The Italian Lakes offer a bit of everything; pretty towns and villages perched on the water’s edge, a backdrop of mountains, fine buildings and, of course, stunning scenery.
Embraced by green wooded escarpments and backed by the snow-capped Alps, Lake Como is the most dramatic of the lakes and is popular. Como is a thriving town best known for its silk production; you can take a ferry from its pier to reach Bellagio, a jewel of a town sitting at the spot where Lake Como divides into three parts. Villa Carlotta is an elegant 17th-century mansion set in lush formal terraced gardens.
The westernmost lake, Lake Maggiore, has a special attraction: Isola Bella, the most romantic of the three Borromean Islands, famous for their palazzi and gardens. The main resort of Stresa has a delightful lakeside promenade known for its flowers and views of the lake’s islands. Take the cable car to the peak of Mottarone for an exhilarating view of the Lombardy lakes, the Alps and the Po Valley.
Lake Garda, Italy’s largest and easternmost lake, is surrounded by rolling green hills and gardens, vineyards, lemon trees and olive groves. The spa town of Sirmione is Garda’s most popular resort.