Road Scholar : Home
Walking the Italian Lakes: Tranquil Waters at the Foot of the Alps

Program Number: 17290RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/18/2014 - 5/29/2014; 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: $3,424.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 26; 10 Breakfasts, 7 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 Ristorante Fiorentino
  Stresa, Italy 4 nights
   Hotel Bellavista
  Menaggio, Italy 5 nights
   Novotel Milano Malpensa Airport Hotel
  Milan, Italy 1 night
 Hotel Ristorante Fiorentino
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: For three generations, the Hotel Ristorante Fiorentino has been owned and operated by a local family in the heart of Stresa. The hotel is in the beautiful Piedmont region, very close to the lake and with a beautiful view of the Borromee Islands.
  Contact info: Via A.M. Bolongaro, 9
Stresa (VB),  28838 Italy
phone: +39 0-323-3025 4
web: www.hotelfiorentino.com
  Room amenities: Each room has a television, telephone, air conditioning, free wireless Internet access and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, garden restaurant, laundry services and free wireless Internet access.
  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
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Hotel Bellavista
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Located on Lake Como in the center of Menaggio, the Hotel Bellavista is a stylish hotel that enjoys a magnificent panoramic view across the heart of the lake. Guests of the Hotel Bellavista have easy access to the ferry boat, water bus and local bus.
  Contact info: via IV Novembre, 21
Menaggio (Como),  22017 Italy
phone: +39 0344 32136
web: www.hotel-bellavista.org
  Room amenities: Each room has a television, telephone, radio, air conditioning, mini bar, safe, free wireless Internet access and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a veranda restaurant, bar, solarium, swimming pool, terrace, tea room and free wireless Internet access throughout the hotel.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Novotel Milano Malpensa Airport Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The four-star Novotel Milano Malpensa Airport Hotel is a modern hotel that offers comfort and convenience to all its guests. It is located 25 miles from the center of Milan and provides a free shuttle to the airport.
  Contact info: Via Al Campo, 99
Cardano Al Campo
Milano Malpensa,  21010 Italy
phone: +39 0331266611
web: www.novotel.com
  Room amenities: Each room has a television, telephone, mini bar, safe, free wireless Internet access and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a 24-hour cafe restaurant, bar, fitness center, outdoor pool and free wireless Internet access.
  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
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Milan Malpensa Airport. Meet your group by 11:00 AM for the group transfer to Stresa (approx. 1 hour). You will be staying at Hotel Ristorante 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.
  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. The bus leaves from outside the Terminal 1 Arrivals area and runs every 20 minutes from 5:35 AM to 7:50 PM. It costs approx. 1.30 Euro. 2. Train from Milan Gallarate to Stresa. Train departure times are 12:58 PM, 1:27 PM, 2:01 PM, 2:58 PM etc., until 10:00 PM. It takes approx. 30 minutes and costs 8 Euro. From here, take a taxi to the hotel which costs about 10 Euro. Alternatively, you may take a taxi to the hotel. The distance is approx. 30 miles, takes about 1 hour, and costs 80 Euro.
  From End of Program
  Location:  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: The highest elevation is Day 8 is between 3300 and 3600 ft.

Equipment Requirements: Sturdy walking/hiking shoes are required (ankle-high shoes are not required, but highly recommended). Please see the "Walking Boots" note for additional information on proper footgear.
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: In Transit
(Sunday, May 18)
   
 In Transit: Overnight flight to Europe.

Day 2: Arrivals
(Monday, May 19)

Note: 1.5 hours total walking.



   
 Arrive To: Meet your group by 11:00 AM for the group transfer (approx. 1 hour) via private coach to Stresa (656 feet).
 Lunch: After check-in, a light lunch will be served.
 Afternoon: Take an orientation walk (1.5 hours) in Stresa. Learn about the Stresa area during the walk. Welcome reception prior to dinner.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Ristorante Fiorentino
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Isola Bella
(Tuesday, May 20)

Note: 5 hours walking and visiting palace time.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning enjoy spectacular views of the Borromean Gulf as you walk along old mule tracks to a medieval tower. Hear a field lecture on the formation of the Borromean Gulf and Piedmont region.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch take a boat ride to the Borromean Gulf. Excursion to one of the most famous islands, Isola Bella, with its 18th-century Borromean Palace and perfectly preserved Baroque garden.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Ristorante Fiorentino
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Orta San Giulio / Sacro Monte
(Wednesday, May 21)

Note: 3 hours total walking.



