Italian Historical Tours and Culinary Journey

Enjoy your Italian Historical Tours and Culinary Journey by visiting Lake Maggiore, Lake Como, Lake Garda, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Milan, Lake Lugano, Bergamo, and Verona!

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What's Included in your Italian Historical Tours and Culinary Journey

  • 2 Nights Accommodation in Lake Maggiore
  • 2 Nights Accommodation in Lake Como
  • 2 Nights Accommodation in Lake Garda
  • 8 Nights in Milan (on own with friends)
  • 2 Nights Accommodation in Bologna
  • 2 Nights Accommodation in Florence
  • 4 Nights Accommodation in Rome
  • Seamless Private Ground Transfers as noted in the Itinerary
  • All Tours and Excursions as noted in the Itinerary
  • All Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Reservatins Mentioned in the Itinerary
  • Concierge Services Before, During and After your Journey
  • 24/7/365 On-Call Service with your Crawford Concierge Before, During, and After your Joureny

Your Italian Historical Tours and Culinary Journey Itinerary



The breathtaking setting of the five-star Grand Hotel des Iles Borromées, in a park facing Lake Maggiore with views of the Iles des Borromées, is as grand as the hotel itself. Built-in 1861 and carefully renovated in 1991, its original structure is completely unaltered, preserving its distinctive Belle Époque style in an atmosphere befitting an exclusive private mansion.

ACTIVITIES in Lake Maggiore, Italy:

  • Private Guided Boat Tour of Lake Maggiore’s Borromeo Islands

With our fabulous expert local guide Micaela you will visit the Borromean Islands of Lake Maggiore. Enjoy transport by private motorboat plus a tour of Isola Bella’s 17th-century palace. Isola Bella – where art, history, architecture, and exotic Mediterranean species make this place at the foot of the Alps something unique in the world.

Then stroll through the quaint fishermen’s village on Isola Pescatori to discover the old island’s activities. Enjoy a private water tour around lake Maggiore’s Isola Madre to admire it from the lake or make the most of your trip. This private tour also includes a stop and guided visit to the charming Isola Madre to explore its lovely botanical gardens with orange trees, agaves, palms, and the island’s 16th-century villa which houses a lovely puppet theatre collection.

Perfect if you want to understand the lake’s history and avoid the tourist crowds, the experience offers everything you need to explore the islands with ease and live like a local.

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DAY 3-4 LAKE COMO, ITALY (with a stop at Lake Lugano, Switzerland)

  • Drive from Lake Maggiore to Lake Como via Lake Lugano, Switzerland 

Lake Lugano is a glacial lake which is situated on the border between southern Switzerland and northern Italy. The lake, named after the city of Lugano, is situated between Lake Como and Lago Maggiore

The lake of the Lugano region is amazing because of its spectacular views over the lake and the mountainous surroundings.

Lake Lugano, Italian Lago Di Lugano, or Lago Ceresio, a lake between Lakes Maggiore and Como with an area of 19 square miles (49 square km), of which the middle 12 square miles (31 square km) are in the Ticino canton (Switzerland) and the northeastern and southwestern ends in the Lombardy region (Italy).

  • Arrive in Lake Como

It’s said to be Italy’s most beautiful lake, and you’ll understand why it entrances celebrities, aristocrats, and jet setters when you see Lake Como for yourself today. In Tremezzo, discover Villa Carlotta, known for its lovely setting and splendid 17th-century gardens decorated with sculptures, stairways, and fountains. A private boat ride across the lake to Bellagio reveals the grand villas of the rich and famous. 


Thanks to its excellent location, the Palace Hotel is the ideal starting point for any destination on Lake Como.

The Palace Hotel is located in the suggestive scenario of Lake Como. A majestic and prestigious building, that features 94 rooms in a unique context that enhances Italian hospitality, where past and present merge into each other.

The Palace Hotel is part of Villa d’Este Hotels, a brand renowned worldwide for its first-class hospitality.

ACTIVITIES in Lake Como, Italy

  • La Dolce Vita Culinary experience at Lake Como in the home of a local

If you like authentic Italian cooking then this is the experience for you. With the author and chef you be taught lessons on traditional Italian cuisine but with a modern twist – nutrition, history, culture, and language – a culinary experience. The idea of the lesson is to give you the flavor of the true Italian lifestyle through food, an experience for all senses.

Cooking Class

The lesson will be held at Paola’s house, so you can truly understand the culture and passion for food. You can experience Italian conviviality. The lesson will include a “stuzzicante” and rich aperitif with prosecco.

