Introducing The Italian Lakes
Sprawled between the Alps and the river Po’s plains, Lombardy (Lombardia) has one of Italy’s most varied landscapes. Industrious cities, medieval hill towns and lakeside resorts are interspersed with powdered slopes, lemon groves, crop fields, vineyards and rice paddies. But one element defines this diverse region: style. Lombardy’s capital, Milan, is the country’s fashion and finance powerhouse, and is its second-largest metropolis after Rome. The empires of Armani, Prada, Gucci and dozens of others reside in Milan’s ‘Golden Quad’, while cutting-edge homewares and furniture designers such as Kartell and Alessi also call Milan home.
Sparkling lakes are strung along the north of the region like a necklace and are the real jewels. Wedding-cake villas set in tiered gardens adorn elegant towns and intimate villages along the shores. Yet despite the lakes’ beauty, many areas retain an authenticity untainted by tourism. South of the main chain of lakes, history-steeped cities include medieval Bergamo; Roman Brescia; the age-old violin-making centre of Cremona; and the Renaissance city of Mantua, on the banks of the river Mincio, which has been widened to create more lakes.
Fresh lake fish grace Lombardy’s tables, along with risotto and polenta from the plains; Alpine butter, cream and cheese; and celebrated wines such as dry Valtellina reds and fizzy Franciacorta, produced using the same double-fermentation method as Champagne.
The catch? Lombardy’s style comes at a price. Its industry and agriculture make it one of the most affluent regions in Italy, and hence one of the most expensive. Still, there are ways to keep the costs down – and this region rewards you when you splash out.
48 hours in the Italian Lakes
The Italian Lakes: the name evokes romantic images of twisty roads and James Bond car chases, palatial lakeside villas owned by movie stars, a daring rowboat escape in A Farewell to Arms, and young Darth Vader in love. Luckily, you don't have to be a Jedi or George Clooney to enjoy what the region has to offer.
Italian Lakes travel guide - 1st Edition
Full-colour. Find out why the Italian Lakes are one of the most highly visited regions in Italy.
The Italian Lakes destination guides
At first glance, Milan (Milano) can appear like one of the models gracing its catwalks: great bone structure (in the shape of historic and striking new architecture), extravagant taste and no obvious soul.
Milan Half-Day Sightseeing Tour with da Vinci's 'The Last Supper'
Guarantee your visit to see one of the most famous works of art in the world, Leonardo da Vinci's 'The Last Supper'. Reservations to see this legendary painting are limited and sell out quickly, sometimes months in advance. Choose this best-selling tour and be guaranteed advance booking and entrance tickets. Plus you'll take a half-day tour of the impressive city of Milan.
Lake Como Day Trip from Milan
Explore scenic Lake Como in Italy's beautiful Lake District on a day trip from Milan. The fashionable lakeside town of Como is just a short drive from Milan, surrounded by snowcapped mountains. After spending time shopping and dining in Como, you'll take a two-hour panoramic cruise on Lake Como to the enchanting village of Bellagio.