21 Apr The Complete Driving Guide to The Italian Lakes
With Brescia nestled at the foot of the Alps and nearby Milan leading the way with its cosmopolitan cool, northern Italy is a region of contrasts. And it doesn’t stop there as sandwiched between these two cities you’ll find the beautiful Italian lakes, home to picturesque towns and restaurants with a view.
To truly take in the splendour, wind your way north of Brescia towards Milan. In the town of Erbusco, you’ll enjoy idyllic views of the mountains, local delicacies and dishes that will tantalize your palate. Below we explore the best locations to stop off on a road trip, as put together by Hertz.
You’ll find Erbusco a short 10km drive south of Lake Iseo. Famed for its rolling hills and Franciacorta vineyards, the town is perfect for a rural retreat in Northern Italy. Tour the vineyards – up there with the best in the country – and sample authentic dishes made in the town’s farmhouses and local cafes.
Visiting the Albereta Relais & Châteaux is a must. This neo-Renaissance architectural gem can be found at the centre of the Franciacorta region. Heading west along the A4/E64 will take you to neighboring Brusaporto. This is the place for foodies and Da Vittorio is the highlight, thanks to the culinary wizardry of the Cerea brothers casting gourmet spells on your palate.
Head north-west on the SS342 from Brusaporto through Bergamo to Lake Como, perhaps northern Italy’s most beautiful spot of open water. With meandering country paths climbing through the hills and stunning views out on the lake, this is the place for those who love the outdoors. The banks of Lake Como are lined with a mixture of popular holiday resorts and picture postcard villages, with visitors able to enjoy the shoreline locations and even take to the lake itself for water sports and boat trips.
Orta San Giulio
Orta San Giulio is the ideal stop-off town if you’re looking to take a break from your road trip around Italy’s lakes. As you head along the E62 towards the city, visiting Lake Maggiore and the Barromean Islands offers an excellent opportunity for exploration.
Enjoy the tranquility of Isola dei Pescatori as you indulge in the local seafood – with all the fish caught locally from the still waters. Once you reach Orta San Giulio, prepare yourself for a taste of stunning architecture.
Have lunch in the Turkish-inspired Villa Crespi, before wandering the pebbled inner-Piazza Motta streets to explore the city. You’ll find the Sacro Monte UNESCO World Heritage Site here too, which began construction in the 16th Century.
An absolute must-visit for seafood lovers, Soriso Novara’s Lake Orta is renowned for fish. From pike to perch, spend an afternoon casting your line out onto the open waters or trying out the catch of the day at one of the many waterfront restaurants. For a break from this tranquil lakeside spot, head into the hills and visit the Basilica of San Guilio. This Roman masterpiece is steeped in history, with the pulpit made out of beautiful black stone.
Leaving Soriso Novara and taking the A8/E62 south to Milan will mark the end of your lakeside road trip. But from the tranquil Orta to the splendour of Como, you’ll have experienced a true taste of Northern Italy.