This romantic eight night break takes you to some of the most enchanting locations in north eastern Italy, from the famous canals and palaces of Venice to the breath taking natural beauty of Lake Garda, with a visit to the historic city of Verona – the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – in between.
When you arrive at Marco Polo Airport, there’s really only one way for the discerning traveller to approach Venice itself – by water. Take a water taxi from just outside the terminal and speed across the lagoon towards the city known locally as Serenissima (“the most serene”).
As you enter the city, your taxi will navigate through the maze of canals to your chosen lodgings – many hotels have private jetties along the canals, so you can step straight from your water taxi into the lobby. Once you’ve settled in, consider a guided walking tour as a way of getting to know this dreamy city and its famous sights.
With a full day in Venice you’ll have the opportunity to see this unique city from all angles. Water buses constantly journey up and down the main canals, and you can buy a day pass that allows you to jump on and off wherever you please. If you prefer a more sedate pace, book a ride in a graceful gondola and glide along some of the beguiling little side canals.
Walking is a great way to explore Venice’s maze of colourful streets – your hotel can provide you with a map to help you navigate between the palaces, museums and art galleries.
Relax during the short train journey from Venice to Verona (around 70 minutes) before transferring to your hotel in the heart of this compact city. Then venture out into the charming medieval streets, where pavement cafés abound, especially around the beautiful square of Piazza delle Erbe, which is the buzzing social hub of Verona. Just to the south of this square is “Juliet’s house”, which attracts thousands of visitors who are captivated by the Verona-set story of Romeo and Juliet. Some even leave love letters under the balcony where Romeo supposedly came a-wooing – even though Shakespeare’s play was a work of fiction.
The oldest part of Verona stands within a sweeping bend of the Adige River and is ideal for exploring on foot. If you’re here in the summer, the city hosts a famous opera festival, with regular open air performances in the impressive setting of the 2,000 year old Roman amphitheatre.
If you want to pick up a souvenir or check out the local fashions, head from the amphitheatre into Via Mazzini, which is the narrow but bustling main shopping street. One of the most tranquil spots in Verona is Giardino Giusti, a classical Italian garden perched on a hillside and offering captivating views across the city’s terracotta rooftops.
The train from Verona to Desenzano del Garda Station only takes around 20 minutes, before you transfer to your chosen hotel on the beautiful shores of Lake Garda. The lake is lined with pretty towns and villages, ranging from lively resorts like Bardolino and Riva to quieter and more intimate places like Salo and Gardone Riviera. You can spend the afternoon and evening strolling along lakeside promenades, exploring cobbled side streets and seeking out a little restaurant for dinner.
Lake Garda is over 50km long and there’s a lot to see around its vivid blue shores. From medieval villas and romantic castles to soaring mountains and renowned vineyards. As an introduction to the area you can take advantage of Citalia’s guided excursions, including a road trip around the lake on the spectacular Gardesana Road, which passes under soaring cliffs and through remarkable tunnels.
Alternatively, get to know some of the region’s acclaimed wines on a vineyard tour, or head into the Dolomite Mountains and take the cable car up to Sass Pordoi. The panoramic viewing platform is perched on a huge cliff and offers profound views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.
Italy’s second city makes a great day out from Lake Garda, and Citalia’s excursion includes a guided walking tour of the major sites. After you’ve marvelled at the astonishing gothic cathedral and the famous La Scala opera house, there’ll be plenty of time for a little retail therapy in the boutiques of this famously fashion conscious city. Then return to Lake Garda for your last evening by the water.
Head to your chosen airport for your return flight home.
Based on 2 adults sharing. Travelling October 2023.
Quote reference number: 53051295