Northern Italy: The Alps, Dolomites & Lombardy

Highlights & InclusionsItineraryPricing Information Terms & Conditions
Departure Date: September 7, 2019
Duration: 14 Days / 13 Nights
Price from: $4,895
Single Room Supplement: Waived
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This trip will be operated on behalf of Gutsy Women Travel (GWT) clients by award winning Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT). There are 5 Twin bedded rooms and 6 single accommodations rooms with no single supplement blocked on this trip. Once single rooms are sold out, women can secure a guaranteed share in a twin room accommodation. This trip is opened up to OAT clients & is co-ed. However the group size will always be capped at no more than 16 participants. There will be a dedicated OAT licensed, local travel director assigned to this GWT group block departure.


Highlights & Inclusions

  • Be sure to mention booking code G9-25972 to receive all the Gutsy benefits!
  • Airport transfers are included when you purchase our operator's International air to coincide with trip's day by day agenda.
  • All land transportation
  • Accommodations for 13 nights
  • 28 meals—daily breakfast, 7 lunches, and 8 dinners (including 1 Home-Hosted Dinner)
  • 18 small group activities
  • Services of a local O.A.T. Trip Leader
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers, and luggage porters on the main trip and extensions
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit toward your next adventure


Itinerary

Witness the awe-inspiring landscapes and cultural treasures of Northern Italy on a journey from the fashion capital of Milan and romance of the Lombardy Lakes to the snow-covered Alps and towering pinnacles of the Dolomites. Discover the enchanting juxtaposition of Italian and Austrian culture in this scenic region of woodlands, vineyards, and lush valleys dotted with medieval villages. Along the way, meet fishermen and farm families, see what puts the sparkle in Franciacorta wines, and experience the legends of the Ladins, a unique culture hidden deep in the valleys of the Dolomites. And ride through the majestic Alps into Switzerland aboard the legendary Bernina Express, one of the world’s most breathtaking rail journeys. Discover the exquisite landscapes and Renaissance splendor of what many consider Italy’s most picturesque region.

DAY 1 Depart U.S. Fly overnight from the U.S. to Milan, Italy.

DAY 2 Arrive Milan, Italy


OVERNIGHT: Hotel Cusani or similar Upon arrival in Milan, an O.A.T. representative will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. After some time to relax from your flight, we’ll gather for a Welcome Drink and briefing, and a chance get to know the members of your group, including travelers who took the Genoa & Cinque Terre pre-trip extension. Then, we’ll enjoy a short walk to get acquainted with our surroundings. Dinner is on your own.

DAY 3 Explore Milan


MEALS: B D
OVERNIGHT: Hotel Cusani or similar

After breakfast, we’ll set off on a walking tour of Milan. The capital of Lombardy and Italy’s second largest city, Milan was an important trading center for more than two millennia, and once served as the capital of the western half of the Roman Empire. Today, it’s a vibrant, fashion-conscious metropolis with a population of 1.3 million. Our discoveries include Duomo di Milano, Milan’s magnificent Gothic cathedral. One of the world’s largest churches (it can seat 10,000), the white-marble Duomo covers an entire city block and has some 3,200 statues and 135 spires adorning its extravagant façade—more than any other building in the world. We’ll also stop at Castello Sforzesco, a centuries-old fortress now home to notable galleries and museums, as well as Michelangelo’s final unfinished statue, Rondanini Pietà. Then, after a stroll past the luxurious shops lining Via Montenapoleone, Milan’s most prestigious fashion avenue, you can enjoy lunch on your own.

This afternoon, we visit the quaint Brera neighborhood and walk the cobbled streets of the Quadrilatero della Moda, Milan’s world-renowned fashion district. Or, you can choose to break off from the group and explore the city’s many artistic treasures on your own. Later, we’ll learn about local politics during a meeting with a member of Lega Nord (Northern League) before sitting down to an apericena, a Milanese tradition featuring buffet items at a restaurant with panoramic views of the city.

