Italian Lakes Holidays: 4 Gorgeous Lakes Not to Be Missed

Updated On: January 18, 2023

Italian Lake

No one visits the Italian lakes and not fall in love with them. They are prominent natural wonders and one of the remarkable features of the country. Besides the attractions in Rome, Italy lures its visitors worldwide with the beguiling beauty of more than 1000 lakes. In addition to taking instagrammable shots of these lakes for your feed —and your memory— you can try various water sports like swimming, fishing, scuba diving, water skiing, and more.

The only issue is that there are, as we mentioned, more than a thousand lakes. How to know which ones are the most beautiful that you should not miss? To help you decide, we’ve gathered 4 of the most enchanting and picturesque Italian lakes in the country. 

Gorgeous Italian Lakes

Italian lakes have a lot to offer, including crystal blue water surrounded by mountains and vineyards, pleasant weather, charming villages, delicious food, and fantastic shops to satisfy the shopaholics. The thrills can not be beaten when you pair them with good weather year-round. Due to their distinct personalities, each Italian lake makes a good choice when it comes to including it in your holiday trip.

Explore the Stunning Lake Garda

italian lake
Scenic shores of Lake Garda, Brenzone sul Garda, Veneto, Italy

Lake Garda has attracted tourists for generations. It was formed by glacial activity and is situated midway between Milan and Venice in northwest Italy. The lake is surrounded by the mountains of Alpine Trentino Alto-Adige, the Lombard lowlands, and the undulating hills of the Veneto.

The lake’s coastline stretches over 100 kilometres and has many stunningly beautiful beaches. Whichever beach you choose, you’re sure to have a great time (and a wonderful tan!).

In the north, expect snow-capped mountains, and in the south, you can indulge in the view of the countryside. Lake Garda‘s northern region is more mountainous, untamed, and rough, perfect for cyclists and walkers. Besides magnificent mountain biking, hang gliding, and paragliding, it also features several stunning golf courses on more mild terrain. Additionally, it has a portion of a small lake that attracts windsurfers and thrill seekers. 

For its natural thermal springs, you can travel to the town of Sirmione at the southern end of the lake. Vineyards, olive orchards, and cypress hills surround the southern region’s softer terrain. There are many options for wine tasting, city sightseeing, outdoor dining, and some of the most well-known resorts. While sunbathing on the pebbly Italian beaches, make sure to taste the Bardolino and Bardolino Superiore red wines.

Lake Garda is blessed with a beautiful microclimate for outdoor activities, keeping the temperature cool in summer and moderate in spring and fall, regardless of where you decide to base yourself. For a romantic evening, we recommend taking a stroll along the waters. It can’t get more romantic than this! 

Famous Films Shot on Lake Garda

Lake Garda is renowned for its stunning views and clear waters, making it the site of several famous films. The following are some of the films shot on Lake Garda.

James Bond, Quantum of Solace (2008)

In the movie, Lake Garda’s northern region served as the backdrop. The car chase scene in Quantum of Solace opens with the camera skimming across Lake Garda as it approaches the tunnel in the water. James Bond (Daniel Craig) gets pursued by two Alfa Romeo 159s while driving an Aston Martin DBS, and Italian police join the pursuit. The movie was filmed in the Via IV Novembre SS45bis and Via Benaco SP38 intersection at Lake Garda, close to Tremosine.

Salò, or The 120 Days Of Sodom (1975)

Pier Paolo Pasolini chose Lake Garda as the location for his movie Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom. During World War II, four senior fascist government officials kidnapped a group of young Italian men and women to torture. Pasolini chose Lake Garda for the exterior of the first mansion, where the victims were selected. It is the Villa Feltrinelli from the 19th century on the western bank of Lake Garda, about 10 miles northeast of Salo.  

What is the story behind the Legendary Monster of Lake Garda?

A local legend recounts that a monster lives in Lake Garda. Benàco, an old name for Garda, is where Bennie originates. The monster of Lake Garda myth emerged in the 20th century. It has been reported that Bennie has been sighted more than fifteen times ever since some divers discovered his first “appearance” off the coast of Brescia.

A family claims to have spotted a monster over 15 metres tall in 2013 in Mermaid Bay, which appears to be the lake’s most mysterious section. The monster had the unsettling look of both a snake and a whale. There is a widespread concept among the residents of the area that the mythical monster is a “nice” beast, never attacking anyone and acting as a timid guardian of the lake.

Jeremy Wade, a biologist and director of the documentary River Monsters, caught a giant torpedo catfish over 120 kg and 2 m long in an episode about Lake Garda on air in August 2019. Is it the creature everybody keeps mentioning?

The Myth of the Mermaids

According to older people in the community, some of them caught sight of the mermaids of Lake Garda. One of the elderly claimed that she witnessed this phenomenon. She said that the water parted as if something was moving within it, causing it to splatter and fall on her arm. Despite this frightening phenomenon, the lady said that she did not get a clear sight of what it was. This has made people believe that the mermaids come and take a youngster to live with them under the water.

Lake Maggiore, the Second Largest Italian Lake

italian lake
Isola dei Pescatori, fisherman island in Maggiore lake, Borromea

One of the top Italian lakes for a relaxing vacation is Lake Maggiore. It is the second-largest lake in Italy, extending 64 kilometres long. It is also 179 metres deep. Given that Italy makes up two-thirds of the lake and Switzerland makes up the remaining one-third, it is claimed by both countries. Despite its seemingly slower pace of life, it is recognized for its stunning promenades and charming villages that provide warmth and charm. 

