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Lakes & Mountains

Destination Guide: The Italian Lakes


The Italian Lake District is quite possibly Italy’s most desirable destination. Both Ezra Pound and Alfred Tennyson wrote about the Italian Lakes in their poetry, and to this day the area upholds its prominence as one of the most stylish holiday resorts in the world. Attracting fashionable crowds with a lust for life, the stunning lakes of Garda, Como, Maggiore, Lugano and Iseo provide a lavish setting for the rich and famous.

In the northern region of the country, these great Lombard lakes form the soul of the region but for the curious traveller the Lombardy region has so much more to offer than just outstanding natural beauty. Discover the Swiss-Italia charm of the Lombardy Alps, taste the distinctively hearty dishes of the north, and explore the rich lifestyle of the Milanese. Wherever Lombardy takes you, luxury won’t be far behind.

 

Getting There


Lombardy is very well serviced with airports; the three major airports for international flights are City of Milan Airport (also named Malpensa International Airport), Milano Linate Airport, and Il Caravaggio International Airport (also known as Bergamo Orio Al Serio Airport).
City of Milan Airport has a direct Malpensa Express train link into the city on Terminal 1 and Milano Linate Airport has a bus connection to Milan or Lake Como.

Getting Around Lombardy


No doubt you’ll want to explore the five great lakes of the region and to do that, you will need to be able to get around easily. Many tourists like to travel by taxi, especially if they have a lot of luggage. But there are also bus and train links which are safe and convenient to use.

The Milan Metro


To get around the city, the easiest way to travel is by Metro. Many tourists feel confident enough to use this as their main mode of transportation. But make sure you ask your hotel if they know of any Metro strikes as these can happen somewhat regularly.

 

Lakes & Mountains Properties


 

Villa Argegno

From £16575/week
Location: Italian Lakes
Sleeps: 11
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £2368
A stylish villa with opulent interiors situated in an idyllic location on the banks of Lake Como. This prestigious property is surrounded by a 3.000 sq.m. fenced sculpture garden with lawns, Mediterranean plants, flowers and fruit trees. Stunning lake & mountain views. Private swimming pool (can be heated), shower, Air-con, w-ifi, full time staff for cleaning, concierge and management. Top level villa in a beautiful location.. Walk to town and beaches, Milan within 1 hour drive. 2018 DATES AVAILABLE: Up to 19 May and 13 October onwards. BOOK NOW FOR 2019

6 Beds
6 Bathrooms
11 Guests

Villa Arona

Location: Italian Lakes
Sleeps: 8
Star Rating:
From £
Ideally located only 1 Km (uphill) from the village of Meina - a peaceful lakeside town with cobbled streets on the western shore of Lake Maggiore. Magical views of the lake and mountains beyond from the pool and living area. Cosy modern interiors. Beautiful gardens. The property benefits from air-con and wi-fi. Tennis in nearby village. Malpensa airport less than 45 Km drive

4 Beds
3 Bathrooms
8 Guests

Villa Aurora

From £5804/week
Location: Italian Lakes
Sleeps: 12
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £829
Villa Aurora is a contemporary villa with pool and 6 Air Conditioned bedrooms. Situated on a scenic hill within walking distance from the centre of Meina (400m). The beach club with tennis is 750 meters away. Elegantly furnished with panoramic view over the lake. Wifi throughout the whole house and Malpensa airport only 39km. Bus stop and shuttle stop to Malpensa airport is only 1km from the house. 2018 DATES STILL AVAILABLE: Up to 16 June, 11 August onwards

6 Beds
4 Bathrooms
12 Guests

Villa Baveno

From £7339/week
Location: Italian Lakes
Sleeps: 12
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £1048
Situated in an elevated position on the Baveno hillside - this idyllic property offers stunning lake views and a tranquil base from which to explore the best of Lake Maggiore. The beautiful villa was built in the 1940s and is surrounded by a 20,000 square-meter park encompassing manicured lawns and pine woods. Recently renovated the villa offers stylish accommodation with bright, spacious interiors of a high standard. There is a grand piano in the lounge area for our musical guests and a professional kitchen for those who enjoy cooking. The charming village of Baveno with its restaurants and local shops is only 1 km away (uphill), Stresa is 5 Km and Milan Malpensa airport is 1 hour by car. Air-conditioned bedrooms, a wellness area with gym and jacuzzi - massages can be arranged, wi-fi and apple TV. Swimming pool can be heated - perfect for year round rentals. Welcome dinner and welcome basket upon arrival.

