Susan Worner Tours

Italian Garden Tours

Below is full list of all our Italian Garden Tours, which is now split into two sections – our 2017 Italian Garden Tours and our Bespoke Italian Garden Tour Itineraries. Please scroll down to find out more.

2017 Italian Garden Tours

Our Italian Garden Tours are always in demand. Sometimes it is due to Monty Don’s Italian Garden programmes. The beautiful regions, local people and their gardens are fascinating and we also chose restaurants with seasonal, locally grown produce.

  1. Italian Lakes – Spring Gardens around Lakes Como and Maggiore

    18 – 25 April 2017

    Concentrating on the wealth of beautiful gardens around Lakes Como and Maggiore in Italy, and Switzerland to the north, this tour gives a balance between interesting botanic gardens and those of classic Renaissance and later Italian style. Sheltered by high Alps to the north, the sharply varied seasonal temperatures and the humidity of the lakes provide excellent growing conditions. The exuberant spring flowers are set against breathtaking scenery including many varieties of azalea, wisteria, cornus and magnolia – a spectacular yellow variety is particularly eye-catching.

    We commence at the delightful, family-run Hotel Florence in the lakeside village of Bellagio, overlooking Lake Como and the mountains. We then transfer to the very comfortable Hotel Cannero on the quiet Maggiore lakeside, run by Signora Gallinotto and her family.

    Beat Fischer, our Swiss botanist, will lead this tour. His knowledge of the region and its gardens and plants is recounted with great enthusiasm. Beat is now responsible for the Botanic Gardens in Berne.

    This tour still remains one of our most popular Italian Garden Tours.

  2. Sicily – Autumn Gardens from Taormina to Siracusa

    28 September – 05 October 2017

    Springtime in Sicily – the mythic garden of Persephone – is abundant with colour and luminosity. We visit gardens in the east of the island, some created by the English in former times, others planted more recently, and add some cultural elements to the programme.

    An island of great contrasts, Sicily has been invaded by the Greeks, Romans, Normans and Spaniards, who have all influenced its culture and character. The warm spring weather encourages luxuriant growth on terraced hillside gardens, the dramatic sweeping green hills of the interior have an abundance of wild flowers.

    We stay at the most comfortable, welcoming Hotel Villa Belvedere, in the attractive town of Taormina perched high above the sea, and with a verdant garden. Superb views overlook the bay and Mount Etna. The island of Ortigia is our base for a few days in a beautiful historical part of Siracusa at the well-situated Grand Hotel.

  3. Secret Gardens of Venice and the Veneto

    01 – 06 May 2017 & 30 May – 04 June 2017

    A magical tour of gardens, staying in the centre of Venice in the superb historical Hotel Palazzo Stern on the Grand Canal.

    The history and beauty of the Veneto region, combined with the elegance of the formal gardens, provide the background to this tour. Gardens chosen complement their villa and have interesting structured design.

    We discover the Brenta, where Venetians built their country houses in the seventeenth century, those near the rolling Euganean hills, and discover secret gardens around the canals and lagoon of Venice.

    Our hotel is in the Dorsodoro district of Venice; overlooking the Grand Canal, the terrace is particularly delightful for breakfast or an aperitivo. The Ca’ Rezzonico museum, the Accademia and Peggy Guggenheim galleries are nearby. We use boats and walk on narrow paths, sometimes along canals, often discovering a lovely square. The tour will be led by Susan with Martina Boffelli, our Venetian guide.

Bespoke Italian Garden Tour Itineraries

We arrange bespoke tour itineraries for small groups of friends or colleagues wishing to travel together to a special destination or for specialist horticultural groups. The minimum numbers are eight guests who will be accompanied by Susan or her specialist guides. We have the experience, know the good hotels or lodges and the best itineraries to offer. The itineraries below are examples of bespoke tours. Tailor-made programmes can be arranged for your personal preferences.
To know more please contact us on or +44 (0) 1423 326 300.

  1. Spring Gardens of Florence and Fiesole

    The Medici created gardens in Florence and the surrounding hills in the sixteenth century with grottoes, statues, boschetti and waterworks. Later perspective gardens were designed in conjunction with the villa, often with terraces, and the early twentieth century marked the revival of the Italian formal garden. This rich heritage offers a fascinating programme of visits in the spring flowering season. The gardens chosen are mostly private and form a good balance encompassing the different periods. The vibrant city of Florence with its art treasures, churches and markets is an additional attraction.

    Our comfortable, welcoming hotel in the heart of Florence is a perfect base, a few minutes from the Duomo. Originating as a palazzo in the sixteenth century, and now well restored, it retains its frescoed ceilings and architectural features.

  2. Rome – Gardens from Latium to Tuscia

    The sweeping hill countryside around the eternal city of Rome has a superb collection of gardens – some historic, others recently renovated or created, some influenced by Russell Page. A private visit to Giardino di Ninfa is a highlight of the week. Its setting, variety of plants and flowing water are within an ancient ruined town: it is quite spectacular.

    To visit the gardens south of Rome we stay for three nights in the attractive small hill town of Frascati, at a most comfortable hotel. A full day to visit Rome has been included; it can be reached in 30 minutes by train. We then transfer to the countryside near Lake Bracciano, north of Rome. The elegant and welcoming Hotel di Stigliano has recently re-opened after being beautifully renovated, and there are natural hot water springs and Etruscan remains in the surrounding gardens. It is a good base for gardens north of Rome.

  3. Italian Lakes – Autumn Gardens of Lake Maggiore

    Concentrating on the wealth of beautiful gardens around Lake Maggiore, this tour offers a balance between interesting botanic gardens and those of classic Renaissance and later Italian style. We also visit the gardens of Isole di Brissago in Switzerland with its interesting collection of plants. The shelter of high Alps to the north, the sharply varied seasonal temperatures and the humidity of the lakes provide excellent growing conditions. In late September the scent of Osmathus fragans is delightful.

    Our base is the very comfortable Hotel Cannero, with its lovely garden on the quiet Maggiore lakeside, run by Signora Gallinotto and her family. The restaurant overlooks the lake and mountains beyond and specialises in north Italian cuisine. Cannero, a delightful, typically Italian village, is a perfect base. We use the lake ferries when possible to arrive at the gardens.