Gardens of the Italian Lakes
GARDENS ILLUSTRATED in association with Boxwood Tours
Our journey to the Italian Lakes will take us to some of the finest lakeside and island gardens of this uniquely beautiful region. We will travel mostly by boat, discovering landscapes of quiet enchantment and sublime grandeur. While our days will be infused with exquisite light, by night we will revel in the fin de siècle atmosphere of our lakeside hotels. The warm, humid microclimate results in exceptional growing conditions, with much to enthuse the plantsman. Combining great botanical interest with the fascinating history of the gardens’ origins, our tour will move from the Renaissance to the twentieth century through compelling and often neglected chapters of Italian garden history. The tour culminates with a visit to Orticolario, an unusual, small garden festival at Villa Erba. We are accommodated at two lovely lakeside hotels offering a perfect combination of elegance, tradition and charm: Hotel Villa Flori overlooking Lake Como and the Hotel des Iles Borromees on the shores of Lake Maggiore.
Day 1: Monday 1st October
Flight BA0574 departs from London Heathrow at 10:25, arriving in Milan Linate Airport at 13:25. Our first visit is to a collection of native flora held by a small Alpine garden above Stresa with - if weather permits - some of the finest views of Lake Maggiore. We arrive at Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees with time to settle in before dining together.
Day 2: Tuesday 2nd October
After breakfast we board a private boat and make the short crossing to the breath-taking island garden of Isola Bella with plenty of time to explore the terraces and admire the Baroque fountains, statues and water theatre, all set against the magnificent backdrop of Lake Maggiore and the distant mountains. After a delicious lunch on the tiny Isola dei Pescatori, we cross to Isola Madre to admire the Borromeo family’s wonderful 19th century collection of exotic trees and plants. We return by boat to the hotel where we dine together.
Day 3: Wednesday 3rd October
Leaving Lake Maggiore, we visit Villa Taranto and the extraordinarily rich range of plants collected in the 1930s by Neil McEacharn. We then travel further east to Villa Cicogna, where our charming host Count Jacopo Mozzoni Cicogna has invited us to lunch. He then will guide us around the richly frescoed Renaissance villa, with 16th century terraced garden, water staircase, and 19th century giardino inglese. We arrive at Hotel Villa Flori with time to settle in before dining together.
Day 4: Thursday 4th October
We take a private boat from our hotel to enjoy the terraced botanical collection established by Charlotte, Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen, at Villa Carlotta, with time to visit the villa and its fine collection of paintings and sculpture. We then cross the lake to the picturesque town of Bellagio with free time for lunch. From thence by water again to the exquisite Villa del Balbianello, a late 18th century villa set in steeply sloping gardens at the tip of a wooded promontory. After a tour of the art collections assembled by its last owner, mountaineer and polar explorer Count Guido Monzino, we explore the spectacular garden. We return by coach to Hotel Villa Flori and dine together at the hotel.
Day 5: Friday 5th October
Our final day will be spent at the Orticolario Garden Festival based at Villa Erba on the shores of Lake Como. Orticolario is a small, very Italian, quirky new garden festival set up and promoted by Moritz Mantero, a local silk manufacturer, who still gardens at his family home on the terraces of the lake. Return to Milan Linate airport in good time to check in for the 15:50 flight BA0563 to London Heathrow, arriving at 16:55.
How much & what's included:
The price per person: £2,999
Single supplement: £400 (levied by the hotels).
The price includes: 2 nights’ accommodation at Hotel des Iles Borromees and 2 nights’ accommodation at Hotel Villa Flori; 2 lunches, 4 evening meals with wine; plus, return flights from London Heathrow to Milan Linate and all transport during the tour. This tour involves a significant amount of walking as well as stepping on and off boats. To discuss this further, please do telephone the Boxwood office. If you wish to join the tour at Milan Linate Airport, please state so clearly on booking and we will deduct £122 per person. All hotel rooms for this tour have lake views.
How to Book
To make a reservation please make a deposit of £200 using the online booking facility below.
Payments can be made over the telephone using a Visa, Mastercard or Maestro card on
+44 (0)1341 241717
You may also send a cheque made payable to ‘Boxwood Tours Ltd’ to Boxwood Tours, Rhiw, Llanbedr, Gwynedd, LL45 2NT, UK.
Any questions? Please contact us at the Boxwood Office by telephone: +44 (0)1341 241717 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This tour is financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate.