Join us on a unique stay program in Italy’s breathtaking Lake District and experience a region that has inspired painters, writers, and poets as you enjoy la dolce vita. 

Starting at: $3,990 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The lovely Borromean island of Isola Bella, located on Lake Maggiore  The splendid gardens on Isola Bella, Lake Maggiore  The gardens of Isola Bella on Lake Maggiore  Parterre gardens on Isola Bella, Lake Maggiore  White peacock at home on Isola Bella  View of Stresa and islands on Lake Maggiore  Isola San Giulio, Lake Orta  Villa along the shores of Lake Como  View of Pallanza on Lake Maggiore  The ornate Gothic cathedral of Milan

A Stay in Italy's Lake District

Featuring Lake Maggiore, Lake Como, and Lake Orta

9 days from $3,990

Join us on a unique stay program in Italy’s breathtaking Lake District and experience a region that has inspired painters, writers, and poets as you enjoy la dolce vita. 

or Call 855-330-1542

SOLO TRAVELERS

No single supplement for solo travelers on 2016 departures! 

Overview

Special Air Rates & Services: As part of our special air program, FlexAir, available with this tour, you can choose from a wide variety of flight options. View Special Air Rates/Services to learn more.

Join us on a unique stay program in Italy’s breathtaking Lake District and experience a region that has inspired painters, writers, and poets as you enjoy la dolce vita. Stay at the lovely Hotel la Palma, located in the lakeside town of Stresa on Lake Maggiore, which features breathtaking lake and mountain views. 

Highlights Include

  • Lake Maggiore: Delight in visits to Isola Madre, Isola Bella, and Isola dei Pescatori. A private boat takes you to Isola Madre, the largest of the Borromean Islands, for a guided tour of the impressive English- style gardens, where exotic peacocks stroll amid lush flowerbeds. Extolled by writers for centuries, Isola Bella comprises a baroque villa with an astounding art collection and exquisite hanging gardens adorned by Greek and Roman statues. Other highlights during your stay in Stresa include an interactive cooking class of regional specialties, presentations on the gardens, arts, and contemporary life of the Lake District, and a day at leisure to explore independently. 
  • Lake Orta: Take a walking tour of the lovely resort town of Orta San Giulio, then board a boat for the enchanting Isola San Giulio and its Romanesque basilica. 
  • Lake Como: Enjoy time on beautiful Lake Como. Explore Bellagio’s charming streets lined with pastel houses and villas built by the region’s noble families. Enjoy lunch at a delightful lakeside restaurant and admire sweeping Alpine and lake vistas during a private boat ride to the town of Como. 
  • Milan: See world-famous treasures during a day excursion to cosmopolitan Milan, including the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a World Heritage site and home to Leonardo’s The Last Supper; the museum at the legendary La Scala, Italy’s opulent opera house; and the exquisite Duomo, a Gothic masterpiece. 

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

2016 Itinerary

Day 1 – Depart the U.S.

Smithsonian Journeys travelers depart the U.S. on individual flights to Milan, Italy.

Day 2 – Milan and Stresa, Italy

After arrival in Milan, transfer to the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees and Spa in the lakeside town of Stresa. There’s time to relax, unpack, and enjoy leisure time before joining fellow Smithsonian Journeys travelers for a welcome reception and dinner at the hotel. (R,D)

Day 3 – Orta San Giulio

Enjoy a scenic drive to the lovely resort town of Orta San Giulio, located on a peninsula that juts into Lake Orta. After a walking tour of the town, board a boat to visit Isola San Giulio, an enchanting island in the lake, to visit the Romanesque San Giulio Cathedral. After returning to Orta, there’s time to follow your own path and explore on your own. Meet with fellow Smithsonian Journeys travelers for a drink and conversation. Later attend an engaging talk on the Gardens of Lake Maggiore. Join new friends for dinner at a select local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 4 – The Borromean Islands

Begin the day with a lecture on the Golden Age of the Renaissance that focuses on the genius of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and traces their profound influence on sculpture and painting. Cruise on Lake Maggiore aboard a private boat to Isola Madre, the largest of the Borromean Islands. Enjoy a guided visit of the island’s extensive botanical gardens. The impressive English-style gardens are lush and tranquil and filled with exotic flowers, rare plants, and lovely old trees. You may see exotic peacocks, parrots, and pheasants that make their home on the island. Experience the rustic charm of the peaceful fishing village of Isola dei Pescatori. After lunch, stroll its narrow streets lined by the quaint houses of the fishermen and their families. Finally, visit Isola Bella, extolled by writers over the centuries. Explore the 17th-century Baroque Palace and Summer House with its mosaic grotto and an astounding collection of art and antiques. Stroll through hanging gardens adorned with Greek and Roman statues. Get together with friends in the Smithsonian travelers' corner for a drink, lively conversation, and discussion. (B,L)

Day 5 – Bellagio and Como

A boat ride to Bellagio on Lake Como starts the day. Explore Bellagio and its narrow lanes and covered walkways lined with pastel houses. Admire the 18th- and 19th-century villas built by the region’s noble families. Enjoy lunch at the delightful lakeside Restaurant Suisse and explore Bellagio’s sights on a quiet walk along the waterfront. Next board a private boat from Bellagio to the town of Como. Walk along the Piazza Cavour, which fronts the lake, and is lined with cafés, hotels and shops. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Stresa

