the walking field trip around the picturesque streets of this little town and for an excursion to the sacred Monte d'Orta, a hilltop sanctuary built in 1500 A.D. and located in a special nature reserve.
 Lunch: Picnic money will be provided.
 Afternoon: Independent time in Orta to explore the center of town. Return to Stresa by coach.
 Dinner: Dinner will be taken at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Ristornate Fiorentino
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: MAGOGNINO-HILSIDES OF LAGO MAGGIORE
(Thursday, June 6)

Note: 3.5 hours total walking. Field lecture on the flora and geography of the Monte Croce area.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Today's walk begins right from the hotel. Walk along marked trails through wooded areas on uneven ground and undulating terrain around Monte Croce (1693 feet) and along the wooded hillsides south of Stresa. We will enjoy memorable views of Lago Maggiore.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Belgirate.
 Afternoon: Optional walk to Lesa (one hour). Return to Stresa by public bus.
 Dinner: Dinner will be taken at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Ristornate Fiorentino
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: GANDRIA - MENAGGIO TRANSFER DAY
(Friday, June 7)

Note: 2.5 hours total walking. Introduction field lectures regarding the area of Lake Como and the village of Menaggio.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the Stresa hotel.
 Morning: After breakfast leave Lake Maggiore behind and depart for Lake Como. Enroute there is a stop at Lugano (896 feet) for an effortless walk along the shore of Lago di Lugano to the quaint little village of Gandria.
 Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch at the lakeshore before continuing on by coach.
 Afternoon: Arrive in the afternoon in Menaggio (660 feet), the site for the next five nights. Check-in at the hotel followed by an orientation stroll through the center of town and along the lakeshore.
 Dinner: Dinner will be taken at the hotel.
 Evening: Welcome orientation.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Bellavista
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: SAN DOMENICO-LOVENO
(Saturday, June 8)

Note: 3 hours total walking. Field lectures on the San Domenico "Place of Pilgrimage" and the history of the old and unspoiled village of Loveno.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning take a private coach to Breglia (2500 feet), a small mountain village, to begin the walking field trip on an easy circular trail that leads through the woods to the chapel of San Domenico (2700 feet) with spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. Continue the walk to the Santuario della Madonna di Breglia before returning to the village of Breglia. From here transfer by private coach to Loveno for a walking excursion of this old and unspoiled little village with narrow cobbled streets and noble villas.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local establishment.
 Afternoon: After lunch, join a hands-on introduction to the Boccia game. Return to Menaggio on foot.
 Dinner: Dinner will be taken at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Bellavista
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: VAL BREGAGLIA-SOGLIO-CHIAVENNA
(Sunday, June 9)

Note: 4 hours total walking. Field lecture regarding the "ancient trading routes over the Alps" and Valley of Bregaglia. Another field lecture will inform you of the famous Giacometti brothers (painters and sculptors) in their home town of Stampa.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: A private coach excursion on one of the ancient trading routes over the Alps leads away from the Lakes and over the border to Switzerland into the Valley of Bregaglia with its lovely landscape, characteristic houses and architectural monuments, testimonies of the once significant history of the valley. Stop at Stampa (3300 feet) where the famous Giacometti brothers (painters and sculptors) called home, from here walk on a rough goat trail with high uneven steps to Soglio (3600 feet), the most graceful village in the area, located on a sun terrace high above the valley offering memorable views.
 Lunch: Picnic on the trail.
 Afternoon: Continue the field trip down to Castasegna (2260 feet) at the border of Switzerland and Italy. Return to Menaggio by private coach with a stop at Chiavenna (1100 feet), geographical, cultural and economic center of the area.
 Dinner: Dinner will be taken at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Bellavista
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: COMO-CITTADELLA SETA
(Monday, June 10)

Note: 2 hours of total walking. Field lecture will inform you of the history, culture and economics of Como.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning transfer by private coach to Como (653 feet). Upon arrival at la'Citta' della Seta', the silk city presents itself from its charming side with its extensive shore promenade, the Roman quarter in the back, and the Baroque cupola of the Cathedral. City excursion.
 Lunch: Independent lunch today in Como.
 Afternoon: Remainder of day is independent for one’s own interests. Suggestion for an independent activity; ride by funicular to Brunate (2350 feet) for more impressive views of the surrounding mountains, ice capped peaks of the Alps, and Lake Como. Tickets for the independent return by bus back to Menaggio will be provided.
 Dinner: Dinner will be taken at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Bellavista
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: MENAGGIO-BELLAGIO
(Tuesday, June 11)

Note: 3 hours total walking. Field lecture on Bellagio, the "Pearl of Lake Como", and the garden of the Villa Melzi, and a hands-on experience and lecture on Italian cuisine.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Leave Menaggio by ferry boat to quaint Bellagio for a cooking class at a typical agriturismo. Our walk starts from Bellagio and leads through small hamlets and a forest of chestnut trees. After some uphill walking we reach our destination, "Baita Belvedere". We will be taught how to prepare a typical farmer's meal and will enjoy our lunch while overlooking the beautiful bay of Bellagio.
 Lunch: Lunch at "Baita Belvedere".
 Afternoon: In the afternoon you may decide to be transported to Bellagio or join the optional walk back to Bellagio (2 hours). Free time in Bellagio and individual return by ferry back to Menaggio.
 Dinner: Farewell drink and dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Bellavista
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: VILLA CARLOTTA-TRANSFER TO MILAN AIRPORT HOTEL
(Wednesday, June 12)

Note: 2.5 hours total walking and visiting time. Field lecture on Villa Carlotta with its botanical park. Approximate transfer time to the Milan airport hotel: 2 hours.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel in Menaggio.
 Morning: On our last morning transfer by public bus for a visit of the famous Villa Carlotta, a classical mansion from the end of the 17th century with an extensive botanical garden. Return to Menaggio by public bus.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel in Menaggio.
 Afternoon: Transfer by private coach to the Malpensa airport hotel. Remainder of the day is independent, the Group Leader will be able to assist you with ideas and transportation into the city center.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
   
Accommodations: Novotel Milano Malpensa Airport Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12: Departures.
(Thursday, June 13)
   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Independent shuttles to the airport for your flight back to the U.S.A.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


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