Tour of Northern Italy's Lake and Alps
A European tour to the stunning Lakes Region of Italy. Your travel experience begins in Milan, daily itineraries include two of the region’s lakes - Garda and Maggiore, plus the Roman villa Desenzona and a day in Cinque Terre. Local guides share experience and knowledge with you on this escorted small group tour for couples and solo travelers.
From A$12,895 AUD
- 1. Learn about the rich history of food in the gastronomic heart of Italy in Parma and Bologna.
- 2. Explore the Ligurian area in Cinque Terre, at the foot of terraced hills.
- 3. Explore Milan, Italy's most cosmopolitan city, at the crossroads of trading routes in Europe.
- 4. Visit Palmanova, the nine-sided city, a fortified town founded by the Venetian Republic.
|02 September 2021 |
Ends 23 September 2021 • 22 nights
|31 May 2022 |
Ends 21 June 2022 • 22 nights
|01 September 2022 |
Ends 22 September 2022 • nights
|30 May 2023 |
Ends 20 June 2023 • nights
|07 September 2023 |
Ends 28 September 2023 • nights
Small group tour of Northern Italy and the Cinque Terre:
Our Northern tour of Italy is a 22-day journey designed for the mature traveller.
This small group tour of Italy is set to draw you into one of the most fascinating regions of this country, including the Cinque Terre and northern Italy's lakes and alps. On this trip, we will teach you about the history of Northern Italy while giving you time to relax and take in the region's fabulous natural beauty.
The stunning lakes of Northern Italy have long attracted the world's rich and famous but there is still plenty for the senior or mature-aged couple or solo traveller to enjoy.
Northern Italy Tour Itinerary
Our guided tour begins in the cosmopolitan city of Milan. Milan is the centre of Italy's world famous fashion industry, with luxury designers concentrated around the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. From Milan the tour ventures up into two of the most beautiful and famous Italian lakes - Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore. On Lake Garda we take a boat ride around the lake and visit the well-preserved Roman Villa of Desenzano. We then travel into the Alps, including a visit to the ski town Cortina d'Ampezzo.
We then base ourselves for four nights in a hotel in the town of Cividale to explore Italy's north-east, which is defined by a multi-cultural mixture of Italian, Venetian, Austrian and Slovenian influences. We also take short day trips to Verona, a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its well-preserved medieval town, and to Venice by train, with a walking tour encompassing the city's must-see sights, including St Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace.
We then head back west towards one of our highlights: the Italian Riviera, where we explore the five villages of the world famous Cinque Terre region. Finally, we drive north again for a two-night stop at Ispa.
This trip to Italy uncovers a wealth of natural beauty, castles, serene waters, snow-capped mountains, and breathtaking scenery. As we journey through Alto Adige, Friuli, Emilia Romagna, and Liguria, stories are told. We will enjoy short walking tours around many of these locations, learning about the lives of the locals who inhabit them.
Northern Italy, arguably, also has the planet's greatest concentration of Italian cuisine expertise. On our trip, we make sure to stop for either breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a local restaurant, to give you an authentic experience of Northern Italy's rich food culture. We also make a visit to a vineyard in the Collio Hills for a wine tasting and sampling of local delicacies.
Highlights of the tour:
Some of the highlights of our destinations include:
Enjoy the beauty and history of Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore.
Visit the archaeological museum of Cividale which features many precious finds from centuries past.
Explore the walking paths of the villages of Cinque Terre with their fabled views of mountain and sea.
Our guided Northern Italy tour is a 22-day program for senior travelers. It will appeal to all those who like time to explore on their own as well as enjoy all that our expert guides have to offer. There is also a short version of this tour for those who are pressed for time.
If you're more interested in visiting Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, or Southern Italy, you can explore our country profile of Italy, where all other tour departures are listed as well.
For more details about the Northern Italy tour, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour offered by Odyssey Traveller, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.
Articles about Italy published by Odyssey Traveller
The following list of articles published by Odyssey Traveller for mature aged and senior travellers to maximise their knowledge and enjoyment of Italy when visiting;
- Questions About Italy
- Trip Advice for Travellers going to Italy
- The Roman Empire
- Who were the Roman Emperors
- 10 Great Books to Read Before You Visit Italy
- Secrets of Venice
- History of Genoa, Rival to Venice
- Southern Italy
- Key Men and Women of Renaissance Florence
You can also browse all the articles published on Italy by Odyssey Traveller.
External articles to assist you on your visit to Italy
Day 1: Milan
Upon arrival in Milan we check into our hotel individually. Milan is the centre of fashion and style in Italy, the country most renowned for its style icons. Among the fashion houses headquartered in Milan are Versace, Gucci, Armani, Valentino, and Moschino. Our tour begins with a welcome dinner at our hotel.
