When arriving or departing in Venice or Milan, consider spending few days in the entrancing Lake District. With the backdrop of the Alps, a luxuriant climate that produces flora unique to the area and crisscrossing borders of Italy and Switzerland they invite a visitor to slow down, relax and drink in their natural beauty. Take a lake steamer cruise on the azure waters stopping in the villages, gardens and villas along the shore as the spirit moves you.
Because of our nearly four decades of personal and professional partnerships with Italian providers, we are able to not only offer our clients premium value for these indelible Italian Lake experiences but also the opportunity to savor them in a highly personalized luxury manner. Whether you are a budget minded traveler or one with Platinum travel tastes, let Endless Beginnings create a luxury custom journey to fulfill your dreams.
Lake Garda, the largest of the Italian lakes, is a stone’s throw from Verona, not much further from Venice, and has drawn poets and divas, politicians and dictators over the centuries. On the tip of its southern peninsula, charming Sirmione is dominated by its Scaliger castle and surrounded by deep blue waters. The town is a haven for spa lovers as well as those of Roman history as it is the site of Catullo’s grotto. Near its eastern and southern shores are the vineyards where the grapes are turned into the luscious wines of the Veneto, Amarone, Valpolicella, Soave and Bardolino. The northern shores reach up into the alpine towns and castles of the Trentino and the western shores holiday towns of Riva del Garda and Gardone comprise the lake’s riviera with tony hotels and restaurants. This is a lake so vast that it takes on the appearance of a small ocean with wind ruffled waves and vast views.
West towards Milan you’ll find the three other lakes that make up this famous district ~ Lake Maggiore, Lake Como and tiny Lake Orta. In the center of Lake Maggiore is Isola dei Pescatori, the colorful fishermen’s island and a great spot for a casual lunch, ethereal Isola Bella where white doves and peacocks roam freely in the magnificent gardens owned by the Borromean family as is Isola Madre where trees of rhododendron and azaleas bloom in profusion in the early spring. On Maggiore’s northwest shore are the gardens of Villa Taranto, created by a Scottish seagoing Captain who brought in species from his journeys around the world. Here regardless of season there are gardens planned to highlight the microclimate with rare species from far flung destinations.
While Lake Como is the better known lake, due in large part to George Clooney’s villa and as a film location for many movies, it offers its own delights. Its head is in Switzerland and foot in Italy making for some interesting day excursions in the countryside. Strolling through the landscaped gardens of Villa Carlotta, Villa Melzi, Villa Balbianello, and Villa Serbelloni, exploring the chic resort towns Bellagio, the pearl of the lake, and Cernobbio, home of Villa d’Este, visiting Como's Silk Museum and shopping for luxurious fabrics entice travelers to stay. Make a day trip to Bergamo to the east to see its beautiful old city, Lugano or visit the designer outlet malls in Switzerland. During a a stay here take a private boat ride on the lake at any time of day but especially appealing in the late afternoon with a glass of Prosecco as you glide by the villas and gardens.
Lesser known Lake Orta offers a quiet retreat in a charming medieval town for rest and relaxation in an intimate setting far from the more crowded larger lakes. It’s a favorite of Italians and is located west of Maggiore in the Piedmont district. Take a boat from Orta San Giulio across to the island of San Giulio to see the church and palace where the former archbishops of Novara resided. Both the island and Romanesque church, dedicated to St. Julian who slew the island’s dragon, have retained their medieval atmosphere and make an enjoyable excursion from the main square. Surrounding the main square of Orta San Giulio are several small restaurants and cafes making restful spots for admiring this tiny jewel of a lake.
Lake Garda Hotel
Lake Maggiore at Night
Isola dei Pescatori, Lake Maggiore
Lake Orta San Giulio
Relaxing at Lake Como
Summer on Lake Como
The Town of Varenna, Lake Como
Lake Como Ferry
Wedding on Lake Orta
Island of San Giulio, Lake Orta