DAY 4 Explore Bergamo • Tirano


MEALS: B D
OVERNIGHT: Hotel Centrale Tirano or similar After breakfast, we’ll depart Milan and journey north to Tirano in the heart of the Alps. Along the way, we’ll stop in Bergamo, a picturesque northern Italian city divided into Lower Town (the more modern Città Bassa) and the medieval hilltop Upper Town (Città Alta), framed by Venetian walls. After a funicular ride up to Città Alta, we’ll journey underneath the city walls to explore secret tunnels and a massive ancient cistern (Fontana del Lantro) that brought water to Bergamo for a thousand years. Back above ground, we’ll soak in the Renaissance charm of Piazza Vecchia (Old Square), explore the quaint quarter of San Viglio, and take in sweeping views of the Lombard plain from atop Il Campanone, the 12th-century bell tower. Lunch is on your own in Bergamo, and you may wish to try a local dish like casoncelli, a type of ravioli stuffed with spicy sausage.

After departing Bergamo, we’ll stop for coffee in Lecco, a picturesque resort town on the southern tip of Lake Como. At the waterfront area, we’ll enjoy panoramic views of the rugged mountains and pristine waters of Italy’s third largest lake before continuing on to Tirano, arriving in the early evening. After an orientation walk to familiarize ourselves with this charming village in the Valtellina valley split by the Adda River, we’ll enjoy dinner together at a local winery.

DAY 5 Traditional Life in the Valtellina Valley • Home-Hosted Dinner


MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Hotel Centrale Tirano or similar

After breakfast, we’ll experience the customs and traditions of everyday Italian life in the Valtellina Valley. Set in the Alps near the Swiss border, the lush valley is renowned for its natural beauty, wine, and regional cuisine. Blanketed in orchards and terraced vineyards, Valtellina winemaking traditions pre-date even the ancient Romans. A specialty of the region is a salted, dried beef called bresaola, and our first stop will be a meeting with a farm family that has been producing this richly-flavored culinary favorite for three generations. Then, we’ll hike through a vineyard, meet with a local farmer, learn about the famous red wines of the region, and discover how stone walls are used to create the precipitous terraced vineyards of the valley. After a farmhouse lunch, we’ll return to Tirano for some leisure time.

Later, we’ll learn more about life in the Valtellina Valley when we join a local family for a Home-Hosted Dinner.

DAY 6 Bernina Express Train to Switzerland


MEALS: B L
OVERNIGHT: Hotel Centrale Tirano or similar

After breakfast, we’ll board the Bernina Express (also called the “Red Train”) for a full-day excursion across the Alps and into Switzerland. One of the few rail journeys designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Bernina Express is not just the world’s highest Alpine crossing (reaching an altitude of 7,400 feet), but also the steepest, with gradients up to 7%. Panoramic glass windows on the train make for unimpeded views, so we can just sit back, relax and enjoy the unfolding Alpine scenery as we travel over bridges and viaducts, through tunnels, and past glaciers, picturesque villages, alpine meadows, and vineyards.

After crossing the border into Switzerland, we’ll depart the train at Morteratsch station, where we’ll enjoy a boxed lunch and take a few steps onto the icy surface of Morteratsch, the third longest glacier in the Eastern Alps. Then, back aboard the Bernina for our return journey, we’ll make another stop at Alp Grum, a station along a wide curve of tracks for some local refreshments at the bar and to take in panoramic views of the Alps and the Poschiavo Valley. Our train returns to Tirano late this afternoon—although any hearty travelers are welcome to set off on a hike (of approximately one hour) from Alp Grum to meet the train at the next station.

Dinner is on your own this evening.

DAY 7 Lake Iseo and Monte Isola • Franciacorta


MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Relais Franciacorta or similar After breakfast, we depart Tirano and head to Lago d’Iseo, the least known of the Lombard lakes, and the Franciacorta wine region. Along the way, we’ll stop in Edolo to witness sweeping views of Val Camonica, an ancient valley in the central Alps noted for its Stone-Age rock carvings. Then, at the lakeshore town of Solzano, we’ll take a ferry to Monte Isola, a large island in the middle of Lago d’Iseo. Europe’s largest lake island, cobbled and car-free Monte Isola is dotted with medieval hamlets and picturesque fishing villages. The fishing tradition here dates back to the 15th century, when islanders were granted special fishing rights by the duke of Milan. After a stroll through the village of Peshiera Maraglio, we’ll meet with a local fisherman to learn about the method of drying fish on wooden racks, and visit a workshop to see how the handwoven fishing nets are repaired. Then, we’ll have lunch at a lakefront restaurant where we can admire views of the crystalline waters, fishing boats, and surrounding mountains.

After lunch, we’ll take a local bus to the village of Cure, where we’ll take a brief hike up to the sanctuary of Madonna della Ceriola, a 13th-century church constructed at the island’s summit. Then, we’ll take a ferry ride back to Lago d’Iseo and drive to our nearby hotel. Dinner this evening is at a local restaurant.

