The Great Alpine Lakes, an all-Italian pleasure

The Great Alpine Lakes, an all-Italian pleasure

From Turin to Bolzano or Venice, a surprising itinerary between natural wonders, architectural jewels and gastronomic pleasures. Let yourself be lulled by the beauty of the Great Alpine Lakes and unforgettable scenery and choose your personal itinerary.

The Regions of Northern Italy are all characterized by a similar geographical conformation, a wide and rich valley to the south, imposing mountains to the north and between them to act as a beautiful buffer lakes, more than a thousand, some small gems set among the highest peaks, others famous all over the world such as Lake Maggiore, Lake Como and Lake Garda.

Italian lakes paint enchanting landscapes, due to the extraordinary richness of the ecosystems that have formed over millennia and the great development of different animal and plant species. The small alpine lakes, widespread at high altitude, are a destination for exciting excursions to discover incomparable landscapes. A microcosm of emotions to explore, following your instincts and passions, savoring the aromas and flavors.

What we’ll do

  • 3 days in Turin: we will visit the city, taste its flavors and get to know the wonderful hills of the Langhe, Roero and Monferrato
  • 3 days on Lake Maggiore: the beautiful Stresa, relaxation and boat trips on the Borromean Islands
  • 3 days in Como: Como, Bellagio and the magic of the Villas.
  • 3 days in Bergamo: to get to know a beautiful city, the wonderful Lake Iseo and Franciacorta.
  • 3 days in Verona: we will visit the city of Shakespeare, Lake Garda and Mantua
  • 3 days in Bolzano or Venice.

Start of the tour: Turin

Capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia first and then of Italy, it is a classy, imperial and surprising city, with its crown made with the peaks of the Alps and the quiet flow of the largest Italian river at its foot.

First day Torino, old town

Let’s start with what is considered the living room of the city, Piazza San Carlo with its bars overlooking the square including the famous Caffe Torino and its twin churches in baroque style, San Borromeo and Santa Cristina. Continuing towards the Egyptian museum we come across Piazza Carignano, a real baroque pearl, where we find the National Museum of the Risorgimento, in addition to the historic Pepino ice cream shop. At a distance of a breath we find Piazza Castello, 40 thousand square meters that form the heart of the city that houses the Royal Palace, the Teatro Regio, Palazzo Madama and the Real Church of San Lorenzo, as well as being a meeting point for lovers of white magic. Then from Piazza Castello we take Via Po’, the long shopping street that leads us to Piazza Vittorio Veneto, the largest square in Turin surrounded by beautiful arcades and the Po’ that form its profile. On the other side of the river, crossing the Vittorio Emanuele II Bridge we find one of the most beautiful churches in the city, Church of the Great Mother of God, linked to many legends concerning white magic.

We return to the center for lunch and in the afternoon do not miss the visit to the Egyptian Museum, a real wonder, the largest collection of Egyptian works outside the Country of the Pharaohs. If after the visit you are a bit tired, near them there is the Gobino chocolate shop, a place opened in 1980 and which never ceases to surprise us with its sweetness made to perfection, or savor the specialty of Turin directly at Cafe Bicerin which takes its name from the warm drink that since 1793 delights the palates in the Piazza della Consolata.

Second day Torino and Superga

We start the day by visiting the splendid Royal Palace, built at the behest of Maria Cristina of France in the mid-‘600 and royal residence until 1865 when Vittorio Emanuele II, moved the Capital of Italy first to Florence and then to Rome. Finely decorated galleries, sumptuous ballrooms, countless royal rooms and a garden designed by André Le Nõtre, the same architect as the gardens of Versailles.

At the end of the free time visit for lunch and in the afternoon we reach, by rack train, the beautiful Basilica of Superga, on the hill overlooking Turin and from which to breathe the beauty of the breathtaking panorama of a city surrounded by the Alps.

On the way back to the center we enter the Valentino Park, on the banks of the Po, to visit the medieval village and the seventeenth-century Castello del Valentino. After the visit we move a few hundred meters for an aperitif in the San Salvario district.

Third day The proposals

Fourth Day – traveling – Torino – Stresa

Let’s say hello in Turin and leave for our itinerary of the Great Lakes.

