Be transported to the golden age of Italy’s most noble courts. Let the historic palazzi of the Sforza, Gonzaga, Savoia and Este families serve as your history playground while exploring the glory of a bygone era. From the royalty of old to the titans of modern industry, discover how Italian nobility has evolved through the ages.
Power and Intrigue: Italy’s Noble Houses
9-Day Private Tour Sample Itinerary
Milan, Turin, Busseto, Ferrara, Mantua, Sabbioneta
Begin your exploration of Northern Italian nobility in the cosmopolitan heart of Milan, the former stronghold of the Sforza family. Upon arrival in Milan be greeted by your luxury chauffeur before checking-in at your luxurious 4-star boutique hotel. Start your historical exploration of Milan with a privately guided walking tour of the city’s epic Castello Sforzesco. Roam the inner courtyards of this medieval treasure and examine the family’s rise and decline during the high Renaissance. Afterward explore the castle’s ancient art gallery that houses works by Renaissance master’s like Michelangelo and Leonard Da Vinci. In the evening enjoy an elegant dinner at a restaurant dating back to the late 1600’s.
Meet your local expert and set-off for an insider’s look at Milanese history with a visit to the Palazzo Reale, the onetime home of the city’s government. Afterward, admire the Piazza Dei Mercanti and the Loggia Degli Osii, which were commissioned in the 14th century by the Visconti family. Indulge in a lunch of Milanese delicacies like its renowned ossobuco and risotto Milanese at a traditional osteria. Enjoy the rest of the day by exploring the city at your leisure. Take time to visit the city’s famed Brera Pinacoteca or stroll along the Brera district’s picturesque streets and outdoor cafes.
Depart Milan for the alpine hills of Piemonte. Arrive at your at your swank 4-star hotel located in the heart of Turin’s historic center, which has been hosting world famous actors and artists, important political figures and Nobel prize winners since the 1920’s. Take a break for lunch where you’ll dine in a quintessentially Torinese osteria and sample some of the region’s finest recipes. After lunch, enjoy a guided exploration of the Royal House of Savoy and the 15th century Palazzo Madama, where you’ll learn about the family’s role as the first royal family to rule unified Italy. Afterward, wander through the city’s 17thcentury covered porticos while admiring the architectural ingenuity of La Mole Antonelliana. Reflect on all that you’ve experienced with an evening spritz in the heart of the city.
Meet your local expert in the morning and enjoy a visit to the Borgo Po with its turn of the century villas built by Turin’s industrial titans. Next, travel to the Lingotto, the former headquarters of the legendary Agnelli family owned Fiat automobile dynasty. Stop for a look at its prestigious Agnelli art gallery housing works by such masters as Tiepolo and Picasso, before enjoying a guided foodie walk and lunch at the Slow Food metropolis that is Eataly Torino. After lunch spend the rest of the day enjoying the city’s boutique shops and cultural sites at your leisure.
Depart Turin for the countryside of Emilia Romagna where you’ll stop for a guided exploration of Busseto, the once capital of the Pallavicino state. Enjoy an insider ‘s tour of the noble family’s fortress before making your way to a lunch featuring the area’s prized culatello di zibello prime cured meat. Depart for Ferrara and check-in to your elegant 19th century noble palazzo turned luxury accommodation, a secluded retreat uniquely positioned in the heart of the city. Spend the evening at your leisure enjoying the chiming of bicycle bells as you stroll through Ferrara’s Piazza Cattedrale and discover its many quaint eateries.
Partake in a morning bike ride led by a local art historian and discover the city’s preserved medieval walls and the beautifully crafted balconies of the city’s 16th century Jewish quarter, fashioned in the Sephardic artistic tradition. Break for a lunch of delicious cappellacci at a local ‘s only cantina. In the afternoon, visit the famed castle of the Este family, while learning about the infamous Lucrezia Borgia and her speculated exploits as Duchess of Ferrara.
From Ferrara’s wide boulevards and medieval walls journey to the UNESCO heritage site of Mantua where you will take a page from Castiglioni’s “Il Cortegiano” with a glimpse at Lombardia’s noble heritage. Settle in at your 12th century medieval tower converted into luxury suites and still owned by one of Baldesar Castiglione’s descendants. Enjoy a lunch of typical Mantovana delicacies in a historic eatery located in the center of town. Afterward meet a local expert that will take you on an in depth look at the famed Ducal Palace of the House of Gonzaga, with its endless labyrinth of secret rooms, grottoes, gardens and tapestries.
Enjoy a leisurely morning to explore Mantua’s quaint cafes, eateries and boutique shops. In the afternoon journey to the UNESCO heritage site of Sabbioneta founded by Vespasiano Gonzaga Colonna. Tour this utopian 16thcentury Renaissance “ideal” town imagined by Vespasiano with its magnificent Ducal Palace and Teatro all’Antica designed by Palladio’s pupil Vincenzo Scamozzi. Savor a rustic countryside dinner at an organic farm before returning to your luxury suite in the evening.
