Renaissance and Baroque Italian gardens are extravagant exercises in philosophy, mythology, allegory, mathematics and glorious theatre. Put them alongside Italy’s gorgeous cities, art and gelato, add the unique camaraderie of a Ross tour, and you have an unforgettable experience.
From Giardino di Ninfa – the most romantic garden in the world – to Isola Bella – one of the most extraordinary, this tour of Italian gardens will delight and captivate you. We’ll get to know how Italy ticks, the food, the sights, sounds, cities and towns, we’ll wander from brilliant sunshine, sparkling with water thrown by ancient fountains, to pools of deep shade. Join us as we explore gardens of astonishing vision and others of delightful sensitivity – the absolute best of what Italy has to offer.



Friday 18 September 2015
Home – Rome

Meet your Ross Tour Leader at check-in two hours before departure.

Saturday 19 September 2015
Rome (D)

Our hotel in Rome for the next 4 nights is the charming Hotel Ponte Sisto, which is handily located in the heart of the old city, across the river from Trastevere, and around the corner from the Campo de Fiori. Our day is free to relax in the hotel, join Michael on an orientation walk around the area, or explore on your own. We’ll meet up for a welcome dinner tonight in a local restaurant.
Accommodation: Hotel Ponte Sisto, Rome

Sunday 20 September 2015
Rome – Tivoli – Rome(B)

The Villa D’ Este is the quintessential garden of the Italian High Renaissance and it is our destination today. The use of water here, all gravity-fed, is thrilling. The garden itself is well-maintained and the water hydraulics have recently been restored so we can experience them as the aristocracy of the 16th century did. We’ll return to Rome in the afternoon, with time to wander the piazzas of this lovely city.
Accommodation: Hotel Ponte Sisto, Rome

Monday 21 September 2015
Rome – Ninfa – Rome (B/L)

Ninfa is often called the most romantic garden in the world. Decide for yourself when we head there this morning. Gardens ramble over ancient walls and towers, rejoicing in the damp, lush conditions. You will want to dip your hands in the cool green pools and take home the serene fragility of the garden surrounding the ruins. Up above Ninfa the hill town of Norma offers a spectacular panorama – and a great lunch at a local restaurant. The afternoon is free after we return to Rome.
Accommodation: Hotel Ponte Sisto, Rome

Tuedsay 22 September 2015
Rome (B)

Follow in the footsteps of the popes this morning as we stroll through the private papal gardens of the Vatican. These gardens are among the most famous spaces in the world, and include an Italian garden laid out in curving broderie, in the French style, and the exquisite Villa Pia, the Renaissance retreat of Pope Pius IV. After our garden walk you can take an option to enjoy the Sistine Chapel and St Peters Basilica or to return to the hotel. The afternoon is free for resting, shopping, or fountain-spotting in the piazzas.
Accommodation: Hotel Ponte Sisto, Rome

Wednesday 23 September 2015
Rome – Florence (B/D)

Today’s garden is a Renaissance masterpiece and a landmark in the history of Italian gardens. Villa Lante at Bagnaio is unchanged in structure and size since the end of 16th century. It is arranged on four levels along a main axis, emphasised by unique fountains, ‘water games’, and perfect symmetry. There is a wealth of detail, yet the garden maintains a sense of tranquillity.
We’ll enjoy its serenity before we head north to Florence and our hotel which is just a stone’s throw from the Duomo (Cathedral). We unpack for our 4 nights stay.
Accommodation: Hotel Cerretani, Florence

Thursday 24 September 2015
Florence – Lucca – Florence (B)

Lucca was once the capital of Tuscany. Our walking tour this morning reveals a wonderfully maintained walled city perfectly preserved; an architectural jewel of a city with walls still largely intact. In contrast to the ancient walls of Lucca, the garden we’ll visit this afternoon is relatively new Villa Torrigiana is one of a chain of historic gardens studding the hills around Lucca.
Accommodation: Hotel Cerretani, Florence

Friday 25 September 2015
Florence (B)

We’ll enjoy a full day in Florence today, starting with a tour and morning tea at a private villa and garden in the heart of the city. Later you might choose to visit the famous leather markets or to spend some time in one of the world’s oldest museums, the Uffizi Gallery, where works by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian and Caravaggio hang.
Accommodation: Hotel Cerretani, Florence

Saturday 26 September 2015
Florence (B)

This morning we’ll visit the Boboli Gardens behind the Palazzo Pitti, the mid-15th century residence of the powerful Medici family. Boboli preserves most of its original Renaissance and Baroque style and features a remarkable collection of Roman, Renaissance and Baroque sculptures. The garden is built into the slope of the Arno Valley and commands wonderful views over the city. The afternoon is free.
Accommodation: Hotel Cerretani, Florence

DAY 10
Sunday 27 September 2015
Florence – Venice (B/D)

One more treasure before we leave Florence – Villa Gamberaia sits on a promontory overlooking the city of Florence and the great Arno Valley. The ochre-rendered villa and garden nestles among groves of olives and grapes. The harmonious blend of hillside, house and garden was much admired by Edith Wharton who praised its simplicity of composition. Villa Gamberaia has been a highly influential garden, idealised as the perfect Italian villa and compact enough to be copied.
Only one thing could drag us away from its loveliness – the lure of Venice! For a thousand years the city was one of the world’s great mercantile powers. Today the economic influence of Venice has faded, but the beauty lives on. We’ll transfer by boat to our hotel, which is located centrally in the city’s heart on the Grand Canal.
Accommodation: Hotel Monaco Grand Canal, Venice

