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Italy

La Dolce Vita: The Italian Lakes of Como, Garda and Maggiore

Program No. 16740RJ
Learn the story of the Italian Lakes Region as you voyage to iconic islands, savor renowned cuisine, visit the museum home of “Oetzi the Iceman” and explore unique villas and gardens.
Length
14 days
Rating (4.97)
Activity Level
Starts at
4,449
Flights start at
1,000

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DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 10 - Apr 23, 2023
Starting at
4,449
Apr 24 - May 7, 2023
Starting at
4,549
May 8 - May 21, 2023
Starting at
4,549
May 22 - Jun 4, 2023
Starting at
4,599
Aug 28 - Sep 10, 2023
Starting at
4,599
Sep 11 - Sep 24, 2023
Starting at
4,599
Sep 25 - Oct 8, 2023
Starting at
4,549
Oct 9 - Oct 22, 2023
Starting at
4,449
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 10 - Apr 23, 2023
Starting at
5,249
Apr 24 - May 7, 2023
Starting at
5,379
May 8 - May 21, 2023
Starting at
5,379
May 22 - Jun 4, 2023
Starting at
5,439
Aug 28 - Sep 10, 2023
Starting at
5,439
Sep 11 - Sep 24, 2023
Starting at
5,439
Sep 25 - Oct 8, 2023
Starting at
5,379
Oct 9 - Oct 22, 2023
Starting at
5,249

