• LOMBARDY & ITALIAN RIVIERA GARDEN TOURS

LOMBARDY & ITALIAN RIVIERA GARDEN TOURS.en

 

     

 

DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN ITALY – LAKE COMO

Arrival by your own at Como Lake. Accommodation at your hotel. Overnight

 

DAY 2: COMO LAKE

Breakfast at your hotel. Departure by public boat to Tremezzo and visit the best known, and most visited of the region’s villas. It is Villa Carlotta, built in the late 16th century. It attracts more than 150,000 visitors a year, and with good reason.  Most visitors would say that the house is beautiful, but the gardens are magnificent. With a short walk, you take the ferry from Cadenabbia to Bellagio, where you will have free time for lunch in this charming, small lakeside town. Afternoon visit to Villa Melzi, which is within walking distance of the town centre. The architect Luigi Canonica, and the botanist, Luigi Villoresi, both leaders in their respective fields in the early 19th century, designed the English style gardens, enriched with sculptures. At the end way back by public boat to Como. Dinner at your own and overnight at the hotel.

 

DAY 3: COMO LAKE and WINE TASTING

Breakfast at your hotel. Departure by your own car to Lenno and visit the Villa del Balbianello, sitting on the lakeside. The villa was built in the 18th century for a cardinal, but the last private owner has furnished the rich interior. The true pride and joy of the villa, however is the panoramic terraced garden, dominated by its elegant loggia. Lunch at your own. In the afternoon visit of a winery to taste some Italian wines.  Dinner at your own and overnight at your hotel in Como

 

DAY 4: COMO LAKE – MAGGIORE LAKE

Breakfast at your hotel. Departure by your own car  towards Lake Maggiore. On the way stop for the visit of a private Villa on the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore with one of the largest private botanical gardens of the lake district, covering 17 acres, and with almost one km of lake shore, bordered by pink granite walls carved from local quarries. Started at the beginning of 1900 by the owner, it features an exotic conifer collection, a unique Taxodium grove on the private beach, a 60m long hornbeam, thousands of azaleas and many interesting specimen. Arrival at Stresa (Western shore of Maggiore lake) and accommodation at your hotel . Dinner at your own and overni

 

DAY 5:  LAKE MAGGIORE (BORROMEAN ISLANDS)

Breakfast at your hotel. Boarding on private boat and departure to Isola Bella. Visit the baroque palace of the '600 and charming Italian garden, which made the island famous in the world.  Built from 1632, the Palace and Gardens of Bella Isle are the primary attraction of Lake Maggiore. The gardens form an extraordinary, flowered monument laid out over a series of ornate and overlapping terraces, a classic and inimitable example of seventeenth century "Italian garden". At the end, the tour goes on to the Isola Pescatori (Fisherman Island). An antique rustic village occupies it almost entirely, from the tortuous and narrow lanes and preserves the flavour of old age. Lunch at your own.  In the afternoon departure to Isola Madre , the largest of the Borromean Islands. Its gardens, where all manner of peacocks, parrots and pheasants roam freely, are full of rare plants and exotic flowers, helping to create the charm of a tropical land. Way back to Stresa by boat. Dinner at your own and overnight at the hotel.

 

DAY 6: LAKE MAGGIORE – SWITZERLAND

Breakfast at your hotel. Departure by your own car  towards Brissago, located at the North of Lake Maggiore, in Switzerland. Embarkation on public boat to the Brissago Islands, which have a mild, subtropical climate and, house more than 1,700 species of Mediterranean, South African, American and Oceanic plants. Lunch at your own. At the way back to Brissago by public boat and along the Western shore of Lake Maggiore you will reach Verbania. Visit the Villa Taranto  gardens, founded by Scotsman  Neil McEarchern in 1931, where you will get your walk amidst the rare and unusual gardens  with its mild Winter climate, high rainfall and hot Summers provides a botanical feast that cannot be missed. At the end way back to Stresa by public boat. Dinner at your own and overnight at the hotel.

 

DAY  7:   LAKE MAGGIORE – LAKE ORTA

Breakfast at your hotel. Morning at leisure. Lunch at your own. In the afternoon departure by your ow cat to reache the Lake Orta, the most romantic lake.  Embarkation on the boat to reach the Isola of San Giulio, with its magical atmosphere rich in spirituality.  Visit the ancient Roman basilica and beautiful bas-reliefs of the XII century, preserved in it. Walk along the path of Silence, traveled in reverse, it becomes of Meditation, whose signs call for an interior journey which involves listening and exploration. At the end by public boat continue to Orta and visit this charming village. You can see the sixteenth-century Palazzo della Comunità, the Renaissance Palazzo Gemelli, the fourteenth-century Casa dei Nani and the parish church Parrocchia dell’Assunta. At the end way back to your hotel.  Dinner at your own and overnight.

