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Italy: Venice and the Italian Lakes - Itinerary

September 15 - 23, 2019
9 Days / 8 Nights

This tour starts in Milan and ends in Venice

$3,860 per person/double occupancy
$1,460 optional single supplement
Additional nights:

Milan: $280 single or double room
Venice: $480 single or double room
Includes all fees and taxes

Click on the image to enlarge the map

This tour may be combined with the Classic Tuscany tour to Italy (September 24 - October 2, 2019)

This tour starts at 3:00PM on Sunday, September 15, 2019 in Milan.
Your flight should arrive no later than 1:00PM.

Day 1: Milan: The Last Supper 

On your arrival at the Milan airport, you will be met by your chauffeur for a private transfer to our centrally located Milan hotel. You'll have some time to rest after your flight, and then we'll meet our fellow travelers and set out to explore the city of Milan. We'll start with a leisurely walk through the vibrant city of Milan and a visit to the Santa Maria della Grazie church which is home to one of the world's most recognizable works of art: Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, painted directly on the wall of the refectory and lovingly restored from its original 15th-century completion. After this inspiring experience, we will celebrate our first day in Italy with a welcome dinner at an elegant restaurant featuring a stunning location, right across the elaborate spires of Milan's Duomo.
Meals: D
Accommodations: Michelangelo Hotel, Milan

Day 2: Milan to Lake Como 

This morning, we'll continue our exploration of Milan. Associated with Barbarossa, Napoleon and Victor Emmanuel II, the city has a fascinating history: founded by Celtic tribes in the 7th century B.C., then conquered by Rome in 222 B.C., today it's Italy's most prosperous city, synonymous with high fashion, design and art. Today's walk will take us past Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, into the La Scala Opera House, and then to the magnificent Duomo Cathedral, where we'll take the elevator up to its roof to walk among the forest of 3,200 statues, spires, pinnacles and pillars and to admire the stunning view of the city. Our tour will end at Galleria Vittoriio Emmanuele II, "Milan's drawing room," before we leave the city and continue to Lake Como. Lined with villas set in tropical gardens, verdant hills, and snowy Alps in the distance, the poetic Lake Como signifies grandeur, tranquility and understated elegance, and it has been a resort since the days of the Roman Empire. Before checking into our lakeside hotel, we'll visit the amazing Villa Carlotta, Lake Como's best known villa, Villa George Clooney notwithstanding. Built in the 17th century, this place of rare beauty perfectly combines stunning interiors of stuccos, ceiling frescoes and a great art collection with luxuriant, terraced gardens tumbling down to the lake. After checking into our lakeside hotel, we'll toast our beautiful surroundings during a serene lakeside dinner.
Meals: B, D
Accommodations: Hotel Lenno, Lake Como

Day 3: Villa Balbianello, Varenna 

Today, we'll take a private cruise on Lake Como, sailing along its shores studded with Belle Epoque villas, palaces and gardens. We'll start with a visit to Villa Balbianello, one of the most seductive grand houses on the lake, complete with fountains, statues and lush flower gardens. Then, we'll continue to the town of Tremezzo, where we'll enjoy an opulent lunch at a restaurant overlooking the peaceful waters of Lake Como. After lunch, we will continue by boat to Varenna, perhaps the loveliest spot on the whole lake, shaded by pines and palm trees and dominated by narrow stepped alleyways and waterfront cafes. We'll have time to explore the beauty of Varenna at our leisure, before the boat brings us back to our hotel. The evening will be free to take a swim in the hotel's pool, be pampered at the spa, or simply relax and enjoy the tranquil splendor of Lake Como.
Meals: B, L
Hotel Lenno, Lake Como

Day 4: Bellagio 

After breakfast today, we'll set out to explore the chic Bellagio, the "pearl of Lago di Como", and considered a place of romance and a playground of the glitterati for decades. After visiting the Romanesque church of San Giacomo, we'll take a leisurely walk to the nearby Villa Melzi, whose terraced gardens have replaced the vineyards that once surrounded the villa, and it now boast more than 500 species of exotic plants. After lunch at a local cafe, consisting of local specialties, such as freshly caught fish with risotto and ravioli, there will be ample time to stroll Bellagio's narrow streets that lead down to the lake, linger at a café or shop for silk accessories that made Bellagio famous ever since the times of Marco Polo.
Meals: B, L
Hotel Lenno, Lake Como