The day is free of planned activities so you can let your interests be your guide as you explore on your own. Later join an engaging discussion of Italy’s current economy, politics, society and its role in the European Union. “Meet the People” and learn about daily living in Italy with local residents. (B)

Day 7 – Milan

See some of the world’s most fabulous art and architecture in Milan. Visit the beautiful Renaissance Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a World Heritage Site, to see da Vinci’s magnificent The Last Supper. Afterward, visit the museum at the legendary La Scala, Italy’s opulent, world-renowned Opera House. Explore the 14th-century Duomo, a Gothic masterpiece complete with marble saints and scowling gargoyles. Spend time on your own at a leisurely lunch and getting to know cosmopolitan Milan. (B)

Day 8 – Pallanza

Begin the day with an engaging talk by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. Afterward, learn the secrets of traditional Italian cuisine during an interactive cooking class before sitting down with fellow travelers to your homemade lunch. Afterward travel to Pallanza to visit the 19th-century Villa Taranto. Scottish Captain Neil McEacharn purchased the villa in 1931. He transformed the grounds into one of Europe’s most beautiful gardens, containing some 20,000 different plants including dahlias, water lilies, and flowering trees. This evening, attend a Smithsonian Journeys farewell reception and dinner. (B,L,R,D)

Day 9 – Return Flights to U.S. Gateway Cities

Early this morning, transfer to Milan’s airport for flights to the U.S. (B)

2017 Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart the U.S.

Smithsonian Journeys travelers depart the U.S. on individual flights to Milan, Italy.

Day 2 — Stresa

After arrival in Milan, transfer to your hotel in the lakeside city of Stresa. Upon arrival at the hotel, you’ll receive a welcome kit with maps and general information about the Italian Lake District. There’s time to unpack and relax before joining fellow Smithsonian travelers for an orientation walk of the neighborhood surrounding the hotel. The evening begins with a Smithsonian welcome reception and dinner at the hotel. (R,D)

Day 3 — Stresa and Orta San Giulio

During a fascinating talk, learn about the Lake District, a part of Italy that has been attracting artists, writers and travelers for centuries. Depart on a scenic drive to the resort town of Orta San Giulio, located on a peninsula that extends into Lake Orta. Continue on a walking tour of the town, board a boat to visit Isola San Giulio, a lovely island in the lake, to visit the Romanesque San Giulio Basilica. After returning to Orta, there’s time to follow your own path and explore on your own. Later attend an engaging talk on the Gardens of Lake Maggiore. Join new friends for dinner at a select local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 4 — Stresa and the Borromean Islands

Begin the day with a presentation by the Smithsonian Journeys Expert. Cruise on Lake Maggiore aboard a private boat to Isola Madre, the largest of the Borromean Islands. Enjoy a guided visit of the island’s extensive botanical gardens filled with exotic flowers, rare plants and ancient trees. You may see exotic birds that make their home on the island. Experience the rustic charm of the peaceful fishing village of Isola dei Pescatori. After lunch, explore the narrow streets lined by the quaint houses of the fishermen and their families. Finally, visit Isola Bella, admired by artists and writers over the centuries. Discover the 17th -century Baroque Palace and Summer House with its mosaic grotto and an astounding collection of art and antiques. Visit the hanging gardens adorned with lovely Greek and Roman statues. Get together this afternoon and attend a presentation on the Golden Age of the Renaissance. (B,L)

Day 5 — Stresa, Bellagio and Como

Begin exploring on a boat ride to Bellagio on Lake Como. Explore Bellagio and walk through its charming lanes and walkways lined with colorful houses. Admire remarkable villas built by the region’s noble families. Enjoy lunch at a delightful lakeside ristorante and explore Bellagio’s sights on a quiet walk along the waterfront. Next board a private boat from Bellagio to the town of Como. Walk along the lakeside Piazza Cavour with its cafés, hotels and shops. (B,L)

Day 6 — Stresa

This morning the Smithsonian Journeys Expert will offer an engaging talk. The balance of the day is free of planned activities so you can let your interests be your guide as you explore on your own. Later join an engaging discussion of Italy’s current economy, politics, society and its role in the European Union. Spend some time in the Smithsonian Journeys traveler’s corner for lively conversation. (B)

Day 7 — Stresa and Milan

Travel from Stresa to Milan to see some of the world’s most fabulous art and architecture. Visit the beautiful Renaissance Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie a World Heritage Site to see Leonardo’s magnificent The Last Supper. Afterward, visit the museum at the legendary La Scala, Italy’s world-renowned Opera House. Explore the 14th-century Duomo, a Gothic masterpiece and spend time getting to know cosmopolitan Milan. (B) 

Day 8 — Stresa

Begin the day with an engaging talk by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. Afterward, learn about the nuances of traditional Italian cuisine during an interactive cooking class before sitting down with fellow travelers to a delightful homemade lunch. The balance of the day will be at leisure. This evening, attend a Smithsonian Journeys farewell dinner. (B,L,R,D)

Day 9 — Return Flights to U.S. Gateway Cities

Early this morning, transfer to the airport in Milan for flights to the United States. (B)