DAY 8 Franciacorta vineyard & winery tour • Italian cooking lesson


MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Relais Franciacorta or similar

After breakfast, we’ll stop a local market to pick up ingredients for our cooking lesson later in the day. Then, we’ll discover how Franciacorta produces some of the best sparkling wines in the world. Unlike other popular Italian sparkling wines like Prosecco, Franciacorta wines are hand-harvested, fermented in wooden casks, and aged by law for 18 months. After a walk through one of the vineyards that dot the lush hills of this bucolic region, we’ll visit a local cantina (winery) to tour its historical cellar and learn about the methode champenoise method used to produce the wine’s “sparkle.” Then, we’ll enjoy a wine tasting accompanied by freshly-baked artisanal specialties.

The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to relax at our lodging, a restored 17th-century farmhouse—or you may wish to rent a bicycle to explore the surrounding countryside and vineyards. We’ll regroup this evening for an Italian cooking lesson using the local ingredients we gathered earlier—and reap the rewards of our efforts at dinner.

DAY 9 Transfer to Verona


MEALS: B
OVERNIGHT: Hotel Accademia or similar After breakfast, we’ll transfer to Verona, the city made famous by Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet—and second only to Rome in the number of ancient Roman ruins. Our morning walking tour features the romantic courtyard of the House of Juliet and an outside view of Arena di Verona, the grand Roman amphitheater built in the first century A.D. With seating for 30,000, the Arena is still in use today and renowned for its presentations of open-air opera performances. After strolling through the market at Piazza delle Erbe (the old Roman forum), the rest of the day is at leisure to explore the elegant squares of Verona at your own pace. Lunch and dinner are on your own.

DAY 10 Verona • Optional Mantua tour with boat ride


MEALS: B
OVERNIGHT: Hotel Accademia or similar After breakfast, the day is yours to explore Verona independently, with lunch and dinner on your own. Or, you may join a full-day optional tour to explore nearby Mantua, an ancient city known as la bella addormentata—the sleeping beauty—by the locals. This optional excursion features a boat ride to view Mantua from its magical lakes, a guided tour of the courtyards and gardens of the magnificent Palazzo Ducale, lunch at a local restaurant, and leisure time in Mantua before returning to Verona in the late afternoon.

DAY 11 Trento and the Dolomites • Bressanone (Brixen)


MEALS: B D
OVERNIGHT: Goldene Krone Vital Hotel or similar

After breakfast, we journey north to the valleys, meadows, and towering peaks of the Italian Dolomites. Our first stop is Trento, noted in history as the locale of the Council of Trent, which began the Counter Reformation and brought half of Europe back to Roman Catholicism in the mid-16th century. Our discoveries include Castello del Buonconsiglio, a mighty fortress in the heart of the city that was home to Trento’s bishop-princes from the 13th century until 1801. After lunch on your own, we’ll head to nearby Ciucioi to visit a romantic hanging garden built in 1860.

Our northern journey continues to Bressanone (also known as Brixen), the oldest city in the Alto Adige. Upon arrival, we’ll have an orientation walk along the medieval streets of this Austrian-influenced city founded in 901. Later, we’ll enjoy dinner together in a local restaurant.

DAY 12 Ortisei and Ladin villages of Val Gardena • Bressanone


MEALS: B L
OVERNIGHT: Goldene Krone Vital Hotel or similar After breakfast, we’ll travel to Ortisei, a small Alpine village in the Val Gardena that is a center of Ladin culture. An ethnic minority of about 35,000 people living in five valleys in a corner of the Dolomites, Ladins developed their own language—unrelated to German or Italian, it’s the oldest language of Italy’s Alpine region. We’ll meet with locals who are preserving this unique linguistic tradition and thousand-year-old culture at the offices of the world’s only Ladin-language newspaper. Then, we’ll do some hiking in the “land of the Ladins” and witness some of the magical landscapes that inspired British writer JRR Tolkien. We’ll also visit San Cristina, an idyllic village surrounded by towering peaks, where we’ll spend some time at a local farm, have lunch at a family-run agriturismo, and take a funicular ride to the top of a mountain for panoramic views of the Dolomites. We’ll arrive back in Bressanone late this afternoon.

Dinner is on your own this evening.