Day 5: Verona 

In the morning, we'll leave Lake Como, and travel the scenic route through the culturally rich and visually stunning Veneto region. Our first stop will be Verona, one of Italy's most beautiful cities, known as piccola Roma. Here, we'll enjoy a guided tour, including the pink marble Roman Arena, where grandiose operas are still regularly staged and Casa di Giulietta, where we'll breathe in the spirit of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Afterewards, we'll enjoy a gourmet lunch at one of the city's exquisite little cafes. In the afternoon, we'll continue to Venice, and after a romantic ride in a water taxi, we'll check into our canal-side luxury hotel. In the evening, we'll celebrate the magic of Venice with a Venetian dinner, where the culinary emphasis will be on seafood, with such regional specialties as risotto with cuttlefish, pasta and bean soup, thick spaghetti with duck ragout, and the Venetian coffee-and-cream dessert tiramisu.
Meals: B, L, D
Accommodations: Hotel Saturnia & International, Venice

Day 6: San Marco, Venice 

Our first day in Venice will be devoted to Venetian history. We'll start with an introductory guided walk of the city and admire Piazza San Marco, the Grand Canal, the Bridge of Sighs, Teatro La Fenice, the Rialto Bridge, the Campanile and other significant locations in San Marco area. Afterwards, we'll have a private tour of St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace. During our free afternoon, you can either indulge in more art and visit the Accademia Gallery or Peggy Guggenheim Collection or you can wander along the ancient, narrow streets in search of that perfect Venetian mask or a piece of Murano glass.
Meals: B
Hotel Saturnia & International, Venice

Day 7: Venetian Art, Vivaldi Concert 

Having gained the appreciation for the Venetian history, today we'll explore the world of Venetian art, which over many centuries defined this city. After a walk through the "secret Venice", we'll take a private tour of the Frari Church showcasing Titian and Bellini masterpieces and Scuola Grande di San Rocco with Tintoretto's dramatic cycle of paintings. The art of Venice tour will culminate with a guided visit to Ca' Rezzonico, a palazzo on the Grand Canal, dedicated to art of the 18th century Venice. Afterwards, we'll enjoy a leisurely lunch of Venetian specialties in a local trattoria, and in the afternoon, we'll enjoy the quintessential Venetian experience: a romantic gondola ride, followed by a Vivaldi music concert in the atmospheric interiors where it was originally performed.
Meals: B, L
Hotel Saturnia & International, Venice

Day 8: Murano and Burano 

Today, we'll travel over water to the island of Murano, where we'll learn about the history of glass making, visit glass makers' studios and artisans' shops, where skilled glass blowers follow the exact procedures of their predecessors to produce stunning masterworks. Then, we'll continue to a colorful island of Burano known for its lace-making traditions and spend some quiet time experiencing the way of life that was that of Venice itself. In the afternoon, there will be time to explore the enchanting Dorsoduro district with Santa Maria della Salute Church, before we celebrate our adventure with a canal-side Venetian farewell dinner.
Meals: B, D
Hotel Saturnia & International, Venice

Day 9: Departures 
In the morning, we'll say good-bye to Venice with two private water taxi transfers to the Marco Polo Airport, or, if you are joining the Classic Tuscany Tour, we'll take a water taxi to the Santa Lucia train station, from where we'll take a train to Florence.
Meals: B

The tour ends on MondaySeptember 23, 2019 in Venice.
We will have two water taxi transfers to Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE): one at 6:00AM for ladies departing after 8:30AM, and another at 8:00AM for ladies departing after 10:30AM. If you need to get to the airport at other times, you will be responsible for your transfer to the airport.

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

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Why travel with other women?
Many women do not have families or compatible friends who wish to travel. When going on a main-stream tour, women often find that most activities are geared towards couples and quite often they feel left out. Singles' tours are not always what women are looking for. If you do not have a traveling companion, there is also the issue of the expensive "single supplement", sometimes as much as 50 or even 100 percent of the tour cost. By going on women-only tours, women can easily avoid paying for the single supplement by sharing a room with another woman traveler.
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