20 – 27 April 2021
Concentrating on the wealth of beautiful gardens around two much-loved lakes, Como and Maggiore, the tour offers a balance between interesting botanical 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 to thrive.
The first few days are spent on Lake Como at the delightful, family-run Hotel Firenze in the village of Bellagio, overlooking the lake and snow-capped mountains. We then transfer to the very comfortable Hotel Cannero on the Maggiore lakeside, run by Signora Gallinotto and her family to a very high standard.
Swiss botanist Beat Fischer leads the tour with his customary enthusiasm. Beat was formerly curator of the University Botanical Gardens in Bern and has been our principal tour leader in the region for many years.
Our group will have a maximum of sixteen 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.