History, Culture and Cuisine – Kayaking the Italian Lake District with Tofino

Italian lakes kayaking

Kayaking the Italian Lake District is a nine-day journey through an ancient land where blasts of bougainvillea shatter the repose of medieval facades reflected in still waters over which kayaks silently glide.

This is summertime Italy, but where are the crowds?

Tofino Expeditions (https://www.tofino.com/), leading purveyors of sea kayak-supported explorations of Earth’s marvels, promises lots of elbow room for guests paddling across northern Italy’s sought-after lakes. Grant Thompson, Founder and Owner, also promises that guests will be awestruck by the opulence of villas like the one George Clooney owns on Lake Como. Picturesque villas that hover over the water evoking the luxury and privacy of lakeside living since the days of the Roman Empire. These sights, tucked away from roadside viewing, burst into reality when approached from the water.

“Each time we land the kayaks and explore the lanes and intimate plazas of ancient villages, there’s a renewed excitement,” Thompson said, underscoring the magic this special access over water affords. In fact, launch on the first day is from Laglio, home of Clooney’s Villa Oleandra.

Limited 2017 space is still available for Tofino’s Kayaking the Italian Lake District; however, reservations can be secured now for two 2018 programs departing June 20-28 and Sept. 1-9. The per person double rate is $4,560 and includes all accommodations including arrival night in Milan, the gateway city; most meals; ground transportation and attraction entry fees; expedition sea kayaks and equipment; safety equipment including medical kit, radios, and cell phones; support boat and luggage transfers. For details please see https://www.tofino.com/italy/kayaking-the-italian-lake-district/.

In this kayaking paradise, the voyager enjoys a unique perspective while paddling in Italy’s Piedmont and Lombardy regions and in Switzerland’s Ticino. The weather is typically mild and sunny and the waters warm and swimmable. A lively culture of local boats in many of the towns gives the air of small fishing villages. Along the paddling route are a bridge dating to Roman times, richly forested mountainsides, rugged cliffs and remote islands evoking a rich Mediterranean heritage. Because the regions are diverse, guests sample the best micro-cuisines of the region that appease the palates of international visitors who flock here each summer.

Tofino Expeditions has arranged for guests to dine at a private villa near Bellagio. On another outing, by special arrangement with Fondo Ambiente Italiano, the Italian Cultural Trust, guests land kayaks at Villa del Balbianello for a private tour. Set on a headland on the western shore of Lake Como, this villa has appeared in several feature films: A Month by the Lake, His Demise, Casino Royale and Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones. Two towers remain of a Franciscan monastery located here since the 13th century.

Surroundings and eventually language subtly shift from Italian to Swiss around Lake Lugano, the Italian part of Switzerland. Guests absorb these nuances in the picture-perfect village of Morcote, a municipality in the Swiss canton of Ticino. Here are shaded arcades and flower-lined alleyways in a village that dates back to the 10th century. On Lago Maggiore paddlers are treated to a unique view from the water of the 13th century Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso which seems to cling to the cliff face. This second largest lake in Italy was the setting for Ernest Hemmingway’s Farewell to Arms. On the western and Italian side of Maggiore guests paddle around the villas and gardens of the Borromoean Islands, a group of three small islands and two islets.

Tofino Expeditions offers an extensive portfolio of kayaking tours of Italy, ranging from Sardinia to Cinque Terre, the Dolomites and Venice.

For information on all of Tofino’s world-wide tours, availability and reservations please contact Tofino Expeditions by phone: 800-677-0877 or 541-389-6091; email: info@tofino.com; or visit online at http://www.tofino.com/. Request or download a catalog online at: https://www.tofino.com/#catalog.


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