Lombardy and the Lakes

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Lombardy and the Lakes - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

Sort by: 39 Recommendations {{numTotalPoiResults}} {{ (numTotalPoiResults===1)?'Recommendation':'Recommendations' }} 0 Recommendations
  • 1. Heller Garden

    This 2½-acre garden is a place to get lost while navigating stepping stones over lily ponds, climbing rock formations, and walking across wooden bridges. The treasures to be found are nearly 100 different Alpine, subtropical, and Mediterranean plant species and 30 modern art installations by the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Mirò, and Auguste Rodin. A former vineyard, Heller Garden was first cultivated in 1903 by Austrian dentist and botanist Arthur Hruska, and bought in 1988 by artist Andrè Heller (although he is no longer the owner).

    Via Roma 2, Gardone Riviera, Lombardy, 25088, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €12, Closed Nov.–Feb.
  • 2. Isola Madre

    All of this Borromean island is a botanical garden, with a season that stretches from late March to late October due to the climatic protection of the mighty Alps and the tepid waters of Lake Maggiore. The cacti and palm trees here, so far north and so near the border with Switzerland, are a beautiful surprise. Two special times to visit are April, for the camellias, and May, for azaleas and rhododendrons. Also on the island is a 16th-century palazzo, where the Borromeo family still lives for part of the year. 

    Isola Madre, Piedmont, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €17 (palace and garden), Closed early Nov.–mid Mar.
    View Tours and Activities
  • 3. Museo del Violino

    At this lovely and informative museum dedicated to all things violin, even those not already enamored by the instrument will find something to appreciate. Historic violins made in Cremona by masters, including Stradivari, are presented as works of art; be sure to get the audio guide included with admission to listen to recordings as you stroll. An audio chamber lets you hear a musical performance in "3D audio"—and if you're lucky, there will be a live concert going on at the innovative on-site auditorium, where the seats wrap around the stage and musicians for an immersive experience.

    Piazza Marconi 5, Cremona, Lombardy, 26100, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €12, Closed Mon. and Tues.
  • 4. Palazzo Ducale

    The 500-room palace that dominates the Mantua skyline was built for the Gonzaga family, though much of the art within the castle was sold or stolen as the dynasty waned in power and prestige. A glimpse of past grandeur can still be spotted as you enter the palace, turn immediately left, and walk up a steep hallway, arriving in Camera degli Sposi (literally, the "Wedded Couple's Room") where Duke Ludovico and his wife held court. Reservations are recommended, either by phone or online ( www.ducalemantova.org).

    Piazza Sordello 40, Mantua, Lombardy, 46100, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €9, €15 including Camera degli Sposi (€5.50 with Mantova Sabbioneta Card), Closed Mon.
  • 5. Palazzo Te

    One of the greatest of all Renaissance palaces, built between 1525 and 1535 by Federico II Gonzaga, is the Mannerist masterpiece of artist-architect Giulio Romano. Two highlights are the Camera di Amore e Psiche (Room of Cupid and Psyche), which depicts a wedding set among lounging nymphs and the gasp-inducing Camera dei Giganti (Room of the Giants) that shows Jupiter expelling the Titans from Mount Olympus. The scale of the latter is overwhelming; the floor-to-ceiling work completely envelops the viewer. Note the etched graffiti from as far back as the 17th century to the left as you enter the room.

    Viale Te 13, Mantua, Lombardy, 46100, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €15
  • Recommended Fodor’s Video

  • 6. Villa del Balbianello

    The relentlessly picturesque Balbianello may be the most magical house in all of Italy; you probably know it from cameos in the movies Casino Royale and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. It sits on its own little promontory, Il Dosso d'Avedo, around the bend from the tiny fishing village of Ossuccio. The villa is composed of loggias, terraces, and palazzini (tiny palaces), all spilling down verdant slopes to the shore, where you'll find an old Franciscan church, a magnificent stone staircase, and a statue of San Carlo Borromeo blessing the waters. The villa is usually reached from Como and Bellagio by boat, which leaves you at the village of Lenno. From there, marked signs lead you to the villa—it's either accessible by foot via a 20-minute walk or a more challenging 45-minute hike.

