Where Italy kisses Switzerland, glacial lakes sparkle in the sun. Surrounded by foothills of the Alps and romantic villas, the lakes are abundant with lush vistas. This region of Italy — formally known as Lombardy, but also called the Lake District — has long been a favorite of artists and writers. It has also been a center of commerce since the Middle Ages. Explore the colorful towns around the lakes and the sophisticated city of Milan, Italy’s economic and fashion capital. Embrace the scenery and the spectacular in Italy’s Magnificent Lake District.
Travel experts have meticulously planned this exciting program, which showcases the highlights of Italy’s Lake District. Enjoy preferred access to popular attractions and an exclusive education program that will enhance your appreciation of the people and the culture. Our educational program features local speakers and is the hallmark of our Alumni Campus Abroad programs.
This trip combines the security, ease and value of group travel with opportunities for independent exploration. You will enjoy the camaraderie of traveling with a group of like-minded people and, during your free time, feel the thrill of making your own discoveries.
Depart your gateway city for Milan, Italy.
DAY 2 – STRESA, ITALY
Upon your arrival in Milan, transfer to Stresa and the Hotel La Palma on Lake Maggiore. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a Welcome Reception and Dinner at the hotel, and enjoy regional specialties and wines.
DAY 3 – LAKE ORTA
Educational Focus: The Development of the Lake District Learn about Italy’s Lake District, a haven of Alpine peaks, gardens and lakes that have been influenced throughout history by many historical figures.
Excursion: Lake Orta Enjoy a scenic transfer to Lake Orta. Take a walking tour of Orta San Giulio, a beautiful resort town that sits on the peninsula that juts into the lake. Then board a boat to visit Isola San Giulio, the island in the lake, to see the spectacular frescoes in a fourth-century basilica.
Independent Exploration: Enjoy some free time in Orta San Guilio for lunch and exploring on your own.
DAY 4 – BORROMEAN ISLANDS
Educational Focus: Golden Age of the Renaissance Delve into the true genius of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo and trace their profound influences on sculpture and painting.
Excursion: The Borromean Islands Cruise Lake Maggiore aboard a private boat to visit Isola Madre’s paradise of baroque splendor. Inside the 16th-century villa, a ceramic collection and display of 19th-century puppets and marionettes help you conjure images of daily life in another time. Then, embrace the rustic charm of the peaceful fishing village of Isola dei Pescaori. Stroll its narrow streets lined by the quaint houses of the hard-working fishermen and their families who call this island home. Finally, visit Isola Bella, the Beautiful Island, extolled by writers over the centuries. Explore its 17th-century baroque palace and summer house that is home to a mosaic grotto and an astounding collection of art and antiques. Stroll through hanging gardens adorned with Greek and Roman statuary while listening to rare birds.
Local Flavor: Savor a delicious lunch as a restaurant on one of the islands.
DAY 5 – MILAN
Excursion: A Cultural Visit to Milan See some of the world’s most stunning art and architecture in Milan. Enjoy a memorable trip to the beautiful Renaissance Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie to see Leonardo’s magnificent “The Last Supper.” Then, visit the museum at the legendary La Scala, Italy’s opulent, premier opera house. Enter the flamboyant 14th-century Duomo, a Gothic masterpiece defended by 2,244 marble saints and nearly 100 scowling gargoyles.
Independent Exploration: Spend time at leisure getting to know cosmopolitan and cultural Milan.
DAY 6 – STRESA
Educational Focus: The Gardens of Lake Maggiore Learn the history of the powerful Borromeo family and how they transformed the tranquil islands that now are named after them into splendid retreats featuring palaces and landscaped gardens.
Independent Exploration: The day is at leisure to pursue your own interests. Use this time to sight see or shop in Stresa. Or spend some time relaxing at a neighborhood restaurant or sidewalk cafe while sampling local specialties.
Educational Focus: Contemporary Italy Enjoy an engaging discussion of Italy’s current economy, politics, society and role in the European Union.
Educational Focus: Meet the People Learn about the daily Italian life from local residents.
DAY 7 – BELLAGIO AND COMO
Excursion: Bellagio Enjoy a boat ride from Tremezzo to Bellagio on Lake Como. Explore Bellagio, where you will roam narrow lanes and covered walkways lined with pastel houses. Admire the 18th-and-19th-century villas built by the region’s noble families.
Local Flavor: Enjoy a delicious lunch at a lakeside restaurant.
Independent Exploration: Shop Bellagio’s boutiques and take a romantic stroll along the waterfront.
Excursion: Como Travel by private boat from Bellagio to Como. Discover how the town has kept much its ancient Roman street plan. Begin your walking tour at Piazza Cavour, which fronts the lake, and is lined with cafes, hotels and shops.
Independent Exploration: Discover more of Como at your leisure. Browse through the shops or walk along the lake.
DAY 8 – ASCONA & CANNOBIO
Excursion: Ascona, Switzerland Cross the border into Switzerland to visit Ascona, a picturesque town along the Lake Maggiore. See its Old Town, centered around San Pietro e Paolo, a 16th-century church. Take time to explore the narrow alleyways that wind down to the beautiful lakeside promenade. Venture back into Italy with a visit to Cannobio, another beautiful lakeside town.
Local Flavor: Sample local speciliaties during a resturant lunch in Cannobio.
Excursion: Cannobio Admire the pastel-colored buildings that line the lake. See the town’s famous Santuario della Pieta and its medieval stone buildings. This evening, attend a special Farewell Reception and Graduation Ceremony, followed by a Farewell Dinner.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the return flight to your gateway city.
Other Included Features on this Trip
- Seven nights in Stresa at the first-class hotel Hotel La Palma.
Hotel La Palma enjoys a central location in Stresa next to Lake Maggiore. The hotel has a restaurant specializing in the cuisine of the Piedmont (Piemonte) region and the Sky Bar is a terrace lounge where you can relax with friends and view the lake. The spa offers several rejuvenating services and treatments and the fitness center has cardio and strength-training equipment so you don’t have to miss a workout. Both the spa and fitness center have floor-to-ceiling windows, which give you a panoramic views of the lake and the mountains. Open seasonally, the outdoor pool sits by the lake and has a lawn where you can enjoy the sunshine and the view.
- Enjoy an extensive meal program, including seven breakfasts, three lunches and four dinners. Tea or coffee included with all meals, plus wine with dinner. Take advantage of leisure time to try local cuisine independently.
– Sample authentic regional specialties at local restaurants.
– Attend a Welcome Reception and Dinner.
– Gather for a Farewell Reception and Graduation Ceremony followed by a Farewell Dinner.
Your Exciting Travel Program
(For full details, please refer to the above day-to-day itinerary.)
- Informative educational programs, presented by local experts, will enhance your insight into the region.
– Personal VOX listening devices allow you to hear every word from your expert English-speaking guides.
- Visit Lake Orta and its island.
– Disscover Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands: Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola dei Pescatori.
– Explore cosmopolitan Milan.
– Cruise Lake Como to the lakeside towns of Bellagio and Como.
– Cross the border to Ascona, Switzerland, before returning to Italy to visit Cannobio.
Many Included Extras:
- Consultation services of a dedicated Passenger Services Representative prior to departure.
– Services of a friendly, professional Campus Director throughout your stay.
– Detailed travel and destination information to assist you in your planning.
– Tipping of excursion guides and drivers.
– Complimentary travel wallet.
Come explore Italy’s Magnificent Lake District with our #TravelingBulldogs!