 

DAY 8:  LAKE MAGGIORE – SANREMO  - LIGURIA ( KM 313)  

Breakfast at your hotel. Departure by your own car towards the Liguria. Arrival in Sanremo,  known as the city of flowers and sun, where you may choose to take a stroll along the famous palm lined promenade or visit the  Chiesa Russa, an authentic Russian Orthodox church in the city centre – travel to the delightful town of Dolceacqua where many archaeological remains bear witness to the successive occupations of the site since the Iron Age. Accommodation at your hotel; dinner at your own and overnight

 

DAY 9:  SANREMO  - HANBURY BOTANICAL GARDENS & PALLANCA

Breakfast at your hotel and departure by your own car towards Ventimiglia, close the border of France.  Visit the Hanbury botanical gardens,  one of the main attractions in the province of Imperia. Located on the border with France, they cover a surface area of 18 hectares. The gardens were created from 1867 by the English traveller Sir Thomas Hanbury, who got wealthy with the export of teas to Shanghai. The park was developed sorrounding the mansion owned by the Marquises Orengo of Ventimiglia, that which was purchased by Henbury when he decided to move on the Ligurian coast. Lunch on your own.  In the afternoon visit the Pallaca exotic Gardens located in Bordighera, not far from Sanremo.. The “B. Pallanca” Horticultural and Flower Produce Unit was founded in 1910. In the pre-war period the activity was mainly oriented in the trade and cultivation of ornamental plants and cut flowers, but after the war Bartolomeo restructured the company and focused on the development of a Cactus Nursery. Family tradition is still alive, in fact, the Pallanca family took an important part in the preparation of the most important Botanical Gardens in Europe – like the exotic section of Montjuich Park and the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle in Merano. Here visitors will be astonished at the sight of the wonderful cactuses and succulent plants. More than 3,000 varieties and about 30,000 specimens are on display across the 10,000 sq.m. of the garden. The wide range of plants are placed on vertical  terraces. At the end way back to Sanremo. Dinner on your own and overnight

 

DAY 10: SANREMO  - GENOVA ( VILLA NEGROTTO & VILLA DEL PRINCIPE)

Breakfast at your hotel and departure by your own car towards GENOA. ( Km 150 ). Before arrival stop in Arenzano. Going along the main road that Villa Negrotto Cambiaso of Arenzano looks onto, your eyes are immediately enraptured by the vision of the splendid conservatory in Liberty style, perfectly preserved in its original splendour. Inaugurated in 1931 under the desire of Marchioness  Matilde Negrotto Cambiaso, it is the work of the architect Lamberto Cusani who took his inspiration from 19th century French and English examples of conservatories, which were made of glass and iron.Starting from the conservatory you can visit the garden, which add  a  notable botanical value to the architectural-composition value. It contains some species that are uncommon or even rare for Ligurian parks. Different examples have reached majestic sizes and in the lower part of the garden the large Lebanon cedar is a true plant monument. The territory is part of the Regional Park of Beigua, a transit area for migratory species; this is why the garden also has examples of peacocks and other species of avifauna. At the end tour goes on towards Genoa. Discover all the charm of the old town of Genoa trough the narrow "caruggi" (alleyways) and ancient squares. Some of the main points of interest include the Cathedral, Palazzo Ducale and the Carlo Felice Opera House, and the  "Strada Nuova" (Via Garibaldi), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Do not miss to visit VILLA DEL PRINCIPE which is the largest existing monument created in the style of the Genovese Renaissance and whose gardens were first laid out in the second half of the 1500’s by the architect Perino del Vaga. The Garden of the Villa del Principe, the Genoese residence that belonged to the famous Doria Pamphili family, is more than just a complement to the beauty of the sumptuous residence: it is also an integral part of the history of Genoa. Prince Andrea Doria crossed it to reach the Villa on his return from his battles at sea; aromas and flowers of every sort, pergolas, fountains, statues and shady colonnades welcomed him home. Feasts, games and stately performances were once held here in honour of important guests. Over the centuries, the garden of the Villa del Principe has undergone several changes, remaining nonetheless a natural marvel and a testament to the villa’s history.

