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Garden Holidays

Expressions Holidays - Garden Tours of Italy 2013

Expressions Tours

Introduction

From the Romans to the Renaissance, Italy has been a playground for the rich and famous – and a treasure trove for their art. Sculptures and mosaics, Boticellis and Donatellos: from hilltop churches to city cathedrals, Italy is a living, breathing museum of masterpieces that has drawn poets and writers, artists and musicians, and the curious rich from all over the world.
Little wonder their legacy remains, not just in museums and galleries, but also in extraordinary gardens, with almost every palazzo and villa hiding its own exquisite gem. Perfectly complementing the more traditional delights of the Italian Lakes and Tuscany, our Garden Tours of Italy programme gives access to some of the finest gardens in Europe, many of them normally off-limits to public. We have also based these tours in the very finest hotels the regions have to offer, hand picked for their elegance, their gardens or their proximity to others.
Scattered with hilltop villages and cypress-studded horizons, mediaeval towns, and humble trattoria serving rustic feasts in cobbled courtyards often overlooking the plains, Tuscany has called to sun-starved north Europeans – and Brits in particular – like nowhere else in Italy. Not for nothing Shelley described it as a 'paradise of exiles'. Bookended by the Alpi Apuane mountains to the north (whose quarries supplied the marble for Michaelangelo's David) and the sun-baked clay hills of the crete to the south, Tuscany packs an astonishing variety of landscapes into a relatively tiny area, making it possible to gorge on duomos and campaniles by morning, gardens by afternoon, with simple, sumptuous, sun- kissed lunches in between.

Call us Free On 0800 694 1841 For More Information On These Breathtaking Italian Garden Holidays



Villa Adriana, Tivoli



Expressions garden tours for small groups

Expressions Italy has been organising tailor-made holidays for individuals and small groups for over 20 years. With our team of Italian-speaking consultants and our in-depth knowledge of the country, we can offer you an unrivalled service for all aspects of your holiday.
Our hand crafted garden tours of Italy offer the chance to visit and get to know some of the most exquisite gardens in some of the most beautiful parts of Italy, with quite a wide range of natural vegetation.
A unique feature of our tours is that they operate for small numbers only. You do not have a tour leader and you do not have the feeling of being herded around visiting highly visible tourist attractions. Quite the opposite. You travel in a small, luxury coach with just 16 seats. You have a local guide to accompany you to the garden visits but not in between. You stay in Expressions tried and tested hotels that we have used for our individual guests for almost 20 years. You will not be treated as a tour party. The places we have included in the tours are not on the popular tourist track (with a couple of exceptions such as Isola Bella on Lake Maggiore) but the emphasis is on discreet places, gems of garden design and botanical interest.



Guided touring holidays visiting the gardens and villas of the Amalfi Coast and Capri

Small groups tour

Hotel Luna, Capri
Hotel Luna, Capri

PVilla Cimbrone, Ravello
Villa Cimbrone, Ravello

Villa Rufolo, Ravello
Villa Rufolo, Ravello

The Gardens and Villas tour of the Amalfi Coast and Capri explores a glorious region whose climate is not only suitable for olives, vines, oranges and lemons but also for tender exotics. The region of Campania around Naples is blessed with a rich, fertile and well-drained soil that was appreciated by the Romans. From native plants of Roman times to exotic imports, there is a flourishing huge diversity here to explore. This Italian garden tour of the Amalfi coast and Capri operates with a maximum of 14 people.

Day by day itinerary

Day One: Arrive on the Amalfi Coast

You join our flight at 08.00 from Gatwick arriving at 11.40 in Naples. You are met by a hostess who welcomes you to the tour and taken by luxury 16 seater coach to your hotelThe journey time is about 90 minutes. There is time for a late lunch under your own steam before checking in to your room, unpacking and spending the afternoon exploring before dinner (own arrangements). The hotel has a restaurant and there are numerous others nearby.