Leaving the city to the north, in just under an hour we meet Lake Orta, a small joy nestled in the mountains, separated from Lake Maggiore only by Monte Mottarone, an ideal place for love escapes, with an incredible panorama. We follow the road that runs along Lake Orta to Stresa, a magnificent city in front of which the fascinating Borromean Islands rise from the waters of the lake, the ideal city to discover the beauties of Lake Maggiore.

Lake Maggiore.

The westernmost of the great lakes, Lake Maggiore which in spite of its name is not the Major nor the deepest, but has enchanted great Italian and foreign artists who have stayed here. Considered the largest of the pre-Alpine lakes, hence the name “Maggiore”, it is of glacial origin and its waters bathe Lombardy, Piedmont and Switzerland. Surrounded by reliefs and hills that shelter it from the cold northern winds, and which gives rise to the Ticino River which has traced a historic water route connecting the Po Valley with Central Europe.

Fifth day: its islands.

A day by boat among the beauties of this lake. There are its islands, as many as 11, of great charm the archipelago of the Borromean Islands with Isola Madre, Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori. Also characteristic are the three rocks called Castelli di Cannero with the remains of the Vitaliana fortress wanted by Count Ludovico Borromeo. Not to be missed then in addition to the islet of La Malghera and the Isolino Partegora, the beautiful Isolino di San Giovanni in front of Verbania, where, in the seventeenth-century Palazzo Borromeo, Arturo Toscanini lived for a long time.

Sixth dayThe Castles and villas

A day to visit the beautiful villas, imposing fortresses and castles that rise around the lake as well as in its islands. Places that testify to the history and culture that enrich this region with charm. Starting with the Visconti Castle of Locarno, the Rocca di Arona and the Borromean fortress of Angera which today houses a doll museum. Among the villas, of sure interest are the Borromeo Palaces of Isola Madre and Isola Bella, the eighteenth-century Villa Ponti of Arona and Villa Treves, in Belgirate, which saw among its guests Gabriele D’Annunzio and Giovanni Verga. In Stresa there are Villa Ducale and Villa Pallavicino with the zoological park, while the splendid Verbania is home to many beautiful villas such as Villa Giulia, Villa Taranto and the nearby Villa San Remigio. Botanical gardens, parks and nature reserves, nature lovers will find in Lake Maggiore the ideal place to spend their holidays thanks to the existence of countless botanical gardens, including that of Villa Taranto with more than a thousand plants, that of Alpinia of 40000 m², the Camellia park in Locarno and the gardens located in the various islands.

Seventh day. Relax among the beauties of the lake

A day dedicated to relaxation, choosing one of the unmissable and numerous excursions to experience in the upper, middle and lower Lake Maggiore.  The west side of the lake, crossing unforgettable views, takes us to Canobbio, an enchanting medieval town with colorful houses, where the market takes place every Sunday to which there is no shortage of Swiss neighbors and where you can rent a boat to visit the Malpaga Castles, which rise on the two rocky islands south of the village. Another option is to cross the lake and visit the Lombard shore, the villages of Laveno, Porto Valtravaglia, Germignano, Luino, Ispra, Angera, Arona, the castles of Cannero Riviera, Oggebbio, Ghiffa, Intra and the magnificent fortress on which stands the Monastery of Santa Caterina.

Ottava day – Traveling Stresa – Como(Milan)

Time to walk to another destination, along the lakefront from Stresa, to Sesto Calende and then continue to Como, our destination that we will reach in less than two hours.  Countless and wonderful opportunities for trips, excursions and visits, savoring unique views and a gastronomy to be discovered.

The Lake Como or Lario

Ninth day: Como

As soon as we settle in the hotel, we will visit Como, an elegant town built thanks to the riches deriving from the silk trade and still remains the most important European center for the manufacture of this precious fabric. Walking along alleys of the historic center we will come across the Palazzo del Broletto, built in Gothic style in 1215, was restored in the current Renaissance style in 1477 and has always been the symbol of the civil power of the city. To the side the Civic Tower and literally attached the most important church of Como, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, in its exquisite Gothic elegance. Having built the two buildings attached and not in front as was customary, meant the continuity between the two powers. Continuing along the lakefront we will arrive at Villa Olmo, one of the most beautiful Romanesque and neoclassical villas in Italy and owes its name to a great Elm that legend has it planted by Pliny the Younger, Roman writer and senator of the first century.  The villa was succeeded by Napoleon, Ugo Foscolo, the Prince of Metternich, Radetzsky and Garibaldi. On the other side of the port winds the funicular that leads to the village of Brunate from which to admire a splendid view of the lake.