   
 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. Visit the sacred Monte d'Orta, a hilltop sanctuary built in 1500 A.D. and located in a special nature reserve. Hear field lectures on the history of Orta and the sacred Monte d'Orta.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Enjoy free time this afternoon in Orta to explore the center of town. Return to Stresa by coach.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Ristorante Fiorentino
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Hillsides of Lago Maggiore
(Thursday, May 22)

Note: 3.5 hours total walking. Today's walk will include steep uphill and downhill sections and uneven terrain such as trails with rocks and roots or cobblestone streets.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Today's walk begins right at the hotel. Walk along marked trails through wooded areas, on uneven ground and undulating terrain around Monte Croce (1693 feet), and also along the wooded hillsides south of Stresa. We will enjoy memorable views of Lago Maggiore. Learn about the flora and geographics of the Monte Croce area during a field lecture.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Belgirate.
 Afternoon: Optional walk to Lesa (1 hour). Return back to Stresa by public bus.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Ristorante Fiorentino
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Lago di Lugano / Gandria / Transfer to Menaggio
(Friday, May 23)

Note: 2.5 hours total walking.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the 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 lake shore before continuing by coach.
 Afternoon: Arrive in the afternoon at Menaggio (660 feet). Check-in at the hotel followed by an orientation stroll through the center of town and along the lake shore. A field lecture will introduce you to the area of Lake Como and the village of Managgio.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: Welcome orientation.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Bellavista
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: San Domenico / Loveno
(Saturday, May 24)

Note: 3 hours total walking.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning ride the private coach to Breglia (2650 feet), a small mountain village. 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. Today's field lectures are called "San Domenico: Place of Pilgrimage" and "History of the old and unspoiled village of Loveno."
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch, join a hands-on introduction to the Bocce game. Return to Menaggio on foot.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Bellavista
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Val Bregaglia / Soglio / Chiavenna
(Sunday, May 25)

Note: 4 hours total walking.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Traveling over the Alps on one of the ancient trading routes, a private coach leads us away from the lakes and over the border of Switzerland. Enter 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. 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, the town offers memorable views. Take in a field lecture about the ancient trading routes over the Alps and the Valley of Bregaglia. A second field lecture will inform you of the famous Giacometti brothers and their home town of Stampa.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch. There will be an opportunity to purchase your lunch along the trail at your own expense.
 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 at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Bellavista
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Como / Cittadella Seta
(Monday, May 26)

Note: 2 hours total walking.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning transfer by private coach to Como (653 feet). On arrival at la Cittadella Seta, the silk city presents its charming side with an extensive shore promenade, the Roman quarter in the back and the Baroque cupola of the Cathedral. Enjoy an excursion of this city and hear a field lecture about the history, culture and economics of Como.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Enjoy free time this afternoon in Como. Perhaps you would like to 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 boat back to Menaggio will be provided.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Bellavista
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: Menaggio / Bellagio
(Tuesday, May 27)

Note: 3 hours total walking.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet 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. There will be steep uphill walking over uneven terrain (loose rocks and uneven cobblestone steps) en route to 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. Hear field lectures on Bellagio (the "Pearl of Lake Como"), the garden of the Villa Melzi, and Italian cuisine.
 Lunch: Lunch at la 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 last hotel
(Wednesday, May 28)

Note: 2.5 hours total walking and visiting time.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 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. Hear a field lecture on Villa Carlotta. Return to Menaggio by public bus.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Transfer by private coach to the Novotel Milano Malpensa Airport Hotel. Enjoy some free time for the rest of the afternoon. Your program staff can assist you with ideas of what to see and do, and with transportation into the city center.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
   
Accommodations: Novotel Milano Malpensa Airport Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12: Departures
(Thursday, May 29)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Independent shuttles to the airport for your flight back home.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Menaggio Funicular to Brunate
From Menaggio, the group will be visiting Como for a day. During a free afternoon, you may wish to take a funicular ride to Brunate, where impressive views of the mountains, ice capped peaks and the lake can be seen. Program staff can assist with return boat tickets while on the program.
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.

Suggested Reading List


A Farewell to Arms


Author: Ernest Hemingway


Description: Set in snowy Switzerland and the rainy Italian Lake Country during World War I, this semi-autobiographical novel chronicles the romance between a British nurse and an American ambulance driver.



A Palm for Mrs. Pollifax


Author: Dorothy Gilman


Description: A secret agent like no other, feisty grandmother Mrs. Pollifax goes to Switzerland to track down a missing package of plutonium -- just enough to make a small atomic bomb. Fourth in the series.