Day two: Visit Ravello and Amalfi with Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo

Depart after breakfast for a full day excursion by coach accompanied by a local guide for the spectacular drive along the coast road to spend the day in Ravello and Amalfi. There is plenty of time to explore the delights of the Villa Cimbrone and the Villa Rufolo in Ravello, free time for lunch (packed lunch provided for you to enjoy at your leisure in one of the gardens perhaps) and then a visit to Amalfi where you stop to visit its Paradise Cloister. You make your own arrangements for dinner, perhaps at the hotel or in nearby Sorrento.

Day three: Visit Pompeii

This is a half day excursion by coach with a guide that includes two hours at Pompeii for you to be guided to the main places of interest with reference to Roman gardens in particular. The afternoon is free for you to explore the resort or relax at the hotel. Lunch and dinner under your own steam.

Day four: Travel to Capri

After breakfast you depart by coach for Sorrento with a hostess to escort you by hydrofoil to Capri. From the port you are transferred by cabrio, open-topped cars to the Hotel Luna, in the centre of Capri town. You arrive in time for lunch (own arrangements) and then you have the afternoon to relax (hotel has its own gardens and pool) and explore before dinner that is included at the hotel.

Day five: Visit Villa San Michele Axel Munthe

A guide accompanies you again today to visit the Villa Grabau and the gardens of the Villa Oliva. These two villas and their gardens near Lucca give you a flavour of the variety of the gardens in this area with both English-style parkland with rare trees and formal water features. Time in the day to relax with your packed lunch. Dinner is taken back at the hotel Bagni di Pisa.

Day six: Morning walking tour of the Giardini di Augustus with optional visit to Villa Jovis

This morning’s tour is on foot to visit the Giardini di Augustus botanical gardens and a gentle walk to the Punta Tragara from where you can admire the Faraglioni rocks. For those who are fit and able walkers and happy to cope with the steps and uneven surfaces, an optional visit to the amazing site and Roman ruins of Villa Jovis is recommended (entrance fees at own cost). Dinner is provided at the Hotel Luna on your final evening.

Day seven: Return to London from Naples

To avoid too early a start from Capri, we are recommending the 17.15 flight from Naples that arrives into Gatwick at 19.00 hrs. This gives you some time in the morning after breakfast for last minute pictures or shopping. You return to Capri port by cabrio, then hydrofoil to Naples, with a hostess for assistance. From Naples port you return to the airport by luxury 16 seater coach.

Dates and prices:

This tour departs on the following dates from London for these prices per person

22 May 2013                £1950
20 June 2013              £1990
18 September 2013   £1990
9 October 2013           £1950

Prices are based on two people sharing a double or twin room and are based on 14 people taking part. If there are fewer than 14 participating, the price may be increased.

Deposit payment:

£250 per person

Supplements:

Hotel Luna, Capri double/twin with side sea view £43 per person per night, or double/twin with front sea view £76 per person per night.
£390 supplement for single occupancy of a double room.

We include:

• Flights with British Airways London Gatwick to Naples in Eurotraveller
• Transportation on the mainland in a luxury 16 seater coach with one piece of luggage per person, English speaking driver.
• Transportation from Positano via Sorrento to Capri and from Capri port to hotel by cabrio, back from hotel to Naples.
• Services of hostess on days one, four and seven.
• Services of a local guide for the excursions and visits as mentioned
• Entrance tickets to the villas and gardens mentioned
• Three nights’ bed and breakfast at the Grand Hotel Cocumella, near Sorrento in a standard double or twin room with one packed lunch supplied for day two.
• Three nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at the Hotel Luna, Capri in a standard double or twin (no view).

Grand Hotel Cocumella
Sant’Agnello, near Sorrento

The 5 star Grand Hotel Cocumella is situated in its own tranquil and beautiful park in Sant’Agnello, just a 20 minute walk from Sorrento's lively centre with its ample choice of tempting shops, bars and restaurants. The atmosphere of the hotel is traditional, historic and elegant and almost no two rooms are alike in size, even if they are in the same category. Leading off the hotel a pretty terrace looks out to the gardens and here guests can enjoy the full buffet breakfast. The Grand Hotel Cocumella also has its own man-made beach which is reached by a lift in the gardens; this is exclusively for guests' use, and deckchairs, umbrellas and bathing cabins are provided.
See more details on the Grand Hotel Cocumella.

