Story Land & Sea®

Tuscan Dreams: Italian Villa

A Special Alumni & Friends Adventure
with optional pre-tour of the Italian Lakes

"Open my heart and you will see, Engraved inside of it, Italy!"

Our small group tour of Italy presents a unique approach to discovering the truly undiscovered treasures from the Lakes Region to the rolling, wine rich, Tuscan hills.

The perfect balance of inclusions and free time in some of Italy's most beautiful countryside, beginning in Bellagio on Lake Como, nestled in the Italian Alps!

This is my special itinerary that will have a wonderful element of cuisine and wine perfectly intertwined through our immersion of some of Italy's most prized places: Bellagio, Florence, and Siena are the highlights of this amazing journey through Italy! —  Mark Story

Ferrara, Italy

Bellagio on Lake Como

Our Daily Itinerary

I enjoy a wonderful 'job' in travel designing dream itineraries to destinations all around the globe for our esteemed Story Guests. One place in particular that appeals to me is Italy. I am thankful for my job and for being able to travel to Italy at least once a year with such wonderful adventurers!

It's true, I love seeing the look of satisfaction and pleasant surprise on the faces of our Story Guests — I see it when they have tasted that unique varietal of wine in Tuscany, or that incredible sunset over Florence, or seeing their delight as the Amalfi Coast unfolds around them — so, in 2019 I decided it was time for another amazing experience in Italy with some of of our favorite places, and a few news ones too. I am pleased to present to you our itinerary for "Alps, Lakes & Tuscany".

—  Mark Story


Your Overnight Transatlantic Flight 

Today, you will depart your home airport on your Trans-Atlantic flight bound for Milan, Italy. Your flight is not included but you can request a best-rate fare from our Air Service.

More of the StoryArrive Early to the Veneto Region. Many Story guests prefer to arrive a day early to recover from their Transatlantic flight, and often extend at the end of their trip as well. Story provides a special pre-tour or post-tour overnight hotel service and can make your reservation for you. 
Inquire here or call today 1 (877) 865-6711. 

Note: Day 1 is the published tour date and is the date you will arrange your air travel. Your small group tour commences on itinerary Day 2 upon arrival into Bellagio.

Veneto Vineyards
Lake Como in the Italian Alps of Northern Italy



Arriving into the Milano Malpensa airport you will meet your Story transfer driver in the arrivals hall of the airport and transfer by private vehicle to your amazing Bellagio Villa hotel.

This afternoon you will meet your Tour Captain and fellow travelers in the lobby for a delightful and informative orientation walk of this beautiful Lake Como town.

Join your Tour Captain for an wonderful welcome reception in the Villa ballroom overlooking the lake.

Treviso, Italy


Walking Level: Light, Leisurely Pace. Volume: Light

food icon   Special Story Way® Dining: Tonight join your Tour Captain for an included Welcome to Italy Dinner the Story Way!

About the Story Way®: Slow Food: Locally grown, farm to table.
Our approach to dining is truly unique just like each of the regions of Italy. The Italian chefs and families are proud of their delicious dishes which hail from each of the regions in which Story travels.

Story of Food in Italy: You will enjoy a variety of dishes with pasta. Many seafood dishes represent the traditions of this historic sea port but not to fear, there are many options other than seafood. In the region of Emilia Romagna, known as "la grassa," or 'the fat,' (in a good way!), we will dine on cuisine and vino from a region which even Italians brag about!

Story Land & Sea®'s unique, off-the-beaten-path venues provide an immersion into authentic regional Italian food and wine. 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." Then you will be presented with a menu with Story's top recommendations (where available) in tandem with the restaurant's primary menu. It's an intentionally slow evening of delight so you can savor the experience.

Story of the Slow Food Movement: Story Land & Sea® is committed to the Slow Food Movement which was founded by Carlo Petrini in Piedmont, Italy in 1986. This "movement" strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages the farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic to the local ecosystems found throughout Italy.

Accommodations: Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni


PRE 2: Bellagio & St. Moritz

This morning you will meet your Tour Captain and English speaking Story driver and transfer by private vehicle to Tirano Italy where you catch your train to St Moritz.

