STORY Small Group Tours of Italy

Story Land & Sea®



Bologna, Cinque Terre, Lake Como, Bellagio

Discover Bologna, the Cinque Terre, Italian Riviera, Stresa, Lake Maggiore, Lake Como and Bellagio
STORY Exclusives, Top-10 Italian Chef Experience
Classic Hotels Package from $5,879 —  Deluxe Hotels Package from $6,879
Video: Why STORY for your small group tour?


9 Day Italy's Enchanted North

STORY's Small Group tour through Northern Italy
9-Day Italy's Enchanted North Tour

The quintessential Northern Italy Small Group Tour up to 16 Guests featuring Bologna, Cinque Terre, Italian Riviera, Stresa, Lake Maggiore, Bellagio on beautiful Lake Como


It Was a Day Like No Other.

Discovering Bologna's Secrets.
Walking the Streets of the Cinque Terre.
Soaking up Lake Como's Bellagio.

A Postcard setting on Lake Como - Cuisine that even the Italians rave about in Emilia Romagna - A World Heritage Site in the Cinque Terre - Read on and let Northern Italy's culture spring to life on your journey through the Enchanted North.

  • Northern Italy Tour, Italian Lakes
  • Italy's Northern Lake Maggiore
  • Cinque Terre
  • Bologna, Italy

Daily Tour Itinerary
Transatlantic Flight to Bologna (BLQ), Italy

Day 1: Your Overnight Transatlantic Flight

Depart the United States on your Trans-Atlantic flight to Europe.

Please Note: "Day 1" is the published tour date and is the date you will arrange your air travel to depart your home airport.

Can we help you with your Airfare? Yes, we can arrange your air travel from the Story Land & Sea® AirService department. We'll work with you to get the absolutely lowest fare available based on your travel preferences.

Remember, airfare is a completely separate arrangement from your land tour. It is your responsibility to arrive at the point of tour origination (Bologna) on time, regardless of whether Story Land & Sea® has arranged your air.

We feature an optional meet-and-great and private arrival transfer from Bologna airport or train station to our hotel property in Bologna. Please inquire with reservations.

At the end of the Italy's Enchanted North Tour you should set your flight to return from Milan (MXP). If you are extending to another city or region, then please inquire for the most convenient airport to catch your return flight. Remember, you can extend your stay on Lake Como, venture into Switzerland or continue your journey through Italy. The options are endless.

Welcome to Italy's Enchanted North Tour


Day 2: Welcome to Bologna, Italy

City: Bologna
Region: Emilia Romagna 

food icon   Included Dining: Welcome Dinner
star icon   Exclusive: Story Land & Sea® Original Welcome Experience

Anthony Bourdain has a palate for good food and that's why he has started exploring this region, Emilia-Romagna, where our enchanting journey begins.

Bologna is known as La Grossa or "the fat," of Italy. Not a derogatory description, but a compliment as Bologna is known for its food and its ancient towns of Faenza, Modena and Parma - all teeming with great cuisine.

This afternoon you will join your Tour Captain for an Orientation Walkabout on your arrival day in Bologna.

You will learn about some of the history and notoriety of this amazing city. Your Orientation Walk will also point out the major landmarks and the lay of the land in relation to our hotel. We'll introduce you to the best ATM machines for Euro and currency exchange rates, and other helpful information for your stay in Bologna.

Walking Level: Light, Leisurely Pace. Volume: Light

Story Exclusive: Tonight, join in a Story Land & Sea® original experience with our reception & welcome from the Tour Captain from one of our classic perspectives: a unique vantage point to survey Bologna in the company of your fellow travelers.

Your Small Group Tour Vacation to Italy is underway! After our reception, we'll walk to our Welcome Dinner in Bologna.

STORY Way Dining: Tonight join your Tour Captain for an included welcome to Bologna dinner the Story Way!

About the STORY Way of Dining
Experience the genuine difference of Story Land & Sea®'s included dinner experiences: We've collected our favorite dishes from the incredible restaurants we visit for each included dinner. No buffets here! Your Tour Captain is there to make sure your dining experience goes smoothly and will help you interpret any menu item. For this Deluxe package, the 3 total included dinners, your Tour Captain will select a variety of appetizers, featuring regional cuisine, and will select your vino for the evening – a variety of red and white wine from the region you're traveling – and yes, the wine flows.