5 Beds
7 Bathrooms
12 Guests

Villa Bianca

From £6212/week
Location: Italian Lakes
Sleeps: 8
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £887
Located on the shore of the lake between the famous Villa d’Este hotel in Cernobbio and George Clooney’s residence in Laglio, Villa Bianca is a historical villa with lake access, swimming pool, private mooring and easy access to the village. The large panoramic terrace which opens directly on to the lake is the perfect spot to sunbathe and take in the view. Ideally located only a few kilometres from Cernobbio and only 7 km (4.35 miles) from the centrr of Como. Restaurants within walking distance, bus stop at 150 metres and the pier of the Navigazione dei Laghi ferries only 400 metres away. Extra double bedroom available.

4 Beds
4 Bathrooms
8 Guests

Villa Colico

From £6956/week
Location: Italian Lakes
Sleeps: 12
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £994
A very special villa situated on the North Eastern side of Lake Como. This unique property was built for a famous Milanese family and sits within a gated private parkland of 7.4 acres . As you walk in you are greeted by the breathtaking lake view which can be seen from every room! Floor to ceiling windows which infuse the living areas with natural light and the stylish interiors inkeeping with the villa's modernist architectual design inspired by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s. The large living and dining room lead on to the panoramic terrace - a perfect setting for outdoor dining and sundowners. Table tennis, table football and outdoor hot tub. Restaurant within 5 minute walk. EXPERIENCE VILLA: Owner offers guests complimentary guided tour to the Forte Montecchio Nord di Colico - The best preserved Fort of the First World War

6 Beds
5 Bathrooms
12 Guests

Villa Cremia

From £4417/week
Location: Italian Lakes
Sleeps: 12
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £631
A spacious, modern villa with fantastic panoramic lake and mountain views. Villa Cremia is perched on the hillside of Lake Como's west bank 10 km north of Menaggio. Peaceful location yet ideally situated within walking distance a grocery shop, beach and restaurant. Indoor jacuzzi and sauna. Billiards table. Indoor jacuzzi and sauna. Wi-fi. Activities in the surrounding area include: hiking, tennis, golf, swimming, sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and water sports. EXPERIENCE VILLA: Owner offers guests complimentary guided tour to the Forte Montecchio Nord di Colico - The best preserved Fort of the First World War

6 Beds
4 Bathrooms
12 Guests

Villa Laglio

From £4774/week
Location: Italian Lakes
Sleeps: 9
Star Rating:
From £682
Located on the west shore of Lake Como with direct access to the shore and its' own private dock. Laglio is a spectacular villa which originally dates back to the 19th century - the property has been recently renovated to offer stylish interiors and beautiful lake views - especially from the billiard room! Ideally situated within walking distance of the local village (shops and restaurants 300 metres). All bedrooms benefit from air-con. The intimate garden is furnished with chairs and sun beds and provides the perfect spot from which to admire the lake - surrounded by a century old Lebanon Cedar tree, and Olea fragrans which scent the air.

4 Beds
3 Bathrooms
9 Guests

Villa Lesa

From £7415/week
Location: Italian Lakes
Sleeps: 8
Star Rating:
From £1059
A superb, single storey waterfront villa with direct access to a private beach on the shares of Lake Maggiore. This luxury villa benefits from all the amenities which make for a memorable holiday in the Italian lake district: Air conditioning, pool which can be heated, private beach and dock, fitness room, tennis court (shared with the owner) and 9 hole golf course. Guests can also use bikes, canoes and the sailing dinghy boat, as well as a motor boat (no license needed) offered by the owner. Upon request it is possible to book an excursion with the owner’s helicopter or a cruise with the owner’s 15 metre vintage sailing boat and 12 metres vintage wooden motorboat used for the recent famous royal weddings of the Borromeo’s family. Walk to village with restaurants, grocery shop and bus stop. Located between Arona and Stresa (4Km from both). Additional independent guest house with 2 beds kitchen and bathroom is available to sleep 10. Welcome dinner offered with compliments. EXPERIENCE VILLAS: The owner offers you the opportunity to enjoy the lake with your own power boat! An afternoon on a power boat without need of license (40 Hp) with compliments of the owner. Fuel not included

4 Beds
4 Bathrooms
8 Guests

Villa Lingeri

From £15600/week
Location: Italian Lakes
Sleeps: 10
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £2229
This exceptional villa sits on a private estate on the western shore of Lake Como. Originally built in the 1940s by a famous architect - the property has been classified as an historical monument by the Italian Ministry of Culture. Today Villa Lingeri offers its guests an exclusive base on the shores of Lake Como with stylish interiors - overlooking one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world. Lakeshore, restaurant & shops walking distance. Fitness area with sauna & jacuzzi. Air-con & concierge service. EXPERIENCE VILLA: Owner offers guests complimentary - 1 hour boat tour to see (from the boat) Isola Comacina, Villa Cassinella, Villa Carlotta and Villa Balbianello

