22 days
Level 2 - Introductory to Moderate

Northern Italian Lakes small group tour

The Northern Italian Lakes 22 day small group tour is specially designed for the mature traveller. The tour is set to draw you into one of the most fascinating regions of Italy.  Journey through the history while having  time to relax and take in the region’s fabulous natural beauty. The stunning Lakes Region of Italy has long attracted the world’s rich and famous but there is still plenty for the senior couple or solo traveller to enjoy.


Our fully escorted small group tour begins in the cosmopolitan city of Milan. From Milan it ventures up into two of the region’s lakes – Garda and Maggiore. From here a five day stop in Cividale del Friuli allows the traveller plenty of time to explore. You then head west again towards the Cinque Terre with a three night stop in Maranello on the way. Finally we drive north again for a two night stop at Ispa. The tour uncovers a wealth of natural beauty, castles, serene waters, snow-capped mountains, and breathtaking scenery.

Odyssey provides a program leader as well as a selection of local guides who share their knowledge of this part of Italy with you. 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.


This region, arguably, also has the planet’s greatest concentration of Italian cuisine expertise. You will have the chance to enjoy some of these gastronomic delights on this tour.

What is it about the terrain and character of northern Italy that ignites this constant, unceasing quest for applied perfection over so many varied fields of human endeavour? This Northern Italian Lakes small group tour provide you with the opportunity to draw your own conclusion to answer this question.


  • 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 Cinque Terre with their fabled views of mountain and sea.

Northern Italian Lakes small group tour is a 22 day program for the discerning senior traveller. 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 a short version of this tour for those who are pressed for time.

The Northern Italian Lakes small group tour is just one of some nine escorted programs offered in Italy by Odyssey Traveller each year.

Bellissima Italia

For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.

Tour Notes
  • Group size is limited to a maximum of 18 participants.

PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

Visit the Archaeological Museum of Cividale, which features precious finds from centuries.
Learn about the rich history of food in the gastronomic heart of Italy in Parma and Bologna.
Explore the Ligurian area in Cinque Terre, at the foot of terraced hills.
Explore Milan, Italy’s most cosmopolitan city, at the crossroads of trading routes in Europe.
Visit Palmanova, the nine-sided city, a fortified town founded by the Venetian Republic.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: 1 night at Antares Concorde Hotel or similar.

Overview: We enjoy a half-day city tour with a local guide to explore major works of art, architecture, and design, including Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper.” We transfer to Bergamo in the Lombardy region northeast of Milan and see its 4 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 before making our way to Salo.

Accommodation: 3 nights at Hotel Terrazzo or similar.

Overview: Today we enjoy a full day exploring Lake Garda, Italy’s largest and most spectacular lake surrounded by mountain villages and peaks.

Accommodation: Hotel Terrazzo or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Hotel Terrazzo or similar.

Overview: 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.

We walk the high alpine ridges of the South Tyrol.

Accommodation: 3 nights at accommodation in Bressanone.

Overview: Today we begin with a guided tour of the abbey and then enjoy an afternoon alpine walk.

Accommodation: Accommodation in Bressanone.

Overview: 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. After some time to explore on our own we return to our accommodation for dinner.

Accommodation: Accommodation in Bressanone.

Overview: Today we transfer by coach to Cividale del Friuli. The remainder of the day will be free.

Cividale del Friuli was founded by Julius Caesar as Forum Julii, Cividale. It eventually became the capital of the first Lombard duchy in Italy and later flourished as a meeting point for artists and nobility during the Middle Ages.

Accommodation: 5 nights at Locanda Al Pomo d’Oro or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Locanda Al Pomo d’Oro or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Locanda Al Pomo d’Oro or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Locanda Al Pomo d’Oro or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Locanda Al Pomo d’Oro or similar.

Overview: We arrive in Venice and transfer by private boat to Piazza San Marco. We begin our visit with a city tour with our local guide. Our next stop is Padua for an overnight stay.

Accommodation: 1 night at Hotel Casa del Pellegrino.

Overview: On the way to Modena we visit Ferrara, famous for its preserved medieval quarter alongside a superbly intact Renaissance one. We visit the Castello Estense. Early afternoon we travel on to Bologna, epicentre of Italian cuisine, for a city sightseeing tour before we head to Modena.

Accommodation: Overnight Modena.

Overview: Parma in northern Italy is famous for its art, architecture, cheese, and ham. After our city tour with a local guide, we visit a Parma ham producer for a tour and tasting. In Reggio nell’Emilia, we visit a Parmesan cheese producer for a tour and tasting. We will visit Maranello with a guided tour of the Galleria Ferrari, the company’s official museum since 1995.

Accommodation: Overnight Modena.

Overview: This morning we depart for a full-day excursion to Cremona. Cremona in the Po Valley conjures up renowned 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 have a free afternoon to explore Modena.

Accommodation: Overnight Modena.

Overview: Portovenere is a delightful village with fish restaurants along the promenade and lots of interesting back streets to discover.

Accommodation: 3 nights at Royal Sporting Hotel or similar.

Overview: Our next stop is Genoa on the northwest coast in the region of Liguria, not far from the French border. It is Italy’s main port and was made famous by Columbus. At its centre is the largest medieval quarter in Europe. We are joined by our local guide for a half-day city tour. We then have time to explore the Cathedral of San Lorenzo with its pink and white stone decoration on the exterior facades and the Palazzo Ducale.

Accommodation: Royal Sporting Hotel or similar.

Overview: Cinque Terre is a community of 5 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.

Accommodation: Royal Sporting Hotel or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: 2 nights at Casa Immacolata Verbania Pallanza or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Casa Immacolata Verbania Pallanza or similar.

Overview: Our tour ends today after breakfast with a transfer to Milan. Arrival at Malpensa airport will be approximately 10.00 am and the coach will continue into the city centre with a drop-off at approximately 12 noon.

What’s included in our Tour

  • 21 nights of hotel accommodation.
  • Service charges and gratuities.
  • Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
  • Services of a Tour Leader.
  • Transport, lectures and field trips as indicated.
  • Touring by comfortable and modern coach.
  • Detailed tour information booklet.
  • 21 breakfasts and 12 dinners.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Return international airfares and departure taxes.


Northern Italian Lakes small group tour
Northern Italian lakes small group
Small group tour Italian villages

Tour Reviews

January 31, 2017

As the tour leader of Bellissima Italia, we give you a unique experience of a very different region of Italy. After a short time in Milan, viewing the Duomo and Da Vinci’s Last Supper, we move to the largest of the Italian lakes, lake Garda. From there we venture into German speaking Italy in the Dolomites before going to Trieste and into Slovenia. After a day in Venice (the one time we encounter tourists) we go via Parma and watch them make Parmesan cheese wheels. Then off to the beautiful Cinque Terre before finishing on Lago Maggiore. It is such a significant and different experience of Italy.

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