Touring the Inspiring Italian Lake District

Europe - Editor - 01 December 2008

Touring the Inspiring Italian Lake District

The picturesque Italian Lake District is located in the north of Italy, close to the Italian-Swiss border and just south of the magnificent Alps. While this beautiful region is not often top of the list when tourists visit Italy, those who have spent time exploring the Italian Lake District agree that it should be. Visitors can expect an abundance of stunning scenery, good weather, excellent cuisine and friendly people.

There are many wonderful places to explore in the Lake District, the majority reached by road, but some best reached by the modern hydrofoil boats that skim across the lakes. The major lakes in the Italian Lake District are Lake Maggiore, Lake Como, Lake Lugano and Lake Garda. Part of Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano lie in Italy, and part in Switzerland. The minor lakes are Lake Orta, Lake Iseo and Lake Verese.

Walking is an excellent way to enjoy the natural beauty and rich history and culture of the area. For example a ten kilometer walk along Lake Como between Colonno and Cadenabbia takes explorers past grand villas, lush cultivated gardens, Roman ruins and quaint villages, while all along the way are breath-taking views of the lake and surroundings. A boat trip on Lake Como gives visitors access to dozens of interesting places, such as the majestic Villa Carlotta filled with a collection of artworks and nestled in cultivated botanical gardens. Bellagio is a town on Lake Como that is a treasure trove of ancient villas, beautiful gardens, shops and restaurants in a setting that is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful in Europe.

On Lake Maggiore, the tranquil Villa Taranto, which was built in the 1880s, features an extensive terraced botanical garden, with more than 20,000 varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers that visitors can explore by means of a network of pathways. Between the towns of Stresa and Verbania, in a section of the lake known as Borromean Bay, are the three small Borromean Islands, each with their own unique character, which are well worth visiting.

Most of the long, narrow Lake Lugano lies in Switzerland, with the main city, named Lugano, being the most important Italian-speaking city in the Swiss canton of Ticino. While Lugano is a very modern and trendy city, it clearly retains much of its Italian culture. On the eastern end of Lake Lugano, which lies in Italy, the lovely town of Porlezza is a popular resort destination, while the nearby valleys of Val Solda and Val Cavargna offer walking trails that meander through incredible natural beauty and a number of small villages.

The Italian Lake District offers so much to see and do, along with the tranquility that many city dwellers long for. It certainly is a perfect holiday destination that keeps holiday makers coming back to explore time and again.


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