Hotel Luna
Capri

The Luna is a 4 star hotel with about 50 rooms in a central position in Capri town, yet situated within beautiful gardens of olives, palms and roses. Lounge, bar, sun terrace and swimming pool add to your comfort and the location makes it easy to stroll to shops and restaurants. We recommend an upgrade to a room with side sea view at least or even better, a full sea view. See more details on the Hotel Luna.

Alternative travel arrangements

If you want us to arrange flights on other dates allowing you more time in Italy before and/or after the holiday, if you want to fly into and out of a different airport or fly at different times to the ones suggested, if you want the use of a hire-car for your holiday or if you want to travel out and back by train instead of flying, all this is possible. Just discuss your travel plans with us and we will adjust the details and the price accordingly.

Important information

These tours are based on 14 people participating. Flight times are subject to alteration and are confirmed at the time of booking. We reserve the right to consolidate departure dates if there are insufficient numbers for any of the departure dates. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary if we cannot be accommodated in any of the villas and gardens for any reason closer to the date of departure. We reserve the right to change the hotels if necessary to other similar properties.


Guided touring holidays visiting the gardens and villas of Rome's surrounding areas

Small groups tour

Villa Lantee
Villa Lante

VCastel Gandolfo
Castel Gandolfo

Park Hotel Villa Grazioli
Park Hotel Villa Grazioli

The Gardens and Villas tour of the Environs of Rome explores and lets you discover the architectural gardens of the ancient region of Latium which have influenced the development of Western garden design. Today located in the region of Lazio, these gardens developed mainly in the late 16th Century and were first and foremost architectural with plants being only of a primary importance in Ninfa and Landriana, which are recent creations. This tour encompasses some of the greatest masterpieces of Italian garden design. This Italian garden tour of the Environs of Rome operates with a maximum of 14 people.

This Italian gardens and villas tour focuses on some of the most important gardens or villas and gardens in Italy, located in Lazio, to the north and the south of Rome. You are based for the first three nights to the north of Rome in the historic city of Orvieto from where you can reach Villa Lante, a perfect Renaissance garden, which is a landmark in the history of Italian gardens and nearby Sacro Bosco at Bomarzo, with its collection of overwhelming and eccentric stone sculptures amid the parkland. Near Viterbo is also the Villa Farnese, dating from the mid 16th Century and another masterpiece of Italian garden art providing a perfect balance of landscaping, architecture and sculpture. Then you drive south visiting the magnificent Villa d’Este and Villa Adriana at Tivoli near Rome. Villa Adriana offers a magical insight into the gardens of antiquity and its hay meadows, wild flowers, pools and fishpond remain as features whilst the Villa d’Este is the quintessential garden of the High Renaissance and resplendent in its structure and use of water. You will be based near Frascati to the south of Rome, from where you can reach three spectacular and vastly different gardens: those of Castel Gandolfo, rich in history, Landriana, bursting with luxuriant flowers, shrubs and trees in an English fashion yet containing controlled Italian styles amidst colour from April to October, and Ninfa, where crumbling mediaeval walls provide a sheltered microclimate for rare and tender plants and an amazing collection of plants from all over the world. Amid 20 acres, plenty of summer heat and water from the hills, this is a unique garden, frequently perceived as a perfect garden. Finishing the tour in Rome gives you a wonderful opportunity to extend your stay in Italy, with perhaps a few days in Rome itself for shopping, sightseeing or further garden visits.

Day by day itinerary

Day one: Arrive in Rome and transfer to your first hotel

We are suggesting the 09.10 flight from London Heathrow that arrives in Rome Fiumicino at 12.40 hrs. You are met by a hostess who welcomes you to the tour and taken by luxury small coach to your hotel in Orvieto. Time to unpack and rest before dinner that is included.

