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  • Garden tour holidays for small groups in the Italian Lakes

    Isola Bella gardens Lake Maggiore

    Villa Monastero gardens Lake Como

    View of Villa Monastero

    Villa Taranto gardens Lake Maggiore

    Grand Hotel Imperiale terrace

    Tour of the Gardens and Villas of Lake Como and Lake Maggiore

    6 night tour for small groups
    This 6 night small group tour of the Italian Lakes combines stays in two luxury 4 star hotels on Lake Como and Lake Maggiore, both of which have a distinctly alpine feel but are also luxuriant in their vegetation. This garden tour holiday operates with a maximum of 14 people.
    This tour of two very popular and dramatically beautiful Italian lakes features a splendid range of striking villas and their gardens which you visit with a local guide.


    On Lake Como these include the splendid Villa Melzi d’Eril at Bellagio with its eclectic collection of sculptures in this essentially English-style park that abounds with excellent tree specimens, the enchanting Villa Balbianello facing Serbelloni, secluded in its setting and full of woods of pine, cypress and oak as well as flowerbeds and the Villa Carlotta at Tremezzo, full of imaginative planting, sunny terraces, with climbers, ferns, giant magnolias and cork oaks. Two more gardens complete the tour at Lake Como; Villa Cipressi which is poised upon a rocky promontory with terraces leading down to the lake, planted with Mediterranean shrubs and vines, laced with magnolia, eucalyptus, pittosporum, lavender and agave and Villa Monastero, renowned for a fine collection of Mediterranean and tropical vegetation, as well as fountains and statues.

    On Lake Maggiore we had to include Isola Bella, one of the most dramatic 17th Century Baroque gardens in Italy, seemingly floating on the surface of the lake with its ten-terraced garden and marble balustrades. Water theatre, putti and grottoes embellished with tinted stucco, pebble mosaic and shellwork add to the sense of fantasy here. Trees include orange trees, lemons and pomegranates. We also visit Isola Madre nearby, the Villa Giulia in Verbania, Villa Pallavicino in Stresa and have an optional visit to the Botanical garden Alpinia above Stresa (subject to the cable car operating).

    Click the tabs above to find out more about hotel and travel arrangements, or click here to download a pdf with full details of this garden tour holiday.

    DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
    Day one: Arrive in Milan
    You either join our flight at 09.10 from London Heathrow, arriving in Milan Linate at 12.05 or you make your own way either to Milan Linate for this time or directly to the hotel. At Milan you are met by your small coach for up to 14 participants. You arrive at your first hotel on Lake Como in time for dinner.
    Day two: Full day to Villa Cipressi and Villa Monastero
    Meet with the local guide whose services you have this morning as you visit and tour the gardens of Villa Monastero (renowned for a fine collection of Mediterranean and tropical vegetation, as well as fountains and statues). After the visit there is time for lunch (own expense) before a guided visit to Villa Cipressi, poised upon a rocky promontory. You are taken back to the hotel in time to relax before dinner.
    Day three: Full day guided tour of gardens
    This is quite a full day with a total of three gardens to be visited on different shores of Lake Como. First you visit the Villa Melzi d’Eril (at Bellagio with an eclectic collection of sculptures in this essentially English-style park that is full of excellent tree specimens), time for a snack lunch (own expense) in between, a short interlude in Bellagio itself, and then on to Villa Balbianello for a guided visit (in a secluded setting and full of woods of pine, cypress and oak as well as flowerbeds) and then to Villa Carlotta at Tremezzo for another guided visit (full of imaginative planting, sunny terraces, with climbers, ferns, giant magnolias and cork oaks. You return to the hotel in good time for dinner.
    Day four: From Lake Como to Lake Maggiore
    Today you leave to drive to Lake Maggiore and your hotel for the next 3 nights. Settle in and enjoy some free time before the included dinner at the hotel.
    Day five: Isola Bella and Isola Madre
    Today is spent on the islands in Lake Maggiore, described to you by the local guide. You go first to Isola Madre for a guided visit and then by boat to Isola Bella to visit the museum and gardens. Isola Bella is one of the most dramatic 17th Century Baroque gardens in Italy, seemingly floating on the surface of the lake with its ten-terraced garden and marble ballustrades. There is free time for you to find something for lunch on Isola Bella. Dinner at the hotel.
    Day six: Villa Taranto
    Your guide gives you a tour of the gardens of Villa Taranto, followed by a visit to the Botanic gardens Alpinia above Stresa and reached by cable car. There is free time to visit Stresa itself where you will be able to find a cafe for lunch. Dinner at the hotel.
    Day seven: Back to Milan and London
    You have a large part of the day at leisure on Lake Maggiore today as your flight does not depart until 19.00 from Milan Malpensa. Arrive back at London Heathrow at 19.55 hrs.
    Dates and prices - 2020 dates now booking
    This tour departs on the following dates from London for these prices per person
    12 May 2020 £2,560
    9 June 2020 £2,620
    23 June 2020 £2,620
    8 September 2020 £2,620

