The Best of Italy

Summer is flying by. I can hardly believe it’s been more than a month since I returned from Italy, but this year’s initial tour still lives large in my mind. Before I turn the page to the next adventure, here’s a quick look back at a superb trip.

The tour included visits to seven stunning gardens…

Villa Melzi on Lake Como, view of the Japanese Garden.

Villa Melzi on Lake Como, view of the Japanese Garden.

Villa Balbianello on Lake Como.

Villa Balbianello on Lake Como.

Villa Borromeo on Isola Bella on Lake Maggiore.

Villa Borromeo on Isola Bella on Lake Maggiore.

Villa Taranto near Lake Maggiore.

Villa Taranto near Lake Maggiore.

Villa Gamberaia in Settignano.

Villa Gamberaia in Settignano.

Villa Le Balze in Fiesole.

Villa Le Balze in Fiesole.

Marlia Villa Reale (home of Napoleon's sister Elsa) near Lucca.

Marlia Villa Reale (home of Napoleon’s sister Elsa) near Lucca.

Giardini della Landriana near Torre San Lorenzo.

Giardini della Landriana near Torre San Lorenzo.

Villa d'Este in Tivoli.

Villa d’Este in Tivoli.

Plus, these hightlights…

Best meal:  Locanda Dell'Isola Ristorante on Isola Comacina, Lake Como.

Best meal: Locanda Dell’Isola Ristorante on Isola Comacina, Lake Como.

Best day trip:  Lucca!  My new favorite destination!

Best day trip: Lucca! My new favorite destination!

Best Cathedral:  Duomo di Siena.

Best Cathedral: Duomo di Siena.

Best non-garden excursion:  Lunch and wine tasting at Fattoria del Colle.

Best non-garden excursion: Lunch and wine tasting at Fattoria del Colle.

Best overall day:  boat tour of Lake Como.

Best overall day: boat tour of Lake Como.

To see more photos of Italy, click here to visit my Flickr page.

Tomorrow, I’ll be up before dawn to begin Chapter Two, touring the Hudson River Valley with more than 30 enthusiastic gardeners from South Carolina, North Carolina, and Michigan.

If you plan to visit either of these destinations in the future, feel free to make a copy of the Hortitopia itinerary for reference. Just look here.

12 thoughts on “The Best of Italy

  1. Julie

    This looks like an absolutely wonderful trip and the fountains were on at Tivoli. We have some wonderful memories of visiting Sienna with our children many years ago and we quite agree the Duomo is really very beautiful. Hope you next trip is just as good, that sounds wonderful too.

    Reply
  2. christineramsey

    We were in Lucca last fall and loved it too! Riding the wall on rented bikes was the best and the only way I could get a grip on the lay out of the city.

    I’ve also had a few top ten days on Lake Como, but never made it to all the gardens you found. I’ll pin this post and plan to go back. Thanks for the wonderful travel log Inspiring. .

    Reply
  3. johnvic8

    I have spent a lot of time in Italy over the years…on Navy assignments…but (alas) it was before I got the gardening bug. Beautiful memories of good food however.

    Reply
  4. aneye4detail

    Thank you for posting this! Oh how absolutely wonderful, and now I am determined to make it there next summer if only for a few days.
    Hope the Hudson Valley tour goes well: we lived there for 25 years, in Poughkeepsie, and know it well!

    Reply
  5. Sharon Lanier

    Absolutely AMAZING!!! Oh My Gosh!!! Those gardens are incredible. So hoping to go with you! Fingers crossed…. Hope your trip to the Hudson Valley goes well.

    Reply
  6. Pauline

    You saw some stunning gardens, I was pleased to see Villa d’Este there, we visited about 10 yrs ago, it brought back happy memories, thank you!

    Reply
  7. Julie @ Southern Wild Design

    Beautiful! My daughter just returned from a study abroad in Italy. She made notes of where she wants to return (with me :)) and I am definitely adding some of these spots to our trip. It may take us a month to do Italy! Thanks for sharing!

    Julie

    Reply
  8. Carolyn Jones

    It was a beautiful trip!! I know you enjoyed it as well. I am glad you saw Isola Bella. I thought that was one of the most beautiful gardens i had ever seen! Thanks for sharing! Carolyn

    Reply

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