A Tramp Abroad


Author: Mark Twain, David Eggers (Introduction), Kerry Driscoll (Introduction)


Description: Written 11 years after Innocents Abroad, this is Twain's second foray into European travel. Filled with his characteristic wit and humorous observations, it documents his journeys through Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy. Now with an introduction by Dave Eggers.



Birds of Europe


Author: Lars Svensson


Description: Featuring 3,500 glorious paintings by Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterstrom, the second edition of this exquisite guide has been updated with revised text and maps.



Cadogan Guide Lombardy & the Italian Lakes


Author: Dana Facaros


Description: Cadogan brings travelers Lombardy and the Italian Lakes in all their glory, from the powerhouse of Milan to the idyllic beauty and tranquility of Lake Garda and the Renaissance cities of the Lombard Plain.



D.H. Lawrence and Italy


Author: D.H. Lawrence


Description: This omnibus Penguin Classics edition includes Lawrence's three travel tales, each very different in tone and all wonderful: Sea and Sardinia is a nostalgic look at traditional ways of life; Twilight in Italy, an evocation of Lawrence's memorable stay on Lake Garda; and Etruscan Places his musings on ancient sites, including the painted tombs of Tarquinia.



Eyewitness Guide Milan and the Lakes


Author: Eyewitness Guides


Description: A superb guide to Milan and the Italian lakes featuring color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a region-by-region synopsis of the area's attractions. Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry.



Hotel du Lac


Author: Anita Brookner


Description: Funny, stylish and spellbinding, Brookner's novel tracks the story of a romance novelist seeking evasive peace and quiet at the luxurious Hotel du Lac in Switzerland.



Italian Lakes Map


Author: Litographia Artistica Cartographica


Description: A detailed map of the Italian lakes region, including Orta, Lugano, Como and Maggiore, at the excellent scale of 1:100,000, produced in Italy.



Italy, A Short History


Author: Harry Hearder


Description: Elegantly written, generous and informative, this compact book takes in the sweep of Italian history from the Roman Republic through the Renaissance, World War II and up to the present.



Killing Dragons, The Conquest of the Alps


Author: Fergus Fleming


Description: Fleming spins lively tales of man against nature in this entertaining history of the eccentrics, adventurers and publicity-hounds who sought to conquer the Alps, including Whymper and his first ascent of the Matterhorn (where four of the seven-man team perished).



La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind


Author: Beppe Severgnini


Description: Italians themselves love this guide to the Italian character, which addresses their never-ending passion for beauty, disorder and high emotion. Severgnini opens the book with a snapshot of the hubbub at Malpensa Airport, then moves on to Tuscany, Rome, Naples and Sardinia.



La Bella Lingua


Author: Dianne Hales


Description: Inebriated with the sounds of Italian, lovesick for its phrases and enamored of its earthy idioms, Hales, "a sensible woman of sturdy Polish stock," dives into the Italian of the piazza, literature, movies and streets in this charming memoir.



La Place de la Concorde Suisse


Author: John McPhee


Description: McPhee deploys his usual insight and wonderful prose on the phenomenon of the Switzerland army to present an irreverent portrait of Switzerland and the Swiss mindset.



Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook


Author: Lonely Planet


Description: A handy palm-size phrasebook for the traveler.



The Art of the Renaissance


Author: Peter Murray


Description: A classic, illustrated survey of the world of the Renaissance and its art. With chapters on Florence and its artists, the Netherlands, early illustrated books and many individual artists.



The Betrothed


Author: Alessandro Manzoni


Description: By many accounts the first modern Italian novel, Manzoni's 1827 classic concerns star-crossed lovers in 17th-century Lombardy. Promoted during unification, Italy's best-known novel has been made into films and a musical.



The Gothic Enterprise, A Guide to Understanding the Medieval Cathedral


Author: Robert A. Scott


Description: An enthusiast, Scott delves into the history, design, architecture and wonder of Europe's medieval cathedrals and great Abbey churches.



The Italian Summer: Golf, Food, and Family at Lake Como


Author: Roland Merullo


Description: Merullo shares this congenial account of a summer with his family in Italy and Switzerland, offering delicious descriptions of wonderful meals, colorful characters -- and rounds of golf at some of the most beautiful courses in Europe. He is a golf fanatic.





You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.


As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.



Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:


© Road Scholar 2014 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768