Bologna is a sophisticated city of piazzas, leaning towers (once numbering more than 200 and twenty still stand!), fabulous food, and an 11th-century university, the oldest in Europe. Bologna is our home for the next two days and nights.

Heart of City Accommodation in Bologna, 2 Nights
Grand Hotel Majestic già Baglioni, Art Hotel Commercianti or Similar
Classic: Art Hotel Novocento or Similar


Bologna Discovery
Vittorio Emanuele II Monument

Day 3: Bologna

After breakfast, we will meet our expert local guide for our immersion walking tour of Bologna.

Beginning at the Fountain of Neptune, one of the key icons of Bologna, we will enjoy a world-class tour with included entrances and special access. Then we discover Piazza Maggiore, the great central square of Bologna which is surrounded by Palazzo Podesta and the Basilica of San Petronio.

Sala Borsa, Bologna's key library, was the city's economic center and today is the center of its' culture and provides a meeting place for the Bolognese.

John Grisham fan? Enjoy learning from our Expert Guide about some of the sites from his thriller novel, The Broker.

Bologna is a magical city that boasts much to explore (and taste). After our morning tour, enjoy the day at leisure as you explore this interesting city.  

Optional Dining: Tonight consider joining the Tour Captain for an optional dinner or explore on your own.


Optional Excursions before and after your tour:

Parma Cuisine1/2 Day in Parma with Lunch and Tasting   $299 pp

Train tickets to Parma
2 hour walking tour with cheese tastings ending with lunch at Osteria Dei Servi

Modena Balsamic Vinager Tasting1/2 Day in Modena with Lunch and Tasting   $299 pp

Train tickets to Modena
2 hour walking tour with cheese tastings ending with lunch at Osteria Dei Servi

Bologna CuisineCulinary Class and Market While in Bologna    $189 pp

-Preparation of pasta and Gnocchi dough
-Making of Gnocchi, Tagliatelle and Tortelloni
-Preparation of the Bolognese sauce (ragù) and tomatoes sauce
-Dinner with regional wine
-Other menu are available on request; vegetarians are welcome

Do not hesitate to let us know your intolerance or food restrictions, we will manage as well as we can. The preparations are always from scratch and made with fresh ingredients.

10 guests maximum

To the Italian Riviera

Day 4: Parma Region & Santa Margherita Ligure

star icon   Exclusive: Emilia Romagna Experience
food icon   Included Dining: Welcome Dinner
star icon   STORY Exclusive

A beautiful morning awaits today's chapter in your Story of travel through Northern Italy. Discovering more of the Emilia Romagna region we arrive at our winery estate for a unique experience.

Story Exclusive®: Enjoy our Winery Estate Experience in the region known for its cuisine paired with delicious wine varietals: a delightful diversion on our way to the Italian Riviera.

We are whisked along the northern Italian countryside until we arrive the town of Santa Margherita Ligure, our home for the next three nights.

Welcome to the Italian Riviera ~ Santa Margherita Ligure

City: Santa Margherita Ligure
Region: Liguria

We arrive at Santa Margherita Ligure, our beautiful resort town with everything a Riviera playground should have: ocean front views, palm trees, grand hotels, seaside cafes, and a yacht-filled harbor marina. Many of the older structures here feature frescoes using the art technique, trompe l'oeil, which uses realistic imagery to create an optical illusion in three dimension. This is a typical style found in this region.

Santa Margherita Ligure is the perfect balance: "more spacious than the Cinque Terre; less glitzy than San Remo; more relaxing than Genoa and environs; and ideally situated for day trips." We agree. Our included excursion to the Cinque Terre (literally five lands) on Day 5 is a great way to explore the popular destination.

Story Way Dining: Enjoy a welcome dinner tonight with your Tour Captain on the amazing Italian Riviera.

Accommodation on the Italian Riviera, 3 Nights
Grand Hotel Miramare or Similar
Classic: Best Western Regina Elena or Similar


Learning the Story of the Cinque Terre
The Duomo in Florence, Italy

Day 5: Cinque Terre in English is 'Five Lands'

Region: Liguria

After breakfast, meet the Tour Captain in the lobby to enjoy an excursion to the Cinque Terre. You'll want good walking shoes as there are many hills and sights to explore here. After our guided immersion this morning, you may opt to sit and watch the very interesting passers-by or hike part of the great trails.

