La Dolce Vita in Northern Italy: Genoa, Turin & Milan


October 4-13 and 18-27, 2021; Extension October 14-17, 2021

Explore three extraordinary cities of cultural and commercial significance nestled into Italy’s northwestern reaches. Serving as the capitals of Liguria, Piedmont, and Lombardy, they demonstrate the wealth and sophistication created by strong economic and political ties to nearby Spain, France, and Switzerland. These dynamic urban centers produced a spellbinding artistic and architectural patrimony. Northern Italy’s renowned cuisine and viniculture complement the stunning residences and collections we encounter over this nine-night journey, expertly planned by our heralded colleague Susie Orso, her last foray for the Decorative Arts Trust prior to enjoying a richly-deserved retirement. 


ITINERARY  (subject to amendment)

October 4 and 18

Gathering at the elegant Hotel Bristol Palace in the heart of the historic port city of Genoa, we depart for an introductory walking tour to include the Neoclassical Carlo Felice Theater and the Church of San Matteo, originally a private chapel for the Doria family, who lived in the palazzos surrounding the adjacent square. We stop at the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral of San Lorenzo to study the collection of jewelry and silverware housed in the Treasury. In the evening, we are hosted for cocktails and a welcome dinner at the sublime apartment and enchanting terrace garden of Contessa Rachele Guicciardi.

D included
Overnight: GENOA

October 5 and 19

After a morning stroll along the elegant Via Garibaldi, we study the highlights of the painting collection housed in the 17th-century Palazzo Rosso, with works by Dürer, Veronese, and Guido Reni. Palazzo Spinola, built for the Grimaldi family in the 16th century, includes an impressive assemblage of paintings, furniture, ceramics, and maps. Lunch in the port area provides an opportunity to appreciate the revitalization brought about by Renzo Piano’s renovation of this district. The day concludes with a visit to the splendid Renaissance villa Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, with its fine tapestries, frescoes by Perino del Vaga, and formal gardens.

B, L included
Overnight: GENOA

October 6 and 20

A morning excursion to the Museo Edoardo Chiossone brings us to one of Italy’s most important collections of Asian art, including Chinese and Japanese lacquer, ceramics, and sculpture. The Palazzo Reale was built in 1650 by Pier Francesco Cantone and Giovanni Angelo Falcone for the Balbi Durazzo family and contains a collection of Genoese furnishings from the 17th through 19th centuries. Following an afternoon spent at leisure, we regroup for drinks and a tour at a private palace before enjoying dinner at the exclusive club Il Tunnel.

B, D included
Overnight: GENOA

October 7 and 21

Departing Genoa, we set our sights on Piedmont’s renowned wine-growing area of Monferrato to examine the 18th-century Tenuta La Marchesa near Gavi, followed by a wine tasting with the noted maker Dr. Vittorio Giulini. Reaching Montaldeo, we partake in a tour and lunch at the historic Castello di Montaldeo, by kind arrangement with Marchesi Clemente and Ilaria Doria, whose family has owned this strategic high point since the 1600s. Upon arrival in Turin, we settle into accommodations at the Grand Hotel Sitea, where we share a delightful dinner.

B, L, D included
Overnight: TURIN

October 8 and 22

Our day begins at the impressive Baroque Church of San Lorenzo, designed by Guarino Guarini. The Palazzo Madama is one of Turin’s most imposing buildings and includes beautiful displays of sculpture and paintings, Piedmontese furniture and ivories, ceramics, and tapestries. Lunch at Caffé Torino permits the chance to appreciate its Art Nouveau décor before we venture out to Stupinigi, the 18th-century Royal Hunting Lodge built by Filippo Juvarra with Chinese wallpapers and a superlative collection of Italian furniture. A cocktail reception at a private residence featuring a fine collection of paintings and decorative arts awaits us back in town.

B, L included
Overnight: TURIN

October 9 and 23

The collection in the Egyptian Museum rivals those found in Cairo, London, and Berlin, with roots in the early 19th century and major acquisitions from expeditions in the early 20th century. The Palazzo Reale features a grand armory as well as porcelain, tapestries, and furniture by the renowned 18th-century cabinetmaker Pietro Piffetti. The Chapel of the Holy Shroud recently reopened following an extensive renovation. Participants are able to explore the city during an independent afternoon before gathering for a sumptuous dinner at the Whist Club, established in 1841 and decorated in a sumptuous manner.  