You have reserved seating for this thrilling ride on one of Switzerland's most famous scenic trains. Thanks to the modern panoramic cars, you will enjoy unrestricted views of the unspoilt Alpine panorama.

Arriving to St Moritz it will be time for a nice lunch (on own) and plenty of time to walk around this Alpine Village with views all around.

Back on board the Bernina Express train you get to experience the ride back to the valley below. On the highest railway across the Alps, the Bernina Express climbs up to the glistening glaciers before descending to the palms of Italy far below.

You will meet your Story Driver and return by private transfer to Bellagio.

Arriving back to Bellagio you can enjoy a beautiful dinner in town with your Tour Captain..

Accommodations: Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni


PRE 3: Lake Como Exploration

Story Exclusive® This morning after a wonderful breakfast, you 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.

This afternoon after your lake cruise you have the balance of the day to enjoy Bellagio at your own pace.

La Rotonda


food icon    Special Story Way® Dining
This Story Land & Sea®Exclusive includes a special wine and dining with a Top 10 Italian Chef. You will experience some of the finest cuisine the Nord has to offer.

Accommodations: Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni

The Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni is one of the oldest and most elegant hotels in the Lake Como area and the only 5 star de-luxe hotel in Bellagio. Lovers of peace and quiet can alternate the pleasure of a poolside drink with beauty treatments and programmes at Villa Serbelloni SPA, the hotel's own beauty farm. Or they can set off from the private dock for a motorboat trip to the historic gardens along the lake which, in Springtime, attract tourists from all over the world: especially for the wonderful flowering of the azaleas.




Upon arrival the airport or if you have opted for our pre-tour Italian Lakes experience, we will make our way to the very heart of Tuscany.

Ferrara, Italy

Tuscany Hill-country

Your luggage will be transferred to the Villa for you today so that you can fully enjoy your first class train ride with ease.

Arriving into Milan's central station you board your high speed train with first class reservations for your journey to Florence.

Arriving into the Florence Santa Maria Novella train station, we'll meet the Story transfer driver and head into the very heart of the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany.

Story Exclusive® Enjoy our in-depth experience at our winery estate in the heart of Tuscany. We will enjoy a tour of the production facilities and cellars, followed by a delightful wine-tasting paired with perfect morsels for lunch. Buon Appetito!

After lunch you travel a very short way to our Tuscan Villa property where you will settle in for the next six nights surrounded by the beauty and tranquility of the Tuscan countryside.

food icon   Included Dining: This evening, plan to join your Tour Captain at the Villa for a wonderful included dinner.

Accommodations: Villa Dievole



Villa Leisure
Today you will enjoy an authentic culinary experience. The hands-on course covers traditional, home-style Tuscan and Italian recipes to enjoy the wonderfully intense flavours & freshness of traditional Italian dishes cooked in an evocative stone farmhouse in the hills of Chianti, surrounded by vineyard & olive groves. The classes are held in a friendly atmosphere. And you have the chance to make new friends and learn a few culinary secrets from Simonetta and Paola. Participants cook and eat dishes prepared using fresh, organic and natural ingredients. A complete meal (5 recipes)such as appetizers, a pasta dish, a vegetable or meat dish and then a dessert is prepared every day and is accompanied by the wine which best complements it.

Verona, Italy


In the early afternoon we will experience an informative and unique wine tasting and tour of Dievole. This tasting will be complete with a nice amount of delicacies of the region and will do nicely for a light meal. Afterwards you are once again free to relax around the estate.

food icon   Included Villa Dining: This evening, plan to join your Tour Captain at the Villa for a wonderful dinner.

Ferrara, Italy

Accommodations: Villa Dievole




Private Tour & Included Lunch Panzano
Today we travel into a few beautiful little villages and hill towns of Tuscany. Your first stop will be the quintessential Tuscan village of Castellina in Chianti. The spectacular drive out to this almost hidden Chianti landmark, is reason enough to visit its stone cobbled streets. However, as if that weren't enough, Castellina offers a long history reaching back to the Bronze age up today and its active participation in wine and olive oil production. Your driver/guide will lead you on a nice walking tour of the village. Afterwards we head of through the beautiful Tuscan hills to Panzano. We will certainly want to visit the Antica Macelleria Cecchini, a butcher shop famous for its Florentine steak, where the owner recites passages from Dante's Divine Comedy while serving customers. We will take time for an included lunch here at the famous Mac Dario ristorante before continuing our day.