You can start your trip with Stresa, a gorgeous little town located in the Gulf of Borromeo. Stresa is home to less than 5000 inhabitants, making it a calm, quiet, and relaxing destination for visitors. In addition, it offers an abundance of hotels to spend your night in, like Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees, the setting for Ernest Hemingway’s Farewell to Arms

You can also enjoy a stunning panoramic view that opens up from Mount Mottarone. Besides offering a walking trail, you can also take the Stresa-Alpino-Mottarone cable car and enjoy the gorgeous views from high up in the sky. The cable car was opened in 1970 and has hosted around 100,000 travellers annually since then. 

Famous Films Shot on Lake Maggiore

  • Il Grande Giorno (2022)
  • Rome Adventure (1962)
  • The Bishop’s Bedroom (1977)
  • Piccolo Mondo antico (1941)
  • Tolgo Il Disturbo (1990)
  • Hotel Meina (2007)
  • The Voice of the Lake (2022)

The True Story About the Legend of the Bugatti

People heard stories about the famous myth of Bugatti in the lake. Locals call it “the beauty of the deep” or “the lady of the lake.” The story tells of a car that ended up in the hands of René Dreyfus, the most famous Grand Prix racing driver for Bugatti. In a poker game in Paris, he lost the game and had to pay his debt off by giving the car to Adalbert Bodé, a Swiss playboy. The vehicle was ten years old.

When Bodé brought the car to Switzerland, the customs discovered it was not registered and confiscated it, and he did not manage to retrieve it. The customs officials decided to dump it in Lake Maggiore to destroy it. The car was 273 feet down to the bottom of the lake from 1935 to 2009. After that, Peter Mullin of the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California, purchased the Bugatti. The cost then was in the $350,000 range.

The Breathtaking Lake Como, the Third Largest Italian Lake

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The gorgeous Lake Como is the third largest lake in Italy, sometimes referred to as Lario. It is situated in Lombardy, in northern Italy, at the foot of the Alps. It has hundreds of years old settlements, breathtaking scenery, and an unrivalled seashore.

Many tourists have been won over by Lake Como’s deep blue water and spectacular views, and many of them keep coming back to explore more of it. Not only that, the lake’s edge is dotted with many top things to do in Lake Como. Due to glaciers melting and the old Adda river’s erosive movement, it has a distinctive shape resembling an inverted Y.

Famous Films Shot on Lake Como

  • Superheroes (2021)
  • The Other Man (2008)
  • Casino Royale (2006)
  • Ocean’s Twelve (2004)
  • Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002)

The Mysterious Fiumelatte River

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Did you know that the shortest river in Italy flows across Lake Como? Fiumelatte River is only 250 metres long. Its water activity is intermittent and seasonal, as it typically only flows on 25 March yearly and ceases on 7 October. No one has ever been able to pinpoint its origin or explain why it only flows occasionally. The steep river path makes the roaring waters foamy, giving it a milk-white hue and earning it the nickname “the milk river.” Many scholars and scientists have been intrigued by the river over the years.

This great river is linked to several myths and legends about wicked maidens, brave young people, darkness, and terror. The most well-known one describes a beautiful woman who had many lovers. Unsure who to pick, in the end, she opted to wed only the man who would expose the secret of Fiumelatte’s origin. Three young men entered the river cave, but they all came out startled and unable to express the horrors they had seen. One of the three even kept silent without ever speaking again.

Lake Orta

italian lake
Lake Orta with the island of San Giulio, Italy

Lake Orta is a small hidden gem among the Italian lakes. It is a jewel of exceptional beauty and undoubtedly Italy‘s most romantic body of water. The lake is a tranquil location in northern Italy’s Piedmont for a quick getaway or extended stay. Despite only 18 square km, this tiny lake has unspoiled wilderness, suburbs, and legends to explore. The cobblestone streets on the island are ideal for slow and romantic strolls.

Visitors enjoy swimming and sailing but want to unwind in a sleek villa and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Nothing is better than visiting San Giulio, with its charming peach cottages and wrought-iron balconies lining the winding, cobblestone paths without any cars. Alternatively, you can see the Torre di Buccione, a magnificent medieval fortified tower perched on a hill overlooking Lake Iseo.

Famous Movie Correspondence (2016) Shot on Lake Orta

Giuseppe Tornatore, the movie’s director, chose the idyllic backdrop of the Island of San Giulio in Lake Orta. A beautiful old patrician home, the mist in the early morning, and the winding hallways all contribute to the sombre, dramatic mood. Filming took place in Orta’s historic centre for several days, with some locals appearing as extras.

The Legend of the Dragon and San Giulio

It is a common belief that snakes, dragons, and monsters inhabited San Giulio’s Island before Giulio (who later became Saint Julius) landed on it. In the 4th century, the saint reached the island and wanted to construct the hundredth church; however, the locals refused to help. They were afraid to go there as they believed it was inhabited by a dragon that would take their lives.

Giulio prayed for the Lord to help him. His coat turned into a waterproof one, and he crossed the lake and defeated the dragon. The villagers then crossed the lake and helped him build the church where he was buried. The island and the church are named after him.

Do you have your mind set on visiting any of these stunning Italian lakes? You can spend some time in Italy exploring them while experiencing everything the country has to offer, from extraordinary cuisine to deep cultural values and beautiful landscapes. It offers something for everyone, whether you are into things to do for adventure or on a budget. 

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