Day 2: Salo
We enjoy a half day city tour with a local guide exploring the major works of art, architecture and design including the Duomo and Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. We transfer to Bergamo in the Lombardy region to the north-east of Milan with its four gates erected when it was part of Venice. These gates symbolise Bergamo’s value as a major repository of past treasures. Here we enjoy a guided city tour including a ride on the Funicular up to Bergamo’s Old Town. We then transfer to our hotel in Salo in Brescia in time for dinner.
Day 3: Salo
Today we enjoy a full day exploring Lake Garda, Italy’s largest and most spectacular lake surrounded by mountain villages and peaks. We will be escorted by a local guide. The tour includes a boat trip on the lake and entrance to the Roman Villa. We’ll be back at the hotel late afternoon.
Day 4: Salo
Today we explore Mantova, also known as Mantua, once an Etruscan stronghold before it was overrun by the Romans. It is this provenance dating back to 2,000 BC that makes it a mecca for students of the past and present. The capital of Lombardy is surrounded on 3 sides by man-made lakes created in the 12th century.
Then we travel to Verona, which is considered to be Italy’s Stratford-upon-Avon with its Shakespearean connections. Its Piazza delle Erbe Verona was originally the Roman Forum; the rectangular piazza is in the heart of Verona’s historic centre and is surrounded by beautiful medieval buildings and towers.
Day 5: Bressanone
Our next stop is Trento, the capital city of the province of Trentino, 2 hours from the Austrian border. Here we enjoy a local guided tour which will demonstrate the Austrian influences on its architecture and cuisine.
Day 6: Bressanone
After a morning at leisure we drive the short distance to Vahrn and have a guided tour of the Abbazia di Novacella (also known as the Augustinian Canons Regular monastery of Neustift). This afternoon we have free time to explore Bressanone, before returning back to our hotel.
Day 7: Bressanone
We spend today exploring Bolzano, a mountain transformed into a city and gateway to the Dolomites. During our guided morning tour, we learn about the city before we visit the South Tyrol Museum where we get to meet the Ice-Age man, Ötzi. The trip includes a visit to the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology. After some time to explore on our own we return to our accommodation for dinner.
Day 8: Palmanova
Today we transfer by coach to Palmanova including stops en route in Lake Misurina & Cortina d’Amprezzo. The remainder of the day is free to explore the town, and in the evening we will got out for dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 9: Palmanova
Today we visit the Archaeological Museum of Cividale which features precious finds of the Roman, early-Christian, early-medieval, Romanesque, and Gothic ages. We are joined by our local guide for a city orientation tour of Udine. This tiny, mountain-ringed city in northeast Italy was once part of the Austrian Empire, so it radiates a strong Viennese flavour. Returning to Palmanova in the evening, we will get the chance to try the local cuisine again with a meal in the evening.
Day 10: Palmanova
Transfer by coach to Trieste where we enjoy a city tour with our local guide including the main sights of the city, the Basilica and the Castello di Miramare. Trieste lies at the very edge of northeast Italy and is sandwiched by both nearby Slovenia and also the Adriatic Sea and is amongst Italy’s most unique cities and Mediterranean resorts.
Day 11: Palmanova
Today we explore Gorizia on the border of Italy and Slovenia. In Slovenia across the border a new town has been founded by the name of Nova Gorica. It lies on a plain surrounding by the Collio hills, famous for their full-bodied wines. After our guided city tour we transfer to Carso Plateau for a walk and vineyard visit which will include a wine tasting and sampling of the local delicacies.
Day 12: Palmanova
We explore Palmanova with our local guide. This town is quite extraordinary in that it is a town shaped geometrically like a nine-point star. This fortified town was founded by the Venetian Republic at the end of the 16th century in order to defend its eastern borders both from the Hapsburg Empire and from the Turks. Itd is known internationally as one of the very few towns to have achieved the status of being an accredited perfect residential centre. Our journey continues to Grade and Aquileia, an important Roman site with impressive mosaics.
Day 13: Padua
We drive this morning to Quartro d’Altino to take the train directly to Venezia Santa Lucia Station from where we are then transferred by private boat to Piazza San Marco, Venice. A local guide will then escort us on a walking tour of the city before letting us explore at leisure. We will meet up again for a private boat trip to Santa Lucia, and then take the train to Padova, where we will have dinner in our hotel.
Day 14: Parma
On the way to Parma we visit Ferrara, famous for its preserved mediaeval quarter alongside a superbly intact Renaissance one. We have a local guide and visit the Castello Estense. Early afternoon we travel onto Bologna, epicentre of Italian cuisine. We have a city sightseeing tour of Bologna before we head to Parma.