Most departures will feature travel to the Cinque Terre by train. Occasionally, we will travel by boat.

The Cinque Terre is a World Heritage Site and lives up to its classification. Cinque Terre means five lands, referring to the five villages precariously perched along the coast. It is famous for its white wine and the Pesto Sauce with pasta is a must as the Italian Riviera is where Pesto originated. Enjoy the tiny villages perched high above the sea, with their many wine bars and restaurants.

Ready to hike the Cinque Terre? Today the Tour Captain will give you great, close-up advice and access to the trails.

Optional Dining Tonight: Consider an optional dinner tonight with your Tour Captain to a delightful restaurant on the Italian Riviera.


Italian Riviera

Day 6: Liguria

food icon   Optional Dining: Consider an optional dinner tonight with your Tour Captain to a delightful restaurant on the Italian Riviera.

Enjoy a free day to explore the beautiful Italian Riviera at your leisure. Many options including water sports, culinary experiences, walking tours and spa treatments await you. Inquire for details.

Optional Dining Tonight: Consider joining your Tour Captain for optional dining or explore the city at your leisure.

Stresa, Lake Maggiore & Isola Bella
Lake Maggiore, Stresa & Isola Bella

Day 7: Isola Bella

After breakfast, we are bound for Stresa and beautiful Lake Maggiore, home to the enchanted island of Isola Bella, part of the Borromeo islands. We board our boat to enjoy a tour of the palazzo on the island with admission and our guided experience of the Borromeo Palace.

Sightseeing Immersion: Enjoy admission with our expert guide as we explore Palazzo Borromeo on beautiful Isola Bella.

The most famous of the islands on Maggiore is Isola Bella. It boasts an immaculately landscaped garden and is named after the wife of one of the Borromeo men, Isabella.

The island has been completely transformed into a terraced pyramid of formal gardens and white peacocks. Isola Bella is dominated by the vast Borromeo Palace.

We continue on to beautiful Bellagio on Lake Como, our home for the next two days and nights.

Accommodation in the Heart of Lake Como, Bellagio, 2 Nights
Grand Villa Serbelloni
Classic: Hotel Centrale Bellagio or Similar


Exploring Lake Como
Italy's Lake Como

Day 8: Jewels of the Lake

City: Bellagio
Region: Lombardy


We enjoy breakfast before our included tour via private boat on beautiful Lake Como.

star icon   STORY Exclusive: Board our private boat for a private excursion of Lake Como including views of Villa Balbianello and admission to Villa Carlotta. We toast the 'top of Italy' today as this wow experience brings the lake and her surroundings to life.

star icon   STORY Way Dining: Farewell Dinner

About Lake Como
Lago di Como is the third largest lake in Italy. At over 1320 feet deep it is one of the deepest lakes in Europe. The lake's name comes from the town of Como. On a clear day the spectacular Alps are visible across the lake. Lake Como boasts a variety of attractive villas which have stood since Pliny the Younger constructed the Comedia and Tragedia.

Villa Carlotta is a place of rare beauty where art and nature intertwine. There are over 70 square meters (about 230 square feet) of gardens to explore. The villa, built at the end of the 17th century by the marquis Giorgio Clerici from Milan, sits in the natural basin between the lake and the mountains. It faces the grand dolomite Grignas and the Bellagio peninsula. The garden is Italian by design and temperance, and includes sculptures, stairs and fountains. In 1801 Gian Battista Sommariva, a famous politician and businessman (as well as patron of the arts) bought the villa. It is because of Sommariva that the villa came into its splendor and became "the most important halting-place of the Grand Tour," the traditional tour through Europe's best landmarks.

Delicious STORY Way Dining Tonight
After our last day of sightseeing together, we'll enjoy our Farewell Dinner in Bellagio, where you'll taste the finest cuisine and wine varietals from the region of Lombardy. Be sure to join your Tour Captain for this Farewell Dinner in Bellagio, Italy.

his STORY Land & Sea® Exclusive includes a special wine and dining experience with a Top 10 Italian Chef. You will experience some of the finest cuisine the North has to offer.


Varena on Lake Como Varenna Food and Walking Tour with Lunch    $169 pp

Choose to extend you stay in Bellagio one night and enjoy the beautiful Lake Como one more day! 

