• Trace developments in garden design from the 16th to the 20th century
• Discover the famous 17th century Sacro Monte beside Lake Orta: a fascinating Counter-Reformation ‘religious garden’ designed to transport pilgrims into the world of St Francis, patron saint of nature
• Uncover the delights of the Borromean islands of Isola Bella and Isola Madre
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Depart London Heathrow 0920 on British Airways, arriving Milan Linate 1220. Transfer to Verbania Pallanza, Lake Maggiore, for four nights at Hotel Pallanza. Evening lecture: Lakeside Paradises – Garden Development in Pre-Alpine Italy.
Morning: Villa Taranto. Afternoon: by ferry and coach to Villa della Porta Bozzolo (early 18th century Baroque gardens including its beautiful terraced staircase).
By water taxi to Isola Bella (Baroque Palazzo Borromeo and gardens) then continue by ferry to picturesque fishing village of Isola dei Pescatori. Afternoon: Isola Madre for second Palazzo Borromeo.
Morning lecture: Sacred Landscapes – The Sacro Monte in Lombardy and Piedmont followed by excursion to Lake Orta for medieval village of Orta San Giulio, Sacro Monte di Orta (17th century sacred garden). Afternoon: by water taxi to the charming Isola San Giulio and its basilica.
By ferry for special tour and lunch at Villa Cicogna-Mozzoni. Continue by coach and ferry to Varenna for three nights at Hotel Villa Cipressi.
By ferry to Bellagio (on picturesque promontory dividing Lake Como and Lake Lecco) for Villa Melzi. Afternoon: 18th century Villa Carlotta.
By ferry and water taxi to Villa del Balbianello. Afternoon: gardens of Villa Monastero.
Morning: Villa Litta (16th to 17th century gardens with nymphaeum). Depart Milan Linate 1550, arriving Heathrow 1650.
9 May — 16 May 2020
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A good level of fitness is required for this tour. Participants should be prepared for walking and standing on uneven, steep and sometimes slippery ground at many of the gardens we visit. In particular, the walk down from Sacro Monte uses a long and steep cobbled path; there are no handrails and this could be slippery if wet. There are not always frequent opportunities to sit down. Some transfers are made by boat. In Varenna, there are steep steps down to the ferry embarkation point.
For customers happy to organise their own flights or travel arrangements, we are happy to offer a reduction of:
Cost of £2645 includes: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, breakfast, one lunch, dinner with wine, water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities.
Not included: travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £475.