Italy is a country that’s rich with cultural beauty. Its trio of exquisite food, world-class wines and jaw-dropping scenery make it a popular choice for sun-seeking visitors.
For something diﬀerent, we’ve devised an interesting way to experience Italy’s lakes. Taking ten days, you’ll drive from Milan to Venice, and at each location you have a choice of where to stay: go traditional and elegant at one of Italy’s great hotels, or try something new with a contemporary, yet no less luxurious option. You can even mix-and-match, making the most of Italy’s ever-thriving hotel scene.
Start your journey in Milan, a stylish, urban hub bursting with Michelin-starred restaurants. Wander around the 135-spired Gothic duomo or take a privately guided tour of Da Vinci’s masterpiece ‘The Last Supper’.
Stay one night either at centrally located Palazzo Parigi for old-school glamour, balconies with city views and a soul-soothing spa, or Armani Hotel Milano for slick minimalist décor and a sophisticated cocktail bar.
The ﬁrst stop on your tour of Italy’s great lakes is at lesser-known Orta, a lago that shimmers silvery-blue and contains a mystical island, populated with ancient churches and monasteries.
Choose where to spend your two nights. Villa Crespi, clasped in greenery and overlooking the lake, oﬀers Moorish palatial reﬁnement and an interior that gleams with marble. By contrast, Casa Fantini provides a contemporary twist on lakeside living. Expect clean lines, ﬂoor-to-ceiling windows and a sleek lap pool.
Lago di Como is perhaps the best known of Italy’s lakes and for good reason. Its glittering shore with historic villas encased in greenery has been a place of respite for royalty and well-heeled visitors since the 17th century.
Experience it for yourself either at the iconic Grand Hotel Tremezzo, an art nouveau dream of the utmost luxury, or at cool Il Sereno, with its pared-back colour palette and chic inﬁnity pool overlooking Como.
Onwards to picturesque Lake Garda, famed for its crystal-clear waters, lakeside fortresses and crumbling Roman ruins hidden within its forested hills.
Design-lovers should head to minimalist eco-hotel Lefay Resort where a laidback atmosphere is perfectly in harmony with the wellness oﬀerings at the spa. Alternatively, decadent and pastel-hued Grand Hotel A Villa Feltrinelli may give you a more conventional experience of Lake Garda with its unashamed elegance, antique-furnished bedrooms, immaculate gardens and Michelin-star restaurant.
You’ll feel like a true Italian now after a week on the road. Be sure to visit the islands of Burano, known for its brightly coloured ﬁshermen’s houses and restaurants serving seafood, and Murano, famous for its tradition of glass-making.
In Venice try living like a local in a private home. Epitomise modern travelling by renting an apartment in the centre of Venice – we recommend the stylish Palazzo Ca’nova, a 17th century Renaissance palazzo at the mouth of the Grand Canal. For a more traditional stay, boutique hotel Ca’Sagredo is ﬁlled with elegant antiques and has a charming riverside restaurant.