Hands-on cooking class preparing a first, second course, and dessert. A brief discussion about the origins and nutritional properties of each of the foods will be included as well. After the lesson, we can enjoy the food prepared with red or white wine. Water and digestive are included. The lesson usually lasts about 4 ½ hours.

Meet your host, Paola

“I am an Italian medical researcher, food blogger, and food writer that collaborates with International lifestyle magazines. I am the Culinary Ambassador for the exclusive Salamander Hotel&Resort (USA). I am also the author of Love is Eating, a book about the Italian culinary culture, and The Mamma Mia! Diet – that is more than just a meal plan – it is a complete lifestyle guide based on the Mediterranean diet with a modern twist. 

I have just completed two new manuscripts: Honestly Healthy: Salads and Smoothies for Everyday Meals – a guide on eating seasonal, healthy, and tasty produce and Coronavirus, the new normalcy. I give lessons to foreigners about Italian cuisine, lifestyle, language, and nutrition and speak English. Cooking has been my long-life passion.”

  • Private boat ride on the Lakes of Como with my favorite Captain

All aboard – it’s time to see Lake Como in style on your private tour down one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. 

You will have time at your disposal to discover and explore as many villages and villas as you wish. You will be navigating in front of all the most breathtaking views and enjoy a nice lunch by the lake.

Let the skipper guide you around admiring the beautiful Lake Como villas, the tiny villages by the water like Bellagio and Verenna, and the natural beauties that make Lake Como one of the most beautiful lakes in the world!

No rush as the Captain and the boat is yours for the day!

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DAY 5-6 LAKE GARDA, ITALY (with a stop in Bergamo, Italy)

  • Drive from Lake Como to Lake Garda via Bergamo

Drive will take approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. (Then continue driving to Lake Garda takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes).

  • Stop in Bergamo, Italy

Bergamo is the hidden gem of Lombardy, an Italian destination often missed or forgotten in favor of its more famous neighbor, the design capital and fashion city of Milan. But if you do choose to head to Bergamo, then make sure to wander its cobbled lanes and soak up its historic atmosphere.

With medieval architecture, local cuisine, and an authentic Italian town a little off the beaten path, Bergamo is a stunning destination in Northern Italy worth a visit on any trip through the region. Characterized by its Venetian Walls, cobbled lanes, and welcoming ambiance, there are plenty of reasons to visit Bergamo.

One of several towns in Italy with an intact ring of defenses, Bergamo’s impressive walls were built by the Venetians over 30 years starting in 1561. Ironically, due to changing political fortunes, the fortifications were never actually used – no one had the audacity to attack them – which is probably why they still look so new and handsome today. Five gates, 14 bastions, and approximately 5.3km of wall enclose the Città Alta, which is linked to Città Bassa by two cable cars.

In 2017 Unesco named Bergamo’s Venetian defenses a World Heritage site, along with those of five other Mediterranean towns.

The Upper Town’s beating heart is the cafe-clad Piazza Vecchia, lined by elegant architecture that is a testament in stone and brick to Bergamo’s long and colorful history. Its highlights include the Palazzo Nuovo, Palazzo del Podestà, Palazzo della Ragione and the Torre del Campanone. Tucked in behind the secular buildings of Piazza Vecchia, Piazza del Duomo is the core of Bergamo’s spiritual life

  • Arrive in Lake Garda, Italy

The largest of the lakes, Lake Garda has a bit of everything for everyone. Faded charm, old hotels, and sophisticated restaurants, plus good beaches and agreeable winds for watersports.’

  • Make Sirmione your base. It’s touristy but it has a photogenic castle with a moat and drawbridge, plenty of waterfront hotels and restaurants, and nice beaches.
  • From Sirmione, drive clockwise, stopping at attractive Salò where Mussolini retreated, and Gardone Riviera, where you can visit Il Vittoriale, an ostentatious villa once owned by a famously eccentric fascist poet. Both towns are picturesque and worth a wander.
  • Continuing north, Riva del Garda and Torbole are popular haunts of sailors and windsurfers, as is Malcesine on the eastern side, on the way back to Sirmione.
  • Close by, low-key Lake Iseo, has scenic waterside promenades, pleasant town squares, and plenty of camping and fishing opportunities.

Wherever you are, come sunset, make sure you’re close to a waterside café or bar where you can reward yourself with a cold Birra. 


A daydream! A prized, elegant vintage residence, remote and romantic, admiring the lake from the top of a hill, a daydream between the green of its immense centuries-old park and the blue waters of the lake: the ancient nineteenth-century villa is today a modern hotel with fascinating environments, classy services, and old-style attentions to surround you with beauty to enjoy the magic of a stay out of the ordinary.

