23 – 30 April 2019
Concentrating on the wealth of beautiful gardens around Lakes Como and Maggiore, the tour gives a balance between interesting botanic gardens and those of classic Renaissance and later Italian style. The exuberant spring flowers are set against breath-taking scenery with many varieties of azalea, wisteria, cornus and magnolia – a spectacular yellow variety is particularly eye-catching. At the northern end of Lake Maggiore we cross into Switzerland to visit the impressive Eisenhut Botanical Garden and nursery. An insubric climate, acid soil and sunny cold winters enable the rich variety of plants found in the region to thrive.
The first few days are spent on Lake Como at the delightful, family-run Hotel Firenze in the lakeside village of Bellagio, overlooking the beautiful lake and snow-capped mountains. We then transfer to the very comfortable Hotel Cannero on the beautiful Maggiore lakeside, run by Signora Gallinotto and her family to a very high standard.
Beat Fischer, our Swiss botanist, leads the tour with his usual enthusiasm. Beat was formerly curator of the University Botanical Gardens in Bern and has led tours for us for some years.
Our group will have a maximum of nineteen participants. Travel between gardens is minimal and is by lake boat and minibus.
On and off ferry boats and a private boat. Terraces with flights of steps.
The climate in late April can be sunny and warm, though heavy rain showers are sometimes experienced. Layers are recommended and sturdy shoes for the garden visits. Smart casual for the evening.
Meals included are shown as B (breakfast), L (lunch) and D (dinner). Often guests meet for drinks before dinner (optional).
Wifi is available in both hotels.