Northern Italy: Gardens & Villas through the Centuries

Our explorations begin in the hill town of Asolo, one of the loveliest villages in Italy. In this region, we will visit several of the stately villas and gardens designed by Andrea Palladio, including the Villa La Rotonda. If you have ever wondered about the golden ratio or golden proportions, these principles will make sense upon viewing these grand buildings.

Our itinerary includes Bellagio and Varenna, where we will visit the botanical garden at Villa Monastero; a beautiful lakeside garden that features fountains, vases, temples, and statues. In the Lake District we’ll explore several grand villas, including Villa Carlotta, the inspiration for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s By Sommariva’s Garden Gate, and one of the most important stops on the traditional Grand Tour of the 17th and 18th centuries. The Borromeo Islands on Lake Maggiore hold some special treats for travelers, including the 16th century villa and gardens on Isola Madre (image above) where maples, camellias, eucalyptus, bananas, and palms thrive in the garden’s unique climate.

In Tuscany, we’ll visit Villa Chigi Cetinale a restored 17th century garden that has been described by Penelope Hobhouse as “one of the most beautiful in Italy.” We’ll take a walking tour of the medieval town of San Gimignano exploring its wonderful towers and narrow streets. And our time in the Chianti area includes a visit to the 14th century Villa diGeggiano and its gardens, as well as a short walking tour of Siena. Our tour ends with two days enjoying the architectural splendor of Florence.

This tour includes meals overlooking exquisite scenery in hotels and villas, accommodations in historic castles, private walking tours, a Tuscan cooking class, visits to some of Florence’s most famous museums, and much more!

This exclusive gardening excursion has been custom designed for our group by Cheryl Hedgpeth, President of Sterling Tours, and will be escorted by PHS board member, Josh Schechtel. For a complete itinerary and to reserve a place on this tour, please visit Sterling Tours.