​Take in the very best of Lake Como, Portofino and Florence at your leisure on an itinerary of anything from seven to ten days driving through Northern Italy's finest locations – giving you more than enough time to delve deep under the skin of each of these enchanting places as well as enjoying the charms of their finest activities.

Seeing Italy by car is by far one of the most magical journeys you can take, regardless of whether you choose to see it by Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, classic convertible or Fiat 500 (don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it – these smaller cars are ideal for nipping in and out of the more hectic cities, exploring the region’s tiny villages and negotiating their ridiculously-narrow streets or vertigo-inducing coastal roads – some of those being an adventure in themselves!). 

Either way, it’s a truly amazing trip, one where you can take all the time you want to head off into the hills, venturing off-the-beaten-track to explore the rugged coastlines and beautiful landscapes.  
Charm, Elegance and George Clooney!

​Where else in the world can you find palatial villas, exquisite gardens, yacht charters, an abundance of nature, rapturous romance, floating swimming pools, oh – and George Clooney (if you're super lucky!)? 

Welcome to Como – some say the most beautiful and dramatic of the Italian Lakes (and we have to agree!).

For us, the most glorious thing to do here is relax and just soak up the ambience. Find a café, sip a latte and watch the stylish world go by. 

The natural wonderland of the region is guaranteed to de-stress and revive, and there's nothing more weird (and, at the same time, completely wonderful) than swimming in a pool that's floating on the lake itself.​


Italian Indulgence and La Dolce Vita

You only have to take a look at the walls of Belmond Hotel Splendido, adorned with photos of its most celebrated guests from over the years, to get a feel for just how stylish the town of Portofino – and the Italian Riviera as a whole – is. 

Beloved just as much for its local, laidback charm as it is for its over-the-top glamour, it's home to the prettiest port on the Med, divine local cuisine, pristine beaches and some of the world's best people-watching! 

Authority here is tight, which gives it a more exclusive, grown-up feel – little wonder then that this destination is a dream come true for the jet-set who can escape here without giving their own privacy a second thought.​

Beauty, Brains and History too!

Famous for its plethora of fabulous historic sights, vibrant atmosphere, unique blend of Renaissance architecture, and of course, our own favourite activity, shopping, 

Florence is an ideal all-year-rounder. Spring and summer are especially good times to enjoy those romantic alfresco dinners and soak up the stunning views, while out of season it’s brilliant for shopping and winter festivals.

Driving around Florence can be tricky and they do say it’s not for the faint-hearted, but many of the major attractions are slap bang in the heart of the city, so it’s better to leave your car at the hotel and set out on foot anyway.

If you love...

Shopping: We particularly love shopping in Florence. There’s everything from our own shopping mecca of Armani, to everyone’s favourite designers, and we can set you up with a fantastic personal shopper who’ll help you negotiate the best of the boutiques. Explore Via Tornabuon, Via Strozzi and Via Roma – home to Florence’s luxury designers – and don’t miss the Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo museums. AMAZING!!!!!​

If you love... 

Mountain and lake views: Leave Como, take the Via Regina along the west side of the lake and head to Cernobbio, a gorgeous village (home to Villa d’Este) with ancient origins and narrow buildings in shades of pink, terracotta, gold and cream. Drive up to the peak of Mount Bisbino and you’ll be rewarded with some seriously-stunning postcard-worthy views (and the start of a 125km hiking trail if that’s your thing). Strangely enough it was also the site of some UFO sightings back in 2012!

18th- and 19th-century Italian architecture: Visit Tremezzo, home to some of Lake Como’s most beautiful villas, including the world-famous Villa Carlotta – a masterpiece of art and architecture, completed in 1743 with its impressive art collection and stunning lakeside gardens. The small village of Griante is also particularly famous for its villas and gardens (most are private and therefore only viewable from afar) which, along with the peaceful ambience, is why to this day it attracts a long list of illustrious guests, including poets, composers, dignitaries and royalty.​

If you love... 

Peace and quiet: Classy, chic, calm and chilled, Portofino is definitely the place to be if you want a vibrant atmosphere, without any of the white noise. Helicopters and jet skis are prohibited, there's no outdoor music allowed after 10pm, no new building has been constructed in the last 40 years, no-one is permitted to swim in the port itself and nightclubs are situated a little further away, like Paraggi (around 10 minutes away by car).​

Local life: We absolutely adore the glamour of Portofino. This is where people watching is at its best and you simply can't help yourself! It's a must for anyone who wants to experience the chic, classic lifestyle of the locals in their small yet buzzy habitat, the main street lined with designer boutiques like Hermes, Gucci, Dior et al.