DAY 13 Bressanone • Villages of South Tyrol


MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Goldene Krone Vital Hotel or similar

After breakfast, we’ll explore the South Tyrol, an idyllic enclave of picturesque villages, medieval castles, and rolling hills. An Austrian territory for centuries, some 70% of South Tyroleans speak German as their first language. We’ll enjoy our first glimpse of Italian/Austrian culture in the village of Fortezza, home to a massive 19th-century fortress, followed by Italy’s northernmost city, Vipiteno, an enchanting mountain town dating back to the 14th century with narrow streets, Tyrolean architecture, and charming shops. After lunch at a local restaurant in Vipiteno, we’ll return to our hotel in Bressanone with the remainder of the day at leisure. Later, we’ll regroup to celebrate bellissima northern Italy during a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.

DAY 14 Bassano del Grappa • Mogliano Veneto


MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Hotel Villa Foscarini or similar

We depart Bressanone after breakfast, leaving the towering peaks of the Alps for the enchanting hills of the Veneto region. In the valley of Sugano, we’ll do some hiking along the scenic shores of the Brenta River, followed by a light lunch at a local restaurant. Then, we’ll visit Bassano del Grappa, a history-rich town associated with the fiery liqueur made from the remains of the winemaking process. But while grappa has been made here for centuries, the town was actually named for nearby Mount Grappa.

After a stroll through the arcaded streets of Bassano’s Old Town, we’ll stop at Ponte degli Alpini, the covered pontoon bridge designed by architect Palladio in 1569. Mount Grappa was at the front lines in two World Wars, and the bridge was destroyed and rebuilt many times—and after World War II, Italy’s elite Alpine troops, the Alpini, raised funds for its most recent incarnation. We’ll learn about Bassano’s military history at a museum located inside a tavern on the bridge—where we may also wish to enjoy a sip or two of Bassano’s namesake spirit.

This evening, we'll enjoy dinner at our hotel.

DAY 15 Return to U.S. or begin post-trip extension


MEALS: B We depart our hotel this morning and transfer to the airport for our flight home. Or, begin your Venice extension.

Accommodations

Pricing Information

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Arrival DateSingleSharedDouble
Sep 7, 2019 $4,895 $4,895 $4,895
Your Savings* Past GWT Traveler?
For further information call (866) IM GUTSY (464 8879) or
email reservations@gutsywomentravel.com.
24/7 booking capability is available via this via the "Request to Book" button listed above.

Be sure to mention booking code G9-25972 to receive all the Gutsy benefits!

*Discount and savings are subject to change, please call reservations (866.464.8879 for the actual price. The discount is not valid on all itineraries and will be verified at time of booking. The discount is valid for guests who’ve traveled with Gutsy Women Travel within the last five years. Other conditions apply. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. All prices are subject to change.

In order to qualify for the GWT Past Traveler Discount of 5% on the land portion of the trip, you must advise the reservation specialist at time of depositing on your 2019 trip which GWT trip you traveled on (date/name of departure and year) over the past 5 years.

We limit our trips to small groups so we suggest you deposit early to guarantee your spot. View information regarding Air Travel & Transfers here.

Please note this departure is not exclusive to women but will be comprised of Gutsy Women Travel participants co-sharing the overall trip capacity with members of OAT resulting in a larger group size compared to the traditional Gutsy Women Travel trips designed exclusively for women.

This trip will be operated on behalf of Gutsy Women Travel (GWT) clients by award winning Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT). There are 5 Twin bedded rooms and 6 single accommodations rooms with no single supplement blocked on this trip. Once single rooms are sold out, women can secure a guaranteed share in a twin room accommodation. This trip is designed for GWT clients however if room block is not sold by 120 days prior to departure date, the trip can be opened up to OAT clients and will be co-ed. However the group size will always be capped at no more than 16 participants. There will be a dedicated OAT licensed, local travel director assigned to this GWT group block departure.

Single Room - one person, traveling solo in single accommodation
Double Room - two people, traveling together in same accommodation
Shared Room - one person, traveling solo who would like to share with another passenger and pay the per person "Double" price

Air travel arrangements for Gutsy Women's trip participants are made independently as most women are traveling from various gateway cities within or outside North America. Gutsy Women Travel includes a group transfer (if travelers purchase airfare from our operator) or individuals can book private transportation if desired.

For further information and reservations call (866) IM GUTSY (464 8879) or
email reservations@gutsywomentravel.com.
For online 24/7 booking capability is available via this website.

Please note: Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.