Enchanted North Italy Awaits. The Real Italy Unseen by the throngs of tourists from cruise ships & big buses.
Open my heart and you will see, engraved inside of it, ‘Italy.’” -Robert Browning Dear friend and fellow traveler: I would like to extend my personal invitation for you to see the real Italy, unlike most tourists who only visit for a day. Join me on the trip of a lifetime, and one you won’t soon forget. If you’ve ever been to Italy, then you can relate to the above sentiment - Italy is a place that, once you’ve been, it never quite leaves you. It becomes a part of your very being, always there, whispering to you like a long-lost friend, wanting you to stop in for a visit.
And if you’ve never been, then you only have to imagine places like Lake Como, the presence that is Bellagio, the rugged yet gentle nature of the Cinque Terre, and the jet set playground of the Italian Riviera. These places, and more, will awaken inside of you the part that longs to experience a vibrant culture and a history so alive that it speaks to you at every turn.
Frances Mayes in “Under the Tuscan Sun” once said that “…most trips have an underlying quest. We’re looking for something. What? Fun, escape, adventure-but then what?” Everyone travels for different reasons, but my question for you would be what are you looking for? And, no matter what the answer to that may be, I can guarantee one thing-this trip can be life changing. To experience another culture, to open your eyes to another part of the world, to step in another’s shoes, if even for a few days, it changes you, even if only a little. Remember Robert Browning, from the beginning of the letter? “Open my heart and you will see, engraved inside of it, ‘Italy.’” Come, if you dare, and you may just leave with a little bit of Italy etched on your soul as well. I do look forward to traveling with you to Italy. Please drop me a line with any question you might have! Sincerely, Mark Story, Program Director, Story Land & Sea Host of Mark Story World Adventures
Italy’s Enchanted North Tour Small Group Tour: 9 Days / 8 Nights Bologna, Parma, Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure & the Italian Riviera, Cinque Terre, Stresa & Lake Maggiore , Bellagio & Lake Como, with Parma, & Milan NOTE: This itinerary features Deluxe 5-Star Hotels. Some rooms boast views of the Lakes and Sea. We always request lake or sea view rooms for our guests, however, we cannot guarantee a room with a view of the sea or lakes as hotel availability may become an issue if booked within 60 days of departure. Seasonal popularity may also play a role in hotel availability. Book early!
We very much encourage trip cancellation and interruption insurance. .
Bologna, Italy And onward to Lake Como City: Bologna Region: Emilia Romagna Included Dining: Welcome Dinner Exclusive: Story Land & Sea ® Original Experiences
Overnight Transatlantic Flight Depart the United States on your Trans-Atlantic flight to Europe. Please Note: "Day 1" is the published tour date and is the date you will arrange your air travel to depart your home airport.
Can we help you with your Airfare? Yes, we can
arrange your air travel from the Story Land & Sea® AirService department. We'll work with you to get the absolutely lowest fare available based on your travel preferences. Remember, airfare is a completely separate arrangement from your land tour. It is your responsibility to arrive at the point of tour origination (Bologna) on time regardless of whether Story Land & Sea® has arranged your air. At the end of the Italy's Enchanted North Tour you should set your flight to return from Milan (MXP). Or if you are extending to another city or region, then please inquire for the most convenient airport to catch your return flight. Remember, you can extend your stay on Lake Como, or venture into Switzerland or continue your journey through Italy. The options are endless.
Anthony Bourdain does have a palate for good food and that's why he's started to explore the region known as Emilia-Romagna. Bologna is known as La Grossa or "the fat," of Italy. Not a derogatory description but a compliment as Bologna is known for its food and its ancient towns of Faenza, Modena and Parma - all teeming with great cuisine. ABOUT THE STORY WAY® OF DINING Experience the Genuine Difference of Story Land & Sea®'s included dinner experiences: We've collected our favorites dishes from the incredible restaurants we visit for each included dinner. No buffets here! Your Tour Captain is there to make sure your dining experience goes smoothly and will help you interpret any menu item. For this Deluxe package, the 3 total included dinners, your Tour Captain will select a variety of appetizers, featuring regional cuisine, and will select your vino for the evening ~ a variety of red and white wine from the region you're traveling ~ and yes, the wine flows. Story Land & Sea® Exclusive: We enjoy a unique experience highlighting the food and wine of the region of Emilia Romagna at one of our favorite rustic wineries. This is an exclusive experience that truly helps you to connect with the wonderful land we're traveling through. Enjoy our immersion in the traditions of Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese and Parma Ham, typical plates from the region of Emilia-Romagna, paired with only the best varietals of wine.
Duomo, Cathedral of Milan
our immersion walking tour of Bologna.
