NORTH AND NORTH-EAST ITALY: LOMBARDY AND VENETO
10 days (9 nights) | 20 May 2019 to 28 May 2019
10 days (9 nights) | 23 September 2019 to 2 October 2019
DAY 1: ARRIVAL - MILANO
Welcome to Italy! Once you landed, air-conditioned bus will transfer you from Malpensa Airport to Bergamo where you will be accommodated at Hotel Piazza Vecchia and have time to rest, before the real beginning of our adventure!
DAY 2: BERGAMO
Bergamo is a real life tale of two cities: Bergamo Alta, the beautiful walled hilltop medieval city, and Bergamo Bassa, the lower city. We explore both parts of the city separated physically and symbolically by the powerful Venetian Walls. The walls were built by the Republic of Venice in the second half of the 16th century to defend the city.
Take the funicular to the upper town San Vigilio to appreciate the views of the valleys below, it’s really worth it! Lunch will be served at Ristorante Lalimentari where our host Paolo will surprise you with his typical Bergamo sapori!
DAY 3: LAGO DI GARDA - GARDONE RIVIERA - SIRMIONE
Today we enjoy the picturesque views of Lake Garda, the largest of the Italy’s majestic lakes. Our first stop is Gardone Riviera, so we can visit Il Vittoriale degli Italiani, home of eccentric poet Gabriele D’Annunzio - Italy’s ultimate Italian. He was the personification of Italian decadence and the most famous bohemian of his time.
Afterwards, we take the scenic route along the banks of Lago di Garda to Sirmione to explore the Rocca Scaligera castle built by the Scaligeri family and the Grotte di Catullo, remains of a huge Roman residential villa. You will have free time to explore the lake on a ferry trip or enjoy a gelato in Sirmione.
Our accomodation for the day is everything but typical - Farmhouse Musella Winery Relais, winery that produces some of the finest Valpolicella wines of the region. While there, don’t forget to discover their secret for the making of Amarone wine.
DAY 4: VERONA
We start the day with a guided tour of Verona, the backdrop of the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet. Our tour guide Michelangelo will guide us through Juliet's’ city.
In the afternoon we will tour the Agriform co-operative makers of Grana Padano Cheese.
Evening is reserved for cooking class and dinner, where chef Luisa will share her Northern Italian dishes with us!
DAY 5: MANTUA AND SABBIONETA
Mantova (it.), also known as ‘La Bella Addormentata’ or sleeping beauty, has remained unchanged since the middle ages. Mantova and Sabbioneta are both listed on the UNESCO world heritage site and demonstrate unique renaissance architecture. We enjoy an afternoon aperitive at Borghetto Fiume Minco. And in the evening we will have dinner at the place which locals keep as a secret - Trattoria Ai Colli Storici Custoza. Our host Michele will explain the menu his family has prepared specially for you.
DAY 6: ABANO TERME - PADOVA
Saturday is for rest and relaxation as we indulge in the wellness at the thermal baths in Abano Terme. You will appreciate the healing and therapeutic qualities provided by the water. You will have use of the thermal pools during your stay at the Grand Trieste & Victoria Hotel.
Later we discover Padova’s unique Scrovegni chapel which houses the most famous and important paintings of Europe. The University of Padova established in 1222 is one of the oldest in the world. We sit and enjoy fine coffee in one of Italy’s oldest cafes: Pedrocchi coffee house.
DAY 7: VICENZA
Today is reserved for free time to enjoy the facilities of the Grand Trieste and Victoria Hotel. Treatments can be purchased at the hotel ranging from wellness spa treatments, such as mani/pedi/massage/facials and mud baths or just simple enjoyment at thermal pools.
In the afternoon we will take a pleasant stroll through Vicenza including The Teatro Olimpico, Europe’s oldest surviving theatre and Palladio’s famous renaissance villa - La Rotonda.
DAY 8: ASOLO - VIA DI PROSECCO - BASSANO DEL GRAPPA
We drive through picturesque vineyards along the Via di Prosecco. First stop will be for the tour of the Foss Marai winery in Guia, the centre of the Prosecco wine growing region.
Later we visit Bassano del Grappa, famous for its fiery alcoholic beverage where we will learn how Grappa is made.
At the end of the day, we retire in Asolo, Hotel Cipriani. Asolo was the home of Queen Caterina of Cyprus (1454-1510). Queen Caterina abdicated the throne of Cyprus to live in a sumptuous renaissance palace as a life guest in Asolo!
DAY 9: BRENTA CANAL, VILLAS AND GARDENS
Lunch is at the famous Burchiello restaurant in Oriago.
As we board the traditional boat, Burchiello, we cruise along the Naviglio del Brenta. One stop is reserved for the Villas along the canal, before completing the tour at historic Padova.
DAY 10: TREVISO
Our final day in Italy is a shopping treat. We are discovering Treviso and its meandering waterways and tranquil atmosphere, ideal for quiet time enjoying retail therapy.
We will have lunch in the city with transfers to Venice Marco Polo Airport or Mestre Train station, from where we are starting our journey home.
Sydney born Giorgio and Beatrice Favotto, are the operators and owners of Favotto tours. With Italian migrants as parents, they were raised with a strong appreciation of the Italian culture, travelling to Italy regularly to visit family and relatives. As they grew up with these traditions, they believed regular family visits to be integral to family connection and have continued this tradition with their own children Cinzia and Luca.
Giorgio’s heritage derives from a little village of Musano di Trevignano located in the Veneto region. Giorgio has always been a passionate Italian who has dual citizenship of Australia and Italy. His passion lies in the history of the ‘Serenissima’ the most serene and enduring republic of Venice, the house of the Medici family and the intrigue and drama of Sicily. He can’t wait to share his knowledge and enthusiasm with you as he guides you through the Italian contributions to humanity.
Beatrice’s parents are natives to Borgia, Catanzaro, in the southern region of Calabria. Her pantry is filled with hundreds of secret recipes, all passed down by word of mouth from her mum, aunties and families. Beatrice definitely knows that a way to your heart is through your stomach. Her training as a primary school teacher will ensure that her culinary knowledge will stay with you long after the tour is over. Beatrice also shares an equal passion for beaches of the south and shopping!
Over the years Giorgio and Beatrice have blended the infamous rivalry between the North and the South. They have Italy covered.