Northern Italy
From the Alps to the Adriatic

This leisurely exploration of Italy’s varied northern regions, from the romantic Lake District and dramatic Cinque Terre to beloved Tuscany, the majestic Dolomites, and canal-laced Venice, offers a refreshing perspective on a well-known land.  In the company of our congenial small group, we celeb­rate the Italian penchant for hospi­tality, good food, and good living.  In a word, splendido!

Northern Italy

Dates: April 2 – 16, 2025

Deposit: $500

Land Only (transfers not included): $4,595

From San Francisco (air-inclusive)*: $6,074
($5,395 air & land inclusive plus $679 airline taxes and fees)

Single Supplements: $1,395

*Other cities listed on brochure, which can be downloaded on the overview tab of this trip approximately nine months before departure. Airline prices are subject to change, and airline upgrades will be additional to the costs listed above.

Please note, all prices are for a standard, double room unless listed otherwise.

Your Tour Price Includes:

  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities
  • 13 nights’ accommodations in Superior First Class and First Class hotels
  • 23 meals: 13 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all ­entrance fees
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers

Book you trip today by filling out the form and emailing it to ietravel@ucsc.edu.

Travel Dates: April 2-16, 2025

Wednesday, April 2, 2024

This evening we depart the US for Italy.

Thursday, April 3, 2024

After arriving in Milan, we drive to the international resort of Stresa on lovely Lake Maggiore, straddling the border be­­­tween Italy and Switzerland. This afternoon is at leisure before tonight’s welcome dinner.

Accommodations: Hotel La Palma Stresa


Friday, April 4, 2024

We embark this morning on a cruise to Isola Bella, the beautiful Borromean island in the middle of Lake Maggiore. Fully occupied by 17th-century Palazzo Borromeo and its extravagantly landscaped gardens, the island offers lovely views of the lake and surrounding mountains. We take a guided tour of the palazzo with its priceless works of fine art and stroll through the flower-decked gardens, and then enjoy lunch together on the nearby Isola dei Pescatori.

Accommodations: Hotel La Palma Stresa

(B, L)

Saturday, April 5, 2024

This morning we visit the lovely lakeside town of Orta San Giulio – dubbed “God’s watercolor” by Italian writer Piero Chiara – with its cobblestoned streets, 16th-century town hall, and medieval houses flanking the inviting town square. After lunch on our own here, we return to our hotel for an afternoon at leisure.

Accommodations: Hotel La Palma Stresa


Sunday, April 6, 2024

We leave the Piedmont region today, bound for Santa Margherita and the Cinque Terre. En route, we stop in the village of Barolo for lunch and to sample Barolo, the “king of wines,” at Marchesi di Barolo, Italy’s premier vintner of its greatest wine. We continue on to the Italian Riviera resort town of Santa Margherita, with its palm-lined esplanade overlooking the harbor. Tonight we enjoy dinner together at our hotel.

Accommodations: Hotel Metropole

(B, L, D)

Monday, April 7, 2024

This morning we travel by boat to the renowned – and beautiful – resort town of Portofino, a former fishing village where palatial yachts now crowd the port and the good life is celebrated. We have free time to wander the colorful streets and visit the chic boutiques and galleries here before we return to our hotel at midday.

Accommodations: Hotel Metropole


Tuesday, April 8, 2024

We depart this morning by train for the hour-long trip to the Cinque Terre (literally, “Five Lands”), the five cliff-clinging villages seemingly carved from the mountains. Originally medieval fishing villages, the Cinque Terre were inaccessible by land for centuries; even today, no road connects all five. We stop in scenic Vernazza then board a boat for a comfortable cruise along the rugged coastline to visit another village of the Cinque Terre. From here, we cruise to the port town of Portovenere, with its cluster of colorful column-shaped houses. After a brief walking tour of the Old Town, we have time to explore and enjoy lunch on our own. We dine together tonight at our hotel.

Accommodations: Hotel Metropole

(B, D)

Wednesday, April 9, 2024

Moving on today, we travel south to beloved Tuscany, stopping first in the atmospheric medieval town of Lucca. We take a walking tour of this incredibly well-preserved gem whose city walls and ramparts remain intact and are a popular attraction. After time for lunch on our own, we continue on to our lodgings.

Accommodations: Palazzo Leopoldo

(B, D)

Thursday, April 10, 2024

We spend today touring and exploring wondrous Florence, a living monu­ment to the Renaissance and the crown jewel of Tuscany. Our day includes a guided morning walking tour followed by free time. Together we visit the Galleria dell’Accademia to view Michelangelo’s sublime David and his pieces for the papal tombs, and then we see the Duomo, with its stupendous dome by Brunelleschi. Afterwards we’re free to stroll the 14th-century Ponte Vecchio and its many jewelry shops; visit renowned museums and churches; shop for leather goods and artful Florentine paper; and to enjoy lunch on our own. We return to our hotel in the mid-afternoon.

Accommodations: Palazzo Leopoldo


Friday, April 11, 2024

Today we visit the walled city of Siena, whose historic center is a UNESCO site and whose ochre-colored buildings and ancient ramparts vividly evoke its medieval past. Fan-shaped Piazza del Campo is one of Europe’s greatest public squares; its Duomo, with pillars of black and white marble, is one of Italy’s finest, housing masterpieces by Donatello and Michelangelo. Following a guided walking tour that includes an inside visit to the Duomo, we have free time to explore on our own. We return to our hotel late this afternoon and have the remainder of the day at leisure.