Tenth day: Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna

The magnificent landscape of the Lario, another name by which Lake Como is known, has enchanted, over the centuries, artists and travelers: from the writer French Flaubert to the musicians Gioacchino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi and Vincenzo Bellini, who wrote the opera “Norma” here.

Lake Como, located about 50 kilometers from Milan. with its characteristic inverted Y shape, winds through three branches: Como to the south west, Lecco to the south east and Colico to the north. We will follow the west coast of the lake with a typical local boat we meet the beautiful Cernobbio where the sixteenth-century Villa d’Este, used by Alfred Hitchcock as a film location “Giardino del piacere“, and the famous Villa Erba, one of the most important Italian lake villas of the nineteenth century and today an internationally renowned congress exhibition complex, are worth a visit. Continuing north you reach Ossuccio, famous for the spectacular Comacina Island, the only island on the lake, and for the Sacro Monte di Ossuccio, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2003. In the nearby municipalities of Moltrasio and Lenno, we will visit Villa Passalacqua and Villa Balbianello, location of the films Stellar Wars and Agent 007 – Casino Royale. Along the coast we meet Tremezzo and his Villa Carlotta, with terraced gardens and the museum, embellished with works by Canova, Thorvaldsen and Hayez.

And so we arrive in the middle of the lake at the meeting point of the three branches of the lake, where the fascinating Bellagio stands with its elegant aristocratic villas, including Villa Serbelloni and Villa Melzi, the latter famous for its botanical park. It is impossible not to be fascinated by the lake landscape of Bellagio, by its steep staircases that open onto colorful gardens or glimpses of green hills that slope down to the shores. For the lunch stop we are spoiled for choice, Bellagio, Menaggio or Varenne, hidden places between the stairs and the gardens or restaurants a little more touristy but always with breathtaking views.

Eleventh day full of options for hiking or relaxing on the shores of the lake:

Starting from Como (or Milan), we walk along the shores of Lake Lecco to the far north where the Adda River flows into the lake and where one of the most beautiful Italian valleys begins, the Valtellina. We follow the course of the Adda that cuts the Alps horizontally, among vineyards, mountain pastures and small villages that in summer are crowded with hikers and in winter with skiers. Valtellina has a great culinary tradition, wines produced on the southern slopes, such as the famous apples of the Valley, cheeses and cold cuts of the highest quality such as Bitto and Bresaola, and Pizzocchero, pride of Valtellina cuisine, a buckwheat pasta, hand-cut and seasoned with melted butter, cheese cheese and seasonal vegetables.  In Teglio there is the Accademia del Pizzocchero di Teglio, which preserves and promotes the original recipe, organizes events and courses for the preparation of the real and unique Pizzocchero di Teglio. We arrive in Tirano in the afternoon, after lunch based on the typical products of the Valley and we sit in our chosen structure. The next morning we board the Bernina Express train, the slow and panoramic train that crosses the Alps meeting breathtaking landscapes and views, and takes us to Switzerland in St. Moritz in just over two hours (without intermediate stops **).  Arrived at the station we move to the historic center of the famous Swiss city. The next morning we resume the reverse route and once in Tirano we will find your vehicle waiting for you to return to Como or already to another destination (Bergamo).

**In case you want to stop at some of the stations along the line, to have lunch, walk and take pictures, you need to take the regional trains, with which by buying a day ticket you can get off one train and take the next.

Twelfth day – Traveling – Como- Bergamo

Leaving the lake and its beautiful scenery we continue the journey that takes us in less than an hour to Bergamo, the City in the Clouds, the ideal destination to visit the wonderful Bergamo Valleys, valleys that gave birth to many thousands of emigrants who at the end of the 1800s tried their luck in other continents. Among the most beautiful are the San Pellegrino Valley (the famous mineral water flows in these places) and the Valley that leads to Lake Iseo, the smallest of the great lakes but fascinating and full of surprises, naturalistic and gastronomic.  We leave our suitcases at the hotel and begin our visit to:

Bergamo, two cities, a wonder

An upper part and a lower part: this is the characteristic that makes the Lombard city that rises at the foot of the Orobie Alps and that dominates the Val Brembana immediately recognizable.