Depart Mantua for your return flight home or the next leg of your trip.-As part of our Enriched Booking process your customized itinerary will be designed with the assistance of a CountryBred specialist. -This trip can be specifically tailored for organizations, associations and corporate incentives.
The recommended tour length for this sample itinerary is 9 days/8 nights with pricing options beginning at $6,200/person. Please note that the “Share Bred With Friends” preferred pricing program will be applied to travel parties of four or more.
The final price of your custom tour will be determined by your travel party size, departure dates, trip length, amount of meals included, percentage of guided time requested, cities chosen in your itinerary and signature CountryBred excursions selected. This sample itinerary can also be crafted for solo travelers.
Included in this sample CountryBred Encounter are:
- 8 Nights at CountryBred approved, deluxe accommodations
- Deluxe and/or Superior room stays
- Private luxury chauffeur for all intercity travel, day trips and excursions
- Airport / Train station transfers with baggage assistance
- Private touring with professionally licensed local guides and cultural experts
- Flexible guided time with local experts based upon your preference
- 2 Gourmand dinners
- 6 Regionally authentic lunches
- Private touring of royal residences
- Daily breakfasts
- Museum tickets & entrance fees
- All gratuities & taxes
- Traveler welcome package including customized Culture Guide
- Please note that transfers to airports and/or train stations outside of Milan for arrival and departure, are available upon request for an additional, supplemental fee. Airfare is not included.
Featured Deluxe Hotels
Located off a quintessentially Milanese street that opens out to the majestic Sforza Castle, the exclusive residence and hotel Camperio House calls the historic core of Milano its home. The entrance leaves you in the elegant cloister of a noble palazzo, with its original winding marble staircase transporting you back to 15th century Milan. At Camperio House you will enjoy modern day luxury seasoned with the classical sophistication of a time remembered.
A four-star, luxury hotel situated in the classic heart of Torino, Grand Hotel Sitea encapsulates the sophisticated elegance of the city that ignited Italy’s Risorgimento. Built in 1925, the hotel embodies the cosmopolitan style of Torino circa the early 1900′s and has distinguished itself as a premier historic hotel due in part to its close proximity to such important sites as Piazza San Carlo and Piazza Castello. Recognized in 2001 with the prestigious designation of “Locale Storico d’Italia” (Historic Locales of Italy) by the Italian government , Grand Hotel Sitea’s heritage as not only an exclusive Torinese accommodation but as an important fixture in the city’s history, was permanently memorialized.
Set amongst a sprawling 2.5 acre park that was once the game reserve of the noble Este family of Ferrara, Villa Horti della Fasanara stands as an idyllic haven encircled by natural beauty and swathed in Renaissance pedigree. Located just moments from Ferrara’s Estense Castle and exquisite Palazzo dei Diamanti, Villa Horti is a luxurious sanctuary magically hidden within the city’s historic heart by the delicious shade of ancient trees and the intriguing mystery of time. Steeped in classic elegance, Villa Horti is a historic 19th century noble residence that has been expertly restored into an ultra-chic, luxury hotel that offers guests a sophisticated city retreat from which to discover the beauty and culture of Ferrara. Nestled on grounds first built by Biagio Rosesetti by order of Duke Ercole d’Este I in the late 15th century, Villa Horti’s majestic park is perhaps one of the most unique corners of Ferrara, an unexpected green-space located within the city walls and largely untouched since the Renaissance.
Palazzo Castiglioni is a 12th century palazzo located in the heart of Mantua and positioned just in front of the city’s legendary Palazzo Ducale. Once home to the Bonacolsi family who ruled the city from 1272 to 1328 and the oldest existing palace in all of Mantua, it remains the residence of the Castiglioni family who are descendants of Baldesar Castiglione, politician, scholar of the 16th century and author of “Il Cortegiano”. Over 700 years of history sits atop the palazzo’s epic tower that has been transformed into a luxury accommodation combining ancient grandeur with modern luxuries. Guests will enjoy the romantic splendor of this uniquely frescoed suite through its period decor, original tapestries and breathtaking panoramas of all of Mantua and the surrounding lakes and countryside.
Encounter Something Unexpected
Experiential travel takes time, passion and local ingredients to make something truly special. When you travel with CountryBred, you can look forward to the following:
- A personalized and private travel experience, whether you’re a solo voyager, a couple, group of friends, family or an organization
- A well crafted itinerary that is a reflection of your cultural interests, which we bring to life through our unparalleled insider knowledge, local access and dedicated team
- A thoughtful travel pace that leads you down roads less traveled while leaving time to enjoy the quiet moments that make for remarkable memories
- Enriching activities that immerse you in local culture and traditions
- Premium accommodations that are distinct reflections of the regions they reside in, with real histories and real people behind them
- Regional ambassadors and local cultural experts that go beyond educating, to invite you into their community and introduce you to their unique corner of the world.
- Authentic dining that ensures you enjoy the finest in regional culinary traditions from quaint family owned eateries to innovative Michelin-starred restaurants. Each meal is in itself a work of art, passionately prepared and uniquely local.
Authentic is Premium