Days 1-5: We spend five days and evenings exploring Provence and the French Riviera. For two nights we stay in a hotel overlooking the Mediterranean, and then move to a villa in the Provence hills for the next three nights. We visit the hilltop villages of Eze and Saint Paul de Vence, and the coastal towns of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Villefranche, Antibes, Mougins, Biot, and Cannes. We have a guided tour of the magnificent Villa Rothschild, and spend a day in Monaco with a native Monagascan.
Days 6-7: Driving along the spectacular Mediterranean coastline, we come to the Italian Riviera di Levante, where we stay in Santa Margherita and enjoy a boatride to the ancient harbor of Portofino. We then head north through the hills of Lombardia to our beautiful hotel on the shores of Lake Garda. We have time for a wine tasting in the neighboring town of Bardolino before dinner overlooking the lake.
Day 8: Our hotel is beautifully situated on the shore of the lake in the tiny town of Torri del Benaco, a delight to explore. After a look at the Scaliger castle just steps from our hotel, we take a boat ride to Sirmione, a beautiful town on a peninsula at the tip of the lake, full of medieval streets and quaint shops. Our local guide takes us through the fascinating ruins of a Roman villa, complete with heated swimming pool. We return by boat to Torri del Benaco for a dinner of Northern Italian regional cuisine.
Days 9-10: Today we visit Verona with a wonderful local guide, seeing its celebrated Roman ruins and Juliet’s famous balcony. From Verona we take a train ride to Venice, where we have two days and nights to explore this magical city. With over 200 palaces on the Grand Canal alone, 107 churches, and an unparalleled number of celebrated works of art, Venice is a truly indescribable city. A gondola ride makes our visit unforgettable.
Days 11-13: We return to Verona by train and then drive west to Lake Maggiore, where the beautiful lakeside town of Stresa becomes our home for the next three days. We spend one day visiting the sights of Milan and the last day on Lake Como. In Tremezzo we visit a magnificent historic estate, the Villa Carlotta, famous for its breathtaking flower gardens. A boat ride takes us to Bellagio, an enchanting town full of history, ancient streets with quaint shops, churches, restaurants, and beautiful villas.
Day 14: We say goodbye to lovely Stresa and drive to the airport near Milan for the return flight home.
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Europe France Italy Monaco Local Culture Food & Wine Sightseeing