Day two: Visit Villa Lante and Sacro Bosco at Bomarzo

Depart from the hotel after breakfast to visit first of all Villa Lante’s garden, with abundant water features of cascades, fountains and grottoes, and superb stone carving. You enjoy a visit with a local guide of the gardens. A packed lunch accompanies you. Then you visit the bizarre collection of both eccentric and delightful stone ‘beasts’ and ‘monsters’, dating from the mid 16th Century. Enjoy this park in your own time before returning to the hotel for the included dinner.

Day three: Visit Villa Farnese

This is a half day excursion with your coach and driver to Villa Farnese, about 12 miles south of Viterbo. Hailed as a magnificent masterpiece, the garden here harmonises landscape, architecture and sculpture and bursts with a spectacular water feature, the Casino del Piacere, dating from about 1560. The remainder of the day will be at leisure back at your hotel, with time to visit Orvieto. Dinner is included at the hotel this evening.

Day four: Travel to Frascati visiting Villa d’Este and Villa Adriana in Tivoli

You leave your first hotel this morning and head south towards Rome for two incredible visits before reaching your hotel near Frascati, where you will be based for the next three nights. A packed lunch is provided. The first visit is to the Villa d’Este, now a UNESCO world heritage site and an impressive garden of man-made terraces, fountains, grottoes, nymphs, often considered a model for European gardens thereafter. Then you visit the nearby Villa Adriana, villa of the Emperor Hadrian and even in its ruined state is one of the most spectacular Roman gardens and an impressive monument to antiquity. The garden recreated a sacred landscape and a hydraulic system fed water to the main structures. Today it is still a magical site with wild flowers, meadows, tall cypresses, fishpond and pool remaining as features. You have time to settle in to your hotel near Frascati before dinner that is included at the hotel.

Day five: Visit the Giardino di Ninfa

The garden of Ninfa is an amazingly special place and perhaps the perfect garden. A guide here conducts the visit. You will witness the verdant location, fed by streams from the hillsides, the impact on the plants of temperatures that rarely fall below 10 degrees Centigrade, the dilapidated walls of the village buildings that provide a microclimate for rare plants to flourish, trees and walls flower-covered and there are scents of rose and jasmine. This is a fantastic collection of plants from all over the world that flourish in this idyllic site. A packed lunch is provided today and then after a fascinating day, return to the hotel for the included dinner this evening.

Day six: Visit the Giardini della Landriana

A possible stop this morning at either Castel Gandolfo or Villa Aldobrandini subject to appointments before the highlight of the day which is a visit with a guide to the Giardini della Landriana. Occupying 25 acres and created since 1956, this is a rarity in Italy due to the scale of the separate compartments and the combination of luxuriant English planting and formal Italian structure. The garden is a mass of colour from April to October. Whites, blues, olives, citrus, cottage-style mauves and yellows abound. Formal and informal ‘rooms’ open and close in speedy succession. The influence of Russell Page is evident. A packed lunch is provided today and dinner is included at the hotel this evening.

Day Seven: Return from Rome to London

There is some time this morning, perhaps for a quick independent visit into Frascati before the departure for Rome Fiumicino airport and the flight at 17.20 hrs for London Heathrow, arriving in at 19.00 hrs.

Dates and prices:

This tour departs on the following dates from London for these prices per person
3 July 2013               £1980
4 September 2013 £1980
4 October 2013       £1980

Prices are based on two people sharing a double or twin room and are based on 14 people taking part. If there are fewer than 14 participating, the price may be increased.

Deposit payment:

£250 per person

Supplements:

Supplement for single occupancy of a double room: £210 per person.

We include:

•Flights with British Airways London Heathrow to Rome in Eurotraveller
•Transportation on the mainland in a luxury 25 seater coach with one piece of luggage per person.
•Services of English speaking tour escort throughout.
•Services of a local guide for Lante, Villa Farnese, Villa d’Este, Villa Adriana, Landriana and Ninfa.
•Entrance tickets to the gardens visited.
•Three nights’ bed and breakfast in a standard double or twin room at the Palazzo Piccolomini in Orvieto, with two packed lunches supplied for days 2 and 4. Dinner is provided for three nights by the hotel.
•Three nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at the Villa Grazioli, Frascati in a classic double or twin room in the Paggeria wing of the hotel.