Accommodations: Palazzo Leopoldo


Saturday, April 12, 2024

As we travel north today, we stop in storied Verona, renowned as the setting of several Shakespeare plays, including, of course, Romeo and Juliet. A UNESCO site, Verona boasts well-preserved monuments from antiquity, including a 1st-century Roman amphitheater still in use today, as we see on our guided walking tour. After time for lunch and to explore on our own here, we continue our journey to the South Tyrol, Italy’s German-accented northern reaches bordering Austria and Switzerland. We’re bound for the regional capital of Bolzano, gateway to the Dolomites in the Italian Alps. Late this afternoon we reach our hotel, where we dine together tonight.

Accommodations: Hotel Scala Stiegl

(B, D)

Sunday, April 13, 2024

Set in a basin surrounded by rounded forest-green hills, Bolzano boasts an enviable quality of life – and truly spectacular scenery. We take a cable car to a spot for views of the 18-peak Dolomites, their vertical walls and sheer cliffs presenting a magnificent backdrop to the surrounding woodlands, valleys, and pastures. Then we walk through Bolzano’s colorful historic center and visit the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, well known for housing the mummified corpse of Ötzi the Iceman, dating to 3300 BCE. This afternoon is at leisure to enjoy this surprisingly cosmopolitan city as we wish; tonight we dine at a local restaurant.

Accommodations: Hotel Scala Stiegl

(B, D)

Monday, April 14, 2024

En route to Venice today, we travel through the Dolomites themselves, enjoying jaw-dropping scenery at every turn. When we reach Venice this afternoon, we are free to begin savoring this wondrous city as we wish and enjoy dinner on our own.

Accommodations: Palazzo Veneziano

(B, L)

Tuesday, April 15, 2024

This morning we take a guided walk through the vast St. Mark’s Square. The afternoon is free for independent exploration; tonight we bid “arrivederci” to Italy and to our fellow travelers at a farewell dinner.

Accommodations: Palazzo Veneziano

(B, D)

Wednesday, April 16, 2024

We depart early this morning for our connecting flights to the U.S.


B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Hotel La Palma Stresa, Stresa, Italy / Days 2-4 / First Class

The 120-room Hotel La Palma sits on the shores of Lake Maggiore and blends into its sublime surroundings with by way of its lovely Italian gardens. Panoramic views of the lake, Borromean islands, and distant mountaintops can be enjoyed from the rooftop bar, fitness room, and heated infinity swimming pool. Other amenities include a garden-view restaurant, lounges, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, laundry and dry-cleaning services (for a fee), solarium, Jacuzzi, and sauna. Air-conditioned guest rooms offer balcony, private bath with hair dryer, minibar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

Hotel Metropole, Santa Marghertita Ligure, Italy / Days 5-7 / First Class

An intimate, family-owned and operated 57-room hotel located just a short walk from the bay and a private beach, the Hotel Metropole features a restaurant and bar, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, laundry and dry-cleaning services (for a fee), fitness center with massage services and Turkish bath, and outdoor pool. Each elegant, air-conditioned room has a private bath with hair dryer, minibar, in-room safe, TV, and phone. Guest accommodations are provided in two separate buildings on the property, both of which are in close proximity to each other.

Palazzo Leopoldo, Radda-in-Chianti, Italy/ Days 8-10 / First Class

The Palazzo Leopoldo takes its name from its most illustrious guest, Leopoldo II, Grand Duke of Tuscany. Arranged over three adjacent buildings, the hotel dates back to the late 13th century, when it offered a stopping point for pilgrims on the road between Florence and Siena. Although it has been restored and modernized with contemporary conveniences, the Palazzo retains its historic atmosphere with original frescoes, fireplaces, exposed beams, and period furnishings. The hotel’s amenities include a restaurant, wine bar, wellness center, heated indoor swimming pool, fitness center, solarium with hydromassage, laundry service (for a fee), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access. Each air-conditioned guest room is uniquely decorated, and includes private bath with hair dryer, minibar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

Hotel Scala Stiegl, Bolzano, Italy / Days 11-12 / First Class

This Liberty-style hotel in an updated 1898 coach station sits a short walk from the Bolzano train station and the South Tirol Museum of Archaeology. This hotel boasts a restaurant and bar, sun terrace, garden, fitness center, and sauna, laundry service (for a fee), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access. All 65 air-conditioned guest rooms feature a private bath with hair dryer, TV, in-room safe, and phone.

Palazzo Veneziano, Venice, Italy / Days 13-14 / Superior First Class

Recently opened in spring 2017, the Palazzo Veneziano sits directly on the Giudecca Canal, which separates Venice’s main island cluster from the island of Giudecca to the south. Between the hotel and the water lies the Zattere, the widest promenade in Venice, which features picturesque churches, fine restaurants, and numerous water taxi stops. Hotel amenities include a bar, library, internal courtyards, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access. Each of the 84 guest rooms have Venetian furnishings, private bath with hair dryer, minibar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

VENICE – On Your Own

End your journey with a longer stay in this most beautiful of cities.

3 days, 2 nights

Price: $495

Single Room Supplement: $355

Post-Tour Extension Price Includes
  • 2 nights’ accommodations at Palazzo Veneziano (Superior First Class)
  • 2 meals: 2 breakfasts
  • Transfer to airport

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