The main Italian Lakes are Lake Garda, Lake Maggiore and Lake Como, all at the feet of the Alps, with beautiful views, elegant villas and islands to explore. All the lakes have warmer weather patterns than the surrounding mountains thanks to the warming influence of the large body of water.
The largest lake in Italy, Lake Garda is north of Verona and seems
jammed into the Alps to the north, with a long narrow branch reaching
north. Treasured since Roman times for its mellow climate, visitors can
still visit the remains of the Roman Spa called the Grotte di Catullo,
after the Roman post Catullus who had a villa on the lake. There are
many islands on the lake, the largest one being Isola del Garda, owned
by the Borghese-Cavazza family whose predecessors built a startling
Neo-Gothic palace on the island.
Villa Borghese-Cavazza on Isola del Garda
Lake Maggiore is a very long lake, extending for 68 kms, and is
partly in the Ticino region of Switzerland. As the other 2 lakes, Lake
Maggiore also enjoys balmy weather conditions and this has lead to its
islands having beautiful gardens established upon them. In the 16th
century the Palazzo Borromeo was built on Isola Bella, the largest of
the islands, and surrounded with botanic gardens; designed “all’inglese”
(in the English Style) with seven main terraces, they remain largely unchanged and can be visited via ferry from Stresa.
Botanic Gardens on the Isola Madre, photo courtesy Renzo Manganotti
Lake Como is well known as a popular lake with the elegant set – now
home to George Clooney, it was also favoured by Pliny the Younger, 2000
years ago, when he built his ‘Tragedia‘ and ‘Commedia‘
resorts. The ferry service on Lake Como is excellent and it is
delightful to explore the many beautiful villas and villages with these
charming vessels that criss cross the lake.