There are lots of lakes all over Italy, but the Italian Lakes refers to a region in the north of the country where there are several glacial lakes found in the foothills of the Alps, straddling the border with Switzerland. The four biggest are Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano, Lake Como and Lake Garda. Between these are minor lakes, such as Lake Orta and Lake Iseo. The gorgeous region offers visitors classic images of Italy; balconies over blue water, windy cobblestone roads through picturesque villages, stone cottages and exotic flora.
If you have not heard about the Italian Lakes, they are a fantastic holiday destination for families, and we have several luxury villas in Italy near to the lakes, perfect for your next holiday. Learn more about the lakes below.
1. Lake Garda is Italy’s Biggest Lake
Lake Garda is the biggest lake in Italy, approximately 370 square kilometres in size. The lake is also 65 meters above sea level, has a circumference of 160 kilometres and depth of 350 metres. Due to its size, it also stretches over three Italian provinces: Verona, Brescia and Trento.
2. Lake Garda has Five Inhabited Islands
Lake Garda has five islands within it that are inhabited and several smaller uninhabited ones. The main five are Isola del Garda, Isola dell’Olivo, Isola di Sogno, Isola di Trimelone and Isola San Biagio. You can visit any of these islands by boat, giving you the chance to try water sports, and have guided tours around the castles and ruins on the islands.
3. Lake Como is One of the Deepest Lakes in Europe
Lake Como is the third largest lake, after Garda and Maggiore, with an area of 146 square kilometres, but is the deepest, at over 400 metres. This makes it ones of the deepest lakes in Europe, and the bottom of the lake sits more than 200 metres below sea level.
4. Lake Como Has Just One Island
Despite its size, Lake Como has just one island, called Isola Comacina. It is less than a kilometre long and covered in woods; however, it is a great recreation spot, and you can take a guided tour of the island and swim in the shallow water around the island.
5. Lake Como is the Birthplace of Villa Culture
During the Roman Empire, rich and powerful people built their villas on the shores of Lake Como, and it was this time that villa culture became popular. The villas they were built were grand and offered breathtaking views of the lake.
6. Lake Maggiore Has an Inhabited Island
Isola dei Pescatori or the Island of Fishermen is part of the Borromeo Isles found within Lake Maggiore. The island has a population of 50 people and two hotels, but it is most famous for its fish and restaurants. We highly recommend getting a boat to explore the islands and dine on its fantastic fish.
7. Lake Maggiore Has a Unique Climate
The lake’s location has meant that there are winds blowing in from the north and west, which creates a unique climate over the lake that is different to the surrounding area. The water levels also change significantly with the seasons, which has prevented from Lake Maggiore from freezing, even in the coldest winters.
8. Lake Garda is the Site of Historical Battles
Lake Garda has been inhabited since around 2000BC and as such as been the site of some important, historic battles. There was the Battle of Benacus in 269 AD between the Romans and Germanic tribes; the Battle of Rivoli in 1797 between Austrians and Napoleon that lead to the French occupation of the region; and the Battle of Solferino in 1859. You can explore the important part Lake Garda has played in history at museums and tours of the towns and villages on its shore.
9. Lake Lugano is Great for Beach Holidays
You may not think an inland lake is good for beaches, but Lake Lugano will prove you wrong. The water is up to 25 degrees in the summer, making it perfect for swimming and sunbathing. But that is not all, there are plenty of beachside restaurants and cafes, and you can even try windsurfing, yachting and water skiing on the water near the beaches.
10. You Can View Lake Maggiore From the Air
From Mottarone Mountain, which lies between Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta, you can take a cable car down to the valley. From the cars, you have a 360-degree view of the lake and surrounding mountains. During the summer, you can walk up the mountain and in winter there is skiing.
If you are planning a holiday to Italy in the coming months or next year, then why not choose the Italian Lakes region? The villas are great for families and couples, and there is plenty to see and do in the area.