B, D included
Overnight: TURIN

October 10 and 24

Bidding Turin arrivederci, we continue our journey eastward to Pavia and the Certosa di Pavia, a Carthusian Monastery founded in 1396, with rich sculptural and polychrome marble decoration that marks the height of Lombardian artistic achievement of the 15th century. Pushing forward to Milan, we reach our luxurious residence at the Four Seasons Hotel in time for a late brunch. With a fabulous city beckoning us, we set out to tour the Brera Gallery, featuring the country’s finest collection of Northern Italian painting from the 13th to the 20th centuries. Passing through the iconic glass-roofed Galleria, we reach the Flamboyant Gothic Duomo, begun in the 14th century but not completed until the early 19th when the city was under Napoleonic rule. We pause to appreciate the façade of the Neoclassical La Scala Theater, Italy’s most renowned opera house, built for Empress Maria Theresa of Austria in 1776.

B, L included
Overnight: MILAN

October 11 and 25

We start the day with a fascinating lecture on the Milan that Thomas Jefferson encountered and described during a tour of Northern Italy in 1787, presented by the distinguished scholar Maria Cristina Loi. Once a private museum, the Poldi Pezzoli houses exceptional paintings and decorative arts in a fabulous late-19th-century aristocratic residence. In Brusuglio, we delight in a luncheon at the Neoclassical Villa Manzoni with Marchesa Barbara Berlingieri, before returning to Milan and a stop at the Church of Sant’Ambrogio, which is among Milan’s earliest and contains an extraordinary 9th-century golden coffin constructed to house Saint Ambrose’s remains. A leisurely afternoon of shopping or sightseeing follows. By invitation of Donna Giulia Maria Crespi, we start our evening with cocktails at the 17th-century Palazzo Crespi, one of the few intact Milanese-style residences, which boasts an impressive art collection.

B, L included
Overnight: MILAN

October 12 and 26 

Our final day opens at the Castello Sforzesco to view highlights of the museum’s collections, including early Christian and Gothic art, sculpture, and Michelangelo’s unfinished masterpiece, the Rondanini Pietà. At Santa Maria delle Grazie, we tour the refectory and admire Leonardo da Vinci’s fresco of the Last Supper. A lunch visit at a private home offers the chance to see a rare and eclectic collection of paintings on slate, stone furniture, and celadon. Our celebratory closing dinner is hosted privately at Palazzo Cicogna, by kind arrangement with Conte Mario Cicogna Mozzoni.

B, L, D included
Overnight: MILAN

October 13 and 27  

Independent departures from the Milan airport.


Optional Extension Exploring the Treasures of Lombardy: Lake Como and Bergamo

The beautiful scenery and pleasant climate of Lombardy’s lake region has attracted visitors for centuries, from Roman colonizers onward. This area was a requisite stop on the Grand Tour and favored by writers, musicians, and artists seeking relaxation and inspiration. Surrounded by an idyllic landscape of mountains, Lake Como is home to a fabulous variety of 18th- and 19th-century villas. Bergamo owes much of its artistic inspiration and architectural splendor to the influence of Venice, which ruled the town from the 15th to the late 18th century. These additional three days in northern Italy will not disappoint!

Thursday, October 14

Departing from Milan for the scenic town of Monza, we visit the Gothic Cathedral, including the treasury that holds Theolinda’s Corona Ferrea, the so-called Iron Crown of the early Middle Ages, embellished with gold and jewels. We continue to Briosco and the Villa Medici Giulini, renowned for its gardens, frescoed villa, and superb collection of musical instruments. A flautist performs as we stroll through the gardens. Signora Fernanda Giulini hosts us for lunch, followed by a tour of the instruments. We reach the picturesque city of Como in the early evening for a welcome dinner at the refined lakeside Hotel Villa Flori.

