Buongiorno! Welcome to Italy, the land of world-class gastronomy, ancient architecture and some of the world's greatest works of art. Begin your adventure in Stresa on Lake Maggiore. Make your way to your hotel, and then, after checking in, you're free to explore this glorious town's belle époque flourishes and spectacular waterfront before meeting up with your tour guide and fellow travellers for a welcome dinner.
Today, you'll have the opportunity to explore the world-famous beauty of the Borromean Islands. Following breakfast, take to the water on the ferry to the beautiful islands of Isola Bella and Isola Madre. Famous for their baroque palaces, enchanting gardens and picturesque outlook, get lost in the wonder of these fairytale-like islands.
Today, discover new heights of beauty as you head to Como via the spectacular Centovalli ('Valley of a Hundred Valleys') railway, widely considered one of the most spectacular in the world. Travel across rugged landscapes, yawning ravines and sun-kissed forests while travelling from Domodossola to Locarno, where you will stop to enjoy this beautiful Swiss town on the shores of one of Europe's most strikingly gorgeous lakes.
With the Swiss Alps looming behind you and Lake Como magnificently unfurled ahead, it's impossible not to become spellbound by the town's soul-stirring beauty. A treasure trove of cultural, artistic and antique riches reward the intrepid traveller. Arrive in Como by train late this afternoon, just as the sun descends in a dazzling display of light across the water, and enjoy the evening at leisure.
A full-day tour of Lake Como and Bellagio awaits. Your morning will start with a walking tour of the Como city centre before you have the chance to admire splendid villas and gardens as you glide across the lake on an included boat cruise. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure in Bellagio, the so-called “Pearl of the Lake”, before returning to Como.
After breakfast, you will be whisked away by train to the vibrant city of Milan – the lively fashion capital of Italy. Follow your guide into the fascinating streets of Milan's historical centre on a guided tour to admire the famed La Scala theatre, the elegant Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the mighty Sforzesco Castle and the majestic Duomo di Milano. Top off your Milanese experience with a journey on a historic tram before rejoining your first-class, high-speed rail journey to Verona, where you will spend the afternoon at leisure.
This morning, you'll explore the romantic city of Romeo and Juliet and its must-see attractions like the Verona Arena, Piazza delle Erbe and the houses of Shakespeare's beloved characters. In the afternoon, you will be treated to an exciting excursion to Lake Garda and its pearl: Sirmione, a medieval, jewel-like town, surrounded by the sapphire waters of the lake. Historic Sirmione is a settlement seemingly spun of dreams, with access available only via moat and an abundance of gardens, baths, medieval colonnades and cobblestone streets – there's nowhere else quite like it.
After breakfast, board a high-speed train for a 90-minute journey to the legendary city of Venice, followed by a short boat trip through the city's iconic canals to reach your hotel. On arrival, you'll be guided on a tour to discover the ancient and precious art of glass-blowing in a traditional furnace in Murano, a series of small islands linked by lagoon-spanning bridges. While originally settled by the Romans and cherished for its salt production, Murano quickly developed a reputation for mirror-making and masterpiece glass beads, and today is still famous for the craft.
Spend today exploring the magnificent floating city of Venice. On a guided tour, you'll be led through the narrow alleys and across small bridges to discover the city's main attractions, including the Rialto Bridge, Piazza San Marco with its basilica, Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs. Later, you're free to explore this glorious city's magical canals and twisting streets at leisure.
After breakfast, it’s time to bid farewell to this storied corner of the world and embark on your onward journey.