Palazzo Piccolomini
Orvieto

This is a small, historic 4 star hotel with just 22 rooms in the centre of the hill-town of Orvieto, providing a charming and discreet location for your stay. The Palazzo is a renovated aristocratic town mansion dating from the end of the 16th Century and located within easy reach of the shopping area, the Cathedral and the lifts that operate from the parking areas below the town. There is a breakfast room and reading room. Dinner is taken in a restaurant about 20 metres from the hotel. The hotel bedrooms are air-conditioned with digital TV.

Grand Hotel Majestic
Pallanza, Lake Maggiore

Situated on a promontory in Lake Maggiore surrounded by English-style gardens of lawns and trees, the Grand Hotel Majestic dates from the 1870s and is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. There are 90 rooms, two restaurants, a spa and an indoor swimming pool.

Park Hotel Villa Grazioli
Frascati

The Park Hotel Villa Grazioli dates from the 16th Century. Once a Cardinal’s villa, it has been carefully restored as a 4 star hotel to combine its wealth of history and modern comforts for its guests. There are 62 rooms in the main Villa and two smaller villas, the Paggeria and the Limonaia. Rooms are elegant and restrained, and overlook the park, Frascati the Hill of Tuscolo or the direction of Rome. The Acquaviva Restaurant has an enchanting hanging garden with a view over Rome, and offers guests elaborated specialties of the Mediterranean cuisine. In the gardens is an outdoor swimming pool. The classic rooms are located in the Paggeria wing of the hotel. Rooms can be upgraded on request at a supplement.

Alternative travel arrangements

If you want us to arrange flights on other dates allowing you more time in Italy before and/or after the holiday, if you want to fly into and out of a different airport or fly at different times to the ones suggested, if you want the use of a hire-car for your holiday or if you want to travel out and back by train instead of flying, all this is possible. Just discuss your travel plans with us and we will adjust the details and the price accordingly.

Important information

These tours are based on 14 people participating. Flight times are subject to alteration and are confirmed at the time of booking. We reserve the right to consolidate departure dates if there are insufficient numbers for any of the departure dates. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary if we cannot be accommodated in any of the villas and gardens for any reason closer to the date of departure. We also reserve the right to alter the hotels if necessary to other similar properties.


Guided touring holidays visiting the gardens and villas of Tuscany

Small groups tour

Hotel Bagni di Pisa
Hotel Bagni di Pisa

Parco Villa Reale di Marlia
Parco Villa Reale di Marlia

Villa Poggio Torselli
Villa Poggio Torselli

Combining Chianti and the Lucca region, this 6 night tour reflects the diversity and beauty of Tuscan villas and gardens; Italianate, baroque, parkland, water features and stunning views. The garden tour holiday operates with a maximum of 14 people.

This tour combines the classical heart of Tuscany with a stay near Greve in Chianti from where you visit three of the most beautiful and historic gardens in the Chianti area, accompanied by a local guide; Villa Poggio Torselli at San Casciano Val di Pesa, Giardino di Vignamaggio at Greve and Villa Geggiano near Siena. These villas date from the 15th Century and each of their gardens is famed in its own way for its design and beauty. Villa Poggio Torselli is renowned for its spectacular flowering plants including Indian giant hibiscus and a golden crown of 120 secular lemon trees, whereas Vignamaggio boasts an ornate Italian garden with ornamental trees, roses and cypress and Villa Geggiano, frequently used as a film set, is resplendent with ancient cypress, sculpted boxwood as well as lemon trees. From Chianti you move further west towards the coast and the town of Lucca, which offers the opportunity to visit some of the less well-known gems of this region, including the baroque gardens of Palazzo Pfanner inside the mediaeval town, Villa Grabau, Villa Oliva, the Parco della Villa Reale and the Villa Torrigiani. The Villa Grabau is renowed for its English-style parkland which abounds in rare trees, planted initially in the 16th century when the villa was built and added to over the years. Villa Oliva enjoys views over the countryside near Lucca from its position on a hillside. Its gardens descend the hill and there are numerous water falls and fountains. The Parco della Villa Reale is an extensive garden and parkland with numerous linked water features, a Moorish garden, a lemon garden, a green theatre and a camellia walk. Finally the Villa Torrigiani houses a baroque garden with nymphaeum, grottoes, water games and flowers.

