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Lake Maggiore, Canton Ticino, Lake Como, Lake Orta, Asti and the Langhe: gardens, nurseries and tastings 

Day 1: Arrival at your hotel, welcome drink, dinner.


After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, meet your guide and transfer by private motor-launch to Isola Bella, the most famous of the Borromeo Islands. Visit the 17th-century Palace, rich in history, art and culture, and its extraordinary park, a masterpiece of Italian gardens, laid out on ten stepped terraces built up from the water’s edge. Free time for shopping and exploring the island. Then on to Isola dei Pescatori, the centuries’ old working fisherman’s island, with its picturesque lanes and alleyways, typical dwellings and the small church dedicated to San Vittore. Free time for lunch to try delicious lakefish specialties at one of the island’s many restaurants and explore at leisure. Afternoon transfer by private launch to Isola Madre to visit the largest of the Borromean Islands, now an extensive botanical garden, famous for its extraordinary flowering of camellias, azaleas and rhododendron. Tour the 16th century Palace, with its  reconstructed period rooms that recreate the atmosphere of yesteryear.
Back to Stresa to board private coach for visit to a local garden nursery, specializing in the cultivation of camellies, azaleas and rhododendren, to admire the various stages of growth and flowering periods.
Return to hotel by private coach for dinner. 


After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, meet your guide and transfer by private coach to Ascona, an attractive town on Lake Maggiore in Canton Ticino, Switzerland. There, board a scheduled public ferry for the short ride over to the Isle of Brissago to visit the famous exotic garden, which covers an area of about 5 acres and includes more than 1,500 different species of plants. Return by boat to Ascona for free time to explore the elegant historical center before re-boarding the coach for Locarno. Upon arrival, time for lunch on your own and then re-group for an afternoon visit to the city’s Park of the Camellias, 10,000 m2 of numerous species, both hybrids and cultivars, as well as a splendid lakeside promenade. Return by private coach, with a brief stop on the way back at Cannero to admire the Citrus Garden there. Dinner at the hotel.


After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, meet your guide and transfer by private coach to Como, about a 2-hour ride. Free time for lunch. Visit the Cathedral (1396-1770), a magnificent summary of four centuries of architecture, impressive for the harmonious fusion of styles, and stroll around the historic center, followed by a short ferry ride to Tremezzo to visit beautiful Villa Carlotta, a neoclassical “art museum”, with a garden containing over 500 species of plants and flowers from all corners of the world, especially famous for its impressive flowering of azaleas and rhododendron Continue by ferry to Bellagio, sthe pearl of Lake Comos to visit the historical center, followed by free time for lunch and to explore the charming town on your own. Then re-group for a visit to the splendid gardens of Villa Melzi, with its fascinating oriental garden, avenue of plane trees and cascading azaleas, as well as other  tropical and exotic species. Return to Tremezzo by private boat and back to the hotel by coach. Dinner.


After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, meet your guide for transfer by private coach to Orta. Guided tour of this charming medieval village: Piazza Motta, on the lakefront just opposite the island of San Giulio, has always been the heart of the town with its “Palazzotto” dating back to 1582, and elegant sixteenth and seventeenth-century townhouses, with small wrought iron balconies, testamony to the local artisans of the period, line the picturesque lanes. The tour continues by small private motorboat across to the island of San Giulio, known for its Romanesque basilica founded, according to tradition, by the saint at the end of the fourth century. It was then enlarged several times and completely rebuilt between the XIth and XIIth centuries. The adjacent nineteenth-century building houses a community of Benedictine nuns. Return to Orta by private launch visit a private garden situated directly on the lake, famous for its camellias and azaleas, as well as its landscaping which makes it interesting to visit any time of the year. Free time for lunch.
In the afternoon re-board the coach for Desana (about 1 hour). Visit a well-known rice producer, see the paddies up close and tour the facilities with an explanaton of how the rice is processed. Continue by coach to Ghemme (circa 45 min.), typical area for the production of D.O.C. and D.O.C.G. Nebbiolo-based wines, including the famous Ghemme, Sizzano, Gattinara, Fara and Boca. Guided visit with local producer of the ancient Castello/Ricetto to see the production cellars followed by a wine tasting paired with typical local products, including  the well-known gorgonzola cheese. 
Return to the hotel by private coach. Dinner.


After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, meet your guide and transfer by private coach to Verbania for a guided visit of Villa Taranto, one of the richest botanical gardens of Italy, and  major tourist attraction of Lake Maggiore. Transformed in 1931 by Scottish Captain Neil McEacharn, it has over 20,000 varieties of plants, many rare and imported from all over the world. The garden covers an area of 20 hectares and is crossed by 7 km of paths. An uninterrupted show of spectacular blooms dazzles visitors from April to October. The tour lasts about 2 hours and then continues with a visit to an historic private garden, not included in the usual classic tours of the lake, followed by free time for lunch in Verbania.
In the afternoon, transfer to the hills above Stresa to visit the Alpinia Botanical garden, located about 800 meters above sea level at Alpino di Stresa, on the slopes of Mottarone. The garden covers an area of about 40,000 meters2 and offers spectacular views over the Borromeo Gulf. It is home to more than 1,000 alpine and sub-alpine plant species, including examples from the Caucasus, China and Japan. 
Return to the hotel for dinner.


After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, meet your guide and depart for Asti by private coach, about a 2-hour drive, for a short guided tour of the historic center of this beautiful city, known worldwide for its wines and cuisine, but unfortunately much less so for its artistic beauty. Discover the city by walking the narrow streets of the medieval center between towers and palaces and visiting still-intact 5th to 17th-century monuments, like the Collegiate Church of San Secondo and the complex of San Pietro; cross the famous sPalio squares and then take a walk under the Art Nouveau arcades lined with elegant shops and traditional cafés.
From Asti, move on to the charming village of Barolo, center of the production area of one of Italy’s most famous wines, for a guided visit of an historical winery, followed by a tasting of the renowned local wines paired with cheese and cold cuts. Then a short walk to WIMU, the new multimedia museum dedicated to wine, housed in the Falletti castle, for a one hour tour. Transfer by private coach to the town of Grinzane Cavour to visit the castle/museum there, with free time for tasting and purchase of local products (including truffles). Departure by private coach with photo stops along the scenic hills of the Langhe on the drive back to the hotel 

Day 8  After a buffet breakfast, check-out and departure.

Subject to availability and time permitting, the following optionals can be arranged on Days 1(arrival) and 8 (departure): visit to a local nursery or private garden; shopping at an outlet of Italian designer brands; private or group cooking class.

The price includes:

8 days/7 nights
7 HB in 3-5 star hotel
7 FD tour guide/tour escort
Entrances: Isola Bella, Isola Madre, private garden nursey, Park of the Camellies, Villa Taranto, Alpinia Garden, Isola di Brissago, Villa Carlotta, Villa Melzi d’Eril,  private villas, WIMU, rice producer
Private boats: Borromee Islands, Isola di San Giulio
Ferry: Isola di Brissago, Lake  Como 
Tasting: Wine tasting with local specialties 

Tel. +39 0323 1981000
Fax. +39 0323 1970474
  • Duration: 8 gg
  • Price: From 590 €
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