ACTIVITIES at Lake Garda:

  • Lake Garda Wine Tasting & Lunch in Local Trattoria

Meet your guide in the lobby of your hotel as you head to some of Italy’s best wines: Amarone, Bardolino, Chiaretto, Lugana, and more. You will visit the fabulous small boutique estate Zenato. Taste their wines in a private room on the estate, enjoy their Lugana sparkling wines, Valpolicella Ripasso and Recioto, Chiaretto, and Bardolino, Amarone Riserva Sergio Zenato, and Lugana Riserva Sergio Zenato. 

Lunch is in a brick-vaulted trattoria in wine country, one of our favorites, known for its superb local cooking. Specialties could include Risotto al Franciacorta in cialda di Grana (risotto in Franciacorta wine).

After a lingering lovely lunch, completed with excellent local grappa to wash the meal down, head to your villa hotel on Lake Garda.

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DAY 7-15 MILAN (On your own)

  • Spending the week with your friends in Milan on your own…

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  • Private Driver from Milan to Bologna via Verona

1-hour 30-minute drive to Verona.

  • Verona (2-hour stop in Verona) Wander through Centro Storico

“Centro Storico is the historic center of Verona.  This is where you will find many of the main sights in the city, like the wide piazzas, Juliette’s house (Romeo and Juliette), and churches galore.  This part of the city is made for wandering and for taking tons of photographs.

Have you ever visited a place and instantly fallen in love with it? For us that was Verona.

Verona may not be as popular as other Italian cities like Florence and Venice but don’t let that fool you.  Verona is underrated as an Italian destination, as we discovered.

Verona is gorgeous, similar to Venice but without the canals, the decay, and the huge numbers of tourists.  We were pleasantly surprised and we were here just long enough to know that we can’t wait to return again someday.” Taken from Earth Trekkers blog

  • Private Driver from Verona to Bologna

1-hour and 30-minute drive. to Bologna.


SAVHOTEL is an ultra-modern 4-star hotel with a trendy character, completely renovated in 2021 and located in Bologna’s exhibition centre, just a few metres away from “Palazzo dei Congressi” and the City’s Trade Fair Centre.

The hotel’s strategic location, just a few minutes from the “Bologna Fiera” motorway exit, 15 minutes from Marconi Airport, and only 20 minutes on foot from the railway station and the city centre, makes SAVHOTEL the perfect choice for both business and leisure guests.

The establishment is equipped with large and brand new spaces, designed to ensure relaxation and privacy to guests, such as the beautiful outdoor “Piazzetta” surrounded by greenery and the cosy indoor living area.


  • Nightfall Food Tour

Join a small group and experience the sights and aromas of Bologna. Not only food, along the way you’ll visit the heart of Bologna, the main squares, and some hidden places that would be hard to find by yourself. Your local host will entertain you with some stories telling you about culture and traditions of Bologna.

    • Rice Cake
    • Cured meat, Parmigiano Reggiano and Aceto Balsamico di Modena DOP
    • Local natural wine tasting in a old enoteca
    • Tigella with pesto modenese
    • Dinner with 3 different handmade pasta dishes
    • Artisanal Italian gelato
  • Day trip (by rail) to Modena and back for a Food Tasting Tour with Parmesan Cheese, Balsamic Vinegar and Parma Ham/Mortadella and Prosciutto

Meet your guide at the Modena Rail Station as you join a small group tour (2-8 persons) and head to a full parmesan cheese production visit with generous tastings.

Also visit a balsamic vinegar producer with tasting and possibility to buy at bargain prices.

Then visit to Villani’s Salami world famous Parma ham, mortadella and prosciutto San Daniele with guided tour and tasting directly at the Salami Factory in Modena. Generous cured meat tasting at the end of the tour included.

Their world famous farmer’s brunch at the organic winery on the rolling hills of Modena. Plenty to eat and drink with a lot of fun. Hosted by wine farmer and restaurateur of the Modena area, they are waiting for you to discover their wines and produces.

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  • Rail from Bologna to Florence

The train takes approximately 38 minutes.


A unique and unforgettable view of Florence: the city is at its best when seen from the Plaza Hotel Lucchesi. The hotel opened in 1860, one of the first in the city. Today it has been completely renovated while still preserving its original character: the historical Plaza Hotel Lucchesi is the ideal place from which to experience Florence.

The rooftop and pool offer a breath-taking view above the rooftops of Florence. A complete panorama of pure poetry that sings the praises of this unique city. This is the thrill that one experiences on the terrace of the Plaza Hotel Lucchesi. With its swimming pool and American bar, the terrace is one of the crowning achievements of the hotel.