    Prices are based on two people sharing a double or twin room.
    Single supplement for use of double: £320 per person.
    Deposit payment: £400 per person
    We include
    • Flights with British Airways London Heathrow to Milan in Euro traveller.
    • Transportation from Milan airport and back to Milan airport in a small coach for maximum 14 people with one piece of luggage per person.
    • Entrance tickets to the gardens mentioned.
    • Services of an English speaking local guide for garden visits as mentioned.
    • Three nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at the Grand Hotel Imperiale in a double or twin park view rooms.
    • Three nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at the Hotel Cannero, Cannero Riviera in double or twin rooms with park view (lake view possible on request)

    "Excellent choice of food on whole menu at the Imperiale, and very good service." - Mrs L, May 2016.

    Click the tabs above to find out more about hotel and travel arrangements, or click here to download a pdf with full details of this garden tour holiday.


    Italian Lakes garden tour map

    Where you stay

    Grand Hotel Imperiale
    Moltrasio, Lake Como
    The Grand Hotel Imperiale is a four star hotel consisting of original lakeside villa and a newer wing behind, in the village of Moltrasio towards the southern end Lake Como. The rooms, whether in the modern wing or in the original hotel are all elegantly furnished with modern amenities and have either lake views or views over the gardens. The hotel’s outdoor swimming pool is the perfect place to relax and unwind.
    See more details on Grand Hotel Imperiale

    Hotel Cannero
    Cannero Riviera, Lake Maggiore
    This hotel is one of our most popular hotels in the Italian Lakes. A traditional, boutique, family-run 4 star hotel on the promenade of Cannero Riviera, the hotel has a garden, swimming pool and a cosy charm. We include rooms with park/garden view but it is possible to upgrade to a lake view, subject to availability, at a supplement of £24 per person per night..
    See more details on Hotel Cannero


    Travel arrangements

    We include return flights with British Airways from London Heathrow to Milan in Euro traveller, as well as transportation in a small coach for up to 14 people with one piece of luggage per person.
    If you want us to arrange flights on other dates and from UK regional airports or to extend your holiday with a stay elsewhere in Italy, just let us know. If you are not arriving from the UK, then we can give you a price that excludes flights and perhaps with extra transfers included. We will adjust the details and the price accordingly.

    Important information

    This holiday is based on 14 people participating. Our booking conditions apply to this holiday and a copy of the booking conditions can be seen on our website, a copy can be requested before you book and a copy will be sent to you with a confirmed booking. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary if we cannot be accommodated in any of the villas and gardens for any reason closer to the date of departure. We reserve the right to alter the hotel accommodation if necessary. Holiday insurance is not included but it is absolutely essential that you are fully insured. 

    Click here to download a pdf with full details of this garden tour holiday.

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