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September 21-29, 2017


  • Enjoy an authentic experience in the incomparably beautiful Lake District and its quintessential northern Italian città and villagi.
  • Immerse in a carefully planned, balanced itinerary of included guided historical and cultural excursions.
  • Enjoy time on your own to discover and observe the rhythms of daily village life just like the Lombardi (residents of the region) do in the small village of Cernobbio, historic Como and the Lake Como jewel of Bellagio.
  • Hear it from the Experts! Meet a Como scholar who will present a lecture on his luogo natio (hometown) and share his expertise of historical, cultural and contemporary Lombardy.
  • Experience the best of the Italian Lake District in unspoiled Como, the picturesque islands of Maggiore and the Alpine splendor and culture of Switzerland’s Lugano.
  • Engage local Lombardi during the VILLAGE FORUM® where they share their candid perspectives on contemporary daily life in the Lake District.
  • Admire the architecture and elaborate terraced gardens of the 18th-century Italian National Trust property Villa Balbianello.
  • Visit Isola Bella’s 17th-century Baroque palazzo, home to priceless masterpieces by famous artists, and sprawling gardens where exotic birds walk among breathtaking blooms.
  • Explore Como’s colorful three-times-weekly outdoor market, a short ferry ride from our hotel.
  • Sample authentic northern Italian regional specialties both in the hotel and in a typical Cernobbio ristorante.
  • Handpicked and by special arrangement, experienced, English-speaking local guides will accompany you throughout the program and their knowledgeable expertise will enhance your understanding of Italy’s la dolce vita.
  • Visit Ticino—Switzerland’s only Italian-speaking region.
  • Learn key phrases in la lingua italiana (the Italian language) to make your interactions with local residents all the more enjoyable.

Overlooking Lake Como in the charming village of Cernobbio, Hotel Regina Olga combines traditional Italian ambiance with modern facilities, exceptional service, and comfortable accommodations. Its classic 19th-century Italian style takes guests back to the golden age of travel when the hotel first opened. By special arrangement, these air-conditioned rooms will feature a lovely view of legendary Lake Como; it has a private bathroom, and is equipped with direct dial telephone, satellite television, minibar, hair dryer, and ample closet space. The elegant Cenobio dining room serves northern Italian cuisine, and the lounge, coffee lounge, and cocktail terrace bar provide ideal settings for conversation and refreshments. The hotel also offers beautifully landscaped gardens to stroll through, bicycles, and an outdoor swimming pool. It is a short water taxi ride to Como and within easy walking distance of trattorias and boutiques.

Study Leader Information
Giuseppina Lucini was raised in Como, Italy, where she still lives today. Her family has resided here for generations. Giuseppina earned her Classical Literature at Liceo A. Volta in Como, as well as an M.A. in Medieval History from Università degli Studi in Milan. Her active interest in art and history as well as her fluency in English, Italian and French complement her open and enthusiastic attitude with travelers. Always a popular study leader, she looks forward to introducing you, through her lectures, to all that the Italian Lake District has to offer.

Tour Itinerary
September 21 - Depart the U.S.

September 22 - Milan, Italy/Cernobbio, Lake Como
Check into Hotel Regina Olga.

September 23 - Como/Cernobbio
Enjoy a walking tour of "Old" Como. Founded by the Romans in 196 B.C., Como’s cobblestoned passages wind past medieval towers and walls, Renaissance palaces and churches, Neoclassical 19th-century villas and small family-owned negozi (shops) leading to the Piazza Cavour and the tranquil lakeside promenade. The Cattedrale di Como, considered to be the most beautiful cathedral in Lombardy, took nearly 400 years to complete and reflects a seamless blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles.

Cultural Enrichment:

  • Opportunity to explore the fresh fruit and vegetables in the outdoor market, a local tradition for centuries.
  • Learn basic phrases in la lingua italiana.
  • A local scholar presents a private lecture about Como from Roman times to the present.
  • Cernobbio VILLAGE FORUM® - Residents of the Lake District will discuss contemporary life in the extraordinarily beautiful and historic Italian Lake District.

September 24 - Lake Como/Bellagio/Varenna
Enjoy a scenic cruise around Lago di Como. Composer Franz Liszt romanticized, “When you write the story of two happy lovers, place them on the shores of Lake Como.” Cruise by private boat across the sparkling waters of Italy’s deepest—and perhaps most spectacular—lake. Its allure is enhanced by quaint coastal villages like Bellagio and Varenna, and grand Renaissance villas built on the snow-capped mountainsides surrounding Lake Como.

