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Italian Lakes & Mountains

Villas in 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. Check out the best in villas in the Italian Lakes with Bridgewater.

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.

Italian Lakes & Mountains


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Top Ten Things To Do – Your Italian Lakes Villa Holiday

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. Read more.

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. Read more.

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. It’s the second largest of the Italian lakes, it’s west bank sits in the Italian region of Piedmont and its right in Lombardy. Read more.

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.


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.

villas in italian lakes

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.

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.

villas in italian lakes

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.

villas in italian lakes

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.

villas in italian lakes

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.

villas in italian lakes

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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