Village Life® Italian Lakes

Program Overview

One of the world’s most captivating destinations, northern Italy’s fabled Lake District beckons with its sublime landscapes of shimmering glacial waters, soaring Alpine peaks and coastal villages. The Mediterranean region’s ancient history echoes through towns embellished with lavish Renaissance and Gothic architecture and imbued with the distinct Italian style that has inspired poets, composers, artists and philosophers for centuries. Indulge in the refined culture of the Italian Lake District on this unique program, where you unpack only once in Lake Como, one of Italy’s loveliest settings, and travel to bijou towns, exquisite islands and the vivacious metropolis that is Milan.

Program Details

April 26 to May 4, 2025 May 3 to 11, 2025
From approximately $3,395* plus air View Terms & Conditions
  • Exclusive journey through the Italian Lakes region, where Alpine foothills provide a dramatic background for sparkling glacial lakes.
  • Created in our tradition of innovative programming and educational travel.
  • Included excursions throughout your program.
  • Specially arranged private cruises on lakes Como and Maggiore.
  • An insightful lecture to give you insight into the history and heritage of the northern Italian region of Lombardy and its famous lakes.
  • A specially arranged visit to see one of the master artworks of Leonardo da Vinci—either “The Last Supper,” depicting the final meal of Jesus Christ with his apostles, or the "Codex Atlanticus," a collection of his acclaimed notebooks.

Day 1 - Depart home city

Day 2 - Milan, Italy/Lake Como/Check in to Palace Hotel

Day 3 - Como

Day 4 - Stresa/Lake Maggiore/Borromean Islands

Day 5 - Milan

Day 6 - Bellagio

Day 7 - Como

Day 8 - Como

Day 9 - Como/Milan/Return to home city

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 Depart home city

Depart for Milan, Italy. Please check your bags from your gateway city to your arrival city.

Day 2 Milan, Italy/Como/Check in to Palace Hotel

Arrive at Milan Malpensa Airport and transfer to the deluxe Palace Hotel Como. This ideally located, classic Belle Époque hotel overlooks Lake Como.

Tonight, join your fellow passengers for a Welcome Reception and Dinner at the hotel.

Day 3 Como

Enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast at the hotel each morning.

This morning, join a distinguished guest speaker for an informative lecture, “Como: From Roman Ruins to Medieval Walls to the Present.”

Stroll throughout Old Como on a walking tour and admire magnificent architectural sites such as 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 tour, you will also visit the grand Volta Square, which commemorates the credited inventor of the battery, Alessandro Volta.

Enjoy lunch on your own, and spend the afternoon at leisure. Make your own plans for dinner tonight.

Day 4 Stresa/Lake Maggiore/Borromean Islands

From Stresa, begin your outing with a cruise on Lake Maggiore aboard a private motorboat to Isola Bella, the “Beautiful Island,” graced with elegant villas and striking natural beauty. Explore its 17th-century baroque palace and summerhouse that is home to a mosaic marine-themed grotto and an astounding collection of art and antiques. Stroll the lush gardens, filled with rare flowers and plants, statuary, architectural details and strutting white peacocks. Reboard the boat for the return to Stresa.

Explore Stresa, setting for Ernest Hemingway’s iconic novel “A Farewell to Arms,” and enjoy the spectacular mountain views. Savor lunch on your own before you return to the hotel.

At the hotel, immerse yourself in an art lecture by a local expert.
Make your own plans for dinner tonight.

Day 5 Milan

Travel to Milan, Italy’s economic powerhouse, whose wealth of cultural heritage is lavished on superb architecture, splendid art and prestigious museums. Visit the museum at the legendary La Scala, Italy’s opulent, premier opera house. Pass through the grand buildings of the Galleria on the brief walk to Milan’s centerpiece, the flamboyant 14th-century Duomo, a Gothic masterpiece defended by 2,244 marble saints and nearly 100 scowling gargoyles. The Duomo’s impressive interior houses Europe’s largest sundial, a brass strip decorated with signs of the zodiac embedded in its floor, and the treasury, which houses some of the Duomo’s prized possessions.

