Villas and Gardens of the Italian Lakes6th Oct 2024

Villas and Gardens of the Italian Lakes



The fabulous scenery and benign climate of the northern Italian lakes have attracted aristocrats and the wealthy for years, and today their elegant villas and lush gardens perfectly complement the natural landscape.

From our bases on the Gulf of Borromeo on Lake Maggiore and at the foot of Lake Como we will explore a succession of villas and their gardens, all set against the breath taking backdrop of snow-capped mountains and glittering water. We begin with a real treat as we visit the private garden of the President of the Italian Camellia Society, which is home to a remarkable collection of over 500 plants. Nowhere captures the extravagant spirit of the lakeland gardens better than the three Borromean islands, Bella, Madre and Pescatori, which feature sumptuous terraced gardens, shaded woodland walks, flowered terraces and elegant statuary. Other highlights during our stay on Lake Maggiore include a fascinating wholesale specialist plant nurseryVilla Taranto and Villa Pallavicino.

During our stay on Lake Como we will have a private tour with the owner of Villa Cicogna Mozzoni. Azaleas and rhododendrons will put on a dazzling display at Villa Carlotta while the manicured Villa Balbianello, whose garden is impeccably maintained, will be an undoubted highlight. In addition we enjoy a free day to relax and shop in Como town, or visit Villa Melzi d’Eril.

Our departures will be led by popular tour manager and local resident Kate Williamson


8 Days



Full Price£2795

(includes flights)

departures:Select Your Departure Date


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What to Expect

  • Visit the private garden of the President of the Italian Camellia Society
  • A private tour with the owner of Villa Cicogna Mozzoni
  • The extravagance of the Borromean Islands
  • Stunning views of lakes and mountains at every turn

Baroque garden of Isola Bella

Departure Routes

LocationPickup TimeDropoff Time
London Gatwick Airport09:0020:00
Milan Malpensa Airport12:00

** Please note that all timings are approximate and subject to change. Final timings and pick-up points will be confirmed with your joining instructions approximately 10 days prior to departure. **

Day by Day Itinerary

We fly this morning from London to Milan where on arrival we will transfer to Villa Cicogna Mozzoni, situated in what were ancient hunting grounds for the nobility, in the foothills between Varese and Lake Lugano. Here we will be privileged to enjoy a private guided tour with the owner. The garden was established by Ascanio Mozzoni, a man of great culture who from his travels, including to Rome, brought back ideas for the arrangement of his garden over seven levels. In 1580 his only daughter was married to Giovan Pietro Cicogna, through whose descendants we arrive at today’s owners. The most pleasant characteristic of the villa, apart from its surprisingly intact frescoes, is its merging with the garden. A two-flight stairway with a brook running in between leads directly to the halls of the Villa. The walled garden is a typical example of formal Italian garden with box hedges, water basins, fountains and a grotto. The visit raises the “who” and “how” questions relative to the conservation of historic buildings and should prove to be most illuminating.  

We continue to the town of Como where we will check into our lakeside hotel, the Barchetta Excelsior for the next three nights. The hotel is situated in the heart of Como and is only accessible on foot or by horse-drawn carts.

Meals IncludedDinner

Isola Madre, Lake Maggiore

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Call us: 01334 657 155