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The 6 Best Italian Road Trips
Condé Nast Traveler

The Northern Lakes -

Want to mix road tripping with a little romance? Head to Italy’s postcard-perfect Lake District and spend a week cruising leisurely from east to west, stopping to explore a new lake each day: Garda first, then Iseo, Como, Lugano, and Maggiore (each is spectacular in their own way). Short on time? Como’s 31-mile shoreline—strung with beautiful villages, lavish Renaissance palazzi and ancient ruins—is worthy of a road trip all on its own.

Where to stop: Villa Melzi in Bellagio on Lake Como for its dreamy, azalea-filled gardens; the 17th-century Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo for its sculptures and equally Instagram-worthy gardens; Castello Scaligero in Sirmione for its sweeping views over Lake Garda; Isola Bella on Lake Maggiore for its Baroque Palace and lovely fishing village.

Where to eat: Market Place in Como serves up great seasonal cuisine that’s simple yet sophisticated (the current dinner menu includes squid-ink spaghetti and cod with anchovies and artichokes). Silvio, a Bellagio mainstay since 1919, is known for its terrific seafood, caught fresh from the lake daily. Where to stay: The sleek and newly-Hot Listed Il Sereno; the iconic and palatial Grand Hotel Tremezzo; or the lovely, low-key RivaLago on the quieter (and significantly more cost-effective) Lake Iseo.