Day 15: Parma
Parma, in northern Italy, is famous for its art, architecture, cheese and ham. Our tour of the region will start with two tours and tasting sessions with ham and cheese producers. We will then visit the main sites of the city, including the Cathedral, Baptistery and Diocesan Museum. To finish off the day, we will go out to a local restaurant to really sample the local cuisine.
Day 16: Parma
After breakfast, we set off to spend the day exploring the region of Reggio Emilia, in the Po Valley. The region is renowned for garlic-scented salami, cotechino with lentils, culatello ham. Salva cheese, Bertolina, a sweet focaccia with egg, and the local dessert, the Spingarda. Torrone (nougat) started here too. In the afternoon, we return to the hotel for some time at leisure.
Day 17: Portovenere
This morning we check out of our hotel and drive to the coastal town of Portovenere. It is a delightful village with fish restaurants along the promenade. The afternoon is at leisure, with lots of interesting back streets to discover. In the evening we walk to a local restaurant for dinner.
Day 18: Portovenere
After breakfast, we have a leisurely day to continue exploring Portovenere and surrounds at our own pace. In the afternoon, we take a coach drive through the region to see some more spectacular sights.
Day 19: Portovenere
Cinque Terre is a clutch of five seaside villages at the foot of terraced hills falling steeply toward the sea. We explore this compact, untouched Ligurian area in which the past is the present. We have included a one way boat transfer from Portovenere to Monterosso and the one day Cinque Terre pass issued for trains and La Via dell’Amore. We then meet the coach again at La Spezia rail station and are transferred back to the hotel.
Day 20: Verbania
Turin’s Count Camillo di Cavour implemented the unification, Il Risorgimento, of Italy in 1861. The first capital of united Italy, it is renowned as the home of Italy’s royal family. Turin, with its fine, aristocratic atmosphere, old-world sophisticated shops, grand boulevards and palaces, leafy parks, and art galleries, actually leads a double life as also the centre of European industrial technology.
This afternoon we have a guided tour of Turin including a visit to the Cathedral, containing the Chapel of the Holy Shroud and the Palazzo Reale, seat of the Savoy Royal Family from 1660 until the unification of Italy.
Day 21: Verbania
We cruise to the 3 Borromean Islands on the western side of Lake Maggiore, directly opposite Stresa. The islands take their name from the aristocratic Borromean family who transformed the islands of Bella and Madre into grand, luxurious residences. The third island, named “dei Pescatori” after its age-old fishing community, was left to continue its traditional way of life. We will enjoy guided tours of the islands Bella and Madre, including a visit to the palaces and gardens. After some leisure time, we return to our accommodation to pack and have our final dinner together.
Day 22: Milan
Our tour ends today after breakfast with a transfer to Milan. Arrival at Malpensa airport will be approximately 9.30 am and the coach will continue into the city centre with a drop-off at approximately 11:30am.
- Group size is limited to a maximum of 18 participants.
Includes / Excludes
What’s included in our Tour
- 21 nights of hotel accommodation.
- 21 breakfasts and 12 dinners.
- Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
- Service charges and gratuities.
- Touring by comfortable and modern coach.
- Transport and field trips as indicated.
- Services of a Tour Leader.
- Detailed tour information booklet.
What’s not included in our Tour
- Return international airfares and departure taxes.
- Comprehensive travel insurance.
Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, be in good health, mobile and able to participate in 3-5 hours of physical activity per day, the equivalent of walking / hiking up to 8 kilometers per day on uneven ground.
Make it a private tour
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.
Very enjoyable tour, the group was small, so we all became quickly known to each other. It was a very enjoyable atmosphere, also with our guide and driver. The tour was well designed. Renate K. Sep '18
Reading List Download PDF
Sublime and maddening, fascinating yet baffling, Italy is a country of endless paradox and seemingly unanswerable riddles.
John Hooper's marvellously entertaining and perceptive new book is the ideal companion for anyone seeking to understand contemporary Italy and the unique character of the Italians. Looking at the facts that lie behind - and often belie - the stereotypes, his revealing book sheds new light on many aspects of Italian life: football and Freemasonry, sex, symbolism and the reason why Italian has twelve words for a coat hanger, yet none for a hangover.
By John Hooper
The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, its Regions and their Peoples
Visiting a villa built by Lorenzo de Medici outside Pisa, David Gilmour fell into conversation about the unification of Italy with a distinguished former minister: '"You know, Davide," he said in a low conspiratorial voice, as if uttering a heresy, "Garibaldi did Italy a great disservice. If he had not invaded Sicily and Naples, we in the north would have the richest and most civilized state in Europe." After looking cautiously round the room he added in an even lower voice, "Of course to the south we would have a neighbour like Egypt."'