We have one more fantastic stop planned today as we move through this beautiful area of Italy, and that is the village considered the gateway to Chianti Classico, Greve in Chianti. This lively town is famous for its particularly shaped piazza or square that has been a marketplace for the castles and walled villages in the surroundings since the Middle Ages. The square has a triangular shape, and large porticos along three sides protect from sun and rain while shopping. You are in for a wine tasting treat here as we visit Le Cantine. Le Cantine di Greve in Chianti is a vast commercial enoteca stocking more than 1,200 wines, of which at least 140 wines are available for tasting (including Vin Santo and grappa). The enoteca has a pay-by-the-glass automated system where you purchase a wine card, select a wine of your choice, a precise amount of wine is dispensed into your glass and the cost deducted from your card balance.

Lake Garda, Italy

Tuscany, Italy

From our visit to Greve, we will make our way back to our lovely villa for a wonderful evening to relax and enjoy the company of our fellow travelers. You might enjoy a dip in one of the pools at the villa before dinner.

food icon   Included Story Way® Dining: A large table is laid between rows of old barrels in the ancient cellars and in this magical atmosphere you will enjoy exquisite Tuscan cuisine, excellent wine and music. An unforgettable evening.

Sirmione, Italy villa & Lake Garda

Tuscan Vineyards

Villa at Sirmione, Italy

Tuscan Sunset

Accommodations: Villa Dievole


Bologna at night

Volterra, Italy


This morning after breakfast we set off to explore another area of Tuscany as we visit the Etruscan hill town of Volterra. Arriving to this beautiful walled town in the mid morning we will meet our Story local and professional guide for a tour of the ancient town of Volterra, a world famous location known for its beautiful historical center. The town is resulting from 3 millenniums of civilization, from the Etruscans and the Romans through the medieval Municipalities and the Renaissance time. We will be guided for an interesting and fascinating look that includes stunning squares, a stunning cathedral, alabaster workshops and Roman and Etruscan ruins. There will be time for lunch (on own) and some shopping before we set off for the afternoon.

Olive Oil Tour/Tasting
Our guide meets us once again in Volterra and takes us to an authentic oil mill where you can learn a lot about a very important part of the Tuscan agricultural production, the production of extra virgin olive oil. While visiting the mill, our guide helps us discover all the phases of the olive pressing process and the secrets of a good extra virgin olive oil. Eventually you will have the chance to taste and compare different types of olive oil of local production.

After our visit we are heading back to our villa to to relax before dinner.

food icon   Included Villa Dining:This evening, plan to join your Tour Captain at the Villa for a wonderful included dinner.

Emilia Romagna Region, Italy

Tuscan Vineyards

Accommodations: Villa Dievole




Today you will enjoy an authentic culinary experience. The hands-on course covers traditional, home-style Tuscan and Italian recipes to enjoy the wonderfully intense flavours & freshness of traditional Italian dishes cooked in an evocative stone farmhouse in the hills of Chianti, surrounded by vineyard & olive groves. The classes are held in a friendly atmosphere. And you have the chance to make new friends and learn a few culinary secrets from Simonetta and Paola. Participants cook and eat dishes prepared using fresh, organic and natural ingredients. A complete meal (5 recipes)such as appetizers, a pasta dish, a vegetable or meat dish and then a dessert is prepared every day and is accompanied by the wine which best complements it.

Tuscany is unhurried and this afternoon you are free to experience this as your time is at leisure.

food icon   Included Tuscan BBQ Dinner: This evening you come together for a delightful BBQ dinner –Tuscan Style.

Accommodations: Villa Dievole




Morning Leisure
Another peaceful day begins when you feel the time is right. Enjoy waking up when you want and stroll down to the villa for breakfast taking as much time as you might enjoy.

