8 Day Golden Week in the Italian Lakes - For Women Only 2019
8 Days / 6 Nights
Exclusive Small Group Tour Led by Author Susan Van Allen —14 guests maximum
Join Susan Van Allen, author of 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go, for an extraordinary adventure in northern Italy’s Lake region. We’ll immerse ourselves in this mystical wonderland that’s inspired poets and painters, exploring Lake Como and Lake Maggiore by boat, discovering magnificent villas, gardens, and quaint villages. Highlights also include a hands-on cooking class, a day in marvelous Milan, artisan shopping, as well as delicious wine and food every step of the way.
This is a Gift of La Dolce Vita=the Sweet Life, custom-designed and led by Susan so that women can fully experience Italy's rejuvenating pleasures.
At a Glance
- Sunday - Depart USA to Milan - Andiamo!
- Monday - Welcome to Your Golden Week
- Tuesday - Taste Como
- Wednesday - Discover Lake Como
- Thursday - Treasures of Milan
- Friday - Lake Maggiore’s Splendid Islands
- Saturday - La Dolce Vita
- Sunday - Arrivederci!
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ItineraryClick on the plus sign for full day description.
Sunday - Depart USA to Milan - Andiamo!
Board your overnight flight and you're off to your exciting Golden Week in the Italian Lakes!
*Flights are not included in the price of this package. We are happy to arrange them for you.
Monday - Welcome to Your Golden Week
Benvenuta! You’ll be met by our driver at the Milan airport or train station, and transported to Lake Como: a shimmering wonderland framed by majestic mountains. Your home for the week is the Grand Hotel Imperiale, in the enchanting village of Moltrasio. The awe-inspiring view from the balcony of your lake view room will set the tone for this magical adventure. You’ll have time to relax, perhaps take a swim in the pool or have a spa treatment, and explore the surrounding gardens and village that’s accented by beautiful villas and churches.
In the evening, we’ll gather to toast the week ahead. I’ll give you tips about keeping a travel journal, so you can create a treasured souvenir of your week through journaling. We’ll dine at the hotel’s elegant Imperialino restaurant, to enjoy local specialties, the first of many memorable meals.
Meals Included: D
Tuesday - Taste Como
Wake up and smell the caffe. An abundant breakfast buffet awaits you in the hotel’s garden view dining room. Get used to this lovely start to all your Golden days.
The day begins with a short drive to the town of Como, founded in the days of the Roman Empire. A local chef will lead us through Como’s lively market, to pick up goodies from the local farmers, and then to our cooking class, to immerse ourselves in the area’s delicious culinary traditions, including hands-on pasta making. Lunch, enjoying the fruits of our labors, will follow.
You’ll have the option to return back to the hotel after lunch, or you can explore Como’s historic center, that’s full of lovely shops, charming squares, and a magnificent Duomo.
Dinner is on your own, back in Moltrasio or in Como, with Susan’s recommendations.
Meals Included: B, L
Wednesday - Discover Lake Como
A private boat will arrive to cruise us around Lake Como, the best way to experience its mystical atmosphere. Our entertaining guide will treat us to stories about the fascinating history of this destination, including its magnificent villas, (YES, we’ll see George Clooney’s—among others!), and quaint villages.
We’ll dock at Villa Carlotta, a 17th century masterpiece. The terraced gardens surrounding the villa, accented with sculptures and fountains, have been praised as “a little piece of heaven”. We’ll leisurely tour this paradise, and take a break in its former greenhouse that’s been turned into a delightful caffe.
Next, we’ll boat to the Pearl of Lake Como: Bellagio. This village is positioned perfectly for breathtaking panoramic views, and is beloved for its enticing lanes lined with luxury boutiques, wonderful restaurants, and surrounding gardens. We’ll have time on our own here to have lunch, explore, and shop.
We’ll return to our hotel by private boat transfer, and enjoy dinner on our own in Moltrasio, or in nearby Como.
Meals Included: B
Thursday - Treasures of Milan
This is our day to discover treasures that abound in the marvelous city of Milan. With our local guide, we’ll begin with a visit to one of the world’s most acclaimed masterpieces: Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. We’ll move on to the heart of Milan: Piazza del Duomo. There we’ll visit the 19th century Galleria (world’s first shopping mall), and take a break at an elegant café. Next we’ll tour Milan’s stupendous Gothic Duomo, the largest church in Italy, and elevator up to the stunning rooftop, that’s flanked with beautifully sculpted statues.
We’ll have time on our own in this extraordinary location to enjoy lunch and shopping in the Fashion Capital of the World.
We’ll return to Moltrasio inspired, to have a relaxing dinner in the village on our own, or perhaps in nearby Cernobbio.
Meals Included: B, L
Friday - Lake Maggiore’s Splendid Islands
Today we’ll have an amazing adventure discovering the Borromeo Islands in Lake Maggiore. We’ll begin with a beautiful drive to the elegant town of Stresa, and from there take a private boat to Isola Bella—a baroque masterpiece adorned with an opulent villa surrounded by awe-inspiring terraced gardens. We’ll have an insider’s experience of this treasure with a local guide, and then boat to Isola dei Pescatori (Fisherman’s Island), for a delicious lunch.
Back in Stresa, we’ll have time to stroll along the lakefront promenade and shop in the town’s artisan boutiques.
We’ll arrive back in Moltrasio by early evening, where we’ll enjoy dinner on our own.
Meals Included: B, L
Saturday - La Dolce Vita
This is your day to immerse yourself in La Dolce Vita, and experience Lake Como any way you please. You may want to enjoy the hotel pool and have a spa treatment there, or our hotel is conveniently located at a ferry stop, so you are free to hop on a boat to experience the lake, discover another village, villa, or garden. We can help you customize your day’s adventure.
--Go to Como for its Saturday open-air market and crafts market
--Boat to discover Varenna, another charming lakeside village
--Visit Villa Balbaniello, for stunning architecture and gardens as seen in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
We can also arrange:
--Watercolor painting at Villa Melzi, Bellagio
--Yoga class in hills overlooking Como
--Guided hike in Como surroundings, with picnic lunch
In the evening, we’ll gather for a short drive to one of the world’s most celebrated destinations: Villa d’Este. This 16th century villa was a private noble home, transformed into a hotel in the 19th century, beloved by the European aristocracy. We’ll have our Farewell Dinner here, in a gorgeous salon set lakeside, where we’ll celebrate our amazing week, refreshed and inspired.
Meals Included: B, D
Sunday - Arrivederci!
Our driver will transport you to Milan airport or train station, where you’ll depart with Golden Memories of our week together.
Meals Included: B