    Via Guido Monzino 1, Lenno, Lombardy, 22019, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €23 villa and gardens, includes 1-hr guided tour; €12 gardens only, Closed Mon., Wed., and early Jan.–mid-Mar.
    View Tours and Activities
  • 7. Accademia Carrara

    Bergamo is home to an art collection that's surprisingly rewarding given its size and remote location. Many of the Venetian masters are represented—Mantegna, Bellini, Carpaccio (circa 1460–1525/26), Tiepolo (1727–1804), Francesco Guardi (1712–93), and Canaletto (1697–1768), as well as Botticelli (1445–1510).

    Piazza Carrara 82, Bergamo, Lombardy, 24121, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €11 (€16 for museum and exhibits)
  • 8. Bardolino

    This small town—one of the most popular summer resorts on the lake—is 32 km (20 miles) north of Sirmione along Lake Garda's eastern shore, at the wider end. It's most famous for its red wine, which is light, dry, and often slightly sparkling; the Festa dell'Uva e del Vino (Grape and Wine Festival), held here in early October, is a great excuse to indulge in the local product. Bardolino has two handsome Romanesque churches, both near the center: San Severo, from the 11th century, and San Zeno, from the 9th.

    Bardolino, Veneto, 37011, Italy
    045-7210087-tourist office
  • 9. Campanone

    The massive 13th-century Torre Civica (Civic Tower), known as the Campanone, offers a great view of the two cities. Climb the stairs or take an elevator to the top of the tower, where the bells ring every half hour and then 100 times each night at 10 to commemorate the closure of the city gates during Venetian rule.

    Piazza Vecchia, Bergamo, Lombardy, 24129, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €5, Closed Mon.
  • 10. Cappella Colleoni

    Bergamo's Duomo and Battistero are the most substantial buildings in Piazza Duomo. But the most impressive structure is the Cappella Colleoni, which boasts a kaleidoscope of marble decoration and golden accents.

    Piazza Duomo, Bergamo, Lombardy, 24100, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.
  • 11. Casa del Mantegna

    Serious Mantegna aficionados will want to visit the house the artist designed and built around an intriguing circular courtyard. The exterior is interesting for its unusual design, and the interior, with its hidden frescoes, can be seen during occasional art exhibitions. Hours and prices vary depending on the exhibition.

    Via Acerbi 47, Mantua, Lombardy, 46100, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Varies by exhibition
  • 12. Castello di Malcesine

    Dominating the town is a 12th-century castle built by Verona's dynastic Della Scala family. It now contains a small museum of natural history.

    Via Castello 39, Malcesine, Veneto, 37018, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €6, Closed early Nov.–mid-Mar.
    View Tours and Activities
  • 13. Castello Scaligero di Sirmione

    As hereditary rulers of Verona for more than a century before they lost control of the city in 1402, the Della Scala counted Garda among their possessions. It was they who built this lakeside redoubt, along with almost all the other castles on the lake. You can go inside to take in a lake view from the tower, or you can swim at the nearby beach.

    Piazza Castello 34, Sirmione, Lombardy, 25019, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €6
    View Tours and Activities
  • 14. Duomo

    Cremona's Romanesque Duomo was consecrated in 1190. It's an impressive structure in a breathtaking piazza, and certainly one of the most beautiful churches in Italy. Here you can find the Story of the Virgin Mary and the Passion of Christ, the central fresco of an extraordinary cycle commissioned in 1514 and featuring the work of local artists, including Boccaccio Boccaccino, Giovanni Francesco Bembo, and Altobello Melone.

    Piazza del Comune, Cremona, Lombardy, 26100, Italy
  • 15. Duomo

    The splendid 15th-century Renaissance-Gothic Duomo was begun in 1396. The facade was added in 1455, and the transepts were completed in the mid-18th century. The dome was designed by Filippo Juvarra (1678–1736), chief architect of many of the sumptuous palaces of the royal house of Savoy. The facade has statues of two of Como's most famous sons, Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger, whose writings are among the most important documents from antiquity. Inside, the works of art include Luini's Holy Conversation, a fresco cycle by Morazzone, and the Marriage of the Virgin Mary by Ferrari.

