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Italy: Hidden Treasures of the Northwest
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10 days

from ₹5,00,100 trip_detail hint icon

Prices are indicative. Based on twin share. The rate of exchange calculated is approximate and the final tour cost will be as on the final date of payment. Taxes are additional.

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trip_detail module Light icon Light-Moderate trip_detail hint icon

Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include walking tours, visits to sites, safari drives, and easy hikes; and some days will have more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking.

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Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.

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Expedition Overview

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EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Explore the charming mountain towns of the Western Alps, touring Aosta’s Roman ruins with an archaeologist and sharing a meal with villagers in Introd.
  • Ascend to the heart of the Mont Blanc massif in a cable car, taking in jaw-dropping views of Europe’s highest peaks.
  • Venture to the spectacular mountaintop monastery of Sacra di San Michele, and stroll the UNESCO World Heritage–listed palaces of Turin with a National Geographic expert.
  • Whip up seafood classics during a Ligurian cooking class; go truffle hunting with a tartufaio; and tour the wine cellars of Canelli, birthplace of Italy’s first sparkling wine.
EXPERTS ON THIS TRIP

A National Geographic expert will accompany each departure to share insights and a rare behind-the-scenes perspective. Listed here are some of the experts that will be joining departures on this trip.

Itinerary

Discover the enchanting sites of northwestern Italy, where snowcapped mountains give way to delightful seaside towns, and soaring cathedrals lie untouched by crowds. Travel from the lush Aosta Valley—home of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps—to flower-filled San Remo on the Italian Riviera, discovering the majestic city of Turin on the way. Stroll through little-known Roman ruins; hunt for treasured truffles in the Piedmont countryside; and descend into the otherworldly Toirano caves with a speleologist, looking for the footprints of our prehistoric ancestors.

Day 1: Milan, Italy

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Arrive in Milan and settle into our hotel, located steps away from the breathtaking Duomo. Head out on a walking tour of the city, and enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant this evening.

Day 2: Aosta/Cogne

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This morning, drive to Aosta, a picturesque mountain town nestled in the folds of the Western Alps. Explore Aosta’s imposing Roman ruins with a local archaeologist, visiting Porta Praetoria, a stone gateway dating to 25 BC; the remains of a striking Roman theatre; and the Cryptoporticus, a semi-subterranean network of passageways whose original purpose remains a mystery. After lunching on Italian fondue—made with local fontina cheese—continue to charming Cogne and meet with park representatives at the visitor center of Gran Paradiso National Park. Once the private hunting ground of the Italian royal family, this natural reserve is home to a large number of protected species, including the Alpine ibex.

Day 3: Mont Blanc/Cogne

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Head to Courmayeur, an Alpine resort located at the foot of Mont Blanc—the highest mountain in the Alps. Ride the spectacular Skyway Monte Bianco gondola to Punta Helbronner, an 11,300-foot-high peak straddling the border between France and Italy. Take in panoramic views of the craggy giants—including the iconic Matterhorn—and hear our guide tell tales of the conquest of Mont Blanc, first summited in 1786. Continue to the village of Introd for lunch. Share a delicious spread with the friendly residents, chatting about Alpine life; then visit Maison Bruil, a centuries-old wood-and-stone home that reflects the customs of people who inhabited the area in ancient times.

Day 4: Sacra di San Michele/Turin/Monforte d’Alba

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Today, we make our way to the magnificent Sacra di San Michele, a mist-shrouded monastery perched on a rocky crag and surrounded by soaring snowcapped peaks. An important example of Romanesque architecture, this ancient abbey inspired Italian novelist Umberto Eco’s murder mystery novel, The Name of the Rose. After a guided visit, continue to Turin, the first capital of Italy. Delve into this elegant city with an art historian as your guide, tracing its glorious 2,000-year-old history. Discover the ancient Roman Quarter, baroque palaces, medieval churches, and stately squares; then enjoy dinner at a private home. Check in to our quaint countryside hotel this evening, situated in the village of Monforte d’Alba.

Day 5: Monforte d’Alba/Langhe Wine Region

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Spend some time relaxing at our hotel, or step out to explore the cobbled streets of Monforte d’Alba. Then head to a family-owned winery in Langhe, an under-the-radar wine region that produces some of the finest vintages in Italy. Enjoy a tour and tasting, learning about the local Nebbiolo grape, then sit down for a delightful picnic lunch amid the rolling hills of the vineyard. This afternoon, venture to the hamlet of Canelli, nicknamed the capital of Spumante—or sparkling wine. Here, an expert guide joins us for an exploration of Canelli’s renowned wine cellars. These “underground cathedrals,” known for their architectural beauty, extend about 12 miles and were built in the early 19th century to conserve locally produced wine.

Day 6: Asti

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Today we’ll get acquainted with Asti, home of Italy’s earliest recorded Palio. Dating to the 13th century, the Palio is a bareback horse race celebrated locally on the third Sunday in September. Enjoy a special meet and greet with local politicians at the Asti town hall, and learn about the historic sporting spectacle for which the town is known. Then set out on a tour of an organic cheese farm and discover the art of truffle hunting with a local tartufaio, or truffle expert.