At a Glance

Since the days of Pliny the Elder (A.D. 23-79), the stunning Lakes Region of Italy has attracted the world’s rich and famous, who built glorious villas along its shores against a backdrop of rugged Alps. Venture to three of the region’s lakes — Como, Garda and Maggiore —and uncover a wealth of human achievement and natural beauty, from aristocratic villas and castles to serene waters, snow-capped mountains and breathtaking waterfalls.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles a day.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Explore the remarkable villas and gardens that grace the shores of the Italian lakes region with a local expert.
  • View the Bronze Age “Oetzi the Iceman.”
  • Savor delectable dishes and wines of the Trentino Alto Adige, Piemonte and Lombardia as you explore the lake regions of Northern Italy.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Patrizia Spini
Patrizia Spini graduated from the University of Milan with a degree in Political Science. As a local expert, she has led explorations throughout all European countries, but now prefers to showcase the Lakes of Lombardy where she was born and resides today with her husband and two children.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Patrizia Spini
Patrizia Spini View biography
Patrizia Spini graduated from the University of Milan with a degree in Political Science. As a local expert, she has led explorations throughout all European countries, but now prefers to showcase the Lakes of Lombardy where she was born and resides today with her husband and two children.
Profile Image of Lorenza Scorti
Lorenza Scorti View biography
Lorenza Scorti earned her degree in literature and art history from the Università degli Studi di Milano, and uses her expertise to work as a licensed group leader in the city of Milan and the region of Lombardy for the past twenty years. Currently a resident of Milan, Lorenza is especially proud to showcase her hometown of Como, where she especially likes showing visitors the villages around Lake Como where she was born and raised.
Profile Image of Mara Mori
Mara Mori was born and raised in the Reggio Emilia region of Italy. She currently lives in Lombardy with her family who own a restaurant in the area. Mara earned a doctorate in modern history from the University of Bologna and wrote her thesis on ancient maps and drawings of the Po River. She has published numerous essays and articles on gastronomy, wine and winemaking, and travel. She also taught history and geography at an Italian high school.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Culture Smart! Italy
by Charles Abbott
A concise, no-nonsense guide to Italian customs, etiquette and culture along with helpful travel advice.
Italian Lakes Map
by Litographia Artistica Cartographica
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.
The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front 1915-1919
by Mark Thompson
From Amazon: "With elegance and pathos, historian Mark Thompson relates the saga of the Italian front, the nationalist frenzy and political intrigues that preceded the conflict, and the towering personalities of the statesmen, generals, and writers drawn into the heart of the chaos. A work of epic scale, The White War does full justice to the brutal and heart-wrenching war that inspired Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms."
History of Contemporary Italy
by Paul Ginsborg
From Amazon: "From a war-torn and poverty-stricken country, regional and predominantly agrarian, to the success story of recent years, Italy has witnessed the most profound transformation--economic, social and demographic--in its entire history. Yet the other recurrent theme of the period has been the overwhelming need for political reform--and the repeated failure to achieve it. Professor Ginsborg's authoritative work--the first to combine social and political perspectives--is concerned with both the tremendous achievements of contemporary Italy and the continuities of its history that have not been easily set aside."
Cadogan Guide Lombardy & the Italian Lakes
by Dana Facaros
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.
Italian Lakes Map
by Lithographia Artistica Cartographica
A detailed map of the Italian Lakes region, including Orta, Lugano, Como and Maggiore, at the excellent scale of 1:1000,000, produced in Italy
La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind
by Beppe Severgnini
Italians themselves love this guide to the Italian character, which addresses their never-ending passion for beauty, disorder and high emotion. The book opens with a snapshot of Malpensa Airport, then moves on to Tuscany, Rome, Naples and Sardinia.
A Farewell to Arms
by Ernest Hemingway
Set in snowy Switzerland and the rainy Italian Lake Country during WWI, this semi-autobiographical novel chronicles the romance between a British nurse and an American ambulance driver. This edition collects all of the alternate endings, along with early drafts of other essential passages
Eyewitness Guide Milan and the Lakes
by Eyewitness Guides
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.
Summer at the Lake
by Erica James
Set on the shores of Lake Como, this romantic novel centers on three characters whose love lives are entangled with the enchanting place -- Floriana, whose former lover is getting married there, Esme who first fell in love there and Adam, who heads there when his girlfriend leaves him.
Iceman: Uncovering the Life and Times of a Prehistoric Man Found in an Alpine Glacier
by Brenda Fowler
The complete story of the discovery of and controversy surrounding the frozen corpse of a prehistoric man found in the Tyrolian Alps.
The Italian Summer: Golf, Food, and Family at Lake Como
by Roland Merullo
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.
Walking in the Dolomites
by Gillian Price
A comprehensive walker's guide to the Dolomites geared to a wide variety of difficulty levels. Illustrated with photographs and maps.
Italian Journey
by Johan Wolfgang Von Goethe
Reports on his travels to Italy from 1786-1788 (first published in 1817). Look for: From Brenner to Verona via Bolzano, Trento, Torbole, Malcesine (the itinerary during our stay in Riva del Garda)
Medusa, An Aurelio Zen Mystery
by Michael Dibdin
In this ninth book in the thoroughly enjoyable Aurelio Zen series, our worldly detective investigates a mysterious corpse in a long-abandoned military tunnel in the Dolomites.
D.H. Lawrence and Italy
by D.H. Lawrence
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.
Italianissimo
by Louise Fili, Lise Apatoff
Divertingly illustrated, this A-to-Z guide profiles 50 very Italian customs and concepts from the notion of beauty (bellisimo) to the Italian disregard for lines (Fare La Coda).
The Italians
by John Hooper
Italy correspondent for The Economist Hooper explores Italy -- its baffling contradictions, unique character and contemporary culture -- in this illuminating portrait.
Luigi Barzini
by The Italians
Although Barzini wrote this excellent portrait of the Italians in the 1960s the book still presents valid insight into Italians today
The Betrothed
by Alessandro Manzoni
The novel, set in Lombardy during the Spanish occupation of the late 1620s, starts at Lake Como. Manzoni is considered the father of modern Italian.
Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook
by Lonely Planet
A handy, palm-sized guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
On the Making of Gardens
by George Sitwell
A handsome edition of Sitwell's 1909 meditation on the Renaissance gardens of Tuscany, Rome and the Lake District. It's not a handbook but rather an inspiring analysis of the transformation -- and magic -- of gardens.
Italy: A Short History
by Harry Hearder and Jonathan Morris
From Amazon: "Intended for the student of Italian history and culture as well as the general reader, this new edition presents a clear and concise account of the principal developments in Italian history from the Ice Age to the present day. Dr. Jonathan Morris has updated the late Professor Hearder's long-established and highly successful work with an authoritative account of development in Italy over the past decade."
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14 days
13 nights
28 meals
12 B 8 L 8 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Riva, Check-in, Orientation Walk, Welcome Dinner
Riva del Garda, Lake Garda
L,D
Hotel Europa Skypool & Panorama

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 2:00 p.m. Transfer from Verona airport to hotel is 50 miles (1.15-hour ride). The orientation walk in Riva is about 1 mile.

