2019 Gardens of the Italian Lake District

Gardens of the Lake District and Northern Italy

with Charlie Nardozzi – September 28 to October 8, 2019

Waiting List only!!!!

Come join us as we explore the gardens and spectacular scenery of the Italian Lake District and Northern Italy on this fall trip. We’ll visit a range of horticultural venues including opulent Italian villas  on the water, an exotic botanical garden, intricate private gardens, romantic historic gardens and enchanting naturistic gardens. The temperate climate allows for a long growing season and some tropical plants. We’ll spend time in the historic, and lesser visited, city of Verona as well as on the shores of Lakes Garda, Como and Maggiore. Of course, we’ll visit wineries and sample a range of Northern Italian foods.

Departure day from USA:  Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019

Day 1 – Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019  | Welcome to Italy!

After arriving(see airport transfer notes on Page 5) Verona Airport (VRN), we’ll head directly to the city for lunch, followed by a visit to the Giusti Palace and Gardens. Giusti Gardens date to the 16th century with a formal Italian Garden design featuring fountains, evergreen trees and hedges, garden rooms and beautiful views of the city of Verona. From there, we transfer to our hotel in Verona to check in. Tonight we’ll enjoy a welcome reception and a light meal with a wine pairing.

Meals:  Lunch, Welcome  Reception

Overnight VERONA at Grand Hotel des Artes

Day 2 –  Monday, Sept. 30, 2019 | Gardens of Lake Garda

After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll head to Lake Garda. First, we’ll visit Giardino di Casa Biasi just outside Bardolino for a tour, followed by lunch in nearby Garda. Giardino di Casa Biasi is a small private garden estate with views of Lake Garda. We’ll tour the gardens with the owners enjoying the Mediterranean Gardens and Romantic Park filled with roses, perennials and flowering vines.

Next, we travel to the opposite side of the lake for a tour of Giardino Botanico Andre Heller on Lake Garda’s western shore. This garden is both a “Garden of Eden” and botanic garden. The central part of the garden re-creates an Alpine valley with pines, northern trees, cliffs, gorges, and crevasses where the water from springs fall from the red dolomitic peaks in the background. Streams, exotic flowers, water garden plants, sculptures and art add to the eclectic nature of this garden. We’ll return to Verona for the evening.

Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight VERONA at Grand Hotel des Artes


Day  3 – Tuesday, Oct. 1,  2019 | Verona & Venice options

Options: Enjoy the day exploring the historic piazzas, shops, churches and walkways of the city of Verona and perhaps take a cooking class.

OR Join us on a Day Tour to Venice. This will include a guided walking tour with time for lunch and exploration of this unique city and its small secret gardens, on your own.

Meals:  Breakfast

Overnight VERONA at Grand Hotel des Artes


Day 4 – Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019   Verona Area Gardens

Following breakfast at the hotel, we’ll enjoy a venture to Parco Sigurta in Valeggio del Minci, followed by lunch nearby in the beautiful town of Borghetto sul Mincio. Parco Sigurta is a 150 acre estate and park outside Verona. Voted the “most beautiful park in Italy”, it originally was an agricultural area. It has been transformed into a garden and English park for strolling and relaxing. The grounds consist of cottage gardens, water gardens and large woodlands and grass areas that can be walked, biked or toured by shuttle or golf cart. After lunch, we return to Verona for the  afternoon.

The afternoon is free to explore Verona. There is also an option to tour the home garden of a Verona garden club member in the area.

Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight VERONA at Grand Hotel des Artes


Day 5 – Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019  | Lake Como

Today, we’ll travel from Verona to our accommodations on Lake Como, with a couple of stops along the way. First, enjoy a tour, tasting and lunch at a Franciacorta region winery, known for its high-quality sparkling wines. Afterward there will be time to visit Orto Botanico di Bergamo- Astino Section. This botanic garden in Bergamo features demonstration gardens in the country location where 1500 heirloom varieties of vegetables are grown. The goal is to educate the public on the importance of biodiversity in the vegetable world. At the end of the day we’ll settle into  our accommodations on Lake Como.

Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch and wine tasting

Overnight Lake Como  at Hotel Villa Flori


Day 6 – Friday, Oct. 4, 2019  | Lake Como

Start your day with breakfast at your hotel, and then venture out to visit Villa Carlotta, one of the historic villas (and gardens) on the shores of Lake Como. Villa Carlotta dates back to the 17th century. The villa features many works of art. The grounds consist of century old cedar, sequoia and plane trees, tropical plants, rock gardens, a fern valley, rhododendron woods and a bamboo garden. Afterward, we’ll meet Moritz Mantero, a local gardening celebrity, and tour his home garden in Menaggio (pending availability).

From there we’ll enjoy a boat ride to Varenna for lunch and visit Villa Monastero. This historic villa sits on the cliffs overlooking Lake Como. The charming one mile long, terraced botanical garden meanders along the lake. It features aromatic plants, shade gardens, roses, hydrangeas, annual flower beds, water lilies and fountains.

Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch  

Overnight Lake Como at Hotel Villa Flori    


Day 7 – Saturday, Oct.5,  2019 | Lake Maggiore

Following breakfast, we’ll say goodbye to Lake Como and make our way to Lake Maggiore. Along the way, we’ll stop to visit Villa Cicogna Mozzoni in Bisuschio, with lunch at a nearby restaurant. Villa Ciogna Mozzoni features Renaissance architecture that blends in well with the formal gardens around the home. The classic gardens feature hedges, walkways, sculptures and plantings in a symmetrical design. Beyond the Renaissance garden is the famous 156 step staircase with water flowing down the center and beautiful mountain views at the top.

We’ll then continue to Stresa where we’ll settle into our accommodations for the night.

Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch and wine tasting

Overnight in Stresa at Hotel des Iles Borromees


Day 8 –  Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019  | Northern Beauty

This morning we’ll travel by cable car into the mountains to the Alpinia Gardens. This beautiful alpine garden perched above the town of Stresa has breathtaking views of the lake. Alpinia Gardens features 800 botanical species that come from the alpine and subalpine areas of the Italian Alps, Caucasus Mountains, China and Japan.

Then we’ll head back down to Stresa for lunch. After lunch we’ll venture by boat (weather pending) to visit the Villa Taranto Botanical Gardens, on the shores of Lake Maggiore. This stunning, terraced garden features a dahlia garden, large herbaceous flower beds, water gardens, vertical gardens, greenhouses and waterfalls.

Overnight in Stresa at  Hotel des Iles Borromees


Day 9 – Monday, Oct. 7, 2019 | Island Gardens Day

Today’s excursion will be on the water in a private boat to visit the Borromean Islands in Lake Maggiore. First up there’s little Isola Bella. This small island is almost all covered with the Baroque palace and gardens with flowers that flow down to the water. We’ll have lunch in the fishing village on Isola dei Pescatori, the only Borromean Island inhabited year-round. Then, we’ll travel to Isola Madre, the largest of the Borromean Islands. This island features another palace and a beautiful English garden.

Afterwards, we head back to our hotel in Stresa for a farewell dinner.

Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight in Stresa, Hotel des Iles Borromees


Day 10 – Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019  Departure day… Arrivederci!

Following breakfast and hotel check-out, we’ll meet our coach for a private transfer to the Milan (MXP) airport for our flight back home.  See transport note below.

Meals:  Breakfast


Please note: Goodspeed & Bach, Inc. reserves the right to alter the order of events or to make changes in the itinerary deemed necessary for the comfort, convenience and safety of the participants. Every effort will be made to adhere to the printed itinerary, but weather conditions and transportation difficulties may arise beyond the control of Goodspeed & Bach, Inc. and local suppliers could force the cancellation or substitution of events or specific services.


Flights are NOT included in the package price:

Arrival will be at the Verona(VRN) and departure from Milan(MXP). *Please note that only one bus transfer is confirmed from Verona Airport to the city center.  If your flight arrives later than the majority of the group, you are responsible for paying for your own transport to the hotel.   There is only one bus transfer from Stresa to Milan Airport.

Goodspeed will send recommended airlines and schedules. You have the option to make your own reservations or  Goodspeed can book your flights for an additional fee.

Northern Italy Garden Tour Inclusions:

  • 9 nights accommodations in listed hotels (4 nights Verona, 2 nights Lake Como, 3 nights Lake Maggiore)
  • Goodspeed Tour Director Deb Flanders to accompany the group
  • Italian Bilingual Tour Guide to accompany the group
  • Garden Expert and Tour Host Charlie Nardozzi to accompany the group
  • All listed transports with a luxury air-conditioned bus
  • Private boat transfers on Lake Maggiore and Lake Como
  • Hotel breakfasts every morning
  • 8 lunches
  • 2 dinners with welcome reception and wine pairing
  • Admissions to all gardens, palaces, villas and vineyards as listed in the above itinerary
  • Private garden visits

Tour Cost: $4,699 USD per person in double room share

Cost is based on a minimum of 24 travelers in the group.

Price is subject to increase with less than 24 travelers.

Single room supplement fee:  $918 USD per person, space is limited!



Gratuities for local guide and bus driver

Drinks such as wine and beer with planned lunches & dinner unless noted

Passport services

Flights round trip to Italy, additional fees apply if Goodspeed books your flight.

Travel coverage is highly recommended and available from Goodspeed & Bach.

Any other items not mentioned above


*Reservation Procedure

Your refundable deposit of $100 per person is holding your space on the tour. If you wish to cancel and receive the refund, please notify us in writing before Jan. 15, 2019.

After January 15, 2019, your $100 per person is non-refundable.


Tour Payment Policy & Schedule:

Your initial deposit of $100 is non-refundable after January 15, 2019.

2nd payment is due on January 25, 2019: $900 per person is non-refundable after payment is received.

3rd payment is due on May 20, 2019:  $1500 per person is non-refundable after payment is received.

Balance payment is due on July 25, 2019 is non-refundable after payment is received.

NO REFUND for cancellations after July 25, 2019.

Travel insurance is highly recommended and can be purchased at an additional charge through Goodspeed & Bach, Inc. Cancellation charges also apply to additional accommodations reserved prior to and after the tour. Goodspeed & Bach, Inc. cannot assume responsibility for any fees relating to the issuance and/or cancellation of air tickets.  Full terms and conditions are also available at www.goodspeedandbach.com.



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