VACATION LIKE AN EMPEROR IN THE ITALIAN LAKES. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be an emperor, look no further than the Italian lakes. Since the Roman emperors, these gracious waterside resorts have drawn visitors. The climate is mild, loaded with the vibrant colors of alpine wildflowers and lush semi-tropical gardens. With views of mountaintop meadows and palm tree-fringed waters, nowhere else does stunning scenery, mellow air and rich history come together with such dramatic results. Read on to get the inside scoop on the best lakes, views, walks, visits and food the Italian Lake District has to offer.

Lake Lugano
Nestled between Lake Maggiore and Lake Como, Lake Lugano is the smallest but it does not lack in beauty nor charm. Nearby, Mount Bre is perched above Lake Lugano in Ticino, the Italian speaking area of Switzerland. Stroll through the cobbled streets and pastel-colored neoclassical palazzi. One of our favorite highlights is a visit to the most famous ornate church in Lugano, Santa Maria degli Angioli.

Lake Orta
The quaint village of Orta San Giulio is one of the most picturesque corners of Italy. While here, follow the narrow, cobbled streets through Orta as they wind up and past colorful houses with ornate balconies. We recommend traveling across Lake Orta to the islet of San Giulio for a visit to its 1000-year-old basilica and an exploration around the charming island. 
Lake Como
Stroll through the historic town of Como and admire the incredible architecture—a mixture of Renaissance Italian and 19th century British. A scenic ride on the funicular will take you to the nearby mountain village of Brunate, situated above century-old olive groves. Ramble along footpaths to the panoramic lookout, where you’ll be treated to an astonishing view of Lake Como below.

Lake Maggiore
Our favorite views of Lake Maggiore is from Someraro, a village that clings like a balcony overlooking the magnificent body of water. We highly recommend taking a boat ride to the Borromean Island of Isola Bella—where one of Italy’s wealthiest families built a series of palaces and gardens in the 17th-century. Bellissimo!