Lunch: For those who arrive in time, we will walk to a restaurant near the hotel. For later arrivals, we will offer a snack, drink, or gelato.

Afternoon: After checking in to the hotel and getting your room, take some time to freshen up and relax. We will meet in the lobby at 4:30 p.m. and take a short walk with our Group Leader to become familiar with the neighborhood around the hotel. The daily schedule will always be posted in specific area of the hotel which will be communicated by the Group Leader. During our field trips the Group Leader will leave ample time for restroom breaks, but most of the time you will have to use the facilities in bars, cafés, or restaurants, except in museums where they have public toilets. Returning to the hotel, we will join our Group Leader for a get together and a welcome cocktail (or fruit juice).

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Orientation, Museo Civico, Local History & Cuisine
Riva del Garda, Lake Garda
B,L,D
Hotel Europa Skypool & Panorama

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles throughout the day and standing during field trip; generally flat terrain, uneven cobblestoned streets. Elective climb to fortress tower 165 steps.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Following breakfast, we gather in the meeting room for an Orientation session. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will review COVID-19 protocols and will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and requirements throughout the program. Breakfasts will be buffets. Other included meals will be plated and served from a set menu unless indicated otherwise; water is included, other beverages will be available for purchase. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, attending performances or other events, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Periods in the schedule designated as "Free time" and "At leisure" offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible.Thank you for your understanding. Following our Orientation, we will set out with a local expert on a walking field trip to the historical center of the town, then circle back to the small Museo Civico in La Rocca — a medieval fortress situated on the lakefront, bounded by a canal with a drawbridge. The permanent exhibition illustrates the history of Lake Garda from Roman settlement to domination by nearby Verona, the Republic of Venice, and later by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. We will also be able to see how this small town’s location was a strategic factor during World Wars I and II.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: In the hotel meeting room, we will have a presentation by a local expert on Trentino-Alto Adige (Trentino Sud Tirol), the region in northern Italy bordered by Austria and Switzerland. Characterized by majestic mountains (the Alps and Dolomites) and picturesque lakes, it has been inhabited since ancient times. Next, we will have a presentation by a local expert on culinary traditions and wines of the Trentino-Alto Adige.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Feel free to take a stroll along the lakefront or in town.

DAY
4
Trento, Winery Field Trip
Riva del Garda, Lake Garda
B,L
Hotel Europa Skypool & Panorama

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 60 miles throughout the day, approximately 2 hours riding time. Walking up to 3 miles throughout the day; stone paved streets and sidewalks. At Castel del Buon Consiglio, multiple flights of stairs; elective climb to top of tower 50 steps.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will walk from the hotel to the motorcoach and ride to Trento where a local expert will lead our exploration. This was the site of the Council of Trent (1545-63), a major ecumenical conclave that defined Roman Catholic doctrine and dogma in response to the Protestant Reformation. We will walk to the cathedral, the Duomo di San Vigilio, where the Council issued its decrees and where we will have a presentation on its history. We will then walk to the Castello del Buon Consiglio, a monumental complex that served for centuries as the residence of the local Prince-Bishops. In the Torre Aquila at the southern end of the complex, we can see the famous Cycle of the Months frescoes, colorfully chronicling aspects of life in social classes in the 14th century. The artist, believed to be from Bohemia, provided precious, detailed insights into the lives of nobles and peasants within representations of different seasons and activities throughout the year.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: En route back to Riva del Garda, we will stop at a winery for a taste of the local wine with an explanation of the vintage along with a taste of local cheeses and strudel.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. If you haven’t done so already, you might like to walk along the lake shore.

DAY
5
Dolomites, Bolzano, Ice Man Museum, Free Time
Riva del Garda, Lake Garda
B,D
Hotel Europa Skypool & Panorama

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 170 miles throughout the day, approximately 4 hours riding time including rest stops. Walking up to 2 miles in Bolzano; uneven terrain, cobblestones.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will walk from the hotel to the motorcoach and begin our ride to Bolzano. Along the way, we will experience breathtaking views of the Dolomite Mountain range, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. From the UNESCO inscription, "The site of the Dolomites comprises a mountain range in the northern Italian Alps, numbering 18 peaks which rise to above 9,850 feet and cover 350,000 acres. It features some of the most beautiful mountain landscapes anywhere, with vertical walls, sheer cliffs and a high density of narrow, deep and long valleys." We will have a short rest stop before the Sella Pass then stop again at the highest point on the road for a photo opportunity and rest break before the descent to Bolzano. For those who would like to walk, there is a path on the mountainside; or, relax in the café.

