This tour is currently sold out.
The ICAA is pleased to partner with Classical Excursions to present this exceptional tour of the Italian Villas and Gardens, in the Lake District, co-hosted by Mitch Owens. Owens, the American Editor of World of Interiors, has been a journalist and lecturer since the 1980s, reporting for Architectural Digest, the New York Times, ELLE Decor, and many more prestigious publications, he specializes in interiors, architecture, gardens, and the history of style.
This tour is arranged by Classical Excursions. Please note, that you must contact Classical Excursions’ Director, Lani Summerville to formally register for this program. Upon completing a registration form, submitting a deposit to Classical Excursions, and receiving a confirmation from Classical Excursions you will be considered registered for this program. Payment of the $500 donation to the ICAA prior to registration does not guarantee placement on the trip. Again, to inquire about registration for this program, please contact Lani Summerville at [email protected] or 413-446-8728.
A fully tax-deductible donation of $500 per person is required to participate in this travel program. Please note that this donation is non-refundable except in the case that this travel program is cancelled by the organization. All travel program participants have the opportunity to receive a complimentary Individual level membership for one year to the ICAA.
A welcome dinner in the town of Stresa on Lake Maggiore at the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromées, this majestic 5-star luxury property is in Belle Époque style dating to 1863, designed by architect was Antonio Polli. The hotel looks out to the Borromean Islands and is surrounded by park land and parterre gardens.
Arriving via private boat ride, participants will enjoy a visit to Isola Madre, the island garden also owned by the noble Borromeo family since the 16th century. The island features one of the oldest botanical gardens in Italy, a lush fantasy of a double-loggia villa, hedges of camellias, palms, papyrus, bananas, Brazilian parrots, peacocks and pheasants.
The tour on Lake Maggiore continues on to Isola Bella, where the group will visit the “ten-tiered wedding cake” garden from the 17th century, which is, as writer Edith Wharton describes, “richly ornamented with vases, statues and obelisks, jasmine, myrtle and pomegranate.”
Nothing has been altered, including the island’s Baroque palace, to be visited as well, with its series of stunning Baroque reception rooms and amazing grottolike rooms decorated entirely with pebbles and shells.
The program will feature a tour of the Villa Taranto, which is now a botanical garden. The garden was created by a Scotsman in 1931 on a property that dates much further back. The garden was opened to the public in 1952, and the villa is used for exhibitions, records storage and offices.
The group will enjoy a private tour on Lake Como of the magnificently sited Villa Carlotta at Tremezzo positioned at the top of a series of terraced gardens. The gardens are designed to look out of as well as look into—the panoramic views of the lake are spectacular, even more so from the upper stories of the villa, which contains a fine collection of early 19th-century neoclassical furniture, paintings of the Lombardian School, and sculpture.
Participants will enjoy the charming, lakefront restaurants and shops of Bellagio.
Alongside the Lake Como Promenade, the group will vist Villa Melzi, sited directly across from Villa Carlotta and surrounded by an English-style garden of exotic plants and cypresses. Here Liszt wrote his Dante Sonata.
Participants will tour the Villa Della Porta Bozzolo, at Casalzuigno. Built in the 16th century, the Villa features glorious 18th century gardens with stairs ascending from the villa, elaborate fountains, water features and an aedicula decorated with frescoes. The unusual main axis of the garden is parallel to the side of the Villa – disregarding the classical rules of aligning the principal garden axis with the main room of the villa.
The program features an exclusive tour and lunch at Villa Cicogna Mozzoni, hosted by the Villa's owners. The owners are descdants of the original aristocratic family. The magnificent 16th century Villa, which partially encloses a beautiful sunken garden – was a favorite of Edith Wharton.
The tour will feature a visit to Villa Monestero, in Varenna, overlooking Lake Como. The location of the Villa was originally a Cistercian convent dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen, and was probably founded before 1200. It was completely remodeled in 1567 and again in 1645, bringing it closer to what we se today.
