Just over two years ago I traveled with my family to Northern Italy. When I returned I knew I had to create a tour to this region so I could show others this beautiful area.
This October, I did just that. We were a group totaling 21 people! The tour began with a brief stop in Milan. We visited the Duomo and had a private guide to view the Last Supper. What a wonderful experience!
Our group boarded our private bus for Verona where we stayed for four nights at the Due Torri, a 5 star hotel. I planned to tour this city and beyond while visiting wineries and Lake Garda before moving on to the next hotel on Lake Como, The Grand Hotel Tremezzo, yet another 5 star hotel. My clients only get the BEST !
One of the highlighted wineries was in the Valpolicella area. The recently renovated farmhouse at Tenuta Ugolini overlooks 22 hectares of vineyards where they produce organic Valpolicella wines. Besides the grapes and soil, we viewed their wine cellars and beautiful wood barrels made of French Oak. Here we tasted five different wines: Classico, 2 varieties of Superior, Ripasso , Amarone. The tasting was perfectly paired with meats and local Grana Padano cheese. The old farmhouse, which had been renovated, houses unique artwork and was beautifully restored with antiques and art.
Lake Garda was magical. We walked about Sirmione, a charming village with medieval ruins and had lunch in a local restaurant. Although it was not a picture perfect day we could still view its beauty. Later in the afternoon we boarded our private boat to take us across the lake to a town called Salo’. Beautiful! What a way to enjoy Lake Garda and get a different view of the lakeside towns along the coast. Verona, a beautiful city in its own rights, also provided us with a well situated 'home base' to experience it's nearby surroundings.
After four delightful nights in Verona it was time to move on to the next region of Italy. The bus picked us up early Thursday morning and Pippo, our bus driver, took us on a beautiful drive to Tremezzo stopping for a brief time to tour and shop Bergamo.
We arrived in Tremezzo by 4pm and the Grand Hotel Tremezzo welcomed us all with a glass of Prosecco. It was a great way to start our 5 star stay at this magnificent and beautiful hotel.
The next day we traveled by ferry and water taxi to have a private tour of Villa Balbianello. We entered through the gardens and walked our way to the top to enter the villa for our private tour of the villa. Its beautiful manicured gardens are truly something to see. Take my word for it. It is worth the trip!
It was our last day in Italy and the weather was not pleasant. In fact it was raining very heavily with thunder and lightning. I didn’t want to miss a beat. Why should we stay at the hotel? There was more to see on Lake Como.
We arrived at the next town, Menaggio, by bus and marched through the streets with orange umbrellas and our guide, Laura, who lives in Mennagio. It was so nice of the hotel to lend us these huge umbrellas as we tried to dodge the rain. We visited churches and a few stores before we decided to take refuge in a small café . Here we acted like ‘locals’ and enjoyed an espresso or two. After our brief respite we ventured out again to shop a bit and then head back to the hotel. Next time I would like to return to Menaggio and I do hope the sun shines as this is a charming town on the west coast of Lake Como.
Upon returning to Tremezzo many of us wanted to continue to shop. Tremezzo, is a very small town that hugs Lake Como and has very few store for shopping. However there was one little shop, Fleur Di Lis, that had everything you could think of: Murano glass jewelry, purses, silk scarves, some hand painted art work. It is owned and operated by two sisters, one of them was a local artist. We descended upon her like hornets around a nest. We examined everything before we made our purchases. The owner is probably still trying to recover! So despite the nasty rains we had a good time and will always remember those wet memories, which will be replayed in our minds for quite awhile.
Our trip was filled with delightful experiences, wine tastings, lots of laughs, delicious meals, great shopping, magnificent views of Italy, wonderful guides, fantastic hotels, and wonderful new friendships.