Lunch: On your own. You may have a snack at one of the rest stops in the morning or a late lunch on your own in Bolzano after approximately 1:30-2:00 p.m.

Afternoon: In Bolzano, we will visit the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, home to Ötzi the Iceman. Our self-directed exploration will be facilitated by descriptive signage and audio installations in multiple languages. The preserved mummy of this Copper Age hunter was discovered in a melting glacier in 1991. Scientists have determined that he lived more than 5,300 years ago and died from an arrow in his back. As the museum explains, the Iceman has provided new data from prehistoric times for countless research disciplines around the world in the natural sciences and humanities. Ötzi is preserved in a special cold room in the museum where we can see him through a small window. The permanent exhibition includes the mummy’s painstakingly restored clothing and equipment as well as an examination of life in the Copper Age. Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Please note that the period scheduled for free time is subject to change depending on local circumstances and opportunities for independent exploration. Take this opportunity to explore the traffic-free city center with its historic streets and squares that were once the heart of a medieval village. The South Tyrol is now one of Italy’s wealthiest provinces, but in its long history has belonged to a number of rulers. Just a century ago, it was part of Austria and still exhibits a mix of cultural traits melded into something uniquely Tyrolean. The architecture of different eras seems to blend seamlessly in colorful public buildings, shops, and cafés. We will re-group at an announced time and place for our ride back to Riva del Garda, where we expect to arrive late afternoon.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Malcesine Ferry, Free Time, Republic of Salò Lecture
Riva del Garda, Lake Garda
B,D
Hotel Europa Skypool & Panorama

Activity note: Getting in/out of a public boat; seating on open decks and inside; restrooms on board. The boat ride is a little over an hour each way. Walking about 1 mile on cobblestoned streets; 30 steps to enter castle and upper levels.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will walk a short distance from the hotel to the dock and board a public boat for a scenic trip across Lake Garda to the charming town of Malcesine on the eastern shore. A local expert will lead our walking field trip. The town’s origins are lost in time, but there are remnants of the Medieval era. Its most prominent feature is the Castello Scaligero — named for the della Scala family who controlled it in the 13th and 14th centuries — that sits on a promontory overlooking the lake. Now a designated national monument, the castle contains a Museum of Natural History with exhibits related to the town, the lake, and surrounding mountains. There are wonderful views from the top.

Lunch: On your own to sample the local fare. Saturday is market day in town.

Afternoon: We will have some time for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests each of us most in Malcesine. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. The Group Leader will provide a boat ticket back to Riva del Garda to allow you to enjoy more free time. Back at the hotel, we will be joined in the meeting room by a local expert who will give us a presentation on World War I, the Fascist Period, World War II, and the so-called Republic of Salò, Mussolini’s short-lived puppet state (1943-45) that had its headquarters in the town of Salò on Lake Garda. We will learn about the months prior to the end of World War II and the capture of Mussolini by partisan forces on Lake Como. We will also have a briefing on the transfer to Stresa tomorrow.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
7
Transfer to Stresa, Lazise, Sulzano on Lake Iseo
Stresa, Lake Maggiore
B,D
Hotel Astoria

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 200 miles throughout the day, approximately 4 hours riding time. Walking up to 3 miles throughout the day; stone paved and cobblestoned streets, inclined walk in Iseo.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will board our motorcoach and ride along the west east coast of Lake Garda en route to Stresa on Lago Maggiore. Our first stop on the east shore of Lake Garda is the small lakefront town of Lazise, where our Group Leader will take us on a walking field trip along narrow medieval streets to the 14th-century Customs House at the picturesque harbor. We will have some independent time to explore, get some refreshment, and have a comfort break before re-boarding our motorcoach. Moving on, we will reach Sulzano on Lake Iseo. This glacial lake is surrounded by lush green mountains and in the middle of the lake is Monte Isola. In 2016, a floating pier installed was designed by Christo and Jeanne-Claude to allow visitors to reach the island by foot. Our Group Leader will then walk with us to the medieval village of Iseo and along the lake promenade.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Continuing our transfer, we will arrive in Stresa and check in to our hotel with some time to freshen up. Before dinner we will then meet in the lobby for a short classroom session regarding our two days in Stresa. Stresa and our hotel have a splendid location on Lago Maggiore in the Gulf of Borromeo, where it overlooks the Borromean Islands, the main attraction of the region.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. You might like to take a stroll along the lakefront or in the town center.