Was the elderly Italian right? Was the unification of Italy a mistake? The Pursuit of Italy traces the whole history of the Italian peninsula in a wonderfully readable style, full of well-chosen stories and observations from personal experience, and peopled by many of the great figures of the Italian past, from Cicero and Virgil to Dante and the Medici, from Cavour and Verdi to the controversial political figures of the twentieth century. The book gives a clear-eyed view of the Risorgimento, the pivotal event in modern Italian history, debunking the influential myths which have grown up around it.
Gilmour shows that the glory of Italy has always lain in its regions, with their distinctive art, civic cultures, identities and cuisine. The regions produced the medieval communes and the Renaissance, the Venetian Republic and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, two of the most civilized states of European history. Their inhabitants identified themselves not as Italians, but as Tuscans and Venetians, Sicilians and Lombards, Neapolitans and Genoese. This is where the strength and culture of Italy still comes from, rather than from misconceived and mishandled concepts of nationalism and unity.
This wise and enormously engaging book explains the course of Italian history in a manner and with a coherence which no one with an interest in the country could fail to enjoy.
By David Gilmour
The name Borgia is synonymous with the corruption, nepotism, and greed that were rife in Renaissance Italy.
The powerful, voracious Rodrigo Borgia, better known to history as Pope Alexander VI, was the central figure of the dynasty. Two of his seven papal offspring also rose to power and fame - Lucrezia Borgia, his daughter, whose husband was famously murdered by her brother, and that brother, Cesare, who served as the model for Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince. Notorious for seizing power, wealth, land, and titles through bribery, marriage, and murder, the dynasty's dramatic rise from its Spanish roots to its occupation of the highest position in Renaissance society forms a gripping tale.
Erudite, witty, and always insightful, Hibbert removes the layers of myth around the Borgia family and creates a portrait alive with his superb sense of character and place.
By Christopher Hibbert
The Land Where Lemons Grow: The Story of Italy and its Citrus Fruit
Travellers have always been thrilled by the sight of citrus in Italy, where dark leaves and bright fruit seem to charge the landscape, making the trees symbols of a sun-soaked, poetic vision of the country. Citrus also holds a special place in the Italian imagination, and in The Land Where Lemons Grow, Helena Attlee sets out to explore its curious past and its enduring resonance in Italian culture. The Land Where Lemons Grow is a heady mixture of travel writing, history, horticulture and art; a unique journey through Italy's cultural, culinary and political past. Helena Attlee is the author of four books about Italian gardens, and others on the cultural history of gardens around the world. Helena is a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund and has worked in Italy for nearly 30 years.
By Helena Attlee
The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, its Regions and their Peoples
A provocative, entertaining account of Italy's diverse riches, its hopes and dreams, its past and present. Did Garibaldi do Italy a disservice when he helped its disparate parts achieve unity? Was the goal of political unification a mistake? The question is asked and answered in a number of ways in The Pursuit of Italy, an engaging, original consideration of the many histories that contribute to the brilliance―and weakness―of Italy today. David Gilmour's wonderfully readable exploration of Italian life over the centuries is filled with provocative anecdotes as well as personal observations, and is peopled by the great figures of the Italian past―from Cicero and Virgil to the controversial politicians of the twentieth century. Gilmour shows that the glory of Italy has always lain in its regions, with their distinctive art, civic cultures, identities, and cuisines.
By Gilmour, David
The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy
For nineteenth-century Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt, the Italian Renaissance was nothing less than the beginning of the modern world - a world in which flourishing individualism and the competition for fame radically transformed science, the arts, and politics. In this landmark work he depicts the Italian city-states of Florence, Venice and Rome as providing the seeds of a new form of society, and traces the rise of the creative individual, from Dante to Michelangelo. A fascinating description of an era of cultural transition, this nineteenth-century masterpiece was to become the most influential interpretation of the Italian Renaissance, and anticipated ideas such as Nietzsche's concept of the 'Ubermensch' in its portrayal of an age of genius.
By Jacob Buckhards and Peter Murray
Art in Renaissance Italy
With a freshness and breadth of approach that sets the art in its context, this book explores why works were created and who commissioned the palaces, cathedrals, paintings, and sculptures. It covers Rome and Florence, Venice and the Veneto, Assisi, Siena, Milan, Pavia, Genoa, Padua, Mantua, Verona, Ferrara, Urbino, and Naples. Chapters are grouped into four chronological parts, allowing for a sustained examination of individual cities in different periods. "Contemporary Scene" boxes provide fascinating glimpses of daily life and "Contemporary Voice" boxes quote from painters and writers of the time. Innovative and scholarly, yet accessible and beautifully presented, this book is a definitive work on the Italian Renaissance. This revised edition contains around 200 new pictures and nearly all colour images.
By John T. Paoletti and Gary M. Radke