5 Beds
3 Bathrooms
10 Guests

Villa Lombardia

From £5192/week
Location: Italian Lakes
Sleeps: 8
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £742
The location is amazing: Villa Lombardia sits directly on the shores of Lake Maggiore with access to a private beach and panoramic views towards the mountains. This stunning modern home has all amenities needed for a relaxing holiday. Floor to ceiling glass sliding doors infuse the living areas with light and allow guests to take in the view across the water. The villa benefits from air-con, wi-fi, fitness room, sauna and jacuzzi. Plenty of outdoor space for relaxing and dining 'al fresco'. Golf course only 7 km away! Watersports and sailing school only 1 km. Malpensa airport only 28 km. Ideally situated within walking distance of the village of Ispra. Pool can be heated upon request. 2018 DATES STILL AVAILABLE: Up to 09 June, 16 to 23 June, 30 June to 21 July, 11 August to 25 August and 01 September onwards

4 Beds
4 Bathrooms
8 Guests

Villa Luna di Trasimeno

From £3111/week
Location: Umbria, Italy
Sleeps: 10
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £444
Wow! A truly unrivalled location - Villa Luna perches on a hilltop with stunning views over Lake Trasimeno, Montepulciano and Cortona. This wonderful property has been lovingly restored to offer tasteful accommodation of a high standard. The villa benefits from a heated, private infinity pool with lake views, 4 double bedrooms each with ensuite bathroom. Suitable for year round rentals. Restaurant and bar within walking distance.

4 Beds
5 Bathrooms
10 Guests

Villa Maggiore

From £6345/week
Location: Italian Lakes
Sleeps: 12
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £906
Designed in the 1960s by a famous architect - Villa Maggiore is situated in a privileged position only 300 metres from the shores of Lake Maggiore (onthe western side) and 1 Km from the village of Dormelletto.The interiors are spacious and light, tastefully furnished with a varied range of colours, although white dominates. This unique property has been featured in several magazines that specialize in architectural design. Large lawned garden. Cook service available upon request. Maid service included 10 hours per week.

6 Beds
5 Bathrooms
12 Guests

Villa Maroni

From £3915/week
Location: Italian Lakes
Sleeps: 6
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £559
An exclusive hillside property situated on an olive oil producing estate only 3 Km from the lakeside and town. Villa Maroni was designed by a famous architect in the 1920s and full restored in 2008 to offer high quality interiors and stunning views. Large conservatory with lake views – the prefect spot to dine together. Infinity pool can be heated upon request. Spa area with whirl-tub available year round. Massages and wellness therapies available. I-pad for guests use. Bottle of the estate’s olive oil and 5 bottles of wine upon arrival. Fresh bread and croissants provided every morning! Private chef and waiter available. Horse riding, golf, sailing club, paragliding, trekking within easy reach. Boats and kayaks can be hired at the lakeside.

3 Beds
3 Bathrooms
6 Guests

Villa Meina

From £1499/week
Location: Italian Lakes
Sleeps: 10
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £214
A modern villa situated only 1 Km from Meina, a peaceful lakeside town on the western shore of Lake Maggiore. Private swimming pool with magical lake / mountain views! The spacious living area also benefits from panoramic views. W-fi and air-con plus children's play area. 10 hours per week of house cleaning included. Cook service available. Only 39 Km from Milan Malpensa airport.

5 Beds
3 Bathrooms
10 Guests

Villa Menaggio

From £7415/week
Location: Italian Lakes
Sleeps: 14
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £1059
Situated in a privileged location with direct access to the beach this wonderful lakefront property is located only ten kilometers north of Menaggio - on the northwest shore of Lake Como. The large panoramic terrace offers breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. Spacious, bright interiors which are tastefully furnished - the ideal holiday home for large parties. Air-con in some bedrooms. Wifi. Games room for children. Ideally located walking distance to village. Pool can be heated upon request

8 Beds
8 Bathrooms
14 Guests

Villa San Feliciano

From £2995/week
Location: Italian Lakes
Sleeps: 6
Star Rating:
Pool Type: Private Pool
From £428
Spectacular panoramic views, elegant interiors, modern comforts, an infinity pool with panoramic views across Lake Trasimeno: welcome to Villa San Feliciano! Situated in an enviable position less than 1 Km from a village this newly renovated property offers a charming base from which to explore the lake and surrounding area. Air-con and wi-fi

3 Beds
2 Bathrooms
6 Guests
 

 

Top Ten Things to Do

The largest of the famous five, Lake Garda is the perfect place to start your journey. Not only is it the largest lake in Italy, but it also covers three of its beautiful provinces (Brescia, Verona and Trentino), giving you plenty of ground to explore. With the intense blue hues of its water and beautiful transparency, Lake Garda is the perfect holiday destination for swimmers and bathers. Conveniently located between the two iconic cities of Venice and Milan, it’s also a perfect base for shopping daytrips.

