Italian Lakes Region
Across northern Italy at the base of the Alps you find the Italian Lake Region. These glacier carved lakes are set against the backdrop of the nearby mountains. The major lakes are Garda, Maggiore, Como, and Orta. Each lake has its own alpine inspired charms. Visitors to the lakes are greeted by microclimates that are created by the lakes; making them comfortable locales, year round.
The famous town is located on Lake Maggiore in the Gulf of Borromeo, which is the main attraction for the town because it overlooks the eponymous islands. Visitors can travel via cable cars to get an aerial view of Stresa. Stresa has also been renowned for its culture and music. The history of Stresa officially appeared in documents in AD 998. In the 15th century it grew into a fishing community and then came under control of the Borromeo family. The town is home to about 5,000 inhabitants. In 1948, Ernest Hemingway had visited Stresa and was the setting of part of his novel, Farewell to Arms.
The Italian Riviera stretches from the French border to northern Tuscany along the Ligurian Sea. The rocky coast is dotted with small fishing villages overlooking the sea and has many popular beaches and seaside resort towns. Portofino, Santa Margherita, Sestri Levante and the Cinque Terre are all popular places for Italian and international visitors looking for sun and surf in a beautiful setting.
The Cinque Terre is made up of five small villages that cling to the rocky cliffs of the southern Italian Riviera. Each village has its own unique charms with views over the terraced vineyards and the small beaches of the Ligurian Sea. The villages are linked together by trains, hiking paths, and seasonal boat service. From the North to the South the Villages are: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare.
Lucca is a small town in the Northwest of the Italian region of Tuscany. The town is famous for its intact city walls that surround the charming pedestrianized city center. The former wealth of the town can be seen in the elegant palaces and large number of churches that can be found throughout the city. Lucca’s Roman heritage is also visible at sites like Piazza dell’Anfiteatro - a series of apartments built on the old Roman arena. Today visitors are also drawn to the number of high quality shops and cafes.
See another side of Italy in the Tuscan countryside. This breathtaking rural area feels like a country unto itself — never-ending green rolling hills, medieval villages, and picture-perfect farm houses dot the landscape, much of which appears as if it has been frozen in time. Experience cultural moments that perfectly encompass the countryside’s idyllic beauty. You will visit a family-owned winery to tour its gorgeous vineyards; delight your senses during an expert-led cooking class; and enjoy a sumptuous lunch — which is, of course, paired with wines produced only feet away from you. Lose yourself in the beauty of the Tuscan countryside — these will truly be moments you will remember forever.
Florence is the regional capital of Tuscany and home to countless Renaissance Masterpieces. The city developed great wealth during the late middle ages and was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance that produced great artists like Michelangelo, Raphael, Brunelleschi and many others. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with numerous museums, stunning architecture and charming piazzas. The city offers something for everyone from culture, to great food and excellent shopping (like their famous gold or leather).
The city of Siena is a charming hill town in central Tuscany with a city center that has masterfully preserved its medieval architecture. It radiates out over three hills from its central piazza called Ill Campo which is home to Siena’s famous Palio - a horse race and medieval festival that occurs twice a year. Siena strikes the perfect balance as a city that welcomes the students studying at their university, locals conducting their business and tourists taking in the many sights.
The Tuscany region is famous for their wines and home to numerous vineyards. The most well known wine produced in Tuscany is the Chianti wine. Chianti wine can only be produced in a section the country that stretches from Florence to Siena in the heart of Tuscany. Two other great Tuscan wines include the Brunello di Montalcino and the Nobile di Montepulciano, both of which are robust big bodied reds. During a tour of a local winery, guests can learn about the wine making process from vine to bottle, and taste a few samples.
Italian Cooking Class
Italian food is a huge part of the culture, traditions and excitement of visiting Italy. A hands on cooking class allows visitors to learn about classic elements of the cuisine like pasta making. The chef walks guests through the preparation of the dough and how to make rustic pasta. Once the pasta is mastered, guests can discover other dishes such as dessert. No class would be complete without sampling what you made with local wines.
Bologna is the regional capital of the Emilia-Romagna Region in northern Italy. The entire region is famous for its food products and home to some serious “foodies”. The city center contains many artistic and cultural monuments made of the local red brick. The local university and food culture makes for a lively cafe scene.
Venice is the regional capital of the Veneto region in the northeast section of Italy. Venice has a unique design like no other city, built on over a hundred different islands in the center of the Venetian Lagoon. Early Venetians built their city on the islands to escape barbarian invaders. The islands of the city are separated by numerous small canals and connected by hundreds of small bridges. The city is famous for its romantic gondola filled canals and ornate palaces that line the Grand Canal. The famous glass factories of Venice are located on Murano Island. Today the Murano Islands are home to a dwindling number of glass factories, whose artists are producing handmade Murano Glass.
The romance of Italy comes to life. Explore a local farm and indulge in a cheese and wine tasting. Explore the rugged coast and remote fishing villages of the Cinque Terre. Spend four relaxing nights in a Tuscan villa. Choose the way you discover the charming town of Lucca: on foot or by bicycle. Get to know Florence with a walking tour of the city’s treasures and monuments, including the Piazza del Duomo. Experience medieval life at the Palazzo Davanzati. Venture to rose-hued Siena. Visit a winery in the countryside and learn the secrets of Tuscan cuisine when you participate in a cooking lesson. Wander the streets of Bologna and taste some of the area’s specialty foods. Spend two wonderful nights in Venice. These are Italy’s treasures.