Among the must-see destinations in Northern Italy are Milan, Venice and Lake Como. Here is a sampling of recent developments that may interest clients planning to visit the Lombardy and Veneto regions.
The new Vista Palazzo Lago di Como has opened just in time to welcome summer guests. The fourth hotel from the Italian family-owned-and-operated Lario Hotels, it was born of a total renovation of a 19th-century lakeside Venetian-style palazzo in the city of Como itself. Vista Palazzo has 18 rooms and suites, each with large, Italian marble bathrooms with soaking tubs and separate showers.
As the name implies, the hotel has views of the lake throughout — the best of which is from the guests-only rooftop restaurant, bar and library. At the 22-seat Sottovoce restaurant, the chef serves traditional local cuisine. Guests get a personal concierge who can book the private dinners, as well as advise on top cultural and social events, organize private visits to museums, arrange a seaplane excursion or tour of the lake from a Riva boat, book a table at Como’s most requested restaurants and more.
Vista Palazzo Lago di Como will become one of six hotels on Lake Como to remain open year-round. During the off-season, there are fewer tourists, but many lakeside hamlets remain open. For guests who are interested, several ski resorts are located within two hours of the resort, which can be reached by public and private transportation. Good to know: Milan is only a 30-minute train ride away.
If your clients are planning a romantic getaway to Venice, and they’re prepared to splurge (think: just over $12,000+), here’s a unique way for them to uncover the secrets of the Floating City. Baglioni Hotel Luna — housed in a 900-year-old aristocrat’s palazzo overlooking San Giorgio Island and the San Marco Basin — has a new insider’s tour by candlelight. The idea is a throwback to the days of the ancient republic when Codegas, or lantern-bearers, would guide people through Venice’s labyrinthine alleyways at night. Guests may take such a tour through St. Mark’s calli before returning to the hotel for a three-course feast at Canova Restaurant, winner of the Fogher d’Oro and Gambero Rosso awards.
The package also includes a two-night stay in the Giorgione Terrace Suite, which has an outdoor terrace with views of the Lagoon of Venice. Welcome gifts are placed in-suite on arrival, and a private butler attends to guests’ needs during their stay. A one-way transfer with private water taxi is also included.
Sports car aficionados among your clientele may be interested in the following programs.
Off the Map Travel’s eight-day “Ferrari Tour and Northern Italy” package begins in Milan and ends in Venice, with guided tours of both cities and, in between, stops or overnights in Lake Como, Bellagio, Cernobbio, Lake Garda (including Sirmione and the vineyards of Franciacorta) and Verona. Land-only prices start at about $8,700 per person, including accommodations, some meals and choice from among five Ferraris: 599 GTB Fiorano, 430 Scuderia, F430 Spider, California or 458 Italia. A personal tour director helps guests select their car, instructs them how to drive it, and remains in contact with them throughout the drive.
Four Seasons’ “En Route to La Dolce Vita” is a fully customizable, self-drive itinerary with stays at the brand’s hotels in Milan, Florence and France’s Côte d’ Azur. Throughout this fully customizable experience, your clients can experience the thrill of driving a 1960 Giulietta Spider, 1958 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Cabrio or 1956 Porsche 356A Speedster. Travelers can start the experience at any of the three locations.
For the fashionistas among your clientele, be sure to book well ahead for Milan Fashion Week (Women’s). The spring / summer event is slated this year for September 19-25, while fall / winter fashions will be the focus from February 21-27, 2019. Milan Fashion Week for men is held every June (12-16 in 2018).