  • Uffizi Gallery Small Group Tour with Guide

Enjoy a 2-hour guided tour of the Uffizi Gallery with priority entrance access. Learn about the must-see masterpieces hiding in the labyrinth. Explore 50 rooms with more than 1800 paintings, sculptures, and antiques that stand as witnesses to the richness and splendor of Roman heritage. Witness highlights of the collection from Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” and “Primavera,“ to Michelangelo’s Tondo Doni and Caravaggio’s Medusa. This tour includes entrance fees, a guide, and headsets.

Stop At: Gallerie Degli Uffizi

Florence is a city of art and romance that overflows with historical treasures. In fact, glowing reminders of its Renaissance grandeur adorn every corner of this quaint Italian town. There are so many places to see in Florence; often, it’s quite difficult to decide which sites to visit. Paying a visit to some landmarks is negotiable, but that is not the case with the Galleria Degli Uffizi of the Medici Family!

This extensive gallery features one of the most significant art collections in the world. Hence, it’s one of the most visited museums in Florence. Getting inside is not exactly a walk down a red carpet! With your fast-track tickets, you’ll enter the museum without too much hassle, straight to the 60 halls of art history

Pass By: Piazza Della Signoria – Piazza Della Signoria is an L-shaped square in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy. It was named after the Palazzo Della Signoria

Pass By: Ponte Vecchio – The Ponte Vecchio is a medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge over the Arno River, in Florence, Italy,

Stop At: Biblioteca degli Uffizi – You can buy Souvenirs, Books, and paintings from the bookshop of Uffizi gallery. 

  • Florence Walking Tour with Skip-the-Line to Accademia & Michelangelo’s ‘David’

With a small group, a licensed guide, and skip-the-line access to the Accademia Gallery, one of Florence’s most popular museums, you will visit rooms dedicated to plaster models from the 19th century and medieval religious paintings. Walk through the spectacular collection, which includes masterpieces like the famous statue of ‘David,’ while learning about the history of the art from your guide. Following the tour, you are free to continue exploring the museum independently.

  • Awakening the Duomo Exclusive Tour-not to be missed!


  • Be the first and only to enter the Cathedral and Baptistery, with the official key-bearer
  • Behold the vaults and ceiling frescoes as they light up
  • Exclusive semi-private guided tour of the Duomo in Florence: no queues, no other visitors (besides your small group of max 15 people)
  • Private English-speaking guide
  • Climb up Brunelleschi’s cupola and watch Florence awaken below
  • Join the locals for breakfast in a historic café

Florence’s 11th-century Baptistery and glorious marble Cathedral, crowned by Brunelleschi’s stunning red-tiled cupola (the Duomo rooftop, in Florence), are no doubt two of the city’s most enchanting and evocative landmarks. This exclusive and incredible guided tour of the Duomo, in Florence, to discover Brunelleschi’s art and the other exceptional artistic and architectural masterpieces inside, such as the Florence Duomo’s clock, is definitely a must-see activity.

The Duomo rooftop or the Baptistery is a must-see when in town. Ever wondered about the moment when the Duomo’s massive door, and the Baptistery’s gilded bronze “Gates of Paradise” open onto stillness and dormant marvels? 

Imagine what it must feel like to visit the Duomo of Florence when it is still “asleep” and see the lights go on, revealing the dazzling colors. 

The Awakening allows you to walk into the Cathedral and Baptistery before they rise from their nighttime slumber, and admire them as they awaken!

Meet the mysterious “chiavigero”, he who holds the keys to the Duomo, at the door. Feel the thrill as the key turns in the lock, and the treasure-filled interior comes into view, motionless and encased in shadows. Follow your guide into the Cathedral, breathe in the spiritual and historical aura, and get ready to be amazed.

As the light gets brighter, admire the spectacular Florence Duomo clock, magnificently frescoed by Paolo Uccello, one of the greatest artists of all time. Learn about its bizarre functioning (it goes from sunset to sunrise and the hours are painted counterclockwise!) and history from your guide, and enjoy exploring the rest of the Cathedral.

After enjoying this truly exclusive guided tour of the Duomo of Florence, you still have more to experience… but, first things first: it’s time for a frothy cappuccino or espresso, and a sweet treat! Join the locals for a typical Italian-style breakfast, standing at the elegant bar, and then head over to the Baptistery. 

Experience the amazing privilege of being, once again, the very first to access the Baptistery, together with your fellow participants. Admire the gleaming ceiling mosaics, spectacularly enhanced by gold. Follow your guide through the Baptistery, learning all about its striking history and impressive masterpieces.

