Italy - Lake Como & Maggiore
With its temperate climate, lush vegetation, lavish villas and spectacular scenery, it's no surprise that Lake Como lures so many visitors, writers and artists. Lake Maggiore, framed by alpine peaks, with its pretty towns and magnificent 19th century Liberty-style villas is widely considered the most romantic of the Italian Lakes.
Don't miss a boat trip to the Borromean islands, famed for their landscaped terraces, botanical gardens and 17th Centry Palazzo Borromeo.
Como offers some of the best Italian cuisine; each town has their own secret as to the best way to grill the fresh fish caught from the lake. Only fresh local ingredients are used in the preparation, and most dishes contain basil, oregano, garlic and organic tomatoes.
The regional specialities of Lake Maggiore are characterised by the proximity to the Alps. Butter is used in the traditional risottos in place of olive oil, and the many delicious alpine cheeses, such as gorgonzola and mascarpone are all to be sampled.
In the larger town of Como you can buy everything and anything! Silk is, of course, one of the most common exports of Como and the shops are overflowing with high-quality silk products.
The pretty lakeside towns of Lake Maggiore all offer a varity of shops and souvenir opportunities, whilst the city of Milan is within easy reach for any serious shoppers.