Day 1 UK - Milan
Today you will fly to Milan. On arrival we'll transfer you to your resort on the shore of Lake Garda, the biggest lake in Italy, known for its crystal-clear water and backdrop of the spectacular Dolomite Mountains. After time to settle in at the hotel, we'll get to know one another better over a welcome drink and evening meal.Meals included: D
Day 2 Lake Garda
Today we'll take in the spectacular views of the lake on our drive to explore Lake Garda. We'll stop to visit the colourful town of Sirmione on the southern shore of Lake Garda - one of the lake's oldest settlements which has evidence of fishermen living in stilt houses that date back to the Stone Age. Visit Scaliger Castle which is an incredibly well-maintained 13th-century fortification, and cross the drawbridge to climb the numerous steps that lead to the castle ramparts for lovely views. You could decide to experience a more relaxed side of the town’s history with a visit to the Roman thermal baths. Alternatively, in your free time visit the Grotto of Catullus to walk amongst the remains of northern Italy’s largest Roman villa. Return later to your hotel for dinner after a lovely scenic drive around Garda.Meals included: B,D
Day 3 Gardone - at Leisure
Today you are free to enjoy the surroundings of your hotel, or venture into Gardone. The town and lake front is a short walking distance from your hotel. Considered one of the most attractive towns on Lake Garda, it is a member of ‘The most beautiful villages in Italy’. Along the lakefront you will find restaurants, pavement cafes and shops to keep you occupied on this free day. Gardone ferry port is also within walking distance from your hotel, from here you can take a scheduled ferry to several resorts surrounding the lake.
Gardone is also house to the Vittoriale degli Italiani, a hillside estate museum which overlooks the lake. It is where the Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio lived until his death in 1938.
Day 4 Vicenza, Bassano del Grappa and Marostica
Explore the Veneto today with visits to three memorable towns. Visit Vicenza which is world-famous for its classic Palladian architecture before venturing to the delightful medieval towns of Marostica and Bassano del Grappa. You will discover new cuisine, Italian art and fall in love with the warmth of Veneto village life. Marostica is a little marvel with a beautiful well-preserved castle and a gorgeous piazza with a human-sized chess board. Famous for its delicious cherries you may even get to sample some, if they are in season. Historic Bassano del Grappa is known for its World War I history and the traditional alcoholic beverage called grappa. Cross the wooden, 13th-century Ponte Vecchio bridge spanning the River Brenta for picture perfect views of the Dolomites. Enjoy time to explore these three gems before returning to Lake Garda.Meals included: B,D
Day 5 Gardone - at Leisure
A completely free day for you to relax and unwind at the hotel today. You may decide to take a walk or instead make use of the facilities at the hotel. Visit the famous Heller Gardens, a botanical garden located on the grounds of the André Heller Foundation, above Lake Garda. It is one of the main attractions in Gardone and is open in the warmer months of the year. Alternatively join an optional excursion to the Dolomite Mountains.Meals included: B
Day 6 Gardone - at Leisure
Another free day for you to do as you please. You could enjoy the facilities at the hotel, have a swim or alternatively return to the nearby town of Gardone for some last-minute exploration. You can also catch a ferry from the port to visit another lakeside resort.Meals included: B
Day 7 Verona
This morning after breakfast we travel to Verona. Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers are remembered today during our visit to this romantic city where we will view Juliet's Balcony and 1st-century Roman arena, still used today to host spectacular operatic performances. You will have free time to visit the perfectly preserved Roman Mercato Vecchio and Piazza delle Erbe, Verona's commercial centre in the Middle Ages where souvenirs are still sold, or the Scaliger tombs, where the prominent Scala family rest within impressive monuments of Gothic architecture. Find a lovely restaurant for lunch before meeting later to return to your hotel.Meals included: B,D
Day 8 Milan - UK
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.Meals included: B
What to expect from food and drink in Italian Hotels:
The cuisine that you will enjoy in Italy is based on the Mediterranean diet. It is often very simple with many dishes just featuring a handful of locally sourced ingredients.
Traditionally evening meals are served as a three-course dinner, with a choice of the second-course dish either decided in advance or on the evening, although some hotels will serve a buffet or accompanying salad buffet. As a group you will enjoy a set meal together.
The first course ‘Primi’ will be a local dish of pasta, risotto or occasionally pizza or soup, ‘Secondi’ is the second course which will be a protein-based dish with a local meat or fish served simply with one vegetable or potato on the side. Some food that is served hot in the UK, may be served cold in Italy, for example roast beef and some of those vegetable side dishes.
‘Dolci’ the dessert part of the dinner is a simple traditional dessert of fruit, cake or gelato.
Enjoying a coffee is a typical social activity in Italian culture. An electric kettle is not a common domestic appliance in Italy and therefore it is quite common for hotels to not offer coffee and tea facilities within the rooms, but instead serve in the main restaurant / bar.