16740
Italy
La Dolce Vita: The Italian Lakes of Como, Garda, Maggiore
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.
Rating (5)
Program No. 16740RJ
Length
14 days
Starts at
3,390
Flights start at
850
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14 days
13 nights
29 meals
12 B 8 L 9 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Depart from points in North America.
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrivals, Welcome Reception and Dinner
Riva del Garda, Lake Garda
L,D
Hotel Europa

Activity note: The coach ride from the airport to Riva del Garda may take over one hour. Hotel check is after 2:00 pm.

Morning: Verona Catullo Airport in Villafranca is 8 miles (13 km) from Verona center and 52 miles (95 km) from Riva del Garda. See the Travel Information section regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveler (POP status), see “Ground Transportation to First Location.” The group leader will welcome you at the hotel.

Lunch: At a restaurant close to the hotel. A pasta dish and variety of salads on the fixed menu. Plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Check in and settle into your room. Meet in the lobby at 4:00 pm for a short walk with the Group Leader in the neighborhood of the hotel. Circle back to the hotel and gather for a Welcome Drink in the lounge. The group leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and invite introductions among our fellow travelers.

Dinner: At the hotel. Sample some antipasti at the buffet; dinner is served at the table. You can choose a 1st and 2nd course from a limited menu. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Orientation, Welcome to Trentino Alto Adige
Riva del Garda, Lake Garda
B,L,D
Hotel Europa

Activity note: The small lakefront town of Riva is generally flat and easy to walk. Care should be taken to walk over the uneven surface of cobblestoned streets.

Breakfast: Our daily breakfast buffet offers choices such as an egg dish, sliced cold cuts, cheeses, cereal, muesli, yogurt, fresh fruit, breads and pastries, jams, honey, butter, beverages including juice, milk, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: In the meeting room the Group Leader will review the up-to-date program schedule with any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Each morning breakfast will be a buffet; lunches and dinners will be plated (each dish served to guests by restaurant waitstaff) from a set menu unless otherwise specified. Water is included with all meals and other beverages( wine, beer, tea and coffee) will be available for purchase unless otherwise specified. Unless indicated differently, transportation will primarily be provided by motor coach. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please note that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. 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. After a short break set out on foot for an expert-led visit of the small Museo Civico located in La Rocca, a medieval fortress situated on the lakefront, bounded by a canal with a drawbridge.

Lunch: At a restaurant close to the hotel, enjoy a light lunch with dishes typical of the region.

Afternoon: In the hotel meeting room the group leader gives a presentation on the Trentino/Alto Adige introducing the geography, culture and cuisine of the region. Some free time to explore the village on your own before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel. Sample some antipasti at the buffet; dinner is served at the table. You can choose a 1st and 2nd course from a limited menu.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy a stroll along the lakefront or in town.

DAY
4
Trento
Riva del Garda, Lake Garda
B,L
Hotel Europa

Activity note: Trento is 30 miles from Riva del Garda. The ride takes about an hour. Trento has a large traffic-free area so we visit all the sites on foot.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: We board the coach for Trento for an expert-led visit of the town, remembered as the location for the Council of Trent (1545-63) intended to counter the Protestant Reformation. The visit includes the Castello del Buon Consiglio and Torre dell'Aquila, where we can admire the cycle of frescoes called of "the months" (15th century). They are the work of the anonymous "Master of the Months," from Bohemia, who left us a precious insight into court life, with chivalrous and rural scenes of the time. For each month of the year there is a reconstruction of emblematic gestures that overlap to depict two different worlds: that of the peasant and that of the nobility. On the one side, the harvesting, the grape picking, the slaughtering of pigs; on the other, the processions, the parlor games, the tournaments.

Lunch: At a local restaurant sample Northern Italian cuisine with Austrian/German influences.

Afternoon: En route back to Riva del Garda enjoy local wine and a taste of strudel at a winery.

Dinner: Dinner on your own. The group leader will offer suggestions to please every palate and budget.

Evening: Free time to walk along the lake shore.

