Italy’s breathtaking Lake District has inspired painters, writers, and poets. Enjoy the area's gardens, arts, and contemporary life, set amid Italy's northern lakes and mountains, during this one-week stay in Stresa.

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

Italy's Lake District

A One-Week Stay in Stresa Featuring Lake Maggiore, Lake Como, and Lake Orta

9 days from $3,990

Italy’s breathtaking Lake District has inspired painters, writers, and poets. Enjoy the area's gardens, arts, and contemporary life, set amid Italy's northern lakes and mountains, during this one-week stay in Stresa.

or Call 855-330-1542


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.

Italy’s breathtaking Lake District has inspired painters, writers, and poets. Immerse yourself in this lovely region during a one-week stay in Stresa at the Hotel La Palma, featuring views of Lake Maggiore and Alpine mountains.

Highlights Include

  • Lake Maggiore: Take a private boat to Isola Madre to tour its impressive English-style gardens, then visit Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Bella with its baroque villa, outstanding art collection, and exquisite gardens. During your stay in Stresa, enjoy a regional cooking class and presentations on the area’s gardens, arts, and contemporary life, plus a day at leisure.
  • Lake Orta: Stroll along lovely streets in Orta San Giulio, then cruise to the enchanting Isola San Giulio and its Romanesque basilica.
  • Lake Como: Discover charming Bellagio with its villas and pastel houses and admire sweeping vistas during a private boat ride to the town of Como.
  • Milan: See world-famous treasures, 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 opera house, La Scala; and the exquisite Duomo, a Gothic masterpiece.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.


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 / 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 / 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)

Please note: On our October 22nd departure, the Borromean Island Gardens and Palaces will be closed, therefore travelers will not visit Isola Bella or Isola Madre.  We will instead cruise around the Borromean Islands making one stop at Isola dei Pescatori for a short walking tour. Travelers will also visit The Gardens of Villa Taranto (near Stresa on the mainland) and have lunch before returning to the hotel.  

Day 5 — Stresa / Bellagio / 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 reception and 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)

*Please note: The sequence of our itinerary may change due to operational considerations, but the content of the program will remain the same.

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)