We are in the heart of the region of Emilia-Romagna, known for its robust prosperity and this comes in to focus in the city of Bologna, our home for the next two nights.
Beginning at the Fountain of Neptune, we will enjoy a world -class tour with included entrances and special access. The Fountain of Nepture is one of the key icons of Bologna. Then we discover Piazza Maggiore, the great central square of Bologna which is surrounded by Palazzo Podesta and the Basilica of San Petronio.
Bologna is a sophisticated city of piazzas, leaning towers (once numbering more than 200 and twenty still stand!), fabulous food, and an 11th-century university, the oldest in Europe. Optional: Bologna Airport or Hotel Meet-and-Greet and private transfer to Bologna hotel: Inquire for pricing and details
Sala Borsa was the city's economic center and today is the center of its' "culture" and meeting place for the Bolognese. Bologna is a magical city that boasts much to explore (and taste). After our morning tour, enjoy the day at leisure as you explore this interesting city. Optional Dining: Tonight consider joining the Tour Captain for an optional dinner or explore on your own.
After breakfast, we will meet our expert local guide for
for the next three nights.
Welcome to the Italian Riviera ~ Santa Margherita Ligure To the Italian Riviera Parma Region & Santa Margherita Ligure Included Dining: Welcome Dinner Exclusive: Winery Experience Exclusive: Story Land & Sea速 Original Welcome Experience
We are then bound for the coast but not before we arrive at our rustic winery estate. Story Exclusive: Winery Estate Enjoy a tasting of varietals from the region paired with some antipasti. A delightful diversion on the way to the coast. We are whisked along the northern Italian countryside and arrive the town of Santa Margherita Ligure, our home
City: Santa Margherita Ligure Region: Liguria We arrive Santa Margherita Ligure, our beautiful resort town with everything a Riviera playground should have: ocean front views, palm trees, grand hotels, seaside cafes, and a yacht-filled harbor marina. Many of the older structures here continue to boast trompe l'oeil frescoes, which are typical to this section of the Riviera. Santa Margherita Ligure is the perfect balance for many; "more spacious than the Cinque Terre; less glitzy than San Remo; more relaxing than Genoa and environs; and ideally situated for day trips," such as our included excursion to the Cinque Terre tomorrow. Story Way速 Dining: Enjoy a welcome dinner tonight with your Tour Captain on the Italian Riviera.
Ready to hike the Cinque Terre? Not a problem, today the Tour Captain will give you great, close-up advice and access to the trails.
Exploring the Cinque The Five Lands
Optional Dining Tonight: Consider an optional dinner tonight with your Tour Captain to a delightful restaurant on the Italian Riviera. .
Region: Liguria After breakfast, meet the Tour Captain in the lobby to enjoy an excursion to the Cinque Terre. You'll want good walking shoes as there are many hills and sights to explore here. After our guided immersion this morning, you may opt to sit and watch the very interesting passers-by or hike part of the great trails. We travel to and from by train on most depatures. Occasionally, we will travel by boat. Cinque Terre means five lands, referring to the five villages precariously perched along the coast. It is famous for its white wine and their Pesto Sauce with pasta is a must as the Italian Riviera is where Pesto originated. Enjoy the tiny villages perched high above the sea, with their many wine bars and restaurants.
Italian Riviera at Leisure Region: Liguria Optional Dining: Optional Dining: Consider an optional dinner tonight with your Tour Captain to a delightful restaurant on the Italian Riviera
Enjoy a free day at leisure to explore the beautiful Italian Riviera. Many options from water sports, culinary experiences, walking tours to spa treatments await you. Inquire for details.
Stresa, Lake Maggiore & Isola Bella
Exploring Lake Como Jewels of the Lake
After breakfast, we are bound for Stresa and beautiful Lake Maggiore, home to the enchanted island of Isola Bella, part of the Borromeo islands. We board our boat to enjoy a tour of the palazzo on the island with admission and our guided experience of the Borromeo Palace.
City: Bellagio Region: Lombardy
The most famous of the islands on Maggiore is Isola Bella. It boasts an immaculately landscaped garden and is named after the wife of one of the Borromeo, Isabella.
Story Land & Sea速's Exclusive: Board our private boat for a private exploration of Lake Como including views of Villa Balbianello and admission to Villa Carlotta. We toast the 'top of Italy' today as this wow experience brings the lake and her surroundings to majestic life.
The island has been completely transformed into a terraced pyramid of formal gardens and boasting white peacocks. Isola Bella is dominated by the vast Borromeo Palace, started in the 17th-century but not finished until 1959. We continue on to beautiful Bellagio on Lake Como, our home for the next two days and nights..
We enjoy breakfast before our included tour via private boat on beautiful Lake Como.
