Location: Italy & Switzerland Duration: 8 nights Price: From £1,550 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including all flights in economy class, accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, private transfers, train transportation and taxes

Whisk away to breath-taking landscapes and art-filled cities on this luxury holiday to Switzerland and northern Italy. Surround yourself with the dramatic Alpine scenery of Zermatt before journeying into the idyllic lakeside setting of Orta San Giulio, perched by the glittering Lake Orta. Then, it’s onto trendy Milan and elegant Florence for a generous dose of Renaissance treasures, fabulous shopping and mouth-watering Italian cuisine.

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Perfect for

Lovers of art, history and scenery.

In the know

Venturing into the rolling Tuscan hills at the end of the trip, with a stay at one of its inviting countryside retreats: such as Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco.

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Train Journey
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Landscapes & Scenery
Adventure

ZERMATT – 3 nights

Having flown into Zurich, take the scenic train ride to Zermatt and gaze out at the imposing mountains, including the Täschhorn, Dom and Weisshorn, along the way. The journey takes a little over three hours and is a fantastic introduction to Switzerland’s bountiful scenery. Arrive in Zermatt and check into Coeur des Alpes, a cosy yet stylish retreat in the shadow of the mighty Matterhorn, and be tempted by the soothing wellness centre with its hammam, outdoor Jacuzzi and indoor pool. Over the next few days get out and explore the Alps by hiking, mountain biking or rock climbing, in an idyllic region carpeted with fragrant forests and dotted with glistening lakes.

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LAKE ORTA – 2 nights

Hop aboard the train and zip through Switzerland into northern Italy, watching as snow-capped peaks give way to rolling grasslands and finally, the dazzling Lake Orta. This beautiful expanse of silvery, tranquil water is edged by woodlands and the medieval village of Orta San Giulio, awash with half-timbered houses with colourful facades and shuttered windows. It’s here you’ll find your luxurious hideaway, Villa Crespi, a decadent historical residence deriving from the 19th century and bedecked in ornate décor. Discover the enchanting island in the middle of the lake, Isola San Giulio, shrouded in myths and legends telling of dragons, snakes, monsters and storms; and from Villa Crespi, make the climb to the Sacro Monte Park with views over the peninsula. Dedicated to St Francis of Assisi, it exudes spirituality with its 20 chapels featuring Renaissance frescoes and terracotta statues.

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MILAN – 1 night

From bucolic beauty to urban gem, the next train journey whisks you south to Milan. As well as the iconic gothic cathedral, Duomo di Milano, don’t miss Milan’s exquisite Renaissance highlights, from the Castello Sforzesco with its Sala delle Assi Leonardesca and the Stone Rondanini by Michelangelo Buonarroti, to the churches of Bramante S. Maria and S. Maurizio, adorned with frescoes by one of Da Vinci’s favourite pupils, Leonardesco Bernadino Luini. Between visits to ornate churches, dip into chic boutiques, and sip glasses of velvety red as you people-watch in Italy’s most fashionable city. Your home for the night is the Yard Hotel, a characterful bolt-hole clad in sporting memorabilia and a hip lounge bar serving creative cocktails.

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FLORENCE – 2 nights

Hop on the train for one last time to reach Florence, where a trove of Renaissance treasures awaits. Once you’ve settled into Hotel Brunelleschi, encased in a 6th century Byzantine tower and church, soak up the ambience of one of Europe’s most ravishing cities. Gaze upon Michelangelo’s David at the Academy of Fine Arts, visit the legendary artist’s grave at the Santa Croce Franciscan church (along with Galileo, Rossini and Machiavelli), and get lost in the Uffizi Gallery where an array of Renaissance masterpieces are on display. Once you’ve had your fill of art and architecture, stop to fuel up on Italian delicacies at one of Florence’s elegant restaurants: we highly recommend one of those that lines the Piazza della Signoria, one of the most stunning spots for lunch with its view of the Palazzo Vecchio. After two nights in Florence, it’s time to head home.

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