Bergamo, or Bèrghem as they call it in local dialect, is in fact divided into two parts: Bergamo Alta which collects the oldest nucleus, of medieval origin, and Bergamo Bassa, the modern area, which extends into the plain below and which shows a strongly industrialized landscape.  Located less than an hour from Milan, and home to one of the minor airports in Lombardy, Bergamo is an easily accessible destination and a stopover for anyone facing a tour of Lombardy that includes its natural and historical-artistic treasures.

There are two possible routes via funicular: the first connects the Lower Town to the Upper Town and leads, among characteristic views, in piazza Mercato delle Scarpe, the second reaches the Colle San Virgilio, located about 500 meters high, and considered a strategic gateway to the city. As you approach two things are striking: its skyline, made of towers and bell towers that stand out soaring, and the walls that surround it; Venetian walls, built in the sixteenth century during the Venetian domination, which were added to the previous medieval fortifications of which there is still a trace and which allowed the city to maintain its original appearance, as happened to other places surrounded by walls such as Lucca or Ferrara, for example. Inside the ramparts, we find the Old Square that houses the Palazzo della Ragione, the ancient seat of the Municipality with the Venetian Lion on the façade, connected to the adjacent Domus Suardorum, and the Palazzo Novo, today a Civic Library with a marble façade. At the center of the open space the Contarini Fountain and on the corner the civic tower “Campanone”. On the other side of the Palazzo della Regione opens the small but precious Piazza del Duomo with the Baptistery, the Colleoni Chapel, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Duomo.

Bergamo alta is a succession of narrow streets and squares and towers and panoramas that suddenly open to our eyes, but the most beautiful thing remains the absolute getting lost among the craft shops, the old wash houses and alleys listening to the notes of Donizetti, the great composer.

We resume the cable car that will take us back to the lower city where we could appreciate the elegance of its squares and palaces.

Thirteenth day – Lake Iseo

We will leave from Bergamo for an excursion along the banks of the Lago d’Iseo the smallest of the great Alpine Lakes, but no less beautiful. Its pearl is Montisola, an island that rises in the center of the lake, considered by the European Best Destination the third best European destination and one of the most beautiful in Italy. For many a paradise on earth that has attracted and inspired artists and poets from all over the world. The island has banned the use of cars and where the ancient crafts still take place and where the products of the earth are unique as in the Franciacorta region, south of the Lake. Lunch on the island in one of the oldest places and we return to Suzano to walk the whole lake to Lovere, home of the legendary mv Augusta motorcycle brand and then continue along the Borlezza Valley, climb up to the Orobie Park, enjoy breathtaking views and finally get to San Pellegrino Terme, in the center of the Val Brembana, where the famous mineral water flows, famous all over the world. In the late afternoon return to Bergamo.

Fourteenth dayFranciacorta, the wine routes

In leaving Bergamo we enter a fascinating territory, the region of the hills of the Franciacorta at the foot of Lake Iseo, an ancient territory where the cultivation of wine has prehistoric origins thanks to the unique and unrepeatable climatic conditions. The cultivation of the vine has always been a constant, from the Gauls, to the Romans, to the Lombards, from the monastic courts to the Lordships, all the dominations united by a single common thread, the wine. The main vines are Chardonnay for Franciacorta DOCG, Pinot Noir for Millesimati and DOCG Riserva, Pinot Bianco for Cuvee and Erbamat, an autochthonous vine. We will have the opportunity and the opportunity to visit wine cellars, farmhouses and places of incomparable beauty where we can taste the noble wines and products of the territory. In the late afternoon return to Bergamo or overnight option in a farmhouse in the middle of the vineyards of Franciacorta and in that case also a special dinner.

Fifteenth day – Traveling Bergamo – Verona

After an overnight stay (recommended) in a farmhouse, or with return to Bergamo we continue the journey to the east, to breathe all the magic of Lake Garda, the largest and perhaps the most famous of the Italian lakes that presents itself to us with the scent of olive trees, vineyards and the color of palm trees, palm trees,  because Lake Garda, nestled between the Alps and the Plain, guarantees the territories bathed by its waters a microclimate that has made it a very sought-after place since Roman times, also for its warm thermal waters, in which to swim under a thick winter snowfall, pure magic.   Arrival in Verona and immediately after leaving your luggage at the hotel we will begin our slow guided walk, to discover the beauties of this ancient city.