Siena, Italy


Sienna Immersion
Arriving to Siena in the early afternoon we meet another fantastic Story guide who will show us all the most important highlights of Siena. From the fan-shaped central piazza, Il Campo, scene of the beloved Palio horse race, to the soaring Duomo, with an elaborate facade by Giovanni Pisano, the walk will pay special attention to Siena's superb artistic heritage. The historic seat of the Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank, the oldest surviving bank in the world, as well as the Palazzo Piccolomini and Palazzo Pubblico. After the tour you will be free to explore other sights on your own until we meet for our wonderful dinner tonight.

food icon   Included Story Way® Dining: Tonight we dine in one of Italy's best restaurants in Siena for our farewell to Tuscany celebration. Your Tour Captain will fill you in on where and when to meet for this never to be forgotten dinner. We will return to our villa this evening and you will sleep very well having enjoyed a full day in the Tuscan countryside.

Dievole is set in tranquil surroundings, nestled in the beautiful Tuscan hills, long known as a little piece of heaven on Earth. There are three Dievole expressions: its vineyards, forming waves on the hillsides and giving life to fresh, intense wines made from the Sangiovese grape; the olive trees dotting the landscape with their timeless charm; and the warm welcome of the historic villa – Villa Dievole – an elegant country resort where visitors can experience unforgettable moments.  

Ferrara, Italy

Duomo in Siena

Accommodations: Villa Dievole




This morning depending on your flight time you will be transfered from the Villa to the Florence airport for your flight home or your onward journey.

You may opt to transfer to Rome, where you can extend your trip. Please Inquire.



Heart of City Hotels mean your experience is like none other in the travel industry.

There is a difference between centrally-located hotels and Story's Heart of City hotels and as is the case with this special itinerary we have gone to far lengths to find the "right accommodation property."

BELLAGIO Accommodations - 3 Nights

Ferrara, Italy


Siena Accommodations - 6 Nights

Ferrara, Italy



What's Included in Your Small Group Tour?

What's Included in this Small Group Tour of Italy?

We've tried to include everything on our Guaranteed Departures ~
However, make note of the following:

  • Breakfast is included daily
  • Culinary & Wine Estate Experiences Throughout
  • Lunch is not included - Our Tour Captain and Guides will offer great, affordable suggestions for delicious lunches everyday.
  • Select dinners are included, on other nights our Tour Captain will invite you to join them to unique restaurants each night.
  • We Stay in the Very Heart of Cities & Towns, except when we're at unique properties such as castles and villas.
  • Gratuities Included: Story Land & Sea® includes gratuities for Local Tour Guides, Drivers, Hotel and Restaurant Staff included.
  • Customary gratuities for your Tour Captain are not included and should be extended on a voluntary, individual basis.sss

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.

Travel Protection is not included. Story Land and Sea® recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. A Protection Plan can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more.

For more information on available plans or to enroll, go to or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9297 and reference location number 06-0051.


That's it ~ everything else excluding personal item purchases is included. Read on below for all of the inclusions to this tour through the Tuscany region and the pre-tour of the Lakes:

Something for everyone…Whether you’re a “first-timer” to Italy or have visited many times, we invite you to join us for this exciting tour program. For one set price, you’ll be staying in first-class accommodations in each city and have the experience of local, English-speaking tour guides. You’ll have a chance to visit all the major, “must-see” sites, plus enough free time on your own to visit the places that really matter to you…or, you can simply enjoy that time relishing your first taste of Italy - it’s entirely up to you. Also included are in-depth tours in each city, group transportation in an air-conditioned motor coach, admission and entrance fees for each stop on our tours, breakfast each morning and five all-inclusive dinners with wine!

And if you have been to Italy before and maybe want something a little different, you have the opportunity of choosing to go as a “first-timer” (there are many sites you could see a hundred times and still find something new!) or adding on whichever tours and attractions are to your liking and interest, essentially building your own trip (simply call us at 1 (877) 865-6711 for a custom quote).


with optional pre-tour of the Italian Lakes

2019 Small Group Tour Prices

Guaranteed departure featuring 5-Star Luxury Hotel on Lake Como and our amazing villa property in the Tuscany. This unique itinerary has limited departures available. Please inquire.

Published Date Tuscan Villa Experience Pre-Tour Italian Lakes
Departures in May 2019
May 23
$4,579 $2,979


Get Started: Ask a Question, Schedule a Call, Request a Trip Quote, or Have us Craft Your Trip




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