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Frequent daily ferry and hydrofoil services link the lakeside towns and villages. Residents take them to get to work and school, while visitors use them for exploring the area. There are also special round-trip excursions, some with (optional) dining service on board.
Navigazione Laghi. Schedules and ticket price are available on the website and are posted at the landing docks. Via Ariosto 21, Milan, 20145. 02/4676101; 03/9149511 Lake Garda. www.navigazionelaghi.it.
To get around the lakes by car, you have to follow secondary roads—often of great beauty. S572 follows the southern and western shores of Lake Garda, SS45b edges the northernmost section of the western shore, and S249 runs along the eastern shore. Around Lake Como, follow S340 along the western shore, S36 on the eastern shore, and S583 on the lower arms. S33 and S34 trace the western shore of Lake Maggiore. Although the roads around the lake can be beautiful, they're full of harrowing twists and turns, making for a slow, challenging drive—often with an Italian speedracer on your tail.
There's regular bus service between the small towns on the lakes. It's less convenient than going by boat or by car, and it's used primarily by locals (particularly schoolchildren), but sightseers can use it as well. The bus service around Lake Garda serves mostly towns on the western shore.
SIA. Call the bus operator SIA for information. 030/44061. www.sia-autoservizi.it.
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