Maggiore, Como and Orta could easily steal the title of Great Lakes. Shimmering blue waters set against a stunning alpine backdrop. Majestic palazzos, timeless villas and lovely lakeside towns. And quiet hikes above it all. The views, the flavors, the wines. And every beautiful detail that makes these lakes—great.
1-2 Admire stunning, and often overlooked, Lake Orta, which fueled the creative inspiration of Flaubert and Tchaikovsky Explore quiet lanes in the charming medieval hamlet of Orta San Giulio After an aperitivo, savor modern Mediterranean cuisine at Villa Crespi, recipient of two Michelin stars Marvel at breathtaking scenery, including staggering views from Monte Mottarone, 4,000 feet above Lakes Orta and Maggiore Visit the town of Stresa and boat to Isola Bella, home to the Palazzo Borromeo and its splendid fountains and art.
3-4 Slumber at sumptuous lakefront villas Passing tiny chapels and crossing small bridges, walk along Lake Maggiore from Cannobio to Cannero Riviera Sniff, swirl, salute! A beloved enoteca invites us in for a tasting of local vintages Hike past magnificent villas, colorful gardens and castle ruins to Varenna Walk to Italy's shortest river, the 800-foot-long "River of Milk"—not even Leonardo da Vinci could discover its source! Ferry to beautiful Bellagio, the "pearl of the lake" An experienced chef teaches us how to prepare regional specialties.
5-6 Walk lakeside trails and mountain paths amid elaborate gardens and frescoed hamlets Your feet carry you to Villa Melzi, one of Lake Como's grand estates Visit a farm that produces cheeses, creams, milk and yogurt en route to Baita Belvedere, where a mountain lunch awaits A private boat takes you to the western shore of Lake Como Explore fascinating 18th-century Villa Balbianello, owned by famed mountaineer Guido Monzino, and relish the vistas of the lake and surrounding hills.