This is the perfect vacation for travelers who wish to learn more about the culture, food, and traditions of this part of Italy. Enjoy guided sightseeing in the main cities, like Milan, Parma, and Turin, and a full day at leisure in the seaside resort of Santa Margherita Ligure. But this vacation offers much more: a Parmesan cheese tasting in Soragna, a balsamic vinegar tasting near Modena, and a visit to the Ferrari Gallery in Maranello. A highlight is an included excursion to the world-famous Cinque Terre area, named after five medieval villages standing on stony spurs along the Mediterranean coast, including train and boat rides (weather permitting). Also enjoy an Asti Gancia Spumante tasting near Asti, and a visit to a rice factory in Vercelli, followed by a risotto lunch. Finally, transfer to Lake Maggiore, where you’ll spend three relaxing overnights and will enjoy free time and a boat ride to visit the opulent palace and gardens of Isola Bella.
MILAN Welcome dinner; guided walking tour, admire Duomo Square and the Galleria; farewell dinner at a local restaurantBUSSETO See the birthplace of Verdi; parmesan cheese tastingPARMA Guided sightseeing MODENA Balsamic vinegar tastingMARANELLO Visit the Ferrari GalleryLUCCA Orientation CINQUE TERRE EXCURSION By boat and trainSANTA MARGHERITA LIGURE Boat cruise to PortofinoASTI Asti Gancia spumante tasting; visit a local nougat confectioner (Tours July 12-August 16 visit the Tapestry Museum instead)TURIN Guided sightseeing, admire the Mole Antonelliana, walk through the historic center, and visit the cathedral that houses the Holy ShroudVERCELLI Visit a rice factory and enjoy a risotto lunchLAKE MAGGIORE Guided sightseeing and boat ride to Isola Bella to visit the baroque palace and peacock gardensHeadsets throughout the tour
Welcome to Milan! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at the hotel. (Dinner)
In the morning, enjoy a walking tour with a Local Guide. Admire DUOMO SQUARE with its magnificent gothic Duomo and the glass-domed GALLERIA. Also see the famous La Scala Opera House. Stop at Busseto to see Giuseppe Verdi’s birthplace, and on your way to Parma, world-famous for its ham and parmesan cheese, stop for a PARMESAN CHEESE TASTING. Later, for food lovers, an optional excursion to an original ham factory is available. (Breakfast)
Your guided sightseeing will focus on the Romanesque cathedral, the bell tower, and the octagonal baptistry, made of pink Verona marble. Next, enjoy a BALSAMIC VINEGAR TASTING near Modena, and learn all about this typical Italian product. Continue to nearby Maranello, birthplace of the Ferrari automobile, for an exciting visit to the FERRARI GALLERY. Afternoon and evening are at leisure. (Breakfast)
In Lucca, enjoy a walking tour through this quaint medieval town with its ramparts, and spend time in its pretty center. To enhance your stay, an optional dinner outing to a local agriturismo is available to try out local specialties. (Breakfast)
A scenic day! Drive to La Spezia on the Mediterranean coast and enjoy your excursion (including a BOAT RIDE, weather permitting) to CINQUE TERRE, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name dates back to the 15th century and is derived from five medieval little villages standing on stony spurs along five miles of the rocky coastline: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. From here, enjoy a TRAIN RIDE to the beautiful seaside resort of Santa Margherita Ligure. (Breakfast)
Today’s highlight is a BOAT CRUISE on the Mediterranean Sea to nearby Portofino, a small fishing village with brightly colored houses that became home to the “rich and famous.” Later, back in Santa Margherita, time to relax and to browse through the attractive little shops. (Breakfast)
Enter the Langhe area and, before arriving in Asti, stop for an ASTI GANCIA SPUMANTE TASTING, for which the city is famous. Time afterwards in town, then visit a local NOUGAT CONFECTIONER (Departures July 12-August 16 visit the TAPESTRY MUSEUM instead) and savor a piece of hand-made torrone before continuing to Turin, capital of Piedmont and birthplace of the Fiat automobile. This evening you may wish to try out one of Turin’s restaurants. (Breakfast)
During your sightseeing with a Local Guide, admire the amazing 548-foot-high Mole Antonelliana, symbol of Turin, and walk through the historic center to visit the CATHEDRAL that houses the Holy Shroud. (Breakfast)
Stop in Vercelli to visit a RICE FACTORY, and enjoy a risotto lunch before returning to Milan. This evening, a special farewell dinner with wine awaits you at one of Milan’s fine restaurants to celebrate the success of your Italian vacation. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
You will be transferred to your hotel in Stresa at Lake Maggiore. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (Breakfast)
Morning guided sightseeing includes a BOAT ride to ISOLA BELLA for a visit to its opulent PALACE and GARDENS. (Breakfast)
Full day at leisure. Ask your local host for suggestions. (Breakfast)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning (the nearest airport is Milan Malpensa). (Breakfast)
Motorcoach with free Wi-Fi; boat and train ride at Cinque Terre; boat ride to Portofino
Full buffet breakfast; 1 special lunch in Vercelli; 2 three-course dinners : a welcome dinner and a special farewell dinner with wine in Milan
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The following UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be seen or visited on the Northern Italy's Highlights & Cinque Terre with Lake Maggiore:
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