Day by day itinerary

Day One: Arrive in Tuscany

You either join our flight at 11.00 from Gatwick, arriving in Pisa at 14.05 or you make your own way either to Pisa for this time or directly to the hotel. At Pisa you are met by your small luxury coach and English speaking driver and tour escort who take you the hour and a half approximately to your hotel for the first three nights, the Villa le Barone at Panzano near Greve in Chianti. There is time to unpack and explore the hotel and its grounds as well as the country tracks nearby before dinner..

Day Two: Visit to Villa Poggi Torselli

Today you enjoy the stunning landscape of Chianti and this part of Tuscany, with its mixture of rolling landscaped vineyards and wooded hills. You visit the Villa Poggi Torselli at San Casciano Val di Peso, renowned for its spectacular flowering plants, where you have a guided visit. Packed lunch accompanies you. You return to the hotel Villa le Barone for dinner.

Day Three: Full day tour Greve to Siena

Today is a full day starting with Villa Vignamaggio was the home of the Gherardini family and Lisa Gherardini who is said to be the subject of da Vinci’s Monna Lisa. Here you enjoy guided visit. Then you head south towards Siena and the second garden of the day at Villa Geggiano, now a national monument, where you have a guided tour. A packed lunch today and then you return back to the Villa le Barone for dinner.

Day Four: Departure for Lucca

You leave Greve this morning for your second stay of the tour, at the Bagni di Pisa near Lucca, arriving in time to relax and enjoy the hotel’s spa treatments or a swim in the hotel’s pool. Dinner is taken at the hotel.

Day Five: Full day tour to Villa Grabau and Villa Oliva

Today a local guide accompanies you on your visit to Lucca and the baroque gardens of Villa Pfanner and then nearby Villa Grabau and the gardens of the Villa Oliva. These two villas and their gardens near Lucca give you a flavour of the variety of the gardens in this area with both English-style parkland with rare trees and formal water features. Time in the day to relax with your packed lunch. Dinner is taken back at the hotel Bagni di Pisa.

Day Six: Full day tour to Parco Villa Reale di Marlia and Villa Torrigiani

Your guide accompanies you to two splendid gardens in the Lucca area again today. The Parco Villa Reale is a very large garden with numerous water features, gardens within gardens and an enormous amount to explore. (If the circumstances of ownership of Villa Reale change it may not be possible to visit it. In this case, Villa Mansi will be visited instead). Villa Torrigiani is very pretty, formal and ornate. A convenient time for your packed lunch will be made and you return to the hotel for dinner and your last night.

Day Seven: Return to London from Pisa

You have some time this morning to relax before heading back by your small coach to Pisa airport and your flight to Gatwick which leaves at 14.50 arriving at 16.00.

 

Dates and prices:

This tour departs on the following dates from London for these prices per person
21 June 2013             £2090
20 September 2013 £2090
11 October 2013       £2090

Prices are based on two people sharing a double or twin room and are based on 14 people taking part. If there are fewer than 14 participating, the price may be increased.

