Power and Intrigue: Italian Noble Houses

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  • Experiences
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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.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1

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 masters like Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. In the evening enjoy an elegant dinner at a restaurant dating back to the late 1600’s.

Day 2

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.

Day 3

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 17th century 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.

Day 4

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.

Day 5

Depart Turin for the countryside of Emilia Romagna where you’ll stop for a guided exploration of Busseto, the once capital of the Pallavicini 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.

Day 6

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.

Day 7

From Ferrara’s wide boulevards and medieval walls journey to the UNESCO heritage site of Mantua where you will take a page from Castiglione’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.

Day 8

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 16th century 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.

Day 9

Depart Mantua for your return flight home or the next leg of your trip.

Experiences We Recommend

  • Privately guided walking tour of Sforza Castle and its ancient art museum in Milan
  • Reserved and privately guided visit of Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper
  • Exploration of the Palazzo Reale in Milan and civic spaces commissioned by the Visconti family
  • Expert led tour of the Royal House of Savoy and its adjoining 15th century Palazzo Madama in Turin
  • Visit of the Lingotto to learn abotu its history as a former Fiat factory followed by visit of Agnelli family private art collection
  • Art historian led tour of Ferrara's Este Castle and Palazzo dei Diamanti
  • Guided exploration of the Gonazaga family's illustrious Palazzo Ducale and the "Camera degli Sposi" in Mantua
  • Architectural walking tour of Sabbioneta, an UNESCO designated ideal Renaissance city

Pricing

The recommended tour length for this sample itinerary is 9 days/8 nights with pricing options beginning at $6,200/person* based on double occupancy. 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.


Encounters Include

  • Stays at five & four-star boutique luxury hotels
  • Chauffeured transport for touring & transfers
  • Private touring with professional local guides
  • Engaging activities led by cultural experts
  • Signature experiences with insider access
  • Regionally authentic dining
  • Traveler Welcome Package
  • Taxes & base gratuities

Read Client Reviews

  • Nini W.

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    Milan & North Italy's Art Cities
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