Sixteenth day – Verona

Verona, lying on the banks of the Adige, the one city is a crossroads of trade between Italy and Austria and Germany, but also a World Heritage Site for the beauty of its Roman, medieval, Renaissance and Scaliger monuments (so they were called the Scala family that dominoes the region between Verona, Padua, Treviso and Vicenza during the Middle Ages). In Verona there is the most beautiful Roman Arena still in opera, if on summer nights spent from Verona you can hear the notes of the most beautiful works fill the romantic streets of the city of Verona with charm. Shakespeare made it the site of the most famous romantic drama, Romeo and Juliet, based on truly existing families. Juliet’s courtyard and balcony are among the most visited and photographed places in all of Italy, but other beauties do not hide among the streets of the center, starting from the beautiful Piazza delle Erbe with the Patrizzi Palaces that surround it and the scent of oriental spices still in the air, Piazza Bra which encloses the Arena, Palazzo Barbieri and the Palazzo della Gran Guardia, the wonderful old crenellated bridge that leads to the Scaliger Castle and the beautiful and panoramic Roman theater on the opposite bank of the Adige.

Seventeenth day Lake Garda.

With its mild climate and the perfect temperature of the waters it almost looks like a sea nestled between the Alps and the Po valley. The lake is surrounded by palm trees, oleanders, olive trees and vines and its shores lap three regions – Lombardy, Trentino Alto Adige and Veneto. All around there are picturesque villages, beaches and marinas, large towns full of life, parks and nature reserves.

The southernmost city is Peschiera del Garda, the city where the Mincio river is born, emissary of Garda, whose path is marked by a beautiful natural park that leads us to Mantua the beautiful city of gonzaga. Continuing north, along the Venetian coast we find Lazise, a small characteristic village famous for its thermal facilities and breathtaking landscapes, pursuing Bardolino, a village that gives its name to a renowned wine the “Bardolino“, son of the mild climate that allows the production of the northernmost extra virgin olive oil in Italy. Still immersed in the almost tropical climate with palm trees that surround the beaches, we arrive at Garda, where the Lake narrows and nestles between the high peaks of the Alps. From here we are accompanied by the view of the Lombard side of the lake, between roads and ancient villages, mountains and beaches, homemade trattorias and exclusive resorts, up to Malcesine.

We are in the northern part of the lake, where a 360 ° rotating cable car takes us to the top of Monte Baldo, 2000 meters of pure beauty, of pure emotion, with the gaze that is lost in all directions. Finally Riva del Garda, the northern tip, in Trentino territory and from there we descend from the Lombard side where we meet Limone and the name is no coincidence, since the region is imbued with the scent of lemons. A little further on in Pieve, there is a road considered among the most beautiful in the world, the Strada della Forra, a road stolen from the mountain, with unparalleled views and the white of the rocks that stands out on the lake and tunnels dug into the mountain that follow the path of the homonymous stream.

Crossing the villages of the Garda Bresciano Park we return to the wide part of the lake where you lose the view of the other side, a stop in Toscolano Maderno for those who want to take a nice boat trip and in Salò to enjoy the beautiful promenade and finally, Desenzano del Garda, the most touristic resort of the Lake and Sirmione, with its Castle that seems one with the Lake, it mixes and plays with water, a village that overlooks a region of rolling hills that slope down on the plain.

Eighteenth day dedicated to Mantua.

A beautiful city, one of the richest cities of charm, art and history in Italy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008, together with Sabbioneta. Regge, stately villas, parks, cities built according to the ideals of harmony of the Renaissance. Located in the Lower Po Valley, Mantua is located on the bank of the River Mincio, which forms 3 lakes that surround the city, giving it a magical appearance. Dominated by the Gonzaga dynasty that made it a city-court of great splendor preserves in the historic center the testimonies of those years.  We begin our journey from Piazza Sordello, the center of the city, on which they overlook, the Doge’s Palace, a real city-palace with its 500 rooms, courtyards, gardens, the Captain’s Palace and the Cathedral. In the nearby Piazza delle Erbe, which can be reached by passing under the characteristic arcades we meet the Palazzo della Ragione and the adjacent Palazzo del Podestà, the oldest public building of the Middle Ages with the Clock Tower next to it. Finally, the famous Cathedral that embodies all the architectural styles: from the Romanesque bell tower to the neoclassical façade while the Basilica of S. Andrea designed by Leon Battista Alberti houses, among other things, the tomb of Andrea Mantenga.

