By Claudia Quesito
Italy boasts a lot of lakes of every size: from the tiny, crystal-clear and freezing-cold mountain lakes to the big ones, all of which are located in the North, close to the Alps.
The most famous Italian lake—mostly thanks to celebrities who bought a villa there (think George Clooney)—is Lake Como. Il lago di Como is the third-biggest Italian lake, one of the deepest in Europe, and easily one of the most beautiful.
Dotted with astonishing historic villas, tiny towns, and lush vegetation, it has become the quintessential example of Italian splendor, being a perfect mix of elegance and natural beauty. It would be unfair to name Como without mentioning its little, and less-celebrated, brother, Lecco, a town that gives the name to one of the two rami of Lake Como (ramo meaning branch).
You might want to take a detour and explore the area. You probably won’t spot as many celebrities, but the scenery is equally beautiful.
Close to il lago di Como is il lago Maggiore. As its name suggests, Maggiore is the biggest of the pre-alpine lakes. Among the reasons to pay a visit is that it features a few little, almost magical islands, villas and castles, botanical gardens and national parks.
Another popular destination—particularly loved by Germans and Northern Europeans—is il lago di Garda, which stretches along three regions: Lombardia, Trentino Alto-Adige, and Veneto. In addition to its natural beauty and the usual arrays of villas, historic buildings, and tiny towns, you might consider combining your visit with a day in Gardaland, the first and biggest Italian theme park, and among the most popular in Europe.
Finally, a list of alpine lakes isn’t complete without lago di Braies, lago di Carezza, lago di Misurina, and lago di Resia—the latter with its mysterious and fascinating emerging bell tower. Whether you’re a city person or a nature lover, these lakes’ amazing waters and breath-taking scenery will steal your heart.