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  A Sumptuous Journey in Northern Italy

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David and Debra's 140-minute travelogue of the fabulous holiday destination in northern Italy, and Switzerland. This comprehensive tour guide and walking travelogue is in four chapters: Garda, Como, Lugano and Maggiore. 

This will become part of a twenty + episode "Footloose in Europe" television series for international distribution ...see Broadcast 
Original music by Barnaby Smith

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PART 1. Lake Garda
Debra and David arrive in a comedy spoof hire-car to the scenic Lake district of Italy. After an introduction by Debra and Italian travel experts, Garda, the largest in the district is explored by a circular lake drive. Firstly, Debra explores the fortress at Sirmione, and the couple walk to the end of the peninsula to stroll through the extensive roman ruins at Grotte di Catullo.

Next is Desenzano, the major town on the lake; lovely old town harbour and dream shopping to be experienced here. After this Debra then takes us up to the charming lakeside town of Salo, which was once the capital of Italy for a short while. Next is a visit to the intriguing Il Vittoriale house and gardens, once home to national hero Gabriele d' Annunzio. 

Busy little
Limone under the cliffs; lovely Riva and its alleyways & port; and Malcesine with its famous castle, are all included in the tour. The intrepid filmmakers take the space-age cableway to the top of Monte Baldo then hike the steep descent with spectacular lake views, and a stout stick.


PART 4. Lake Maggiore
The couple have captured the essence of each of the lakes, and Maggiore emerges as the most relaxing of them.  Basing themselves in Stresa, Debra and David take a motor-boat to the fantastic gardens of Isola Bella and Isola Madre, owned by the historic Borromeo family, a true dynasty. Bella is busy baroque and very Italian, whilst Madre is quieter, with an English-syle garden and probably the best views to be had from anywhere on lake Maggiore. There is enough time to visit the monastery of Santa Caterina del Sasso clinging to the cliffs on the lake. 
A visit to the ancient Rocca di Angera is a special feature in this chapter and the fabulous medieval interior has been perfectly preserved for 500 years.


Next day David and Debra take the Lago Maggiore Express rail trip from Domodossola into Switzerland. After arriving and exploring Locarno at the very top of Maggiore, the all-in -one ticket buys them a scenic boat trip  back to Stresa at sunset. 
On their final day in the Italian lakes the couple take the cable car to the top of Mottarone, the mountain behind Stresa, and walk down to the magical Lake Orta, with its holy island and Unesco site of 21 chapels. On the way down they take a wrong turn, meet a flock of sheep, see scooters, dogs and donkeys, which all go to make the journey quite a pilgrimmage!


PART 2. Lake Como

Lake Como, considered the most romantic of the lakes has a long history of silk manufacture.Debra and David start a walking trail on the City of Como lakeside and see seaplanes taking off from the water. Next is a walk through the old quarter to take in the cathedral and its square. Debra then travels to the Como Silk Museum to learn more about the region's famous fabric industry, still going strong after 500 years.

A spectacular lake cruise starts with the gardens of Villa Balbianello, perhaps the most romantic wedding venue in all of Italy. First hop-off is at lovely Menaggio, once a Roman settlement. Next is the famous Bellagio, very busy and very up-market with cobbled streets and alleys. Last stop is Varenna, Debra's favourite... quiet, unhurried and has probably the best views on the whole of lake Como. Next day the couple then walk through the scenic valley from Lake Como (Menaggio) to Lake Lugano (Porlezza); they find old wash houses, an historic villa and an ancient oak tree steeped in myths and legends.


If you have been to the Italian Lakes in the past, then this film will be a nostalgic trip, and might well encourage you to return. If you havenít visited yet, Debra will certainly persuade you to make it your next holiday!
Thoroughly recommended for travellers, garden lovers, walking enthusiasts and of course a virtual holiday for armchair walkers


                  Produced by David and Debra Rixon
              Music specially written by Barnaby Smith

Also in the series: Footloose in Italy ~ Cinque Terre & Venice
PART 3. Lake Lugano        

 ... Useful Links
Il Vittoriale House & Garden

Silk Museum of Como

The Swiss Customs Museum

Lago Maggiore Express

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  © Grindelwald Productions 2012

A dark and mysterious lake, Lugano is mostly Swiss. Debra starts the visit at the distinctly different City of Lugano, clean, tidy and full of posh shops. When it rains the couple make a trip to the Alprose Swiss chocolate factory as an interesting aside, with naturally a tasting session.  Not to be missed is the tiny Italian enclave of Campione with its colossal casino, all surrounded by dark forest. Pretty little Swiss lakeside village, Gandria, also gets a visit... its long history encompasses growing olives, breeding silkworms and smuggling!


A short ride across the lake from Gandria, the Swiss Customs patrol boat delivers Debra to the fascinating Customs Museum, which was once a lonely border guard post. Inside it houses a unique collection of exhibits with a few surprises; the museum's director shows Debra around.