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The most famous lakes in Italy are located in the so called Italian Lake District, in the northern part of the country. While Lake Garda, Lake Como and Lake Maggiore are the most known outside Italy and usually referred to as the 'Italian Lakes', the country counts many more beautiful, smaller, lakes, within the Lake District and further south.


Lake Como is the third largest lake in Italy, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore and considered one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy and also the one with the most variety. Pretty villages, tiny ports, villas surrounded by exotic gardesn succeed one another along the banks. It is entirely set within the Lombary region and has an area of 146 km². It is one of the deepest lakes in Europe with the bottom of the lake is more than 200 metres (656 ft) below sea-level.

Lake Como has been a popular retreat for aristocrats, celebrities and wealthy people since Roman times, and a very popular tourist attraction with many artistic, cultural and architectural gems with its many villas and palaces, such as Villa Olmo, Villa Serbelloni and Villa Carlotta.

See also: Ornamental gardens of Lake Como

Lake Lugano
Only a small part of Lake Lugano, also known as Lake Ceresio by the Italians, is located in Italy, even though the lake is situated exactly in the middle between Lake Maggiore and Lake Como, but is the wilder and less majestic of the three.

The Smaller lakes in the Lake District

Lago di Varese
Varese Lake is a lake of glacial origin in Lombardy, in the north of Italy. It has an area of 14.5 km², a medium depth of 11 meters, and a maximum depth of 23 meters.

Lake Iseo (Lago d'Iseo)
A charming, lesser-known, small lake with peaceful villages and often steep banks.

Lago d'Orta
Separated from Lake Maggiore by the peak, Il Mottarone rising to the northeast. Perhaps the most delightful and the most gracious of all the Italian lakes.

Lago di Monate
Lago di Monate is a lake in the Province of Varese, Lombardy, between lake Varese aand Lake Maggiore. Its surface area is 2.5 km².

Lago di Comabbio
Lago di Comabbio is a lake of glacial origin in the Province of Varese, Lombardy. The lake borders the municipalities of Ternate, Varano Borghi, Vergiate, Mercallo and Comabbio. The lake covers an area of 3.4 km² and has a maximum depth of 7.7 meters.

Lago di Pusiona
Lake Pusiano lies in the Lambro Valley Park, in a basin of glacial origins. The alluvium of the river Lambro divided this basin in two, creating the Alserio and Pusiano lakes.

Lago di Annone
Lago di Annone (also called Lago di Oggiono) is a lake in the Province of Lecco, Lombardy, Italy. Is actually made up of two basins (Oggiono to the east and Annone to the west) joined by a small passage at the end of the Isella peninsola. Five municipalities overlook the lake: Annone di Brianza, Suello, Civate, Galbiate and Oggiono.

Lago di Garlate
Lake Garlate is situated south of lake Como in the province of Lecco, Lombardy. It is formed by the river Adda and borders the towns of Lecco and Vercurago on the left and Pescate and Garlate on the right.

Lago del Segrino
Lake Segrino is a small prealpine lake of glacial origin, in the province of Como, Lombardy, located between the municipalities of Canzo, Longone al Segrino and Eupilio, at the beginning of Vallassina, north of the Brianza lakes. Its surface area is 0.35 km².

Lago di Alserio
Lago di Alserio is situated in the Province of Como, Brianza, Lombardy, bordering the communes of Erba, Albavilla, Alserio and Monguzzo. The lake falls within the Parco regionale della Valle del Lambro, the regional park of the valley of the Lambro.

Lago di Mezzola
Lago di Mezzola is a small (5.9 km²) lake in the Lombardy region. Lago di Mezzola's most important inflow, is the river Mera, which is also its sole outflow, connecting it to Lake Como. The lake has two further inflows, the Codera, which runs through the Val Codera before entering the lake at Novate Mezzola, and the Ratti which runs through the Valle dei Ratti and enters the lake a little to the south at Verceia. The Lago di Mezzola and the Pian di Spagna, which borders the lake to the south, together make up the Riserva Naturale Pian di Spagna e Lago di Mezzola.

The other smaller lakes

Lago d'Idro
Lake Idro is an Italian prealpine lake of glacial origin situated for the most part within the Province of Brescia (Lombardy) and in part in Trentino, covering an area of 11.4 km². At 368 meters above sea level it is the highest of the Lombard prealpine lakes.

Lake Trasimeno
Lake Trasimeno, also referred to as Trasimene or Thrasimene in English, is the largest of the lakes south of the Po River with a surface area of 128 km2, slightly less than Lake Como. Lake Trasimeno is an endorheic body of water, which means that it receives water but has no outlet and do not flow into the sea.

Lake Bracciano
Lake Bracciano is a lake of volcanic origin in the Italian region of Lazio, 32 km northwest of Rome. It is the second largest lake in the region (second only to Lake Bolsena) and one of the major lakes of Italy. Three towns border the lake, Bracciano, Anguillara Sabazia and Trevignano Romano.

Lake Bolsena
Lake Bolsena is a crater lake of central Italy, of volcanic origin, lying within the northern part of the province of Viterbo that is called Alto Lazio ("Upper Latium") or Tuscia. The lake is bordered by many historic sites of all periods and numerous lovely resorts round the lake offering low-key accommodation in bed & breakfast, camp sites or holiday farms, all perfect for nature lovers.
One third of the lake was donated to the Church by the noble family Alberici of Orvieto. In recognition of the donation the Alberici family was honored with a ceremony three times a year performed by the Bishop of Orvieto.

Lake Vico
Lake Vico is a volcanic lake in the northern Lazio region, central Italy. It is one of the highest major Italian lakes, with an altitude of 510 m. Administratively, it is part of the municipalities of Caprarola and Ronciglione.

The lake is surrounded by the Cimini Hills, in particular by the Fogliano (965 m) and Venere (851 m) mountains. It is part of the Lake Vico Natural Reserve.

Lake Endine
Lake Endine is located in the Province of Bergamo, Lombardy. Covering an area of 2.1 km², it is formed by the Cherio River at an altitude of 337 metres in the Val Cavallina. Although relatively clear, the lake water tends to a characteristic dark green colour. The lake lies in the territories of the municipalities of Endine Gaiano, Monasterolo del Castello, Ranzanico and Spinone al Lago.

The lake banks alternate thick reeds - an ideal breeding area for the wide variety of fish and a bird haven - to small beaches densely populated during week-ends by tourists.

lakes of the Castelli Romani (Lake of Nemi and Lake of Albano)
Italian Lakes
Lake District
Taken from Monte San Salvatore looking over at Lake Lugano and Lake Como.
Photo by Rachel Dewis
Lake Garda
Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy. It is located in Northern Italy, about half-way between Brescia and Verona, and between Venice and Milan.

The Dolomites to the north shelter th elake from the cold north winds, creating a very mild climate.

Lake Maggiore
Lake Maggiore is the second largest of Italy and most westerly of the three great prealpine lakes of Italy. It is the most famous of the Italian lakes, in part for its wild beauty, and also because of the Borromean islands.

Lake Maggiore
Photo by Michael Vorobiev
The mountains of the Alps and pre-Alps shelther the lake producing a mild climate both in summer and winter in which a luxuriant and Mediterranean vegetation flourishes. Famous, beautiful gardens growing rare and exotic plants include those of the Isola Madre, Isola Bella and the Isole di Brissago, that of the Villa Taranto in Verbania, and the Alpinia botanical garden above Stresa.

Lake Como
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Bellagio (Lake Como) a sunset.
The still waters of Lake Como flanked by the Swiss alps in the distance.
Photo by Rachel Dewis
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