    Piazza del Duomo, Como, Lombardy, 22100, Italy
  • 16. Funivia

    For amazing views, take the funivia, a cable car that takes you to heights from which you can see seven lakes: Maggiore, Orta, Mergozzo, Varese, Camabbio, Monate, and Biandronno. Situated between Lakes Maggiore and Orta, it offers tourists 360-degree views of the Po Plain right across to the distant Alpine peaks. At the top, nature- and adventure-lovers can rent mountain bikes and ride on properly marked paths, while others can just relax at a local restaurant.

    Piazzale Lido 8, Stresa, Piedmont, 28838, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €20 round-trip, Apr. 1–Oct. 31, daily 9:30–6; Nov.–mid-Mar., daily 8:10–5:40
  • 17. Grotte di Catullo

    Locals will almost certainly tell you that these romantic lakeside ruins were once the site of the villa of Catullus (87–54 BC), one of the greatest pleasure-seeking poets of all time. Modern-day archaeology, however, does not concur, and there is some consensus that this was the site of two villas of slightly different periods, dating from about the 1st century AD. But never mind—the view through the cypresses and olive trees is lovely, and even if Catullus didn't have a villa here, he is closely associated with the area and undoubtedly did have a villa nearby. The ruins are at the top of the isthmus and are poorly signposted: walk through the historic center and past the various villas to the top of the spit; the entrance is on the right. A small museum offers a brief overview of the ruins (on the far wall).

    Piazzale Orti Manara, Sirmione, Lombardy, 25019, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €8
    View Tours and Activities
  • 18. Il Vittoriale

    The estate of the larger-than-life Gabriele D'Annunzio (1863–1938)—one of Italy's major modern poets, and later war hero and supporter of Mussolini—is filled with the trappings of his conquests in art, love, and war. His eccentric house crammed with quirky memorabilia can only be seen during a 35-minute guided tour (available in English), and the extensive gardens are definitely worth a stroll, particularly to see the curious full-size warship's prow. There's also an imposing mausoleum, made of white marble, along with three museums showcasing personal items from D'Annunzio's exploits, including one devoted to his cars.

    Via Vittoriale 12, Gardone Riviera, Lombardy, 25083, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €18 park, 3 museums, and guided tour of house; €15 park and 3 museums; €12 park and 2 museums, House closed Mon. Nov.–Feb.
  • 19. Isola Bella

    The most famous of the three Isole Borromee (Borromean Islands), is named after Isabella, whose husband, Carlo III Borromeo (1538–84), built the palace and terraced gardens here for her as a wedding present. Before Count Carlo began his project, the island was rocky and almost devoid of vegetation; the soil for the garden had to be transported from the mainland. For a splendid view of the lake, wander up the 10 terraces of Teatro Massimo. In the gardens, white peacocks roam among the scented shrubs. Visit Palazzo Borromeo to see the rooms where famous guests—including Napoléon and Mussolini—stayed in 18th-century splendor.

    Isola Bella, Piedmont, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Garden and palace €20, Closed early Nov.–mid-Mar.
    View Tours and Activities
  • 20. Isola Superiore dei Pescatori

    Stop for lunch at the smallest Borromean island, less than 100 yards wide and only about ½ km (¼ mile) long. It's an ideal place to visit before, after, or in between touring the other two islands. Of the 10 or so restaurants on this island the two worth visiting are Ristorante Il Verbano ( 0323/31226) and Ristorante Belvedere ( 0323/32292). The island with little lanes strung with fishing nets and dotted with shrines to the Madonna is a crowded place filled with souvenir stands and shops in high season.

    Isola dei Pescatori, Piedmont, Italy

No sights Results

Please try a broader search, or expore these popular suggestions:

There are no results for {{ strDestName }} Sights in the searched map area with the above filters. Please try a different area on the map, or broaden your search with these popular suggestions:

Recommended Fodor’s Video