Giving our backs to the Duomo we continue our walk to Palazzo Te, a grandiose and precious villa considered the most famous work of the architect Giulio Romano where it is possible to admire works of extraordinary beauty. We return to our steps to have lunch on Piazza delle Erbe and then continue the afternoon visiting the nearby Sabbioneta, the city wanted and built according to the dictates of Vespasiano Gonzaga who aspired to leave as a cultural legacy an “ideal” city.  Surrounded by the sixteenth-century fortifications, Sabbioneta has among the major points of interest the Imperial and Victory access doors, the gallery of the Ancients in Piazza d’Armi, the Olympic theater designed by Vincenzo Scamozzi and decorated with frescoes by Paolo Veronese, but also the church of Santa Maria Assunta, the Doge’s Palace and the Garden Palace. In the late afternoon return to Verona or overnight in Mantua.

From Verona we have two options to finish our itinerary and we point them out below:

Nineteenth day – Traveling, option 1 – Verona, Vicenza, Padua and Venice

We leave Verona towards Venice. The first stop in Vicenza, so inextricably linked to the work of the architect Andrea Palladio, a real open-air museum with palaces and villas and squares that are a jewel of Italian Renaissance architecture so as to deserve the recognition of World Heritage Site. Located at the foot of the Berici hills, it is one of the richest cities in Italy, due to one of the most important textile industries in Europe, the electronics industry and goldsmith craftsmanship.

From Piazza Castello, Corso Palladio winds along the city, just so as not to forget who made the city famous and Contra Vescovado, the two streets that accompany us in the discovery of the most beautiful monuments and Palladio Palaces, up to the splendid and spectacular Olympic Theater. Outside the historic center are worth visiting Villa Capra called La Rotonda, Villa Valmarana and Villa Thiene and others scattered in the territory between Vicenza and Venice.

A few km from Vicenza (20) Padua, a completely different city, linked to Palladio the first, linked to Venice the second. Also called the city of the 3 without, the coffee without doors, the Prato without Grass, the Saint without a name, in order, the Caffe Pedrocchi, a historic café, one of the symbols of Padua that always remained open day and night from the inauguration in 1839 until 1916, the Piazza Prato della Valle, a square without grass until the early 900,   and with a beautiful island in the center formed by a canal surmounted by 88 statues of the characters who rendered services to the city and the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua, simply called “the Saint”.  Padua, founded by the Greek hero Antenor, buried here, is a very beautiful city rich in art, in Padua Giotto painted one of the absolute world masterpieces, the Scrovegni Chapel, in Padua there is one of the most beautiful Botanical Gardens in Europe, declared a World Heritage Site, here is one of the oldest and most famous universities in the world, where Galileo Galilei taught and worked. Padua is also its 3 squares, Piazza dei Signori, Piazza delle Erbe, Piazza della Frutta, one next to the other, colored with products by day, the heart of social life at night and you can not leave the city without visiting the Palazzo della Regione, ancient Palace of Justice, one of the largest markets in Italy.

In the late afternoon arrival in Venice and transfer to our hotel.

Twentieth day – Venice

What about Venice that has not already been said? Founded by the Venetians in 500 to escape the barbarian invasions, around the year 1000 it had already become one of the most powerful cities in Europe. From the primitive settlements of Torcello, Iesolo and Malamocco, the city subsequently developed on 118 islands of its lagoon, to become an important political, cultural and commercial center. As evidence of the power of the Maritime Republic of Venice even today it is possible to admire the splendid squares, bridges and palaces inside which are kept timeless works by Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and many others. The most famous place in Venice is undoubtedly Piazza San Marco, at the center of which stands the homonymous Basilica di San Marco with its five domes. The bronze horses above the main gate were transported to Venice from Constantinople after the Fourth Crusade (1204). The interior is covered with gold-bottomed mosaics depicting passages from the Bible. It was the chapel of the Doges of the Republic of Venice. In short, Venice is an open-air museum that seems to float in the lagoon. Entirely walkable through the characteristic streets, fields and squares (squares and squares) and its magnificent bridges, it can be visited by boat with the characteristic gondolas or using public transport, including vaporettos, which allow you to admire the beauty of its most famous buildings, moving from one end of the city to the other along the Grand Canal

  • Days 21, 22 and 23 our options:

The first proposal of our itinerary of the Great Alpine Lakes ends in Venice, below we offer you a beautiful Dolomite alternative. Follow us.