Deposit payment:

£250 per person

Supplements:

Hotel room category supplements: Superior double or twin room at the Villa le Barone £16 per person per night
Supplement for single occupancy of double room: £240

We include:

• Flights with British Airways London Gatwick to Pisa in Euro traveller
• Transportation from Pisa airport and back to Pisa airport in a small 16 seater coach for maximum 14 people with one piece of luggage per person, English speaking driver, English speaking escort
• Entrance tickets to the gardens mentioned with guided visits of all except Villa Grabau.
• Three nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at the Villa le Barone in a classic double or twin rooms, plus two packed lunches
• Three nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at the Hotel Bagni di Pisa in double or twin rooms, plus two packed lunches

Villa le Barone
Panzano, Greve in Chianti

This is a traditional hotel, once an aristocratic villa and now a 4 star hotel of under 30 rooms, in its own grounds amid a typical Tuscan landscape of rolling fields and vineyards. There is a swimming pool and tennis court. See more details on Villa le Barone 

Hotel Bagni di Pisa
San Giuliano Terme, near Lucca

This is a 5 star spa hotel of about 60 rooms, situated on the edge of a small spa town. It is renowned for its spa facilities including a thermal pool and cave, yet its location near Lucca and Pisa make it an ideal base. There is an indoor and outdoor pool, spa and fitness centre.
See more details on Hotel Bagni di Pisa

Alternative travel arrangements

If you want us to arrange flights on other dates allowing you more time in Italy before and/or after the holiday, if you want to fly into and out of a different airport or fly at different times to the ones suggested, if you want the use of a hire-car for your holiday or if you want to travel out and back by train instead of flying, all this is possible. Just discuss your travel plans with us and we will adjust the details and the price accordingly.

Important information

This holiday is based on 14 people participating. Flight times are subject to alteration and are confirmed at the time of booking. We reserve the right to consolidate departure dates if there are insufficient numbers for any of the departure dates. Our booking conditions apply to this holiday. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary if we cannot be accommodated in any of the villas and gardens for any reason closer to the date of departure. Holiday insurance is not included but it is absolutely essential that you are fully insured. We reserve the right to alter the hotels if necessary to other similar properties.

Guided touring holidays visiting the gardens and villas of Lake Como and Lake Maggiore

Small groups tour

Isola Bella, Lake Maggiore
Isola Bella, Lake Maggiore

Grand Hotel Majestic, Lake Maggiore
Grand Hotel Majestic, Lake Maggiore

This 6 night group tour combines stays in five star hotels on both Lake Como and Lake Maggiore, both of which have a distinctly alpine feel but are also luxuriant in their vegetation. The garden tour holiday operates with a maximum of 14 people.

This tour of two very popular and dramatically beautiful Italian lakes features a splendid range of striking villas and their gardens which you visit with a local guide. On Lake Como these include the splendid Villa Melzi d’Eril at Bellagio with its eclectic collection of sculptures in this essentially English-style park that abounds with excellent tree specimens, the enchanting Villa Balbianello facing Serbelloni, secluded in its setting and full of woods of pine, cypress and oak as well as flowerbeds and the Villa Carlotta at Tremezzo, full of imaginative planting, sunny terraces, with climbers, ferns, giant magnolias and cork oaks. Two more gardens complete the tour at Lake Como; Villa Cipressi which is poised upon a rocky promontory with terraces leading down to the lake, planted with Mediterranean shrubs and vines, laced with magnolia, eucalyptus, pittosporum, lavender and agave and Villa Monastero, renowned for a fine collection of Mediterranean and tropical vegetation, as well as fountains and statues. On Lake Maggiore we had to include Isola Bella, one of the most dramatic 17th Century Baroque gardens in Italy, seemingly floating on the surface of the lake with its ten-terraced garden and marble balustrades. Water theatre, putti and grottoes embellished with tinted stucco, pebble mosaic and shellwork add to the sense of fantasy here. Trees include orange trees, lemons and pomegranates. We also visit Isola Madre nearby, the Villa Giulia in Verbania and the Botanical garden in Alpinia.

Day by day itinerary

Day One: Arrive in Milan

You either join our flight at 09.10 from Heathrow, arriving in Milan Linate at 12.05 or you make your own way either to Milan Linate for this time or directly to the hotel. At Milan you are met by your small luxury coach which seats a maximum of 16, although we have limited the tour to 14 participants. You arrive at your first hotel on Lake Como in time for dinner.

Day Two: Full day guided tour of nearby gardens

This is quite a full day with a total of four gardens to be visited on different shores of Lake Como. Today your coach and driver are joined by a local guide to accompany you as you visit the Villa Melzi d’Eril, Villa Balbianello and Villa Carlotta . Time to stop for your packed lunch in the course of the day. You return to the hotel for dinner.