DAY 11
Monday 28 September 2015
Venice (B)

A walking tour this morning will introduce us to the rich architectural and artistic heritage of Venice. The afternoon is free; take a gondola ride or visit some of the restored palaces, now museums and galleries, filled with priceless art treasures.
Accommodation: Hotel Monaco Grand Canal, Venice

DAY 12
Tuesday 29 September 2015
Venice – Sirmione (B)

Free morning in Venice. Our destination today is Lake Garda and the beautiful lakeside town of Sirmione that charmed the Romans, with mosaic and ruins evidence of their occupation. Check in to the prestigious Hotel Cortina Palace with glorious water views from all the rooms.
Accommodation: Villa Cortina Palace, Sirmione

DAY 13
Wednesday 30 September 2015
Sirmione (B)

Cruise on Lake Garda this morning. Afternoon free in Sirmione.
Accommodation: Villa Cortina Palace, Sirmione

DAY 14
Thursday 1 October 2015
Sirmione – Stresa (B)

Verona is our morning stop to see the famous Arena, peep in at Juliet’s Balcony and wander through the classic Giardino Giusti, which occupies the hillside above the River Adige. The garden remains faithful to its 16th century outline, with re-modeled parterres. A guided walk through the old city this afternoon will introduce you to the Piazza Brà, the Roman arena, Castelvecchio and the House of Juliet. After lunch we will travel north to the Lake District to and the ‘grande dame’ of the pretty lakeside towns, Stresa, on the western shore of Lake Maggiore. Our hotel, Hotel Regina, is on the lakefront and is one of the Stresa’s grand Belle Époque hotels. Here is our base for the next four nights, from which we’ll explore the area’s beautiful and atmospheric lakes and villas.
Accommodation: Regina Palace Hotel, Stresa

DAY 15
Friday 2 October 2015
Stresa, Lake Maggiore (B)

Wake this morning to a veil of mist over Lake Maggiore. Floating on the surface of the lake like a great cruise ship is Isola Bella, the most famous and picturesque garden in Italy. We’ll take a ferry to the garden this morning to explore its ten terraces, ornamented with statues and a profusion of flowers.
Isola Bella might be fittingly flamboyant finale to our tour of Italian Gardens but there are encores! First, Isola Madre, the largest of the Borromean Islands, where peacocks, pheasants and parrots roam through tranquil and romantic gardens of rare and exotic plants. We’ll also visit the 16th century palace, whose rooms have been beautifully renovated.
Accommodation: Regina Palace Hotel, Stresa

DAY 16
Saturday 3 October 2015
Stresa, Lake Como (B)

We’ll discover Lake Como today, Italy’s most popular and deepest lake, on board a private boat. Beautiful villas and gardens line the shores of the lake. We’ll stop for lunch in Bellagio, which is considered one of the prettiest towns in Italy – against some stiff competition! Narrow cobbled streets, a promenade planted with oleanders and lime trees, fin-de-siècle hotels painted in shades of butterscotch, peach and cream, and a spectacular location sealed the deal for Bellagio.
After lunch we’ll visit the gardens at Villa Melzi, which sits on a promontory on Lake Como. The owner was a friend of Napoleon and the garden has a statue of the goddess Pacht collected on Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign. Across the lake is a Ross Tour favourite, Villa Carlotta. This elegant 18th century villa features a suite of magnificent terraced gardens overlooking the lake. A special afternoon boat ride will take us back to Como in style.
Accommodation: Regina Palace Hotel, Stresa.

DAY 17
Sunday 4 October 2015
Stresa (B/D)

Another treat today – Villa Cicogna in Lombardy, close to the Swiss border. This is a living museum, with beautifully restored interiors, terraced gardens, arcaded courtyards and a spectacular water staircase. The house was originally a hunting lodge, built in 1400 by the Mozzoni family, and was later modified as a renaissance villa. We’ll take a short drive to Porto Ceresio on Lake Lugano, where we’ll have time to lunch and explore. Back in Stresa our afternoon is free before we enjoy a Farewell Dinner in the hotel tonight.
Accommodation: Regina Palace Hotel, Stresa

DAY 18
Monday 5 October 2015
Stresa – Milan – Home (B)

Our last day will be spent with free time in Stresa this morning.
Late this afternoon we say goodbye to Italy and depart for Milan’s Malpensa Airport and our homeward flight.

DAY 19
Tuesday 6 October 2015

DAY 20
Wednesday 7 October 2015

  • Ross Tours Gardens of Italy with Michael McCoy 2015 Download

No testimonials exist at this time.

TOUR PRICE ex Australia
Twin Share per person land only $11,995
Twin Share per person including air $14,595
Single Supplement $2,495.00

Book and pay in full by 15/5/2015 to receive the Early Bird Discount of $350.00 per person off the final instalment.
Previous Traveller Discount $100.00
Garden Clinic Member Discount $50.00

Return group economy airfare with Emirates Sydney / Dubai / Rome and Milan / London / Dubai /Sydney
Air-conditioned motorcoach throughout tour
Deluxe accommodation in 4-star hotels
Breakfast daily, 1 lunches and 5 dinners
Guided tours of Rome, Florence, Venice, and Verona
Entrance fees to all gardens and sightseeing including Vatican Gardens & Museum, Ninfa, Villa d’Este, Villa Lante, Villa Massei, Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens, Villa Gamberai, Giusti Gardens, Villa Melzi, Villa Carlotta, Villa Cicogna, Isola Madre, Isola Bella
Cruise Brenta canal, Venice
Fully escorted by Michael McCoy