Diciannovesima giornata – In viaggio – option 2: Verona Trento Bolzano

Let’s start from Verona and make our destination for Treno, the city of the Council that changed Europe forever. Along the Val Lagarina, crossed by the Adige and cloaked in vineyards and apple orchards, marked by the Via Claudia Augusta that the Romans built to connect Rome to Germany (now the via dell’Abetone and Brennero). We cross the territories of the noble wines Valpolicella and Bardolino (we suggest a stop in a cellar or farmhouse for lunch and for wine tasting with the products of the region), the first center we meet is Ala with its beautiful medieval castle (visitable), a bit ‘fortress, a bit’ noble residence. Immediately after we find ourselves crossing Rovereto, the second largest city in Trentino, a city with strong cultural vocations with its 4 museums, the city where the academy of the Agiati was born, or those who go slowly. In what is called the Athens of Trentino Mozart I play his first two concerts. Its position also influences trade, flourishing since Roman times, especially for the processing of silk. On the top of the choline dominates the majestic Castle fortress of Rovereto, inside which was set up the Italian Historical Museum of war.

A few more km and we enter Trento for a visit of the historic center, starting from the beautiful elegant Piazza del Duomo with the mighty Romanesque Cathedral of San Vigilio and the Fountain of Neptune, the crenellated Praetorian Palace and the frescoed houses. In front of the cathedral you can still see the lines that delimited the border, physical, between religious and political power. Continuing along the narrow streets of the historic center, almost all frescoed, with decorations and the typical window frames, we arrive at the Buonconsiglio Castle, home and symbol of the temporal power of the Prince Bishops. After visiting the castle we set off again to get to Bolzano in the evening.

Or: from Verona-Bolzano on the Vallagarina

Twentieth day – Bolzano

Beautiful, young and elegant city, located in a valley with a pleasant climate all year round, a climate that allows the production of an excellent wine in a vegetation rich in cypresses, palm trees and other essences in contrast with the surrounding mountain vegetation.

One of the places not to be missed in Bolzano is certainly the Via Portici, a beautiful, narrow and long street in the historic center, enriched by the architecture of the houses with the typical Erker (the embossed windows) and the beautiful decorations that were used to signal the shop below. The Portici, born in the Middle Ages, served and are used to store goods and to allow customers to make purchases protected from the winter cold and the summer heat (Bolzano is strangely one of the hottest cities in Italian summers). Via dei Portici begins on the beautiful Piazza del Municipio, and ends in Piazza delle Erbe, 370 meters that deserve to be visited very calmly. From Piazza delle Erbe you take a left and down to the Duomo on the beautiful Piazza Walther, the square that houses the wonderful Christmas markets (do not miss the 5 Christmas markets of the Region, Bolzano, Merano, Bressanone, Brunico and Vipiteno).

Twenty-first day – Cortina, the queen of the Dolomites

Day dedicated to the discovery of the Dolomites region, a World Heritage Site for the wild beauty of these mountains that change color with the hours of the day due to dolomite, a rock that exists only in this region.  From Bolzano we head to Cortina d’Ampezzo the Queen of the Dolomites, crossing the beautiful Valleys of South Tyrol, some of the most beautiful alpine villages such as Pozza di Fassa, Canazei in Arabba and skirting enchanted lakes such as Lake Carezza, a lake surrounded by a legend like all the lakes of Trentino Alto Adige.