From Lake Garda, you can drive to the beautiful city of Venice in less than 2 hours. Although there is much to see in Venice (and we are certainly not saying that a daytrip can do the city justice), you can tick off some of the major sights. Head to St. Mark’s Square which is bustling with charm in the day and dazzling at night, go and see the famous Rialto Bridge, hop on the Vaparetto water bus to the islands of Lido and Murano, and soak up some of the stunning architecture such as the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo or the Biblioteca Marciana.

Overlooked by snow-topped Gringa Mountains and the quaint commune of Bellagio, this striking ‘Y’ shaped lake offers a peaceful and tranquil retreat for holidaymakers. Take a ferry trip around the lake and stop off at the towns Bellagio, Verenna, Menaggio and Cadenabbia. Bellagio is the most popular destination and here you will find some fantastic hotels, shops and restaurants.

Stresa is a charming town which sits on the shores of the wonderful Lake Maggiore – and this makes a great base for exploring the vast blue lake. Shared also with neighbouring Switzerland, Lake Maggiore is Italy’s second largest lake; over 64 kilometres long and up to 5 kilometres wide. To catch the best sunsets, head to Stresa’s Hotel La Palma Rooftop Bar where you can relax with a Prosecco and enjoy a panoramic view.

If the big five aren’t enough, take to Orta San Giulio, a small commune and promontory by the shores of Orta Lake. This small but pretty body of water is lit up by the night lights of Orta San Giulio, and the town is charmingly built on slopes. The lake and the town are both relatively untouched by tourist footfall so you are guaranteed some peace and some spectacular sights.

Situated on the border with Switzerland, many travellers are tempted by a few nights over in Switzerland’s Canton of Ticino. With much of the lake located in the Swiss region of Lugano (its namesake), a visit to this region will give you a fantastic fusion of two nations and two cultures.

As the less visited side to Italy’s Lake District, Lake Iseo is a picturesque retreat for those in search of a little paradise. Dotted with elevated balconies of charming hotels and restaurants, the Iseo shoreline is sure to give you a fantastic view high in the hills. Take the Taste Train Tour through Franciacorta and Valcamonica, walk the ‘Antique Roman Trail’ or take an island trip to Lido Belvedere for its beautiful beaches.

Close to Lake Garda and Iseo is the spectacular city of Brescia. Capital of the Province of Brescia, Brescia City is a bustling centre of history, culture and nightlife. Eating and drinking here is a true delight and as well as some of the most prestigious restaurants, the city also offers many food and drink events throughout the year. Visit the Santa Giulia Museum, stroll the Botanical Garden Andrew Heller, visit the Castello Di Padernello and the city’s cathedrals, or enjoy biking and trekking around the lakes.

CFor the ultimate glam, step into the opulent and extravagant world of Milan. Nightlife here is a glitzy affair; a magnet for the rich and fashionable. And a Milan shopping experience is just as dazzling for those who love designer labels. Frequent the Golden Rectangle for the likes of Armani, Prada and Versace – and be sure to visit Quadrilatero della Moda for some people-watching and street-style spotting.

Giuseppe Piermarini’s grand theatre is one of Milan’s biggest features and has also be named “the most famous theatre in the world”. Neo-classical and so very typically Milanese, any visitor to Milan should not miss this truly ornate attraction.

Weather


Northern Lombardy is shielded by the Alps – so despite the severe weather further north, Lombardy and the lakes area are blessed with a lovely Mediterranean climate much like the southern parts of Italy. Summer can be hot in Lombardy, with highs reaching up to 30°C, whilst much of spring is comfortably mild (around 18°C in April, 22°C in May and 26°C in June). Winters can be as cool as 5°C but rarely lower than that – and winters are comparatively short to other areas of Europe.
Rainfall tends to be higher in autumn time, with a short bout of it happening in spring. But for the most part of the year, Lombardy and the lakes will offer great weather to the holidaymaker.

Regional Food & Wine


Taking inspiration from many different cultures, Lombardian cuisine can be described as extravagant or even exotic for Italian standards. Traditional recipes have always used large amounts of butter and cream, with a slow conversion to using olive oil in modern times, but generally many dishes are found to be rich, indulgent and unapologetically decadent.