DAY
5
Dolomites, Bolzano, Ice Man Museum
Riva del Garda, Lake Garda
B,D
Hotel Europa

Activity note: The coach ride through the mountain pass takes about 3 hours with 2 stops. No hiking is involved. At the summit of the road (not the mountain summit) the coach stops for about 30 min. and you can walk a bit on the grass and dirt path of the mountain side or enjoy the view from the bar/souvenir shop.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: The coach ride begins in the low hills outside Riva. We will have a rest stop before the road leaves the valley. Experience the breathtaking view of the Dolomite Mountain range. Another stop at the summit for photo opportunity and rest stop before the descent to Bolzano.

Lunch: On your own. Have a snack at one of the rest stops in the morning or have a late lunch during the free time in Bolzano.

Afternoon: In Bolzano, visit the Civic Museum, home to the Otzi 'iceman,' the wounded hunter from the Copper Age, whose frozen body was found in a melting glacier in 1998. Coach back to Riva along the highway, arriving late afternoon.

Dinner: At a restaurant near the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Boat Trip to Malcesine
Riva del Garda, Lake Garda
B,D
Hotel Europa

Activity note: The distance between Riva and Malcesine is only 10 miles but the boat ride takes an hour. The tourist boats have open decks, inside seating, and restrooms.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Short walk from the hotel to the docks. We board a tourist boat for a cruise with scenic views across the lake to the charming town of Malcesine. The castle of Malcesine has been reconstructed by the Scaligers, and again by both Venetian and Austrian military engineers. In the museum there are exhibits about the history and origin of Lake Garda. From the top of the Castle's tower we can enjoy a breathtaking view of the town.

Lunch: Lunch on your own. There are a variety of cafés and trattorias in Malcesine.

Afternoon: Boat ride back to Riva. In the hotel meeting room, a local expert presents The Republic of Salo', an account about the months prior to the end of WWII and the capture of Mussolini by partisan forces. The talk will be followed by a briefing on the transfer to Stresa.

Dinner: At the hotel. Sample some antipasti at the buffet; dinner is served at the table. You can choose a 1st and 2nd course from a limited menu.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check out and transfer to Stresa the next morning.

DAY
7
Transfer to Stresa
Stresa, Lake Maggiore
B,L,D
Hotel Astoria

Activity note: Lake Iseo is 66 miles from Riva. The ride takes about 1.5 hours. After lunch, the coach ride to Stresa covers 112 miles and takes 2 hours.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Coach along the west coast of Lake Garda on the way to Stresa on Lago Maggiore.

Lunch: On the shores of Lake Iseo, a glaciated lake surrounded by mountains and waterfalls, enjoy a set regional menu, plated table service. A glass of wine is included.

Afternoon: Coach continues to Stresa. Check in, settle in, then meet in the lobby for an orientation walk around the town's charming center. Late afternoon classroom discussion on life in Italy today.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Take a stroll along the lakefront or in the small commercial center of Stresa.

DAY
8
Gardens of Villa Taranto
Stresa, Lake Maggiore
B,D
Hotel Astoria

Activity note: You can choose the amount of walking as you visit the ornamental gardens.

Breakfast: Our daily breakfast buffet offers choices such as an egg dish, sliced cold cuts, cheeses, cereal, muesli, yogurt, fresh fruit, breads and pastries, jams, honey, butter, beverages including juice, milk, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: A field trip by coach to Villa Taranto in the nearby town of Verbania Palanza. Tour the 19th century villa and its botanical gardens that are among the most beautiful and well preserved in Europe. The gardens date back to 1931 when Scottish Captain Neil McEacharn bought the property with the intention of converting it into one of the finest botanical gardens in the world.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Some free time before the late afternoon session. In the meeting room a local expert presents Lakes and Gardens of Maggiore and Como.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Borromean Islands, Taste of the Lakes
Stresa, Lake Maggiore
B,L
Hotel Astoria

Activity note: The tourist boat to the islands is a small craft with indoor seating. There are stone steps (no elevator) to reach the villa and ornamental gardens from the boat dock.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Board the boat for an expert-led visit to the Borromean Islands. Isola Bella, the most impressive of the islands, is dominated by a Baroque palace. Terraces of landscaped gardens spill down onto the lake like an elaborate giant wedding cake. Roaming white peacocks add beauty to the landscape.

