Overview

Introduction

The landscape of the Veneto and Lombardy varies from flat and unappealing to mountainous and breathtaking.

The most romantic of cities, Venice is unique and captivating, with its panoramas and sudden glimpses of palaces, churches, canals and bridges. No description can adequately convey the charm and fascination of the ‘Serene Republic’. Go and see it for yourself and, by so doing, fall in love forever.

Verona, one of the most fascinating cities of Italy, is rich in Roman, Medieval and Renaissance buildings. Whilst very busy and lively during July and August when opera is performed in the Arena, it is more pleasant and cooler in the Spring and Autumn.

Located 37km outside of Venice, Padua is often overlooked by visitors to the area. This old university town (Galileo lectured here) has an illustrious academic history and is rich in architecture and art, most notably for the lyrical frescoes by Giotto which adorn the walls of the magnificent Capella degli Scrovegni. Renaissance squares, Roman ruins and medieval palaces all vie for attention here.

In the 16th century, the River Brenta was canalised between Padua and Fusina (just west of Venice) and stretches some 36km (22 miles). Its potential as a transport route was quickly realised and fine villas were built along its length. Today many of these elegant buildings can be visited including the Villa Nazionale at Strà (frescoes by Tiepolo), Villa Widmann at Mira (French Rococco style) and Villa Foscari at Mira – one of Palladio’s most impressive villas (frescoes by Zelotti). Two of these villas may also be visited in a day on a guided tour on board the Burchiello mini cruise boat.

The ‘Italian Lake District’, is located in the north of the country. The setting is pre-Alps with beautiful valleys, striking mountains that descend to meet the lakeshores, pretty lakeside towns and meandering narrow roads which provide breathtaking views at every turn.

Lake Garda, the largest of the north Italian lakes, is comparable to a small sea and is frequently used by sailing enthusiasts. The lakeside resort of Gardone is particularly noted for its profusion of exotically planted parks and gardens. It is here that the famous Italian poet Gabriele d’Annunzio lived. ‘Il Vittoriale’, his Art Deco home and curiously designed gardens including a full size ship and small amphitheatre, are well worth a visit. On the south side of the lake, with a stunning mountain backdrop stands the picturesque medieval fortress town of Sirmione. The Scaligeri Castle dominates the entrance to this historic town with its maze of narrow medieval streets, attractive cafés, shops and elegant villas.

The vegetation of Lake Como is Mediterranean, alpine and sub-alpine. On the banks are cypresses and pines, on the sunbathed slopes vines and olive trees and on the mountainside chestnut trees, beeches, walnut trees and conifers. The lake is notable for the profusion of flowers in March (narcissus and lily of the valley), in April and May (azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias) and from June to September (roses, oleanders and hydrangeas). Bellagio is one of the most beautiful resorts on Lake Como, admired for its’ blue waters, cleanliness and fresh air. The characteristic narrow streets house many shops and a stroll through the romantic gardens of Villa Melzi and Villa Serbelloni provide a welcome diversion.

Lake Maggiore, the second-largest lake in Italy, stretches between Lombardy and Piedmont and reaches into alpine Switzerland. The lake’s gentle sloping shores are dotted with attractive villas and decorative gardens blooming with azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. At the centre of the lake lie the three Borromean islands of Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola dei Pescatori, which should not be missed. Cannero and Verbania are two of the more fashionable resorts on the western side of the lake, with beautifully kept public gardens and charming narrow streets, filled with smart boutiques, cafes, restaurants and hotels.  

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Did you know?

 

  • Galileo discovered the Milky Way during his time in Padua
  • The arena in Verona is the third largest Roman amphitheatre in the world after Rome and Capua
  • Italy has the most UNESCO World Heritage sites (50)

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Angela Feeney
Angela Feeney
Best time to go
  • JAN
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  • AUG
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Time Difference

GMT + 1 hour

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Italian

Average flight times

2 hours 30 minutes

  • Average temperature

    Average rainfall

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Rosanna Melaragni
Rosanna Melaragni

Rosanna is the head of our Discovery Department which covers tailor made holidays to Portugal and the Azores, Italy and Sicily, Scandinavia and the new programme to Spain. She is our longest serving member of staff having joined in 1994 after completing an honours degree in French and Italian and subsequently working for a tour operator in Yorkshire. She is responsible for brochure writing, contracting accommodation, programme costing, computer inputting and generally troubleshoots where necessary. She has global knowledge of our tailor made programme.

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

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