Accommodation at your hotel in Santa Margherita Ligure or Sestri Levante. Dinner on your own and overnight

Day 11: SANTA MARGHERITA – S. FRUTTUOSO - PORTOFINO

Breakfast at your hotel. Morning to spend in this  beautiful seaside town.  Although relatively unknown, the town is teeming with character. Its harbour, which hosts a morning fish market, is a magnet for small yachts and  you won’t tire of strolling around this picture-postcard setting. Then , by public boat you will reach    S. Fruttuoso abbey (VIII° century), where Prospero, bishop of Tarragona,  fleeing  from Spain invaded by the Arabs, chose the bay to shelter and build a church to  preserve the relics of the martyr Fruttuoso. Much of the Abbey dates back to the X-XI century. From the thirteenth century the fortunes of San Fruttuoso became intertwined with that of the Doria family, who commissioned the renovation of the building, by building the abbey which overlooking the sea. Lunch at your own. In the afternoon the tour goes on by boat towards Portofino, along a pretty coastal stretch. What used to be a tiny fishing port is today the Italian Riviera’s most exclusive resort offering designer boutiques and a fine selection of cafés and bars.  Stroll among its snaking streets to the Church of St Giorgio, which is a short distance from the harbour. From here the view across the bay is   spectacular. Time at leisure, and way back by public boat to Sestri Levante or Santa Margherita . Dinner at your own. Overnight at the hotel.

 

Day 12: CINQUETERRE

Breakfast at your  hotel. Today’s included full-day excursion by boat and train, takes you to  the enchanting area known as the Cinque Terre. This translates as Five Lands and refers to the five villages, which perch precariously on the cliffs high above the Mediterranean Sea and are almost all inaccessible by road. You’ll discover that each village has its own unique character. Departure by public boat to Riomaggiore. During the sailing, you can see “La Via dell’Amore” (the “Love Path”), a pedestrian itinerary  carved in the steep rocks falling sheer into the sea and characterized by a typical Mediterranean scenery, deep scents of plants and herbs and the fascination of isolated inlets.  Arrival in RIOMAGGIORE, the oldest village in the CINQUE TERRE. Visit this small country and by train go to VERNAZZA, one of the pearls of the Cinque Terre, a magical village distributed around a harbor and surrounded by spectacular natural landscape. His appearance is still that of a fishing village, despite the great tourist bustle, and contend before when you come from the sea, or from the hills after a long hike, it's like being in front of an art gallery in the open. Nature has painted the area with the colors more intense her, the man giving the molded shapes and pastel colors. Lunch at your own. In the afternoon continue by train to MONTEROSSO, the westernmost village protected by hills covered with vineyards and olive groves. Visit the village, renowned for its beautiful beaches, steep rugged cliffs and crystal-clear waters, which make this one of the most charming resorts on the Ligurian Riviera. Time at leisure, and return by train to Sestri Levante or Santa Margherita . Dinner at your own. Overnight at the hotel.

 

Day 13: SANTA MARGHERITA LIGURE OR FOOD EXPERIENCE IN SESTRI LEVANTE

Breakfast at your  hotel. In the morning visit the Villa Durazzo Park,  situated on the top of a hill in the centre of Santa Margherita Ligure . The park surrounds the villa built in the 17th century by the marquis Durazzo and has a wonderful position overlooking the Tigullio Gulf. The little citrus plantation that lies on the terrace in front of the sea, between the garden wall and the balustrade, is the oldest part of the park; It's made of orange-, lemon- and grapefruit- trees planted by the family Durazzo to create a green zone for the visitor who climbed from the sea towards the villa. In the 20th century the “Romantic English Wood”, that lies on the other side of the hill, was arranged by Alfredo Chierichetti. In this part of the park holm oaks, cypress-trees, camphors, lindens and pine-trees mix with a large variety of palms, including Phoenix Canariensis, Washingtonia filifera, Jubaea chilensis and create a suggestive medley of exotic and Mediterranean flora. The park is enriched by statues, fountains and flower boxes and crossed by paths paved with white and black cobblestones that lead to the terrace in front of the villa, where precious floral mosaics seem to extend the vegetation to the house door. At the bottom of the park, the “Prince Centurione's Secret Garden” is a small jewel set in the green; in the 19th century it was the hidden refuge for lovers and still keeps the romantic atmosphere of that time.

 

ANOTHER OPTION:

  WORKSHOP + FOOD EXPERIENCE  IN SESTRI LEVANTE ( SEE BELOW)

 1)       PESTO WORKSHOP + ZERO-KILOMETRE TASTING

Educational and demonstrative path, focused on the preparation of the true pesto in the mortar for a hands-on experience. At the end a buffet with specialties of the Ligurian short food chain and with wines of the Tigullio Gulf.

(1 hour workshop + tasting)

 

  2)      EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL TASTING + ZERO KILOMETRE TASTING

Educational path and tasting, focused on the history of the extra-virgin oil made with the taggiasca and lavagnina olive variety. At the end a buffet with specialties of the Ligurian short food chain and with wines of the Tigullio Gulf.

(1 hour workshop + tasting)

 

  3)      WINE TASTING + ZERO-KILOMETRE TASTING

Educational path and tasting, focused on the history of the Ligurian wine, led by expert sommeliers. At the end a buffet with specialties of the Ligurian short food chain and with wines of the Tigullio Gulf.

(1 hour workshop + tasting)

 

 At the end transfer to the   airport. 

 

INDIVIDUAL & GROUP RATES: ON REQUES