Lake Como - 7 nights

Spendology - Widgets


Discover the heritage and flora of lakes Como, Maggiore and Lugano with a specialist guide by boat, road and on foot

Formed by alpine glaciers, the lakes of Northern Italy have inspired poets, painters and botanists for many centuries with their attractive villas and magnificent cultivated gardens.

The British have long held an affection for the Italian Lakes with several rich and talented gardeners deciding to settle and take advantage of the benevolent yet challenging conditions, such as Captain Neil McEacharn (Villa Taranto). Equally, Italian nobility and botanists have been inspired to create and develop gardens at villas on or around lakes Como, Lugano and Maggiore.

Explore the results of their labours, resources and visions and be rewarded at every turn. Such is the quality, range and diversity both of the plants and gardens that for many this region is one of the best shows on earth.

Villa Balbianello, was built on a breathtaking promontory with elaborate terraced gardens in the 18th-century and now belongs to F.A.I. - the Italian equivalent of the National Trust. The exquisite interiors reveal a fine collection of Chinese porcelain, terracotta, reverse-glass paintings, tapestries, carpets and mountain memorabilia.

The gardens of the aristocratic Villa Carlotta reveal a multitude of azaleas, camellias, rhododendron woods, ferns and bamboos. It was built by the Milanese marquis Giorgio Clerici in 1690 and beautified by Guan Battista Sommariva, an influential ally of Napoleon and rival of Francesco Melzi, whose Villa Melzi across the lake is equally magnificent.

The small town of Menaggio lies in the scenic central area of Lake Como with a range of restaurants, cafés, shops and regular ferry and bus services.

Key Features

Classic Resort
Cultural & Horticultural Tour
Jules Verne Sightseeing
Historic Hotel
Local Expert Guides

Special Events

Cruises on Lake Como

Enjoy an afternoon cruise on the lake by private launch, sailing past Varenna, Bellagio and Lenno to visit Villa Carlotta and gardens. Enjoy a drink at the historic Grand Hotel Cadenabbia overlooking the lake. A further cruise to Villa del Balbianello for a guided tour.

Day 1 Fly to Milan and transfer to the Grand Hotel Menaggio for a seven-night stay.

Day 2 Morning introductory talk. A half-day excursion by private boat to Villa del Balbianello, including entrance fee and guided tour. (B)

Day 3 An optional full-day excursion to Switzerland's most elegant resort, St. Moritz, including a short train journey one-way on the Bernina Express through spectacular high mountain scenery to Diavolezza Bernina. Return by coach (£68). (B)

Day 4 Visit Lake Maggiore including lakeside Villa Taranto and by boat to Isola Madre and Isola Bella, site of the Borromeos' 17th-century Baroque palace with ten graduated terraces. (B)

Day 5 Morning at leisure. Afternoon private lake cruise to Villa Carlotta at Tremezzo which contains sculptures by Canova and whose garden is particularly known for its azaleas and rhododendrons. Enjoy a drink on the terrace of Grand Hotel Cadenabbia with views across the lake to Bellagio and Varenna. Return by bus. (B)

Day 6 Visit the 17th-century Villa Bagatti and park at Lugano, then the Renaissance Villa Cicogna Mozzoni. (B)

Day 7 By boat to Varenna and Bellagio to visit Villa Monastero with its botanic gardens, terraces and Baroque sculptures, then the Neo-classical Villa Melzi, designed by Giocondo Albertolli with its fine water garden, avenue of plane trees, small Japanese garden and Moorish temple. (B)

Day 8 Transfer to Milan airport for the return flight to your chosen airport. (B)

  • Key
  • B - Breakfast
  • L - Lunch
  • D - Dinner


Most visits are on foot with some uneven surfaces and small inclines.
Excursion itineraries and exact villas visited are subject to change.
Optional tour is not exclusive for JV groups and subject to minimum numbers.


per person in a twin/double room
ITA Airways from Heathrow

Date Price
May 6 £1695
May 20 £1695
June 3 £1720
June 17 £1695
September 9 £1720
September 23 £1695

Supplements per person

Single Supplement

Single supplement £315

Accommodation Upgrades

Lake View £275
Lake View single £590

Flight Options

easyJet from Gatwick £125
For alternative regional departures in 2023, please call one of our Personal Travel Experts for a quote.

Optional Excursions

St Moritz £68

Extension Options

Extension - Lake Como 
Grand Hotel Menaggio
7 nights £645
Single Supplement £315

3 nights £395
Single Supplement £135

Lake View supplement
3 nights £115 / 7 nights £275

Independent Arrival

Save £290 
Arrival or departure transfer add £105

Price Includes
Air travel and taxes, transfers, 7 nights' accommodation, breakfast daily, services of local guides and representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.

Not Included
Travel insurance, optional excursions, tipping, any government and local tourist taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.

An accommodation tax is payable locally, approximately between €1.50 and €3 per person per night (maximum 10 nights).

Booking Form

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Villas & Gardens of the Italian Lakes

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