T785 Tourcode :SGT_8

Small Group Tour: Wonders of Northern Italy 
Milan – Lake Como – Parma – Santa Margherita Ligure – Cinque Terre – Lake Maggiore

11 days / 10 nights

Special Deluxe Tour for Small Groups on private basis
Day 1Ciao Italia!
Benvenuti a Milano, the financial and fashion capital of Italy. Upon arrival, your group will be met by a local guide in the terminal's arrival hall. You will then travel to the center of Milan to have a relaxing, panoramic sightseeing tour en route to your hotel. This is a great way to get an orientation of such a large city. After checking in, you and your traveling companions are free until evening's welcome dinner in the hotel.
Day 2Milan
After breakfast in the hotel, meet a local guide in the lobby who will lead your group on a morning city tour of Europe's fashion capital by private bus. Milan is home to top designer flagship stores such as Armani, Versace, Prada and Gucci. This city is also extremely rich in history (particularly Medieval and Renaissance). During your tour, you'll visit inside the largest Cathedral in Italy, the "Duomo di Milano," which took almost 600 years to build. This afternoon is yours to soak up Milanese culture. If you're an art fan – consider paying a visit to the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. This UNESCO World Heritage Site houses Leonardo di Vinci's 15th-century mural The Last Supper. Alternatively, you could visit the Pinacoteca di Brera, one of the finest art museums in all of Italy. Inside you can see medieval & renaissance masterpieces by Raphael, Caravaggio Piero della Francesca.
Day 3Lake Como
After breakfast in the hotel, your group will check out and travel north by private bus. Enjoy this very scenic drive through Italy's Lombardy region to the Italian Lakes District. Writers from Hemingway to Goethe have immortalized the ethereal beauty of this area – even their words cannot seem to do it justice!
Today you'll enjoy a tasting of locally-produced wine and olive oil before arriving to lovely Lake Como. This is one of the many lakes that fan out across Northern Italy – and a favorite haunt of the rich and famous.
For some amazing views, ride the funicular high above the town of Como or, if time permits, take a ferry ride on the lake to one of several other charming villages. Group dinner in the hotel's restaurant.
Day 4Lake Como
This is a day to get outside and experience the beautiful surroundings of Italy's northern landscape. Following breakfast, strap on your walking shoes and jump on your private bus with fellow travelers for a transfer to a local hiking trail for gorgeous views of mountains unfolding into low woodlands and sparkling lakeshore.
After soaking up the natural beauty and fresh air, transfer to the town of Bellagio where you have time on your own to enjoy a well-deserved lunch at a local cafe. Many consider this the most beautiful part of the lake. After lunch spend the afternoon exploring Bellagio before returning to Como by private bus with your group members. (Alternatively, should someone want to leave earlier or stay longer, there are ferry boats that run across the lake as well as public buses). Dinner is on your own tonight.
Day 5Lake Como and Parma
After breakfast in the hotel, today your group will learn all about Northern Italian cuisine during a private cooking class in a local restaurant. Although you can find delicious Italian specialties like pizza and lasagna all over the country, you will discover there is a wide array of local dishes worth sampling! Follow along as your chef-instructor shares the subtleties of how to prepare Northern Italian cuisine and try to wait until the end of your demonstration before devouring this tasty feast.
Note: Regarding cooking classes, small groups can generally include these quite easily on itineraries. Simply because of classroom space, larger groups should either divide into two smaller groups – or elect to have a cooking demonstration instead (which is still very interesting).
After lunch, it's time to transfer by private bus to the Emilia Romagna region. After check in and time to freshen up, tonight your group will experience authentic, local cuisine in a traditional Trattoria in Parma, city known as a culinary capital. Its parmesan cheeses and hams (prosciutto di Parma) are now appreciated all over the world
Day 6Parma
After breakfast, your group will take a guided tour of a Cheese and Prosciutto ham factory. See how this delicacy are processed and packaged, and (obviously) taste testing will also take place! Later this afternoon the group will head to the center of Parma for a walking tour of its beautiful architecture. At the end of the tour, enjoy a few free hours in Parma before going back to the hotel. Dinner is on your own tonight.
Day 7Santa Margherita Ligure
After breakfast and check-out, transfer south by private bus to the famed Cinque Terre region on Italy's Mediterranean coast.
Your first stop along this renowned stretch of coastline is Santa Margherita Ligure, an old fashioned seaside resort offering easy access to other Italian Riviera coastal villages. After check-in, afternoon is yours to relax by the sea or take advantage of some last-minute sightseeing. Take a morning water taxi to Portofino. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor honeymooned at the Hotel Splendido, and years later Richard Burton proposed to Elizabeth Taylor there.
Day 8Cinque Terre
After breakfast, today is all yours to discover the five fishing villages that cling to the cliffs of the Cinque Terre coast and over the Mediterranean Sea: Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Monterosso al Mare & Riomaggiore. Walking along the footpaths is the most rewarding way to get from village to village. Alternatively, the train makes constant runs along that route and there's a seasonal boat that strings the villages together.
The area of the five villages and surrounding parks form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Group dinner tonight in a local seafood restaurant to try regional specialties.
Day 9Genoa
Following your restorative stay on the coast, after breakfast and check-out, transfer to Genoa, the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. Here a local guide will meet your group for a 2-hour tour of Genoa's historic Old Town, which a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Afterwards there is free time for lunch and shopping before your group re-boards the bus and go back north to for a two-night stay at your lakeside hotel on the western shores of Lake Maggiore. Group dinner in the hotel's restaurant.
Day 10Lake Maggiore
After breakfast, free day to explore Stresa, popular retreat where for centuries Europe’s aristocrats have endowed the town with a number of beautiful villas or perhaps take an excursion to the Borromean Islands. Tonight your group will meet for a farewell dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 11Arrivederci Italia!
After breakfast in the hotel, your group will check out and transfer by private bus to Malpensa Airport for its return flight home.

ID: T785, Tourcode :SGT_8


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