Spend two weeks exploring northern Italy at your own speed with this self-drive itinerary that allows you to choose the stops. You'll start off in the northern lakes, with Lake Como and Lake Garda offering boat tours past villas and amusement parks alike. Then make your way into Tuscany, where you'll ride a horse-drawn wagon through the countryside and explore the medieval walled city of Siena and famous art of Florence. Finish your trip in the Italian Riviera and colorful five villages of Cinque Terre.
The best way to experience Lake Como is with a cruise. From Piazza Cavour in Como’s historical center, your guide will lead you to your boat and set off along the romantic coastline. Enjoy the natural splendor and admire the lake’s luxurious villas as your guide shares insight into why Lake Como has a global reputation of elegance and nobility. Listen to the thrilling tales of fortresses and castles, furious naval battles, and crowned monarchs who built spectacular villas with large Baroque or Romantic gardens. You’ll also learn about Julius Caesar, who founded Novum Comum (Como city).
Along the way, you’ll view many famous villas, such as Villa Olmo, Villa D’Este, Villa Versace, Villa del Balbianello, and Villa Carlotta. Look closely to admire the lush botanical gardens that several villas feature, plus the charming details within towns like Cernobbio and Tremezzo. It’s a must-do to stop at the “pearl of the region,” Bellagio.
Bellagio attracts visitors from all around the world yet still maintains its authenticity. Your guide will provide an extensive overview of the important sites of Bellagio. Enjoy some free time while roaming the cobbled streets and visit some of the mentioned landmarks, such as Punta Spartiviento, Basilica of San Giacomo of Romanesque architecture, and Via Roma.
When feeling hungry, stop at a hidden 18th-century cellar for fine wine and charcuterie featuring local cheeses and meats. Relax and enjoy quality time with your peers while savoring some of the best local products. Then get lost in the streets of Bellagio’s old town, full of many boutiques, designer stores, perfumes, and jewelry shops. Lake Como is internationally known for its silk products—you can find the perfect souvenir with its assortment of elegant scarves, bags, ties, and more.
To end your tour, enjoy the beautiful views over the lake and admire the gorgeous gardens of Villa Melzi. Locals and tourists alike favor this particular botanical paradise. Enter amongst the water lilies next to a Moorish kiosk overlooking the lake and take in its refreshing scents and scenic landscapes.
Read more about unique and interesting activities in the Lakes Region of Italy.
Itineraries with Lake Como & Bellagio Villas Boat Tour
Load the family into the car and hit the road for this trip through lovely Northern Italy, ideal for school-age children and families who want to manage their own budget and schedule. You'll start in fashionable Milan for a culture and history lesson before cruising around the glittering shores and garden villas of Lake Como. Then head to the park-filled shores of Lake Garda, Italy's most family-friendly lake, before heading back to Milan for your departure.
Northern Italy Family Road Trip: Florence, Chianti, Italian Riviera, Lake Como & Lake Garda - 10 Days
Wheel your way through northern Italy on this road trip with stops that school-aged children and parents can enjoy, with timing adjustable to your own preferences. You'll start amid the Renaissance influences of Florence, then set out into the Tuscan countryside and Chianti Valley on winding olive- and vineyard-lined roads. From there, head to the coast to wander the beaches of the Italian Riviera and then up to Lake Como to explore its luxurious shores. Wrap up your Italian sojourn on the playful shores of Lake Garda before you return to Florence.