DAY
8
Ferry to Borromean Islands, Isole Bella, Madre & Pescatori
Stresa, Lake Maggiore
B,L
Hotel Astoria

Activity note: Walking 1/2 mile to boat dock; getting on/off a small craft. Boat ride to/from Isole Belle, Pescatori, and Madre approximately 1/2 hour each way. Walking and standing during villa field trip; multiple steps to higher levels.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: While walking to the harbor, our Group Leader will talk about the hotels built on the lake promenade in the 20th century. We will then board a private boat for an expert-led field trip to the Borromean Islands. Our first stop will be at Isola Bella, the most impressive of the islands. Dominated by a Baroque palace with over 20 rooms including a tapestry hall and grottos, Isola Bella is famous for its beautifully landscaped Italian-style Baroque garden, terraces, and parterres stretching down to Lago Maggiore that burst with various colors throughout the year. We will explore with a local expert then have some free time to stroll around the gardens where white peacocks roam amid the green architecture. There are multiple steps for those who wish to reach the higher levels of the garden. The Group Leader will announce a time to gather where we will board our boat and ride to the Isola Pescatori (Fisherman's Island).

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Our expert-led, island-hopping field trip will continue to Isola Madre (Mother Island), the largest of the Borromean Islands. The current English botanical garden was created in the 19th century and is unique for its rare plant species from every corner of the globe. Gustave Flaubert called it "the most voluptuous place I have seen in the world." Our visit continues to Palazzo Borromeo, a stunning home adorned with tapestries, luscious furniture, and paintings from other historic residences owned by the Borromean dynasty of Lombardy. We return to Stresa by boat in the late afternoon. Before dinner we will take a walk through Stresa, an old fishing village, then stop at an enoteca (wine shop) for a tasting of local wine and regional snacks.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
9
Ferry to Verbania Pallanza, Villa Taranto, Lakes Discussion
Stresa, Lake Maggiore
B,L
Hotel Astoria

Activity note: Getting on/off a public boat; riding about 1/2 hour. Walking up to 3 miles; uneven terrain, inclines, steps. Elective climb with graded path and 400 steps to top of hill.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will board a public boat and set off on a field trip to Villa Taranto in the nearby town of Verbania Pallanza. There, we w/ill have a self-directed exploration on the grounds of this 19th-century private villa. Its botanical gardens are among the most beautiful and well preserved in Europe. The gardens date back to 1931 when Scottish Captain Neil Boyd Mc Eacharn bought the property with the intention of converting it into one of the finest botanical gardens in the world. Among the thousands of plants and trees, the park is renowned for its collection of tulips, azaleas, and dahlias. Those who are feeling especially adventurous are welcome to take an elective walk with the Group Leader up a graded path with 400 steps for breathtaking views of the lake. We will re-group before lunch for the boat ride back to Stresa.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will have some "down time" for independent exploration or just to relax. Late afternoon, we will gather in the hotel meeting room for a presentation by a local expert on the villas and gardens of Maggiore and Como.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy the cuisine of your choice.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
10
Transfer to Como via Lake Orta, Orta San Giulio
Como, Lake Como
B,L,D
Hotel Metropole Suisse

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 70 miles throughout the day, approximately 2.5 hours riding time. Getting on/off a boat; ride to/from San Giulio Island approximately 1/2 hour. Walking up to 2 miles; streets with large stone pavers, cobblestones; fairly flat and inclined streets; 50 steps at Orta San Giulio.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel, board our motorcoach, and ride to the village of Orta on Lake Orta. While this quaint lake is outshined among tourists by other more renowned lakes in northern Italy, it is delightful in its own way. Our exploration will be led by a local expert who will discuss the history of the village and show us frescoes decorating the Palazzo della Comunità, the town hall dating back to 1582. Next, we will board a boat to the small island of Orta San Giulio where our expert will lead a walk in this pedestrian-only village. We will visit the local church and stroll along the Via del Silenzio (Road of Silence) with panoramic views of the lake. We take the boat back to Orta.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: From the dock at Orta, we travel by boat to San Filiberto, then re-board the motorcoach to ride on to Como, and check into our hotel. Before dinner, we will gather with our Group Leader in the meeting room for an introduction to our days at Lake Como.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. You might like to take a walk along the lakefront or in town and have a gelato or warm beverage.