Finally, walk back to the Duomo for a last, unforgettable, viewing. Access the Cathedral from the Porta Canonici, a special side entrance open exclusively for your party, and get ready for a memorable visit to the Duomo rooftop! The Awakening the Duomo Tour includes a guided tour of Brunelleschi’s dome inside! Follow your guide up the steep, fascinating staircase, and, once on top, savor the view and learn about one of the greatest geniuses of all time, Brunelleschi, his art, and how he built the cupola.

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  • Rail from Florence to Roma Termini

The train runs for about 1 hour and 35 minutes. Private transfer from Roma Termini to Hotel.


Welcome to Hotel Artemide! Just a stone’s throw away from the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, or the Spanish Steps, Artemide is right in the heart of Via Nazionale, a lively and bright street, with plenty of shops to choose from, right in the city center.

Hotel Artemide is situated in the historic center of Rome, in Via Nazionale, one of the most vibrant streets of the capital. Shops, boutiques, cafés, theatres, art galleries, and bars: nothing is too far away for you!


  • Twilight Trastevere Rome Food Tour

An exclusive night out with VIP access in Rome’s trendy Trastevere neighborhood. A VIP pass to the best food and drink in town…

Trastevere is a neighborhood like no other. Its ivy-coated, cobblestone streets come alive at night, earning it comparisons to Greenwich Village and Paris’s Left Bank.

It’s where Romans choose to eat with their families on a Sunday and where young Romans go for buzzing nightlife on the evenings and weekends. You can’t leave Rome without walking these streets and tasting the best food on offer.

You’ll explore this photogenic neighborhood like true VIPs. Not only will you try a selection of Italian classics and real Roman street food, but you’ll enjoy exclusive access to some of the city’s cult favorite eating and drinking spots.

Skip the one-hour wait and get seated immediately at Da Enzo al 29, a humble trattoria whose delicious Cucina Romona (traditional Roman cooking) draws a huge local crowd daily. Try a selection of wines in an ancient cellar dating back to 80 BC. And meet the legendary man behind the old-school deli famed for its melt-in-your-mouth porchetta.

This is an unforgettable five-star experience in one of the best neighborhoods of Rome.

  • City Highlights Tour with Car and Driver

Meet your driver in the lobby of your hotel and travel into the center of Rome. Your morning kicks off with a sightseeing tour that takes in a mix of Rome’s classic sights along with some that the usual tourist itineraries miss. Visit Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and the Spanish Steps alongside Santa Maria Della Pace. See the Ponte Sant’Angelo, lined with angel sculptures by Bernini, and admire the views of Castel Sant’Angelo aka the Emperor Hadrian’s mausoleum.

Head beneath the Eternal City to Rome’s Catacombs. Wander through an eerie network of tunnels below the city streets, once both a burial ground and worship site for Rome’s first Christians. Use an audio guide and headsets for extra mobility.  

  • Ancient Rome and Colosseum, and the Roman Forum

Meet your driver in the lobby of your hotel and travel into the heart of ancient Rome and a skip-the-line tour of the Colosseum.  You’ll explore the ancient amphitheater that was used for gladiatorial games under the rule of the bloodthirsty Roman emperors.

Learn about the dangerous animal battles and the gladiator’s skills as you explore, then head outside to stroll around Palatine Hill. Finish with a visit to the Roman Forum, and discover the Temple of Vestal Virgins and triumphal arches among other monumental Roman ruins.

  • The Vatican: Private Experience Tour with licensed guide and driver

Meet your driver in the lobby of your hotel to begin your VIP tour of the Vatican.

Your tour of the Vatican is optimized to offer you a VIP experience of the great masterpieces of the Sistine Chapel, the Pinacoteca, the Vatican Museums, and Saint Peter’s Basilica. There is only one route that brings you to the Sistine Chapel, passing through courtyards and palaces dense with history and studded with works of art. 

You will begin by encountering the Sistine Chapel, where you will walk through its charismatic walls and learn of the genius that was Michelangelo. You will learn of who he was, how he lived, and what his greatest achievements were, as you walk around immersed in his work. 

Following this, you will encounter the Raphael Rooms, which will allow you to enter the courts of the Italian Renaissance. Following the Raphael Rooms, you will enter the Vatican Museums, where you will become familiar with stories of the art and history that are captured within these breathtaking rooms. 

Following your art and history tour, it will be time to experience Pinacoteca, where you will discover Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, and the last painting of Raphael. 

From the Sistine Chapel, you will then directly enter St. Peter’s Basilica without waiting in line. Once at St. Peter’s Basilica, you will learn the Story of Faith whilst being brought to the center of the Christian faith.

Italian Historical Tour

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