During this unique 2 1/2 hour walking tour we will explore Varenna’s historic centre and will visit a fascinating original mill on the hills of Perledo where you will be offered a tasting of the world famous locally produced olive oil, typical Valsassina cheese, cold cuts and wine

Varenna, with celtic origins, steep alleys, colorful houses and beautiful churches, is the most charming  town on the Lecco side of the lake.  One of the three pearls of Lake Como, together with Bellagio and Menaggio have enchanted visitors over the years.

We will visit the church of San Giorgio, a true masterpiece of the 14th century famous for its black marble floor and  its beautiful frescoes adorning the interior of the basilica. We will then proceed to the tiny St. John the Baptist church, one of the oldest churches on lake Como dating back to the eleventh century. We will walk down ancient stone alleys passing by elegant cafes and artisan workshops finishing on the poramic and romantic lake front "passeggiata degli innamorati" (lover's walk), a beautiful walkway not to be missed.
Lunch will be served in a lakefront restaurant where you will sample typical freshwater fish starters and delicious pasta (a non-fish menu will also be available).

Price is per person. 
2 people minimum.

Tour Ends: Where To Now?

Day 9: Arrivederci!

Consider an extra night in Bellagio, an extension to Switzerland, or Florence, or perhaps our villa in Tuscany.

Inquire with reservations for great endings to your travels!

Dining: Breakfast is included this morning.

Optional Departure Transfer in Milan
We feature an AnyTime private transfer from Bellagio hotel to Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) or Milano Centrale train station. Please inquire with reservations.



Heart of City Hotels.

Story's Deluxe hotel properties are exceptional.

There is a difference between centrally-located hotels and Story Land & Sea®'s Heart of City hotels. No taxis or shuttles required when you're in the historical heart of the cities and villages. Our Deluxe tour hotels feature a full, hot breakfast included daily with cappuccino, tea, juice and an assortment of meats, fresh, local vegetables, fresh-baked pastries and fruit.

Our small group Italy tour hotels feature historical architecture with all the amenities to expect from 4- and 5-star luxury Italian hotels. The properties are located in the heart of the Italian cities, towns and villages. We proudly feature the following Italy tour hotels which have been personally inspected for quality and standard. On very rare occasion, we may substitute any Italian hotel for an Italy tour property of equal or greater quality and standard.

Remember, availability in tour hotels may be affected based on seasonal demand. Alternate hotel properties of equal quality will be used when the following hotels are not available.

Bologna Hotels - 2 Nights

Santa Margherita Ligure Hotels - 3 Nights

Bellagio Hotels - 2 Nights

What's Included on your Small Group Tour?

Deliciously Slow Travel through Northern Italy

We've tried to include everything on our Guaranteed Departures;
However, make note of the following:
  • ARRIVAL TRANSFER: We feature an optional meet-and-great and private arrival transfer for $59 per person. Bologna airport or train station to Bologna hotel. 2 guest minimum. Includes standard gratuities.
  • DEPARTURE TRANSFER: We feature an AnyTime private transfer from Bellagio hotel to Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) or Milano Centrale train station for $189 per person. 2 guest minimum.
    Our winery excursion includes a scrumptuous luncheon while other lunches are not included. Our Tour Captains and Guides will offer great, affordable suggestions for delicious lunches everyday.
    • Story Cares: Emergency line support during your tour. In addition to your Tour Captain, we have our in-Italy staff ready to support.
    • No Hidden Fees: Tourist fees & taxes, tourist city taxes all included.
    • PROFESSIONAL STORY TOUR CAPTAIN®. With you from the time the tour begins and until it ends.
    This tour features our expert, local Italian guides in Bologna, the Italian Riviera and Bellagio who speak English well, and possess a passion for sharing Italy with our guests.
    World-class sightseeing Immersion: Story Land & Sea®'s approach to exploring the local scene while integrating lasting experiences that reflect culture and leave the traveler changed for good.

    Heart of City Hotels and Story Land & Sea® Exclusive Experiences.

    Leave the Herd Behind on this true small group Italian Tour of Northern Italy.

    This Northern Italy tour kicks off in Bologna in the heart of the La Grossa, or the 'fat of Italy.' Doesn't sound appetizing? Trust us. It is. This is the place where Italians rave about food so you know the cuisine found here will be a delicious way to commence your journey.