Cultural Enrichment:

  • Villa del Balbianello - Just across the lake from Bellagio is the exquisite Villa del Balbianello and its magnifi cent terraced gardens. Built in 1787 by Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini, it was renovated in the early 20th century by an American veteran of World War I and more recently purchased by Italy’s first explorer to summit Mt. Everest, Guido Monzino, who bequeathed it to the Italian National Trust. Today, it remains an authentic Italian villa masterpiece and repository of 18th-century French and English furniture and Monzino’s collection of Chinese, pre-Columbian, and African art.
  • Bellagio - Perched on a promontory punctuated by stands of cypress trees, Bellagio is one of the Lake District’s most famous towns and has been a popular European holiday destination since Roman times. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Milanese nobility flocked here to build elaborate villas and cultivate sub-tropical gardens.
  • Varenna - Splendidly located on the shores of Lake Como, Varenna’s narrow, pine-shaded streets lead through the village’s beautifully preserved medieval center. It is famous as the source for the quarried black marble used to decorate the floors of Milan’s famous Duomo as well as the villas and cathedrals throughout Lombardy.

September 25 - Cernobbio
◆ Day at leisure in Cernobbio.

Cultural Enrichment:

  • Local resident Giuseppina Lucini presents an exclusive lecture about Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci.

September 26 - Lake Maggiore/Stresa/Isola Bella
Lake Maggiore is Italy’s second-largest lake forming a natural boundary between the regions of Lombardy and Piedmont and is a close rival to Lake Como as the most remarkable in the Lake District. Lake Maggiore’s mild climate allows for the gardens to grow rare and exotic plants in the beautiful landscape beneath the high Alps. The deep, clear waters were a draw and inspiration for Flaubert, Wagner and Goethe.

Cruise among Lake Maggiore’s enticing islands graced with elegant villas and striking natural beauty. Isola Bella, Isola di San Giovanni, Isola Madre and Isola dei Pescatori are collectively known as the Borromean Islands, named after the powerful and influential Borromeo family. Visit the exquisitely preserved Isola Bella where Count Carlo Borromeo III commissioned architect Angelo Crivelli in 1632 to design and build a magnificent Baroque retreat dedicated to his wife, Isabella.

Cultural Enrichment:

  • Walk through Isola Bella’s breathtaking gardens, where white peacocks stroll among the seasonal blaze of roses, gardenias, camellias, azaleas, and rhododendrons. Tour the palazzo, filled with priceless masterpieces by such artists as Tiepolo and the sculptor Canova, and see the magnificent grotto, decorated with shells, pebbles, and pink marble creating spectacular mosaics of marine life.
  • Stresa - An 18th- and 19th-century “grand tour” of Europe was considered incomplete without a visit to Stresa to experience its spectacular mountain views, tropical gardens and the resplendent glistening waters of Lake Maggiore. A young Ernest Hemingway, recuperating in Stresa during World War I, was inspired to make it the setting for Frederic Henry and Catherine Barkley’s reunion in A Farewell to Arms.

September 27 - Lugano, Switzerland
Nestled between the Alpine peaks of San Salvatore and Monte Brè, this historic lakeside town is the cultural center of Ticino, the only region in Switzerland where Italian is the official language.

Cultural Enrichment:

  • This full-day excursion includes a funicular ride to the top of Monte Brè to visit the humble Chiesa (church) di Santa Maria degli Angioli to see Bernardino Luini’s amazing 16th-century fresco of the Passion of Christ. Enjoy a specially arranged visit to the private, 16th-century Villa Pizzo and its stunning gardens located on the shores of Lake Como.

September 28 - Cernobbio
◆ Day at leisure.

Cultural Enrichment:

  • Stroll Como’s colorful market and mingle with Lombardi.

September 29 - Cernobbio/Milan/Return to the US

Tour Price*
Starting at $4,195 per person

Special Offer!
Mention Historic Hotels of America when booking your tour and receive three $100 gift certificates, each good toward a $100 refund when you book through and stay for at least two-nights at a Historic Hotels of America hotel.**

To book a tour please contact our tour VIP desk at +1 202 772 8000 or

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Terms and Conditions
*Per person, based on double occupancy. Singles are available upon request for an additional $800. Taxes are an additional $195 and are subject to change.

Subject to change.

**Maximum of one $100 certificate may be claimed for a refund with a minimum two night stay booked through following the return of your tour and completion of your hotel stay. The refund will be issued within 45 days of the completion of your stay upon submitting a Great Experiences & Tours $100 refund application. Refund application must be submitted with a copy of your hotel folio receipt, the original confirmation number from your booking on, and the Certificate number issued to you for booking your tour through Historic Hotels of America. Certificates issued are a promotion only valid toward future reservations made through and do not have any cash value. One certificate may be used per room per two night or longer stay at the same hotel. Eligible rates include rates publicly available at time of booking. Reduced rates, rooms included in another travel or tour package, employee rates, advance purchase rates, and certain last minute sale rates are not eligible for this promotion.

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