DAY
11
Explore Como, Literature of the Lakes
Como, Lake Como
B,L
Hotel Metropole Suisse

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles; uneven stone pavement in historical center.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: A local expert will talk about this city located on the Italian-Swiss border, then will lead our walking field trip to the historical/pedestrian center of Como, following the medieval streets as far as the city walls and Porta Pretoria. The Porta Pretoria is a medieval tower that was once part of the gate to the city for those entering from Milan. Today, this ancient area is a lively place with an outdoor market, restaurants, and more. The walk will continue down a delightful little side street with beautiful clothing and silk shops (Como is renowned for its silk), as far as the Duomo, characterized by a set of styles ranging from Romanesque to Gothic to Renaissance. The imposing façade was built in the 15th century.

Lunch: At the hotel restaurant.

Afternoon: Our expert-led walk of Como continues on the west lakeside promenade where we learn the history of some of this popular lakeside city's villas and historic residences. The most notable villa is Villa Olmo, constructed in the 18th century. In the late afternoon, we will gather in the hotel meeting room for a lecture and discussion on travelers of the Grand Tour, their journeys, and writers who wrote about the Italian Lakes.

Dinner: On your own to have what you like in Como. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Ferry to Villa Carlotta & Bellagio
Como, Lake Como
B,L,D
Hotel Metropole Suisse

Activity note: Short walk to boat dock. Getting on/off a boat; open deck and inside seating; boat ride to Villa Carlotta approximately 1.5 hours, boat ride to Bellagio approximately 30 minutes, boat ride to Como 1.15 hours. Walking 1.5 to 2 miles; paved, uneven, graded walk to gardens that begin at dock, steps/ramps up to high point above villa; elevator available to first two garden tiers. Distances and duration of activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will walk a short distance to the dock, board a boat with a local expert. The private boat ride will allow us breathtaking views of the villas and gardens from the western shore of the lake. Villas have been constructed along the lake since the Roman times; Pliny the Younger built at least three villas here! Many villas were built during the 16th century have been renovated and converted into hotels, such as the famous Villa d'Este, or are now owned by celebrities from around the world. br>The first boat stop is Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo. The villa was completed in 1745 and today is a museum with a great collection of sculptures, paintings, and Neoclassical furniture. The villa is surrounded by a wide botanical garden famous for its rhododendron and azaleas, plated in a terraced Italian-style garden with stunning lake views. We will then re-board the boat and head to Bellagio. En route, we will enjoy a view of Villa Melzi D'Eril with its gardens inserted into the hilly landscape and today declared a national monument. Then, we will arrive in Bellagio between two branches of the lake (Como and Lecco). Bellagio is famous for its tiny streets full of (mainly) silk shops, restaurants, lots of stairs, and a luxury hotel, Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, which is owned by the Rockefeller Foundation. We will get off at the dock with our local expert and enjoy a passeggiata — Italian for relaxing promenade — along the spectacular lakefront lane. We will also have time to explore independently or relax.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will continue our exploration of Bellagio with some free time, taking the boat back to Como in the late afternoon following the eastern shore.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Cable Car to Brunate, Free Time
Como, Lake Como
B,D
Hotel Metropole Suisse

Activity note: Walking from hotel to funicular about 1/2 mile. Getting in/out of funicular. Ride to the top at elevation of 1,600 feet takes approximately 15 minutes. Walking 1/2 to 2 miles; packed dirt trails that follow the ridge of Brunate.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: With our Group Leader, we will walk along the lakefront to the funicular station and take a short ride to the top of a tall hill in Brunate (the "Balcony of the Alps"), which offers breathtaking views from the Po Valley to the Italian and Swiss Alps. There, we will have panoramic views of the lake after a walk of the Liberty-style villas. Those feeling robust are welcome to an independent walk of another two miles to the lighthouse or nature trails and trekking paths. You may ride any car back to Como with your single return ticket.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. You can also consult your list of suggested Free Time activities in your program materials. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant. Recap your adventures and share your favorite memories with your fellow participants over our plated farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
14
Program Concludes, In Transit From Program
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: At the hotel or breakfast boxes depending on departure times. This concludes the program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.