L, D included
Overnight: LAKE COMO

Friday, October 15

Our morning begins in Bergamo, boarding the funicular for a ride from the lower town up to the bustling historic center. Following a visit to the Piazza del Duomo, we are treated to refreshments in a charming café. We continue to the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, with its superb intarsia panels designed by Capoferro after Lorenzo Lotto, and the exuberantly decorated Colleoni Chapel. After some free time to explore and shop, we are welcomed by Contessa Carolina Agliardi to the privately owned 16th-century Palazzo Agliardi for lunch and the opportunity to admire the finely furnished and frescoed interior.  

B, L included
Overnight: LAKE COMO

Saturday, October 16

Our final day in Como commences with a private boat ride to the Villa Balbianello. Previously a monastery, the Villa is perched on a promontory on the lake and surrounded by beautifully maintained gardens. The house has been untouched since the departure of the last owner, Guido Monzino, in 1975. Journeying across the lake, we venture to the charming lakeside town of Bellagio for a leisurely visit and an independent lunch. In the afternoon, we enjoy the gardens of Villa Melzi before returning by boat to the hotel. The extension concludes with a spectacular farewell dinner at architect Alvise Reverdini’s colorful home Villa Dosso Pisani, perched above Lake Como.

B, D included
Overnight: LAKE COMO

Sunday, October 17

Leave by coach for the Milan airport.

B included

Terms and Conditions (Click to View)

Land Arrangement Cost:
$7,325 per person, based on double occupancy for 9 nights, for the main tour. $3,075 per person, based on double occupancy for 3 nights, for the optional extension.

Transatlantic airfare is not included. Please do not make your airline reservations until you have received written confirmation of your registration from the Trust.

A deposit of $1,500 per person is required by July 31, 2020. Reservations and deposits are taken on an as received basis. You will receive written confirmation from the Decorative Arts Trust when we are in receipt of your registration. Do not make any irrevocable airline reservations until you receive your verification. Please make checks payable to “The Decorative Arts Trust” and mail to 206 West State Street, Suite 300, Media, PA 19063.

Single Supplement:
The single supplement is $1,150 for the main tour and $350 for the extension, to be paid with the final balance.

Final Payment:
Will be due by July 1, 2021. Invoices for the final payment will be mailed in early mid-May.

Membership at the Sponsor level is required for participation in Study Trips Abroad. Your membership contribution is fully tax deductible. If an increase in your membership level is necessary, the Trust will invoice you for the appropriate level upgrade with your final payment.

A donation to the Decorative Arts Trust of $500 per person is required for Study Trips Abroad. This gift is fully tax deductible and helps support the Trust’s mission and programs.

The schedule outlined in this itinerary is contracted for at this time but subject to change as necessary. A suggested reading list will be sent to you.

The trip is limited to a maximum of 25 members and requires a minimum of 15. The trip will be canceled if under-subscribed, and deposits will be refunded. We will organize and maintain waiting lists on the basis of the time registrations are received. This is a strenuous trip. We regret that we cannot be responsible for those needing assistance on this trip. By registering, you are certifying that you do not have any mental, physical, or other condition of disability that would create a hazard for yourself or other passengers. The Trust reserves the right to decline anyone as a participant in this Study Trip Abroad should the person’s health, actions, or general deportment impede the operation of the Study Trip Abroad; the rights, welfare, or enjoyment of others; or the standing of the Decorative Arts Trust. A valid United States passport is required for this itinerary.

Included in Trip Cost:
For the main tour, accommodations in 4-and 5-star hotels, 9 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 3 cocktail receptions, and 5 dinners. For the extension, accommodations in a 4-star hotel with lake view rooms, 3 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners. For both, private coach transportation, local guides, admission in museums, historic houses, and gardens, gratuities for professional guides and coach drivers, and porterage.

Not Included in the Trip Cost:
Airfare, airport transfers other than specified above, alcoholic beverages other than when provided, personal expenses, and trip insurance are not included

Cancellation and Refund:
If you must cancel your reservation, you are urged to do so as soon as possible in writing to the Decorative Arts Trust. All cancellations are subject to a $250 administrative fee per person. Deposits are non-refundable after November 1, 2020. Cancellations arriving by August 1, 2021 will receive a 50% refund. Cancellations arriving by September 1, 2021, will receive a 25% refund. There will be no refunds for cancellations received after September 1, 2021. In the event of unforeseen circumstances amounting to force majeure, all monies will be refunded less any non-recoverable costs.



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