- Scope out the Renaissance art and architecture of Florence
- Explore winding roads through the Tuscan countryside
- Hike along the colorful fishing villages of the Italian Riviera
- Cruise past the elaborate villas and gardens on Lake Como
|Day 1||Arrive in Florence||Florence|
|Day 2||Florence to Chianti||Chianti|
|Day 3||Explore Tuscany||Chianti|
|Day 4||Chianti to Italian Riviera||Italian Riviera|
|Day 5||Explore the Italian Riviera||Italian Riviera|
|Day 6||Italian Riviera to Lake Como, Bellagio, Como & Villas Boat Tour||Lake Como|
|Day 7||Explore Lake Como||Lake Como|
|Day 8||Lake Como to Lake Garda, West Lake Garda & Sirmione Boat Tour||Lake Garda|
|Day 9||Explore Lake Garda||Lake Garda|
|Day 10||Depart Florence|
Day 1: Arrive in Florence
After settling into your lodging, you'll set out on your own to explore this multifaceted city. Climb the Duomo or explore the art at the Uffizi and Accademia galleries, where Michelangelo's "David" resides. If you're looking for something more hands-on, visit the Leonardo da Vinci Museum, which is as interactive as the man himself would want, or consider the celestial spheres at the Museo Galileo, where you can peer through ancient telescopes.
Day 2: Florence to Chianti
Day 3: Explore Tuscany
Day 4: Chianti to Italian Riviera
Day 5: Explore the Italian Riviera
Day 6: Italian Riviera to Lake Como, Bellagio, Como & Villas Boat Tour
Set out for Lake Como today, driving along the Riviera coast and passing through Genoa and Milan on your way.
You'll start at Piazza Cavour, in Como’s historical center, before taking a semi-private cruise around the lake. You'll see why Lake Como has been attracting nobility since Roman times when Julius Caesar founded Novum Comum (Como city). Your guide will lead you through tales of fortresses and castles, furious naval battles, and crowned monarchs who built villas with large Baroque or Romantic gardens. Take in the views of these villas, such as Villa Olmo, Villa D’Este, Villa Versace, Villa del Balbianello, and Villa Carlotta, as well as the towns of Cernobbio and Tremezzo.
Then, board your vessel for a look into the lake's secret corners. No trip here is complete without some time on the water. Enjoy breathtaking views over the lake as well as its architectural wonders and villas, before you disembark in famous Bellagio, the area's most-visited town.
In Bellagio, you'll learn from your guide about key sights like Punta Spartiviento, the Romanesque Basilica of San Giacomo, and Via Roma. The town has been drawing visitors since the Renaissance when it was a center of industries—particularly silk—thanks to its ideal location. Stop at a hidden 18th-century cellar for local charcuterie tasting, then take a stroll through the boutiques to see how it still excels in silk products today.
Get lost in the colorful streets of the old town and enjoy the views over the lake. Then pay a visit to the gardens of Villa Melzi, where you'll be greeted by Moorish architecture, water lilies, and even more lake views before your tour ends.
Day 7: Explore Lake Como
Take your journey into your own hands with a free day to explore Lake Como, known for its upscale resorts, villas owned by celebrities, dramatic landscapes, and views of the Alps. In Como town center, you'll find the Gothic 14th-century Cathedral of Como and 12th-century Basilica di San Fedele. Overlooking the lake are Piazza Cavour square and the sprawling Villa Olmo park.
You can extend out to the other villages by ferry or car. The resort town of Bellagio is north of Como, sitting on a promontory that juts into the lake. Lake Como splits three ways at this spot, offering spectacular scenic views. Varenna is another picturesque village a short ferry ride to the east of Bellagio, where you can follow the town's promenade along the lake to Villa Monastero and the botanical gardens. If you have the time, you can also consider visiting Lecco and Menaggio.
Day 8: Lake Como to Lake Garda, West Lake Garda & Sirmione Boat Tour
After you leave Lake Como, you'll drive for about 2.5 hours to Lake Garda, passing famous cities like Milan and Bergamo, beautiful villages, castles, churches, and museums. You're free to make as many stops as appeal to you along the way.
Once you arrive at Lake Garda, you'll embark on a three-hour boat tour of the western lake and Sirmione, with stops for Salò, Garda Island, Gardone, and some swimming from the boat.
After admiring the Sirmione peninsula and its many spots of interest, you will head towards the impressive outcropping of Rocca di Manerba. Pass the island of San Biagio and the enchanting Isola del Garda, the private residence of the counts of Borghese-Cavazza, and head to the magnificent Costa Romantica.
The Costa Romantica is the lakeshore between Toscolano Maderno and the Gulf of Salò, where lush nature sits alongside the elegant architecture of villas and hotels. This area still bears traces of the Republic of Salò, declared during the Fascist period, and the architecture is a perfect reflection of its style, with the occasional Liberty touch to enhance its vintage charm. After the tour, you will return to Sirmione and pass under the two bridges of the Scaligero Castle.
Day 9: Explore Lake Garda
Day 10: Depart Florence
Return to Florence to catch your flight home or on to your next adventure.