Exploring: Just wandering around Florence for us is heaven and we love the narrow streets lined with colourful vespas and the beautifully-dressed everywhere you look! 

If you want fabulous city views, head to the beautiful gardens on the south bank of the River Arno

Further afield is the charmingly-quaint Pisa – well worth a visit to see the Leaning Tower alone. 

Or, 50 minutes' drive away is the beautiful medieval city of Lucca, one of Tuscany's best-kept secrets: compact and easy to explore on foot or bicycle, with a labyrinth of narrow streets, and a great collection of galleries and museums, including Puccini's former home.

The Arts: Florence has an almost endless list of art that you'll want to tick off during your stay, with paintings, sculptures and frescoes created by the greatest minds of all time. The Uffizi Gallery is home to an unrivalled collection of Renaissance sculptures and paintings from the likes of da Vinci, Francesca and Botticelli.

All prices include return economy class flights.


People-watching: "Pearl of the Lake" Bellagio is said to be one of the most exclusive resorts on the edge of Lake Como. Its picturesque, narrow cobbled streets (this is where that Fiat 500 would come in handy!) are home to some fabulous little restaurants and classy boutiques and it is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful towns in Europe. A nice contrast from your tranquil lakeside hotel, Bellagio always has a buzzy vibe: busy and bustling it's a great place to feel grounded again, as if you're anything like us, you're guaranteed to feel like a movie star with diva demands during your stay in and around Lake Como!

Dining out: If you're a serious foodie then Navedano's classic Italian menu should be top of your list. Hidden away in an exquisite 19th-century villa, just minutes from the centre of Como, this is a chic, elegant conservatory restaurant (the only one of its kind in Italy), adorned with flowers and run by the Casartelli Family for four generations. Equally as impressive, with regional food that's out-of-this- world, the informal, yet oh-so-chic Il Grill at Villa d'Este is great for dining alfresco come summer.

Where to stay: The liberty-style Grand Hotel Tremezzo has been welcoming guests for over 100 years, with enviable views of Lake Como and perfectly located next door to beautiful Villa Carlotta. 

7 nights from £950 per person, including breakfast.

Dining out: In Portofino it's the law (or it should be!) to dine in the harbour at least once. The restaurant owners are just genuinely pleased to see you and are so so welcoming. There's nowhere better to sit and watch the world go by than at Belmond Splendido Mare's Chuflay Bar & Restaurant with its great harbour-front location and exceptional food – this is somewhere that's exceptionally hard to leave. Da Puny has a more local/traditional feel, serving the freshest fish and the best lasagnes ever! The owner himself has been welcoming guests for many years, and not only remembers your name from your last visit but also what you like and what you don't, proving time and time again that it's all the little things that make places like this so magical.

Where to stay: Sitting proudly on the hillside, the Belmond Hotel Splendido is undoubtedly Belmond's (and Portofino's) finest. Just ten minutes' walk to the fishing village below if you can bear to tear yourself away from the hotel – it just doesn't get any better than this. 

4 nights from £925 per person, including breakfast.

​​From here, if you book a special guided tour, you can head to the Pitti Palace and its Boboli Gardens via the kilometre-long Vasari Corridor. Michelangelo's masterpiece "David" is also a must-see, found at the Accademia Gallery, north of Cathedral Square. And for opera lovers, Andrea Bocelli is performing live in Lajatico (around 50 minutes from Pisa and 90 minutes from Florence) from 30 July-3 August this year!

Dining: Widely regarded as the best place to dine in Florence, La Loggia at Belmond Villa San Michele has a superb 15th-century setting, exceptional cuisine and jaw-dropping views. Irene is Hotel Savoy's stylish new bistro and bar in the heart of the city; and while Florence is famous for its "Bistecca Fiorentina", Fuor d'acqua (which translates as "out of water") will convert anyone to craving something from the sea.​

Where to stay: The 15th-century hillside Il Salviatino, just ten minutes from the heart of Florence is guaranteed to blow you away. Quirky and stylish, its interiors are pretty special, as is its homely, laid-back feel. The smallest room here offers the best view, while others can be found through hidden doorways. 

4 nights from £725 per person, including breakfast.​​

For further information on this or any of our other travel experiences, please call our Travel Directors on

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