Day 7: Albenga/San Remo

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Drive along the Mediterranean coast to the town of Albenga, situated in Italy’s Liguria region. Set out on a walking tour of the city’s outstanding medieval center; and stop by the fifth-century baptistery, an octagonal building adjacent to the Albenga Cathedral where baptisms were typically performed. Wander by the well-preserved Via Julia Augusta, an ancient Roman road running from Piancenza to the French city of Arles; and sample delicious Ligurian recipes at a local restaurant for lunch. Continue to San Remo, an attractive coastal town dubbed the “city of flowers.”

Day 8: Dolceacqua/Apricale/San Remo

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Spend the day traversing the Ligurian countryside, discovering enchanting storybook villages that retain their medieval charm. Visit Dolceacqua, a romantic cluster of stone homes and narrow alleys divided by a river. Continue to lively Apricale, exploring its 10th-century castle and winding your way through hilly streets to the sunny main square for lunch. Return to San Remo for an evening at leisure.

Day 9: Imperia/Toirano/San Remo

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Rise early to travel to the harbor city of Imperia, where we’ll meet with local fisherman and hear about how fishing practices in Liguria have changed over the years. Buy fresh fish and pick up other ingredients from a farmers market in time for our cooking class at a local farmhouse. Learn the secrets of Ligurian cuisine, and feast on your creations for lunch. This afternoon, explore Toirano’s extraordinary caves with a speleologist. This karst cave system harbors fascinating geological formations, footprints of prehistoric humans, and a repository of 25,000-year-old bear skeletons. Toast to your Italian journey tonight during a farewell dinner at our hotel.

Day 10: Nice, France

Following breakfast, transfer to the Nice international airport and connect to your flight home.

What to Expect

This trip has an activity rating of light/moderate; travelers should be in good health, and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods, navigating uneven terrain, and climbing stairs without handrails.

Accommodations
Throughout the trip, we stay in ideally located, high-end hotels with many amenities.

Expedition Team
A National Geographic expert and an expedition leader will accompany this trip, and local guides join us along the way.

PRICES & DATES

  • date May 24-Jun 2, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹ 5,00,100 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,14,500 Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Jun 7-16, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹ 5,00,100 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,14,500 Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Sep 6-15, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹ 5,00,100 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,14,500 Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Sep 18-27, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹ 5,00,100 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,14,500 Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Oct 11-20, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹ 5,00,100 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹6,14,500 Per Person
  • extensions yes

All trip prices are per person based on double occupancy, are subject to change without notice and do not include airfare. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars.

  • Transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary
  • All gratuities

    What's Not Included

    • Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
    • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
    • Visas
    • Alcoholic beverages
Patrick Hunt
Archaeologist Author
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Award-winning archaeologist, author, and National Geographic grantee Patrick Hunt earned his Ph.D. in Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, and has taught at Stanford University for nearly 30 years. Patrick directed the Stanford Alpine Archaeology Project from 1994 to 2012, and has continued project-related fieldwork in the region in the years since. His Alps research has been sponsored by the National Geographic Society, and he frequently lectures for National Geographic on Hannibal and the European mummy nicknamed Ötzi the Iceman. He is also a National Lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America, as well as an elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club. He is the author of 21 published books, including the best-sellers Ten Discoveries That Rewrote History and Hannibal. He has a lifelong love of the Alps, having lived there for several months each year since 1994.

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  • Sep 6-15, 2020
Tim Jepson
Author
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Tim Jepson is a British, London-based writer, traveler, and broadcaster. He began his traveling life at the age of 12, exploring the mountains of Britain and Ireland. After graduating from Oxford University, he lived and worked in Italy, writing for a variety of British newspapers and leading high-level expeditions in the country’s remotest corners. His experiences were recorded in a book, Wild Italy. He has since written more than 20 books, including several titles for National Geographic, and numerous articles for publications worldwide. Tim worked as a travel editor for London’s Daily Telegraph, and continues to travel extensively, with a passion for the farthest-flung destinations and the untrammeled cultures of Bhutan, Laos, Tibet, and Myanmar. He recently completed The British World: An Illustrated Atlas for National Geographic.

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  • Jun 7-16, 2020
William Saturno
Educator Archaeologist
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William Saturno is an archaeologist and storyteller specializing in the myths and histories of early civilizations and the politics of empire. A National Geographic Explorer and a former NASA research scientist, he has conducted fieldwork around the globe, both on the ground and from space, to understand the ideological and environmental foundations of how the great Czars, Khans, Emperors, and Ajaws of the past ruled over their societies. As an avid student and scholar of the ancient world, Bill weaves together data from archaeology, anthropology, and history spanning from the jungles of Central America and Southeast Asia to the deserts and grasslands of Eurasia and from the shores of the ancient Mediterranean to those of Scandinavian fjords, narrating the tales of adventurers, artists, commoners, and kings alike to bring the past vividly to life. He has joined numerous National Geographic Expeditions over the years in diverse geographies, including Mexico, Guatemala, China, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, and beyond.

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  • May 24-Jun 2, 2020
  • Oct 11-20, 2020