Spend time at leisure having lunch and getting to know cosmopolitan Milan. You may wish to explore Milan’s legendary fashion scene while walking along the streets of Quadrilatero d’Oro, one of the world’s most iconic fashion districts.

This afternoon, view a master artwork by the incomparable Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci, who lived in Milan for 22 years and created some of his most famous works of art here. In a specially arranged private viewing, you will see either the magnificent “The Last Supper,” depicting the final meal of Jesus Christ with his apostles, or the “Codex Atlanticus,” a collection of da Vinci’s acclaimed notebooks.

Return to Como and make your own plans for dinner tonight.

Day 6 Bellagio

Board a private boat to glide on Lake Como’s sparkling, deep-blue water, and delight in views of the opulent villas and colorful villages nestled along the lake’s shores. Vistas of stunning gardens, hidden waterfalls and cypress groves will captivate your senses, while the majestic Alps stand sentry in the background. This spectacular boat ride is sure to be among your trip’s most treasured memories.

Enjoy a specially arranged visit to Villa del Balbianello, built at the end of the 18th century on the site of an ancient Franciscan monastery. Noble families have lived here over the centuries, filling the gorgeous residence with antique furnishings, unusual paintings on glass, and sculptures. Unique terraced gardens surround the villa, where holm Oaks—evergreens native to the Mediterranean—are pruned into a distinctive umbrella shape.

Continue to the celebrated town of Bellagio. Often thought of as the most beautiful town in Italy, Bellagio flaunts a promenade lined with lime trees and oleanders, a quaint city center of cobblestone streets and picturesque alleyways, and charming buildings painted in shades of cream, peach and butterscotch. Explore this enchanting little village— take a peaceful stroll along the waterfront, pause for a treat at a requisite gelato stand or browse the unique boutiques. Enjoy a memorable lunch at a local eatery before heading back to Como.

Tonight immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions in a conversation with local residents. Later, savor the delights of a provided Northern Italian dinner in a local ristorante.

Day 7 Como

Today, delve deeper into Como during your choice of one of the following activities.

Pasta Fresca Cooking Class.
Join a local Como resident who has a passion for Italian cooking and loves to share it! During this fun hands-on cooking class, each guest will make three kinds of pasta, plus a dessert. After cooking, everyone will sit down together for a lovely lunch and enjoy the fruits of their labor! Prosecco, wine, coffee and limoncello included. Maximum of eight participants.

Como Culinary Tour.
Accompanied by a local guide, guests will explore Como’s culinary highlights at three different stops:
• a wine shop to taste three regional wines and sample cold cuts;
• a bistro to taste olive oils, balsamic vinegar, local wine and cheeses;
• a stop for ice cream!
Maximum of 30 participants.

Wine Tasting at La Costa Winery.
Visit a winery located in the region of Montevecchia and the Curone Valley, approximately an hour’s drive from Como. La Costa Winery was founded in 1992 inside a protected regional park, where the vineyards, cellar and refurbished farmhouses are surrounded by local vegetation and fauna.
This informative and fascinating guided tour of the vineyard and cellar includes a tasting of four wines paired with local appetizers. Maximum of 15 participants.

Como Silk Tour.
With a local guide, visit Como’s Silk Museum, which celebrates the technical and artistic heritage of silk-making. The museum displays treasured machines, objects, documents, samples and instruments showcasing the illustrious past of the textile industry and Como’s reputation as the “City of Silk.” After leaving the museum, visit a silk factory located on the outskirts of Como, where silk products are for sale. No Maximum.

Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure, and make your own plans for lunch and dinner. For dining and itinerary suggestions, please visit the Gohagan Travel Hospitality Desk at the hotel.

Day 8 Lake Como

The day is free for independent pursuits, which may include the Como public market or a visit to Villa Carlotta, an elegant botanical garden and museum on Lake Como. For itinerary suggestions, visit the Gohagan Travel Hospitality Desk at the hotel. Enjoy lunch on your own.

Tonight, join your fellow passengers for a Farewell Reception and Dinner at the hotel, and raise a glass to your week of La Dolce Vita!

Day 9 Como/Milan/Return to home city

Following breakfast, disembark and transfer to Milan Malpensa Airport for your return flight home.