Village Life® Italian Lakes

Program Overview

Northern Italy’s fabled Lake District beckons with its shimmering glacial waters, soaring Alpine peaks, and bijou towns on a 7-night itinerary that immerses you in the distinct bella figura Italian style that has inspired poets, composers, artists, and philosophers for centuries. Visit Bellagio; Villa del Balbianello; Stresa; Isola Bella; and Sacro Monte di Orta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Milan, visit the Duomo and Teatro alla Scala, and enjoy a specially arranged viewing of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.

This program also operates in the Fall.

Program Details

April 27 to May 5, 2024 May 4 to 12, 2024 May 11 to 19, 2024 May 18 to 26
From $3,775 plus air View Terms & Conditions
  • Comprehensive Italian soggiorno in the fabled region that has inspired renowned writers and artists for centuries.
  • Accommodations for 7 nights in the charming Palace Hotel—right in the heart of medieval Como and just steps away from historical monuments, family-owned negozi (shops), and old-world ambiance.
  • This small group program allows for an authentic experience of life in the Italian Lake District in the foothills of the majestic Alps.
  • Private boat tours on Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, and Lake Orta.
  • Enriching lectures by a local Como resident and historian.
  • Visit the stunning 18th-century Villa del Balbianello and Gardens, with some time at your own pace in the renowned lake town of Bellagio.
  • Full-day excursion to Milan featuring the impressive Duomo, the exquisite Teatro alla Scala, and the UNESCO-inscribed Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie for a specially arranged viewing of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.
  • Exclusive excursion to Lake Orta featuring Orta San Giulio, one of Italy’s most beautiful villages, and the 16th-century chapels atop the Sacro Monte di Orta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 1 - Depart Home City

Day 2 - Milan, Italy / Lake Como

Day 3 - Como

Day 4 - Lake Maggiore / Borromean Islands / Stresa

Day 5 - Milan

Day 6 - Lake Como / Villa del Balbianello / Bellagio

Day 7 - Orta San Giulio / Sacro Monte di Orta / Lake Orta

Day 8 - Como

Day 9 - Como / Milan / Return to home city

View detailed program itinerary >

This program also operates in the Fall

Palace Hotel

The ideally located, classic belle-époque Palace Hotel is a delightful establishment with an ideal setting on the lungolago—the lakefront promenade—overlooking Lake Como, just steps away from Como’s beautiful marble Duomo and the medieval, pedestrian-only town center. Venetian stucco artistry, Italian marble, and antique furniture provide subtle touches of 19th-century elegance throughout the hotel.

Its expertly landscaped gardens are the perfect setting to admire enchanting views across Lake Como. The Garden Bar Ceccato, with its summer terrace overlooking the lake, is an excellent setting to enjoy the hotel’s renowned homemade ice cream or a cappuccino.

Each of the hotel’s 94 renovated guest rooms is tastefully appointed with a private bathroom, air conditioning, satellite television, minibar, and hair dryer. Meals feature fresh seasonal Italian ingredients, local specialties, and international cuisine. Regional wine selections accompany dinner. The hotel staff provides exceptional service.

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Program Itinerary

Day 1 Departure

Your trip will begin by departing your home city for an overnight flight to Milan, Italy.

Day 2 Milan, Italy / Lake Como

Arrive in Milan and transfer to Como, the perfect “home” for our soggiorno in the spectacular mountainous Italian countryside. Check into the charming Palace Hotel on the shore of Lake Como and unpack only once for this exclusive journey. After enjoying some of the hotel’s luxury amenities, join your traveling companions for a welcome reception. Enjoy a provided dinner at the hotel.

Day 3 Como

Start your morning by listening to a fascinating lecture about Como’s history, “From Roman Ruins to Medieval Walls to the Present.” Stroll throughout Old Como and admire magnificent architectural sites like the Gothic Duomo di Como, the beautiful fresco-adorned Romanesque Basilica di San Fedele, the 13th-century town hall Broletto, and the 12th-century gate tower Porta Vittoria. During the walking tour, you will also visit the grand Voltas Square, which commemorates the credited inventor of the battery Alessandro Volta. Enjoy lunch on your own and provided dinner at the hotel.

Day 4 Stresa for Lake Maggiore / Borromean Islands

Enjoy a private boat cruise amid charming Lake Maggiore islands, graced with elegant villas and striking natural beauty. Visit the crown jewel of the Borromean archipelago, Isola Bella, occupied by the 17th-century Palazzo Borromeo. Relish in the island’s lush gardens. Enjoy spectacular mountain views from Stresa, a must for any “Grand Tour” that was also the setting for Ernest Hemingway’s iconic novel “A Farewell to Arms”. Explore Stresa and have lunch on your own. At the hotel enjoy an art lecture by a local expert. Enjoy dinner on your own.

Day 5 Milan

Visit Milan’s world‑famous Teatro alla Scala opera house, a Neoclassical jewel of gilt boxes and glittering chandeliers. Continue on to the city’s social hub, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Visit the city’s Duomo, renowned as the largest Gothic cathedral in the world taking nearly 500 years to complete. Enjoy lunch on your own. By special arrangement, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Santa Maria delle Grazie to experience the genius of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous work, “The Last Supper.” Enjoy dinner on your own.

Day 6 Lake Como / Villa del Balbianello / Bellagio

After a delicious breakfast buffet at the hotel, cruise by private boat across the sparkling waters of Italy’s deepest and perhaps most spectacular lake while learning about its fascinating history and allure. Enjoy time to explore Bellagio at your own pace and browse through its wonderful boutiques. Across Lake Como from Bellagio, visit the magnificent Villa del Balbianello and its unique terraced gardens. Lunch will be on your own. Later, savor the delights of a provided northern Italian dinner in a local ristorante.

Day 7 Orta San Giulio / Sacro Monte di Orta / Lake Orta

Start the day by enjoying a provided breakfast buffet at the hotel. Visit the heart of Orta San Giulio’s medieval village center to admire Baroque palazzos built by Italian nobility. Admire chapels dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi atop the summit of UNESCO-inscribed Sacro Monte di Orta and admire the chapels’ frescoes and terra cotta statues. Transfer by private boat across the cobalt‑blue water to Isola San Giulio and visit the 12th‑century Romanesque‑style Basilica San Giulio, taking in views of Italian villas and gardens along the way. Lunch and dinner will be on your own.

Day 8 Como

Following a complimentary breakfast at the hotel, the day is free for independent pursuits, which may include the Como public market. Travel guides may also recommend guests visiting Villa Carlotta, which is a botanical garden and museum on Lake Como, or Isola Comacina, the only island on Lake Como. The island also played an important role in Como’s history and it acted as a fortress centuries ago, with its structures surrounded by high walls. Enjoy lunch on your own. This evening, join your travel companions for a provided farewell dinner at the hotel. 

Day 9 Como / Milan / Return to home city

After breakfast in the hotel, transfer to Milan for your return flight home.