Included Dining: Farewell Dinner
About Lake Como
Lago di Como is the third largest lake in Italy. At over 1320 feet deep it is one of the deepest lakes in Europe. The lake's name comes from the town of Como, known to the Romans as Comum. On a clear day the spectacular
Alps are visible across the lake. Lake Como boasts a variety of attractive villas which have been built here since Pliny the Younger constructed the Comedia and Tragedia.
This Story Land & Sea速 Exclusive includes a special wine and dining with a Top 10 Italian Chef. You will experience some of the finest cuisine the Nord has to offer.
Villa Carlotta is a place of rare beauty where art and
nature intertwine. There are over 70 square meters (about 230 square feet) of gardens and museum to explore. The villa, built at the end of the 17th century by the marquis Giorgio Clerici from Milan, sits in the natural basin between the lake and the mountains. It faces the grand dolomite Grignas and the Bellagio peninsula. The garden is Italian by design and temperance, and includes sculptures, stairs and fountains. In 1801 Gian Battista Sommariva, a famous politician and businessman (as well as patron of the arts) bought the villa. It is because of Sommariva that the villa came into its splendor and became "the most important halting-place of the Grand Tour," the traditional tour through Europe's best landmarks. INCLUDED FAREWELL DINNER TONIGHT: After our last day of sightseeing together, we'll enjoy our Farewell Dinner in Bellagio, where you'll taste the finest cuisine and wine varietals from the region of Lombardy. Be sure to join your Tour Captain for this Farewell Dinner in Bellagio, Italy.
Tour Ends: Where to Now? Arrividerci! Consider an extension to Florence, Tuscany, Sicily, the Amalfi Coast or other points in Europe. Inquire with reservations for great endings to your travels! Dining: Breakfast is included this morning. Optional: Departure Transfer Bellagio hotel to Milan Airport (MXP) or Milano Centrale Train Station: Inquire for pricing and details.
Walking Italy with Story Land & SeaÂŽ Tours was one of the best decisions Iâ€™ve ever made. ~ David, Traveler
Discovering the essence of Italy can be challenging ~ we’ve taken the work out of it and kept all the pleasure ~ The Northern Italy Tour features regional cuisine and wine in the setting of order-as- you-like dining experiences.
A True Small-Group of 6 to 16 Travelers ~ Hotels Really in Center of Town ~ Unique Dining Venues — No Set Menus ~ No Up-Selling while Traveling
Discover the magic of traveling Italy with Story Land & Sea® as travelers, not tourists.
~ Michelle, Traveler
Small Group Tour Information YOUR DELUXE TRUE SMALL-GROUP TOUR INCLUDES:
~ All Full Breakfasts with Italian Coffee and Cappuccino. ~ 4 Italian dining “events” with regional wine and cuisine in the traditional Italian style. Dinners include bottled “la aqua naturale” & frizzante water, coffee, soda and/or regional wine. Welcome Dinner in Bellagio kicks-off the tour and Farewell Dinner in Bologna caps with the perfect finale experience. ~ Baggage handling, hotel taxes, hotel service charges (items of a personal nature not included). Begins at boat in Venice. ~ Gratuities are included for your Local Guides and Drivers.
~ Wireless headsets to hear your guide clearly and distinctly in select public places – select itineraries. ~ Deluxe, air-conditioned mini-coaches with panoramic windows and comfortable seating. ~ Certain departures include Eurostar 1st Class Rail Travel with Reserved Seats ~ Services of English-speaking Tour Captain and Italian-authorized local Story Land & Sea® Certified Guides. ~ Quality hotel properties with authentic Italian architecture, private baths, nonsmoking, & located on the shores and cliffs of the lakes and sea.
~ All Sightseeing and Admissions described in itinerary 9 Days Round-Trip Air (not included), 9 Days Land, 8 Nights Hotel Accommodations. Extend your tour with 4 days, 3 nights to Nice & Monte Carlo or other exciting destination. Inquire with reservations.
Walking Tour: We walk a lot on this trip. This tour is designed to immerse yourself in the Italian culture and life. In order to achieve this we walk at a leisurely, enjoyable pace. Our hotels are located in lake and seaside locations.
Tour Begins: Milan, Italy. Optional Arrival Transfer is available. Please inquire with reservations: We will pick you up at the Milan Airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Dates & Rates: Tour price is per person based on double occupancy. Solo supplement applies for a private room to yourself. Triple occupancy is available at double occupancy per person rate.
Tour Ends: Bologna, Italy. Optional Departure transfer from Bologna hotel to Florence Airport Included. Inquire with reservations.
Small group tour of Bologna, Italian Riviera, Cinque Terre, Stresa, Isoloa Bella & Bellagio, and Lake Como.