Travel-Learn Program

Village Life in the Italian Lakes

When: April 27, 2017 - May 05, 2017 (iCal)



“… [The] trip was absolutely everything and more than I had hoped.”


For one week we will stay in Northern Italy’s Lake District of beautiful and varied villages. With views of Lake Como from the Hotel Regina Olga in Cernobbio, we will take a private boat cruise of Como and explore the artistic and architectural gems in Bellagio, Villa del Barlbianello, and Stresa. We will also cruise Lake Maggiore to the Borromean Islands, an alpine setting surrounded by mountains. Occasional lectures and a village forum with residents will provide personal perspectives of the region’s modern life and cultural heritage. Also offered is the option to travel to Lugano, Switzerland, a historic city with a distinctive Swiss culture. In addition, a two-night Milan pre-program option includes a viewing of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.


Activity Level: Moderately Active


Brochure & Registration Form



Price from $3,895
Price from $3,595 (if booked by February 17, 2017)

Includes land only; per person, based on double occupancy.
Itinerary and price are tentative and subject to change.
To avoid the disappointment of a sold out program, Register Now!


Usha Nand Sellers Ed. D., Director Tufts Travel-Learn Program, at or 617-627-5323.


Day 1: U.S.
We depart the U.S.

Day 2: Milan, Italy/Cernobbio
We arrive in Milan and transfer to Cernobbio, a village located at the foot of Mount Bisbino and the perfect start for our sojourn into the mountainous Italian countryside. Check into the Hotel Regina Olga overlooking Lake Como Together we will gather at a welcome reception and dinner in the hotel.

Day 3: Cernobbio/Como
Founded by the Romans, Como is internationally known for its silk-weaving industry dating back to the 14th century. Today it is still the largest European silk producer, designing fabrics that are shipped to the fashion houses of Milan, Paris and London. We will walk along winding cobblestone passages, past medieval towers and walls, Renaissance palaces and churches, neoclassical villas and small family-owned negozi (shops) that lead to the Piazza Cavour and the tranquil lakeside promenade. During free time, we can browse the shops and outdoor markets. Como scholar, Fabio Cani, will present a lecture on his hometown and share his expertise of the history and culture of the region of Lombardy. This evening, we will meet some of the local residents to hear about contemporary life in the Lake District.

Day 4: Lake Como/Villa del Balbianello/Bellagio
By private boat, we will cruise the waters of Italy’s deepest and perhaps most beautiful lake. Its allure is enhanced by quaint coastal villages, including Bellagio, and Renaissance villas built on the snowcapped mountainsides surrounding Lake Como. We will experience the Villa del Balbianello and its terraced gardens and view the villa’s collection of Chinese, pre-Columbian and African art. In Bellagio, popular since Roman times and perched on a promontory, we will have time to stroll.

Day 5: Cernobbio
The day is at our leisure. We can stroll along Cernobbio’s bustling waterfront and the village’s narrow medieval strade; the buildings that line the piazzas are painted in the soft buttery hue typical of the Lake District. We can also listen to an art historian and resident of Como, Giuseppina Lucini, speak about the Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci.

Day 6: Lake Maggiore/Borromean Islands/Stresa
Lake Maggiore, Italy’s second-largest lake forms a boundary between the regions of Lombardy and Piedmont. Lake Maggiore’s mild climate allows gardens to showcase rare and exotic plants in this beautiful landscape beneath the High Alps. From Stresa, we’ll embark on a private boat cruise across the waters that served as inspiration for Flaubert, Wagner and Goethe. Cruising among Lake Maggiore’s islands graced with villas and natural beauty – we will pass a number of small islands collectively known as the Borromean Islands. We will experience the preserved palace on Isola Bella, commissioned by Count Carlo Borromeo III as Baroque retreat dedicated to his wife, Isabella, and walk through the island’s gardens, where white peacocks stroll. Also included in our visit is the 17th century Palazzo Borromeo, replete with masterpieces and its grotto, decorated with mosaics of marine life. After returning to Stresa, there is time for leisure.

Day 7: Cernobbio/Lugano, Switzerland
We may have a day at leisure in Cernobbio, or we may join the optional full-day excursion to Lugano, Switzerland. Nestled between the Alpine peaks, the historic lakeside town of Lugano is the cultural center of Ticino, the only region in Switzerland where Italian is the official language. In Lugano, we will ride a funicular to the top of Monte Brè to visit the church, Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Angioli, and to view Bernardino Luini’s fresco of the Passion of Christ. On the shores of Lake Como, we will have a specially arranged visit to the private Villa Pizzo and its stunning gardens. Tonight we will dine together in a restaurant in Cernobbio.

Day 8: Cernobbio
Today is free for independent exploration. We have the opportunity to explore Como’s outdoor markets. In the evening, we will join together for the farewell dinner in the hotel.

Day 9: Cernobbio/Milan/U.S.
After breakfast in the hotel, we will transfer to Milan for your return flight to the U.S.


*Price and Itinerary are tentative and subject to change