22 days
Duration
Europe
Destination
Level 2 - Moderate
Activity

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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Northern Italy Tour:

  • Two words to sum up Northern Italy?

It's basically impossible to sum up such a beautiful and diverse region in only two words. Perhaps 'lakes' and 'alps' would work - but then you'd be leaving out fascinating cities, ancient ruins, and the seaside villages of the Cinque Terre. I think we'll leave this one up to you.

  • How to get to Northern Italy?

Our tour begins and ends in Milan, which has a well-serviced international airport. Travelers from the Australia, the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand do not need visas to enter Italy for up to 90 days. Italy is also a member of the European Union Schengen Zone, making it a good launching point for further European travel.

  • Why travel on a small group adventure?

There are so many reasons to join a small group tour! A smaller tour allows you to develop personal relationships with your local guides, find friends in a close-knit environment, and most of all, have an authentic experience without the feeling of being 'herded' everywhere. For more information, take a look at our definitive guide to small group tours.

Our guided Northern Italy tours are a 22-day program for discerning 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, don't click away! This tour of Northern Italy is just one of many escorted programs offered as part of our small group tours of Italy each year.

This tour is featured as Bellissima Italia (Beautiful Italy) in Odyssey's 2018/19 brochure.

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 New Zealand, 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

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 Eurohotel Milano or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: 3 nights at Eden Salo 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. 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.

Accommodation: Eden Salo 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: Eden Salo 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.

 

Accommodation: 3 nights at Millanderhof hotel or similar

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Millanderhof hotel or similar.

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. 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.

Accommodation: Millanderhof Hotel or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: 5 nights at Ai Dogi Hotel 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. Returning to Palmanova in the evening, we will get the chance to try the local cuisine again with a meal in the evening.

Accommodation: Ai Dogi Hotel 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: Ai Dogi Hotel 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: Ai Dogi Hotel 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: Ai Dogi Hotel or similar.

Overview: 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.

 

Accommodation: 1 night at Hotel Casa del Pellegrino or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: 3 nights at Hotel Button or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Hotel Button or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Hotel Button or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: 3 nights at Royal Sporting Hotel or similar.

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Royal Sporting Hotel or similar.

Overview: 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.

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.

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.

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. After some leisure time, we return to our accommodation to pack and have our final dinner together.

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 9.30 am and the coach will continue into the city centre with a drop-off at approximately 11:30am.

1
Visit the Archaeological Museum of Cividale, which features precious finds from centuries.
2
Learn about the rich history of food in the gastronomic heart of Italy in Parma and Bologna.
3
Explore the Ligurian area in Cinque Terre, at the foot of terraced hills.
4
Explore Milan, Italy’s most cosmopolitan city, at the crossroads of trading routes in Europe.
5
Visit Palmanova, the nine-sided city, a fortified town founded by the Venetian Republic.

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.

Northern Italy tours Lakes and Alps, escorted small groups
The city of Como, Italy
Villages of Italy, Volterra, Tuscany Italy
Bellissima Italia, Nothern Italy
Italian Small Group Tours Bassano del Grapa Italy Veneto
Chianti vineyard ,Tuscany, Italy
Lake Maggiore, Cannobio
Milan, Doumo Cathedral
Milan, Galleria Umberto Italy
Venice, Italy
Cheese in Parma
Padua (Padova) Italy
lake Orta, North Italy, Piedmont.

Tour Reviews

October 7, 2018

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

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