Arrived in Cortina, before going on Corso Italia, the shopping street of Cortino, we take the cable car that takes us up to the Tofane from where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Cortina and its Valley and where we can have lunch surrounded by a corollary of spectacular Mountains. In the afternoon after the dutiful slow walk along Corso Italia we continue our tour turning around the beautiful Monte Cristallo to reach Lake Misurina, a splendid body of water that we will leave behind to return to Bolzano through the Park of the Three Peaks of Lavaredo, with a stop for photos in the panoramic points, and then along the Val Pusteria and its wonders with a stop in Brunico, beautiful village with a typically South Tyrolean historic center. The Val Pusteria, also called the Via d’Alemagna because it connected Venice to Germany, is an explosion of prairies dug by the Rienza River, which has designed one of the most beautiful Dolomite panoramas encouraging the installation of 306 km of cycle roads that go from Dobbiaco to Lienz in Austria.

For its central role in trade and therefore in medieval politics it developed cities with great historical and cultural traditions. The easternmost is Dobbiaco with its beautiful lake surrounded by an enchanted coniferous forest and capital of cross-country skiing. The most important city of the Valley is Brunico, 14 thousand inhabitants especially in the new part, on one side of the Rienza, the historical part develops on the opposite side of the river and is dominated by the Castle built on the hill behind the old town whose center winds around the castle drawing an arch with buildings in perfect South Tyrolean style with Erker windows and pleasant decorations. From Brunico you can go up and along the Ahrntal Valley that leads to Austria or descend on the Val Badia, as well as from Dobbiaco, continuing in a few km it crosses into Austria. Continuing instead towards Bolzano we meet the confluence of the Rienza River with the Isarco and shortly after Bressanone, a historic city that for eight centuries has been the seat of the “Prince-Bishops” who have transformed it into the most important place of art in South Tyrol.   Via dei Portici (a classic of the cities of Tyrol), the Duomo, the Bishop’s Palace and the Town Hall are places of great interest.

Twenty-second day The Val Venosta

Day to discover the Val Venosta, corresponding to the Upper Adige Valley, where the Adige River is born on the slopes of the Resia Pass, which takes its first steps towards the Sea. The Valley is a kaleidoscope of colors, among vineyards, orchards and woods as far as the eye can see, closed between the highest peaks, the deepest glaciers, the bluest lakes. Here 10% of all apples produced in Europe are produced and the vins are highly appreciated for the intense aromas of alpine flowers.

The day begins in Merano has always been a destination for noble and rich families enchanted by its pleasant climate all year round, but the real turning point came when Princess Sissi elected it a favorite destination for her summer holidays and therefore in short became a destination for the worldliness of the court, and the urban development was carried out by the best architects of the time, with the construction of villas, palaces, public buildings and gardens more and more beautiful and large, both in the city center and in the suburbs, increasing more and more the fame and beauty of Merano.

Even after the fall of the Habsburg Empire Merano continues to be a privileged destination, especially after the construction of the railway with the direct connection with Vienna and Budapest Walking along the streets of the historic center is a dive into the imperial past of the city, the elegance of Corso della Libertà, the classic Via dei Portici, the beauty of the Duomo, the Princely Castle and the walks, long paths that lead us between the views of the city and the surrounding mountains.

Following northwards, along the immense and wonderful Stelvio Park we enter the Val Venosta, dotted with lakes and small magical villages such as Glorenza, surrounded by a majestic 7-meter high wall is one of the best preserved villages in Italy, and Malles, between Gothic and Romanesque bell towers and Carolingian stuccoes in the church of San Benedetto and finally Silandro, the most important village in the valley. Many monasteries built during the Middle Ages, one of the most beautiful is the Abazia di Monte Maria, in Burgusio which with its 1333 meters is the highest Abazia in Europe.

The Val Venosta ends with Lake Resia, a lake of recent origin as evidenced by the bell tower that sprouts in the center of the lake, submerged by the artificial reservoir, after the village was moved higher. At the end of the lake the Reschen pass, Switzerland on one side, Austria on the other.

We return to Bolzano where our Itinerary of the Great Lakes ends

  • What’s included:
  • Overnight stay in a hotel and / or farmhouse with breakfast service
  • All transfers by private means
  • All taxes
  • All scheduled visits
  • Tour guide for the whole period.
  • An accompanying person for the whole period and a local guide where provided.
  • Insurance.
  • Personalized assistance throughout the period
  • What’s not included:
  • Personal expenses.
  • Lunches, dinners, tastings and entrance tickets if not specified in the itinerary.
  • Anything not expressly provided for