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NEW! Romantic Villages of Alpine Europe 2014

Trip Extensions

Pre-trip: Lake Como & Milan, Italy

Discover one of Europe’s most beloved lakes, as well as one of its most sophisticated cities. On this pre-trip extension, explore Lake Como, the picturesque Alpine gem with a beauty that has drawn noted philosophers, composers, leading men, and poet laureates—and feel the excitement of Milan—a historic city that is brimming with culture, fashion, and high finance.

It's Included:
Accommodations for 3 nights in Cernobbio at the First Class Regina Olga Hotel or similar, and 2 nights in Milan at the First-Class UNA Hotel Mediterraneo or similar
7 meals: 5 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 1 dinner
4 included tours: Como, Bellagio, Bergamo Alta, Milan
Exclusive services of a resident Grand Circle Program Director
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    Depart today on your flight to Milan, Italy.

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    Arrival times vary throughout the day, depending on your city of departure. You'll be met at the airport and assisted to your hotel in Cernobbio. You can relax for the afternoon and take an orientation walk of the neighborhood with your Program Director. This evening, join your fellow travelers and Program Director for a Welcome Drink and introduction. Dinner is on your own.

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    After breakfast, take an orientation walk with your Program Director to get to know Cernobbio. Then, embark on a ferry ride to the southeast corner of Lake Como to its namesake town. During an included tour, you'll marvel at the impressive architecture of buildings like the Duomo, stroll through public gardens, and learn about the city's silk-making tradition.Then, you'll have some free time to explore at your leisure and have lunch independently.

    In the mid-afternoon, ride the ferry back to Cernobbio, where you'll enjoy the rest of your afternoon to explore at your own pace before an included dinner at a local restaurant.

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    After breakfast, take the ferry up Lake Como to Bellagio—justifiably called the "Pearl of the Lake," and the legendary lakeside retreat of generations of well-to-do Italians and international jetsetters alike. The boat ride promises to be a scenic one, as it climbs Lake Como's southwestern fork. Verdant, steep mountains plunge into the water on all sides, and you'll be able to relax and enjoy them sliding by from your ferry. You'll also see many of the luxurious villas that dot the lake shore.

    Upon arrival in Bellagio, take an orientation walk with your Program Director to get to know this charming town. You’ll also have time to make your own discoveries: Stroll the Via Garibaldi from the waterfront through the town, wander manicured gardens such as those at Villa Melzi, or relax on the lakeside piazza. Keep an eye open for the eleventh-century Torre delle Arti, a stone tower that no longer serves a military function, but rather hosts artistic exhibitions. With a history stretching back 2,500 years, you'll feel the mixture of ancient heritage and modern culture alive in the town. Enjoy lunch on your own in Bellagio.

    After soaking in Bellagio's culture and panoramic views, you’ll return to Cernobbio, where the rest of the evening is yours to enjoy at leisure. Dinner is on your own.

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    Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before setting off for Milan, stopping on the way at Bergamo, a city split into two halves: the lower (Bassa) and the upper (Alta). You’ll spend time in the latter on a walking tour of this beautiful Renaissance town with your Program Director. Set high on a verdant hill, with commanding views of the plains and the lower city, this town’s piazzas and churches retain their Medieval charm. The Colleoni Chapel is home to some of the best-preserved examples of Renaissance art, and the Duomo, though built in the 1600s, has been lovingly maintained and updated over the years to include features such as a Neoclassical western facade. The city is surrounded by Venetian walls built in the 17th century. Bergamo was controlled by Venice for more than 300 years, and you can feel that influence as you walk the cobbled lanes of the remarkably well-preserved town.

    You’ll be able to continue falling under this Renaissance city's spell during some leisure time, before enjoying lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch, depart for Milan, a vibrant city with a thriving art and design scene. Upon arrival, you’ll take a walk around your neighborhood with your Program Director, getting oriented to your surroundings. Dinner is on your own tonight.

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    After breakfast at your hotel this morning, enjoy a walking tour of Milan—taking a quick ride on the local Metro to your starting point.

    This is a vibrant city where fashion, art, history, and culture collide. You'll see the white-marble majesty of the Duomo—Italy’s largest cathedral, which took nearly six centuries to complete—and the famous La Scala opera house and museum. La Scala has hosted many premieres of the world's finest concerts, and has been particularly important to Giuseppe Verdi, one of Italy's most beloved composers.

    After lunch on your own, you’ll enjoy an afternoon at leisure, perhaps perusing the works at a art museum or sipping cappuccinos at a charming Milanese cafe. Dinner is on your own.

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    • Meals included:

    After breakfast, transfer to Stresa, Italy where you will join your fellow travelers on your Romantic Villages of Alpine Europe trip.