The Italian Lakes is one of Italy’s premier visitor attractions outside of Rome. They rival the gentle slopes of Tuscany for sheer beauty. And they are a world apart from other popular tourist areas, like Rome or Florence. Here, you’ll find some of the country’s most stunning natural landscapes.
Let’s dive into the Italian Lakes to see what they have to offer.
Lake Orta is one of the smaller, lesser-known lakes, near to Lake Maggiore. If you want to get away from it, all this is where you want to go. At Orta, you’ll find the pretty little town of Orta San Giulio. Here you’ll find tiny cobbled streets, barely changed in over a hundred years. And you’ll find a piazza, complete with its crumbling rustic charms.
If you can pick up the Via Olina, follow the road as far as it goes. It soon gets quiet and starts climbing into the Alps themselves. From the top, you get incredible views over Lake Orta as well as Lake Maggiore.
If you’re planning on visiting the area, make sure to find a European luxury villa specialist. Hotels in the area can be pricey, so the whole region is best explored from a villa as a base. Anyway, you want somewhere you can hang up your boots after a long day’s hike.
There’s a reason you haven’t heard of Varese. Hardly any tourists actually visit the place. For some reason, unbeknownst to those that visit the provincial town, it doesn’t attract hordes of visitors. But for those that do venture to this place, there are some incredible treats. Perhaps the most iconic landmark in the city is the Villa Panza. This dates from the city’s heyday, back in the era of the Napoleonic wars. The Villa Panza is now dedicated to artwork, inspired by Giuseppe Panza, the villa’s original owner. Here you’ll find work by Dan Flavin and James Turrell.
Lake Como is among the most famous of the Italian Lakes. It’s been a favourite hotspot of celebrities like George Clooney. They go to the lake for its natural beauty, and the rustic villages nestled along its banks.
The city of Como is also a major attraction. Here you’ll find a rebuilt promenade that seems to wind its way along the lakeside without end. There’s also the city’s cathedral, which captures the city’s eclectic vibe. The structure took more than three centuries to build and has many different features. It has a gothic facade, Romanesque bell tower, and a baroque dome. For architecture lovers, the cathedral somehow manages to do the impossible. All the different elements seem to come together perfectly.
There are plenty of opportunities to have fun on a budget by Lake Como. You can pick up a ferry trip from Como across the lake from €28 for adults. This will give you access to rides for the entire day. You can stop off at the Villa del Balbianello to visit the terraced gardens. Then you can zoom on to Bellagio, a village situated to the south of the lake. Here you’ll find a touch of art nouveau, as well as some pretty swanky boutiques.