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The villages on the lakes that fascinated the Grand Tour travellers

Friday 29 may 2020

A voyage of discovery of the most visited villages on the Italian lakes by the most illustrious European intellectuals.

The villages on the lakes that fascinated the Grand Tour travellers

Italy was the usual destination of the scions of the European aristocracy. The trip to the beautiful country in the 17th, 18th and 15th centuries was a sort of obligatory destination for poets, painters, cartographers and intellectuals of Europe, to experience their knowledge in the field and enrich their cultural background. The whole country was interested in it, the villages and lake hamlets were the most visited. Here is a small trip from north to south for the most visited villages on the Italian lakes.

The village of Pieve di Ledro
It is not a unique village, but there are many human settlements that make up the entire Ledro valley around Lake Ampolla. The lake is an enchantment, suspended at the meeting point between the valley of Chiese and Lake Garda. The landscape is typical of Trentino and Austria, every glimpse recalls its Austro-Hungarian past. On the shores of the lake you can visit an ancient pile dwelling rebuilt in the Bronze Age.
We are in Trentino Alto Adige, the lake is a protected and uncontaminated ecosystem that can be visited with excursions in which you can admire an environment with a unique flora and fauna; you can experience the wet meadows and reeds, walking along a suspended walkway.
The valley is a melting pot of events and festivities: from triathlon races to fanciful performances of wooden cars or the cardboard boat race.

Ledro Lake
Ph. Daniel Fürhapter/Pixabay

Bellagio the Lombard pearl on Lake Como
The village overlooks Lake Como at the confluence of the Larian triangle; it is a village that for the beauty and richness of its buildings, palaces and monuments, testifies the splendour and the continuous exchanges with Central Europe.
A destination with an evocative cultural and romantic charm, visitors can turn the pages of Manzoni's novel or take a leap into the purest neoclassicism, thanks to the numerous villas.
The village is a botanical location of great value, there are many Italic gardens contaminated by vegetation from all over the world. Many were its illustrious guests, the musician Franz Listz, from the royals of Europe, such as Kaiser Guglielmo. Many artists have found inspiration in Bellagio: Manzoni, Stendhal and Marinetti. Clark Gable, Al Pacino, Sordi and De Niro have suffered its charm. George Clooney in his neighbourhood bought a villa.

Il Borgo di Bellagio
Ph. StevanZZ/shutterstock

The village of Lazise on Lake Garda
The village is located on the Venetian part of the lake, it is an urban settlement on the ancient lake village of medieval origin. Lazise is a place of prehistoric origin, numerous findings of dwellings on stilts demonstrate its origins dating back to the Bronze Age.
The village historically underwent the Germanic and Ostrogothic influence and then passed to the Count of Verona and the Scaliger dominion. Its fortified walls are the result of the influence of the Scala family. Its unspoilt beauty, with the Venetian Customs, the old port and the Castle have had many travellers and attract visitors from all over the world: Catullus Catullus, Goethe and Gustav Klimt.

Ph. Nejdet Duzen/shutterstock

The good retirement of Petrarca
Arquà Petrarca is in the province of Padua, at the foot of the Euganean Hills, owes its name to the poet who chose the warm and pleasant atmosphere of the village, where to spend the last years of his compositional existence. In his memory you can visit the house, the tomb and an ancient fountain.
The wood that surrounds the village is home to the UNESCO site of the Coast; its origins date back to 2,000 B.C. and the Iron Age. The site is one of the most important naturalistic and archaeological agglomerations, with the study of fossils found in its bed, it has been possible to reconstruct the prehistoric climate of the whole territory. The lake is fed by a spring of thermal water, where therapeutic mud for the nearby Abano was extracted. The small lake reservoir is rich in legends. It tells of a mysterious convent of sinners, which disappeared after a storm and was replaced by a chasm, filled by a sulphurous spring.

Laghetto della Costa Arquà Petrarca

Foto di

Villalago and the Sagittarius Gorges
The village of Villalago is located in the province of L'Aquila and dominates the lake landscapes of Scanno and the Sagittario Gorges. Its prehistoric and Roman origins are testified by numerous findings, including epigraphs dating back to the 2nd century AD, walls, floors and small statues that recall the presence of pre-Christian places of worship.
The main attraction is the splendid view of the lake and the Sagittarius Gorges, where you can make unforgettable excursions, or simple walks along the water's edge, admiring the remains of romantic stone bridges. The hermitage of San Domenico is worth a walk, together with the Roman churches of Madonna di Loreto and San Michele Arcangelo. The Fortress of Villalago, offers a view of the Sagittarius Gorges, unrepeatable for its colours and visual suggestions.

Eremo di San Domenico a Villalago
Ph. Gimas/shutterstock

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Travel proposals in this territory

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Exclusive private tour of Bellagio with private cruise on Lake Como. Circumnavigation of the peninsula with views of lakeside villages and finale with local wine tasting.
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Visit 2 countries in one day and enjoy an exclusive tour of the best lakes and villages in Switzerland and Italy, charm and lifestyle of two of the most exclusive and visited lakes
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Visit the enchanting Como and Bellagio by serving a comfortable boat in the company of an experienced tour manager; enjoy a unique panorama and reach your destination from Milan
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