Day 1: Australia – – Milan
Make your way to the airport and board your Emirates flight to Italy!
Day 2: Milan – Lake Maggiore (D)
Your flight lands in Milan, the design capital of Italy located in the northern Lombardy region. A transfer waits for your arrival and takes you to your hotel in Stresa, a town located on the picturesque shores of Lake Maggiore. This is the second-largest lake in Italy and also occupies parts of Switzerland. You have the rest of the day as free time upon checking into the accommodation. You might use this downtime to rest after your flight, or you can head straight out into the town to explore. Return to the hotel for tonight’s orientation meeting (approximate start time of 6pm; to be confirmed upon arrival) where you’ll begin to get to know your Tour Director and fellow travellers. A welcome dinner follows.
Day 3: Lake Maggiore (B, L)
Start the day by hopping aboard a boat to cruise across Lake Maggiore to Isola Bella. Here, you will visit Palazzo Borromeo and meander its gorgeous manicured gardens – look out for the white peacocks that strut around the grounds! Continue to Isola dei Pescatori, a fisherman’s island that takes its name from its traditional residents. You’ll have time to wander the isle’s narrow streets and take in multiple perspectives of the lake before sitting down to a lunch of regional specialties at a local restaurant. Return to Stresa to then make for Lake Orta and an outing to San Giulio Island. You have the evening as leisure time once back in Stresa.
Day 4: Lake Maggiore – Turin (B, L)
Depart Lake Maggiore this morning and travel into Piedmont, a region bordering France and Switzerland that is particularly well-known for its wine. There is a stop along the way where you will learn about local rice production and one of Italy’s best-loved cuisines, risotto. Arrive in Turin in the early afternoon and head out on a guided walking tour. Turin is the ancestral home of the House of Savoy, one of Italy’s preeminent royal families, and you’ll see some of this royal legacy at sights including Piazza San Carlo, Palazzo Carignano, Piazza Carlo Alberto and Galleria Subalpina. The final stop of the tour is Piazza Castello, one of the main hubs of the city where visitors will find the Royal Palace, Royal Church of San Lorenzo and Palazzo Madam, the location of the first Italian Senate. It is then time to give your feet a rest and sip on an aperitif at one of the elegant cafes nearby. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.
Day 5: Turin (B, L)
Today’s itinerary is devoted to savouring and indulging in Piedmont’s gastronomic clout. Move through Langhe and Monferrato to visit the heartland of Barolo, a renowned Italian varietal made from the Nebbiolo grape. This journey takes you through the towns of Cherasco, La Morra, Barbaresco and Nieve. Your day’s excursion sees you experience guided cellar doors and tastings at the vineyards. Continue to Canelli, a commune in an area prominent for the production of spumante, to tour a ‘cathedral cellar’. These underground stores create ideal conditions for ageing and development of wine, and have been in use for decades. The tour returns to Turin in the afternoon.
Day 6: Turin – Santa Margherita Ligure (B, D)
Seek out a stretch of the Italian Riviera around the Liguria region, and soak up some time in the photogenic fishing village of Portofino. Beloved for its pastel-hued houses, stellar seafood restaurants and clusters of high-end boutiques, Portofino is a favourite with the well-heeled travel set. Meet up with your group for dinner at the hotel, located in the Santa Margherita Ligure area.
Day 7: Portofino – Cinque Terre – Santa Margherita Ligure (B)
Your destination today is Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is one of the most glittering of jewels in the Ligurian coast. This string of five cliff-perched fishing towns are nestled between azure ocean and hills strewn with vines and pasture. Uncover the treasures of each town – Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso al Mare – as you amble past tiny food shops, hole-in-the-wall eateries, gorgeous boutiques and ocean-facing restaurants. Please note that the walking tour of Cinque Terre covers uneven ground, as well as stairs, steps and significant slopes. Your group travels between towns using the train or boats. You have free time back in Santa Margherita Ligure following the tour.
Day 8: Santa Margherita Ligure – Parma (B, L)
The tour travels to Parma today. This journey takes you through Emilia-Romagna, a region renowned for its production of balsamic vineyard. A pitstop in the area sees you learn about the ageing process of this dark and intensely-flavoured condiment. A second tasting is an opportunity to savour another of the region’s most famed exports, Parmigiano-Reggiano! Join an afternoon walking tour of Parma upon arrival in this pretty city and take in its streetscape of Romanesque buildings, grand palazzos and restaurants dishing up some of the region’s iconic produce. You have free time following the tour.
Day 9: Parma – Bologna – Treviso (B, L)
Drive to Bologna this morning. A tour on arrival sees you head into the oldest food market in the city, known as Quadrilatero. This area is a hive of activity and its streets are lined with shops and stalls manned by food merchants, vendors and artisanal craftsmen. Learn about Quadrilatero’s history and its place in modern Bologna culture as you are shown around and delight in samples of some of the city’s best bites. Some of the sights you’ll see along the way include Piazza Maggiore and Palazzo d’Accursio, Fountain of Neptune, Basilica di San Petronio, Palazzo dell’Archiginnasio, Two Towers and Santo Stefano. Travel to Treviso later on and check into the hotel. A walk around the town makes a magical evening activity and you’ll be introduced to cicchetti, a Venetian style of small dish. Admire Treviso’s palaces, canals and quiet streets as you explore.
Day 10: Treviso (B, D)
Treviso is located in a region known as being the birthplace of Prosecco, and a tasting of this style of sparkling is something to eagerly anticipate today as the tour journeys through a countryside dotted with castles, villas and tiny hamlet towns. Tonight, there is a farewell dinner where you’ll be able to share stories and experiences of your time in Italy with your travelling companions.
Day 11: Treviso – – Australia (B)
A transfer takes you to the airport at the appropriate time for your return Emirates flight back to Australia.
Day 12: Australia
Arrive back in Australia today.