 

Classic Lombardy Dishes


A well-known dish in Milan, one which is evident of this rich indulgence, is the sumptuous Risotto All Milanese. An opulent concoction of saffron and dairy butter and finished with Parmigiano Reggiano, this risotto is a must for anyone frequenting the spectacular city. Other risotto dishes include Risotto Alla Certosina (with frogs legs and crayfish) and Risotto Alla Pilota (with Italian sausage).
But the use of rice stretches far beyond risottos. Rice in this region is a popular addition to soups such as their heart minestrone soup. And just as important as rice is polenta; a key ingredient which can be baked, grilled or fried.

Wines of Lombardia


It’s probably no surprise that the core of the wine-making in Lombardia focuses on sparkling wines – a drink for the rich and glamorous. Franciacorta DOCG is the best known of the sparkling wines and has often been compared to champagne as a delicious tasting alternative. For those who don’t enjoy the bubbles, red wine production is also flourishing in Valtellina where the reds are extremely popular with Swiss buyers. Head to Oltrepò Pavese for some tasty rose and non-sparkling whites.

 

Recommended Restaurants


Wining and dining in the Lombardy is not designed for the faint-hearted, for even a light lunch can be a glamorous affair. But look a little closer and you will be able to find a diverse choice, whether you want upscale, elegant or simple and traditional. Here are some of our recommended restaurants in the region.

 

Giacomo (Seafood Restaurant)


There are three things which may stun you at Milan’s Giacomo; the mosaic-filled décor, the exquisite food, or the similarly exquisite crowd. Don’t be surprised if you end up rubbing shoulders with Giorgio Armani (he’s said to be a regular here) and everything from the scampi to the delicate zucchini flowers are just to die for.

Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia


This upscale restaurant (complete with tasting menu) dates back to over 50 years of service. Bringing Tuscan cuisine to northern Italy, Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia dazzles as one of Milan’s finest food establishments.

Armani / Nobu


For utterly refined Japanese cuisine, Armani/Nobu is a luxury seeker’s paradise. Fused together with a Latin American influence and plenty of high Italian fashion, this is the place to be spotted. The sushi will not disappoint and neither will the ground floor cocktail lounge.

 

La Rucola


This wonderful seafood establishment by Lake Garda is located right next to Sirmione’s Castle, so expect nothing less than breath-taking views with your dinner. La Rucola offers a truly creative menu including plenty of seafood and meat to choose from.

La Sosta (Traditional Lombardian)


Found in the bustling city of Brescia, La Sosta is an authentic gem found amongst the endless extravagances of the restaurant industry. Creative menus are great but if you are looking for an authentic taste of Lombardy, La Sosta is not to be missed. Prices range from 25 Euros to 70 Euros.

Il Gatto Nero


This is the perfect place to get an unbeatable view of Lake Como. This popular restaurant has a lavish balcony setting or similarly great views from indoors due to the large open windows. Enjoy the classic Risotto All Milanese, the Filetto con Aceto Balsamico or the wild game sauce pasta.

 

Annual Events


Lombardy is a vast region, one which should visited at least three of four times in your life to really get a flavour of the area, its culture and its people. Here are some of the region’s best known events which may coincide with your travels.

 

Festa del Naviglio (June)


Visit Milan in the first 10 days of June and you can catch the wonders of the Festa del Naviglio, a festival designed to celebrate the arts of the city. Concerts will be held in the evenings and processions will take place during the day. Enjoy street performers and street food, and shop for something unique as artists line the market streets with their paintings, crafts and wares.

Feast of San Giovanni (June)


This annual festival (held on Comacina Island) brings Lake Como to life every June with pretty floating lights and a spectacular fireworks display. In memory of the historical fire of 1169 AD, this festival brings together music, dancing and plenty of food for the locals to enjoy.

 

La Festa del Torrone (October)


Celebrating the sweet delight of nougat, La Festa del Torrone brings endless stalls and nougat tasting opportunities to the city of Cremona. Ideal for anyone with a sweet tooth, the festival stalls also offer breads, cakes and other treats. The theme of the festival also includes a re-enactment Francesco Sforza and Bianca Maria Visconti’s wedding back in 1441.

Milan Christmas Market (December)


Just like many large European cities, Milan hosts an annual Christmas Market. The weather is colder but still comfortably mild around this time so don’t expect snowfall (but do bring a coat and wrap up warm). With or without a white Christmas, the spirit of the season certainly shows in the magical lights and all the exciting Christmas stalls. Taste the decadent breads, cakes and pastries as you walk around enjoying the festive atmosphere.

 

 
 

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