Participants will enjoy a lunch and visit is to the Grand Hoel Villa D'Este, a memorable Lake Como highlight. The group will stroll through the magnificent, incomparable Renaissance garden. The garden begins near the lake, where a lawn and flowerbeds are laid out before a backdrop of a pair of walls, a Baroque grotto and fountain all composed of pebbles and shell-work of varying colors.
The group will spend an afternoon shopping and strolling the town of Como, for centuries the center of the Italian silk textile industry and a mecca for designers and buyers. Mantero is just one of the renown companies in Como – and is still a family owned company, dating back to 1902.
The program will include a tour of Villa Balbianello. The group will arrive at the Baroque watergate and will ascend through the immaculately maintained gardens along paths bordered with plane trees and skirting the edge of Lake Como. Balustraded terraces, an 18th-century garden house and loggia overlook stunning views of the lake and mountains. The visit will also include an opportunity to view the elegantly decorated villa, which is filled with French and Italian antiques.
The tour will continue on to a visit to Giardino di Villa Rizzardi, which possesses among other treasures a rare 18th-century semi-circular and tiered garden theater with high boxwood hedges that act as stage wings and changing room.
The group will tour Villa Mosconi Bertani, a charming 18th-century building containing frescoed architectural features and figures and an extensive park with avenues, a lake and fountains.
The tour includes a visit to the majestic 17th-century Villa Allegri Arvedi, North of Verona at Grazzana. The Villa, another Edith Wharton favorite, is famed for its broderied-parterre terrace and its exquisite family chapel, both designed on a central axis with the Villa.
In Verona, the group will tour and have lunch al fresco in the vast city garden of Villa Giusti, a fortress-like structure similar to the palazzos in Florence. Horizontal box parterres contrast with vertical cypresses, and a towering cliffside carved with a grotesque mask lure the visitor up the garden path; Mozart and Goethe were visitors.
Isola Madre (Image: Wikimedia Commons/Daderot)
Isola Bella (Image: Wikimedia Commons/Danielle Jansen)
Valla Taranto (Image: Wikimedia Commons/Daderot)
Bellagio (Image: Wikimedia Commons/Ray in Manila)
Villa Melzi (Image: Wikimedia Commons/Tomcorengia)
Villa Cicogna Mozzoni (Image: Wikimedia Commons/Phyrexian)
Villa Allegri Arvedi (Image: Wikimedia Commons/MZ14)
Giardino di Villa Rizzardi (Image: Wikimedia Commons/Adert)
If you would like to register, you may contact the travel operator organizing the program. Please note that a $500 donation per person to the ICAA is required in order to participate in each travel program.
Your $500 donation helps to further the ICAA’s goal of advancing the practice and appreciation of the classical tradition in architecture and the allied arts by supporting its varied educational programs, including continuing education courses, college workshops, the Summer Studio in Classical Architecture, New Heights, and many more.
Yes, a donation of $500 to the ICAA is required for each travel program you register for. The donation is required for each person attending a tour.
You can make your $500 donation to the ICAA online, or you can download, complete, and mail this form to the ICAA. You can alternatively fax a copy to 212-730-9649. You may also call 212-730-9646 x109 or email [email protected] to make a donation. Donations must be made separately from the registration fee.
No, membership is not required to attend an ICAA travel program. However, complimentary Individual membership to the ICAA is included with your $500 required donation.
For full itinerary and more information, contact [email protected], 860-926-4895. Due to the exclusive nature of our tours, some private locations or visits may be omitted from the ICAA's website.
Over the past several years, the ICAA has travelled to destinations including Paris; Andalusia; Atlanta; Barbados; South Africa; Chicago; the Netherlands and Belgium; Scotland; the French Riviera; Morocco; the Italian Lake Region; Charlottesville; Naples; and New Delhi, among many other locations.
The ICAA is always looking to diversify its travel offerings. If you have a suggestion or location you would like to see added, please email [email protected].