Our desire to experience new countries is as timeless as the beauty of the Italian lakes, which have been delighting visitors for many centuries. Indeed, it was the arrival of the British during the days of the ‘Grand Tour’ that first brought fame to sublime Lake Maggiore and helped to create the sophisticated villages, nestling like pearls on a string along its verbena-clad shores. Separated from its larger and better-known neighbour, tranquil Lake Orta is encircled by emerald woodlands; its focal point is Orta San Giulio, the enchanting medieval village often simply called Orta. Then there’s Lake Como, which has long been attracting visitors in search of inspiration and relaxation – both Rossini and Verdi found their muse while in lakeside villas here. This wonderful combination of magnificent Swiss mountain scenery and Italy’s tranquil, crystal-clear lakes creates a stunning visual montage that cries out to be explored.
It’s hard to describe the flawless beauty of the Italian lakes, yet viewing them you’ll immediately understand why so many artists, composers and writers have sought peace and inspiration here. The heady mix of serene waters, forest-clad hillsides, medieval villages, orange-blossom-scented warm air and delicious food make them an irresistible destination.
We explore not only Lake Maggiore, which straddles both Italy and Switzerland, but also the equally beautiful Lake Como and lesser-known Lake Orta, one of the most spellbinding places you’ll ever visit. With the arc of the imposing Alps stretching out along the horizon, you’ll enjoy arguably the finest mountain scenery on the planet during your visit to Switzerland –dramatic Zermatt, nestling at the base of the world’s most mesmerising peak, the mighty Matterhorn. Then there are the delightful lost valleys, tumbling glacier streams and classic chalet scenes that, when blended together, offer a truly inspirational tour.