Day Three: Full day visit to Villa Cipressi and Villa Monastero

Today you have the services of the local guide for the morning as you visit Villa Cipressi briefly in the morning and then the garden, villa and museum of the Villa Monastero in the afternoon. Dinner is included at the hotel.

Day Four: From Lake Como to Lake Maggiore

Today you leave to drive over to Lake Maggiore heading for Stresa and a visit to Villa Giulia en route to your hotel, the Grand Hotel Majestic in Pallanza in time for unpacking, settling in and dinner.

Day Five: Full day tour of Isola Bella and Isola Madre

Today is spent on the islands in Lake Maggiore, described to you by a local guide. You enjoy a packed lunch along the way, returning to your hotel for dinner.

Day Six: Half day visit to Stresa and the Botanic gardens.

A leisurely day today as you visit the pretty Botanic gardens Alpinia located above Stresa at an altitude of 800 metres. You reach it by cable car. A packed lunch accompanies you today and then there is free time for and then your final dinner is taken back at the Grand Hotel Majestic.

Day Seven: Back to Milan and London

You have a large part of the day at leisure on Lake Maggiore today as your flight does not depart until 19.00 from Milan Malpensa. Stroll the lakeside promenades, do some last minute shopping or drink in the beauty of the lake from the hotel gardens..

 

Dates and prices:

This tour departs on the following dates from London for these prices per person
19 June 2013  £2190
17 September 2013 £2190
9 October 2013 £2190

Prices are based on two people sharing a double or twin room and are based on 14 people taking part. If there are fewer than 14 participating, the price may be increased.

Deposit payment:

£290 per person

Supplements:

Supplement for single occupancy of a double room: £290 per person
Deposit payment: £300 per person

We include:

• Flights with British Airways London Heathrow to Milan in Euro traveller
• Transportation from Milan airport and back to Milan airport in a 16 seater coach for maximum 14 people with one piece of luggage per person, English speaking driver and English speaking tour escort
• Entrance tickets to the gardens mentioned
• Services of an English speaking local guide as mentioned for garden and villa visits
• Three nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at the Grand Hotel Imperiale in a double or twin park view rooms, plus one packed lunch
• Three nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at the Grand Hotel Majestic, Pallanza in double or twin rooms with partial lake view, plus two packed lunches.

Grand Hotel Imperiale
Moltrasio, Lake Como

The Grand Hotel Imperiale is a four star hotel and one of the many historical hotels on Lake Como, built in the late Art Nouveau style with a separate modern wing and a refurbished independent Villa, which houses 11 deluxe rooms with beautiful lake views. The rooms, whether in the modern wing or in the original hotel are all elegantly furnished with modern amenities and have either lake views or views over the gardens. The hotel’s outdoor swimming pool is the perfect place to relax and unwind.

Grand Hotel Majestic
Pallanza, Lake Maggiore

Situated on a promontory in Lake Maggiore surrounded by English-style gardens of lawns and trees, the Grand Hotel Majestic dates from the 1870s and is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. There are 90 rooms, two restaurants, a spa and an indoor swimming pool.
See more details on the Grand Hotel Majestica

Alternative travel arrangements

If you want us to arrange flights on other dates allowing you more time in Italy before and/or after the holiday, if you want to fly into and out of a different airport or fly at different times to the ones suggested, if you want the use of a hire-car for your holiday or if you want to travel out and back by train instead of flying, all this is possible. Just discuss your travel plans with us and we will adjust the details and the price accordingly.

Important information

This touring holiday is based on 14 people participating. Flight times are subject to alteration and are confirmed at the time of booking. We reserve the right to consolidate departure dates if there are insufficient numbers for any of the departure dates. Our booking conditions apply to this holiday. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary if we cannot be accommodated in any of the villas and gardens for any reason closer to the date of departure. Holiday insurance is not included but it is absolutely essential that you are fully insured.

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