Lunch: While you take in the view enjoy lunch in a restaurant on an island in the lake. Set menu, plated table service. One of the dishes will be lavello, a fillet of local white fish. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Island hopping guided visit continues to the other points of interest and beauty. Boat back to Stresa late afternoon. At a shop in Stresa enjoy a tasting of local wines and snack foods.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the type of eatery that fits your budget and taste. The group leader will have suggestions where to go for small plates, or a full-course dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for tomorrow's check out and transfer to Como.

DAY
10
Transfer to Como by way of Lake Orta
Como, Lake Como
B,L,D
Hotel Metropole & Suisse

Activity note: The coach ride to Lago Orta is 17miles and takes about 40 minutes. After lunch, the coach ride to Como is 50 miles and takes 1 hour.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: By coach we will go to the village Orta San Giulio, on Lake Orta where our guide will explain the history of the village and show us the frescoes decorating the Palazzo della Comunita'. This quaint lake is overshadowed by its larger brothers, but is equally delightful, in its own small way.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Coach excursion continues to Como. Check in to your room, settle in, then meet in the lobby for an orientation walk of Como.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Take a walk along the lakefront or in town and stop for a gelato or warm beverage.

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

Activity note: Walking on uneven pavement and cobblestone streets in the historical center of Como

Breakfast: This day and for the next four mornings,at the breakfast buffet at the hotel choices include an egg dish, sliced cold cuts, assortment of cheeses, cereal, muesli, yogurt, fresh fruit, breads and pastries, jams, honey and butter, and a selection of hot and cold beverages.

Morning: A local expert leads the visit in Como of the Duomo and Porto Antico.

Lunch: At the hotel restaurant.

Afternoon: In the hotel meeting room, a late afternoon informal session on the writers who lived or wrote about the Lake District.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own. The group leader will have suggestions and directions to restaurants and trattorias.

Evening: At leisure.

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

Activity note: The distance between Como and Bellagio is about 25 miles. The boat ride takes a few hours. The boat will have both open deck and inside seating. You can choose the amount of walking as you visit the island. From the dock to the sites there is an unevenly paved graded walk.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: From Como we board a boat with our local expert. First stop is the Villa Carlotta on the shore of Lake Como. The terraced gardens are stunning in every season but are particularly impressive in the spring when the azaleas and rhododendrons are in full bloom. Boat excursion continues to Bellagio, set on the cusp of the two branches of the lake, affording it a spectacular lake shore lane for a relaxing passeggiata, the Italian stroll. Option to explore the gardens of the Villa Melzi.

Lunch: At a local café.

Afternoon: Guided visit and exploration of Bellagio continue until we take the boat back to Como in the late afternoon.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Cable rail ride to Brunate
Como, Lake Como
B,D
Hotel Metropole & Suisse

Activity note: The cable car station is 1/2 mile from the hotel. At the Brunate station, you can opt to walk along trails that follow the ridge of Brunate, or simply enjoy the view from the station.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Short walk from the hotel to the cable car station on the lakefront. Take a ride on the cable rail car to the top of a tall hill that overlooks Lake Como. You can opt to walk on the trails that follow the ridge of the hill.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore the city and pack in preparation for the following morning's departure.

Dinner: Recap your adventures and share your favorite memories with your fellow participants at our farewell dinner at the hotel. Wine is included with this meal to toast new friendships.

Evening: At leisure. Stroll the lakefront to bid arrivederci to Como.

DAY
14
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check out by 11:00 a.m. Milan Malpensa airport is 32 miles from Como. The ride takes about an hour.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel; continental style for participants with early morning departure.

Morning: This concludes the program. 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. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!