    Story Exclusive: Enjoy wine and cuisine from the region as we enjoy delectables at a unique venue in Parma including Reggiano Parmigiano Cheese, Parma Ham and wine varietals.

    Then we're set for the Italian Riviera and the Cinque Terre to discover our time along Italy's coast.

    Next we're set for the 'pretty island,' Isola Bella on Lake Maggiore.

    Our finalé is the crown jewel of Lake Como, the very beautiful Bellagio.

    The perfect Italy tour for a returning traveler, Italy's Enchanted North is truly revealed through this delightful itinerary.

    Note: Some trip departures may operate in reverse from Bellagio to Bologna. Please check with reservations.

    Create a personal Northern Italy Itinerary: This tour itinerary is available as an independent vacation led by our expert local guides. Contact us at 1 + 877 865 6711 or online by completing this form.

Airfare is not included but it can be quoted here. Remember, you are responsible to arrive at the point of your small group Italy tour origination. If you are delayed for any reason, your vacation may be at risk even if Story Land & Sea® made your airfare arrangements. Airfare is a completely separate booking from your Italian land tour vacation. You can cancel your vacation with a 100% refund up to 90 days prior to departure. Within 90 days you will begin receiving penalties per the terms of the Tour Application should you have to cancel.

We recommend some form of travel protection to help provide coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical and emergency evacuation, lost or delayed baggage and more. You may purchase this coverage from the provider of your choice. For your convenience, we offer plans through Travelex Insurance Services. For more information on the available plans or to enroll, go to TRAVELEX (click here) 

The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries and may be changed without notice. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex Insurance Services, Inc CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company NAIC # 22276. 11.17 83IT



That's it! Everything else excluding airfare and personal item purchases is included.

Included sightseeing and excursions

Story Land & Sea®'s Unique Walking Tour Experience
We do walk a lot on our small group tours of Italy. It's unhurried and there are ample opportunities to sit and relax. You must be physically capable of walking and experiencing the many stairs of Italy. Please inquire with Story Land & Sea® Reservations for more details.

Hotels in Italy


featuring Grand Villa Servelloni in Bellagio on Lake Como

9 day round-trip travel including STORY's unique approach to Italy with Fast-Track Access in Bologna, Slow Travel themes through the Cinque Terre and Italian Riviera, and amazing living in the heart of Lake Como, Bellagio.
2020 Small Group Tour Departures
Choose from STORY's Deluxe or Classic Hotels -- Both feature Heart of City locations.
Italy small group Tour Dates and Rates
classic italy tours small group Dates and Rates
April 2020 Departures
Weather in Italy in April
The finalé of Spring in Italy (Average High 65, Lows 50s). It's not yet high-season in Italy during April.
Apr 22-30



May 2020 Departures
Weather in Italy in May
A great time to visit Italy - (Average Highs 70s, Lows 50s-60s).
May 16-24



June 2020 Departures
Weather in Italy in June
Considered 'high-season' in Italy, June is the near perfect weather month. (Average High 74).
Jun 13-21



July 2020 Departures
Weather in Italy in July
It's Under the Italian Sun in July - fantastic, clear sunny skies characterize Italy. (Average Highs 75˚ - 90˚).
Jul 4-12



Jul 11-19



August 2020 Departures
Weather in Italy in August
Dry and warm summer temps (Average High 84, Low 65).
Aug 3-11



Aug 29-Sep 7



September 2020 Departures
Weather in Italy in September
Summer-like days usher warmer temps earlier in the month (Average High 70s, Low 60s).
Sep 8-16



Sep 22-30



October 2020 Departures
Weather in Italy in October
The "True Start of Fall" is heralded in (Average Highs 70s, Lows 50-60s).
Oct 2-10



Oct 9-17



Deluxe Solo* Supplement : $1,759
Classic Solo* Supplement: $1,179

*Solo supplement provides a double occupancy room for solo use and is with a tour that already has at least six (6) other guests booked.

Published prices are based on a guaranteed departure with at least six (6) Story guests — Inquire with reservations to find out your preferred departure's current tour size and pricing.

Or do these dates not work for your schedule?

Call us: 1 877 865 6711

Take over a departure for your own private group.

Inquire for details.

Prefer to travel with just the two of you? Inquire for our Private Journey option.



Head North! Start exploring Italy's Enchanted North today. We're ready to help!




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