The best places to visit in Northern Italy
Any one region of Italy can boast as much depth and distance, as much to do and see, as any other European country; each corner and every pocket will reveal a different quirk, beauty, history, or cuisine. There are endless places to visit in Northern Italy. Whether you like to quietly saunter the hallowed halls of an art gallery, or taste the sensational flavours of Italian cuisine, or simply sit and marvel at a sumptuous view, with our guide to the best places to visit in Italy, you will find everything you dreamed of.
THE BEST HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS NORTHERN ITALY HAS TO OFFER
DISCOVER THE LAKES FROM THE PICTURESQUE SHORES OF LAKE COMO
The northern parts of Italy in the Lombardy region, straddling the Swiss border, hold dear great mirror-like lakes that sit beneath the presiding peaks of the Alps foothills. Here, beauty and mysticism seem to fill the spaces, much like the water settles into grooves and folds of the mountains. Beneath these lofty peaks and on these lapping shores, leaping into the lap of luxury comes with great ease. Beyond the breathtaking views, all along the lake's tranquil hem, vast estates with gardens that flourish in a trickle down to the water's edge welcome guests to amble around or even picnic in peace.
Take a boat out in the summer to admire the vibrant and verdant vegetation that seems to leap from the soil before finally fluttering into a state of restfulness beneath the sun's rays. Nearby, you will be able to enjoy more great views and activities at the surrounding lakes, including Lake Maggiore - the largest lake in Italy. Here, a wealth of activities will keep all members of the family entertained, with bungee jumping, scuba diving, and sightseeing on the Borromean Islands. Or spend the day exploring Como. One of our favourite things to do is take the cable car up to Brunate, where the views will sweep you into a dazzling daze. Lake Como is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Northern Italy on your luxury holidays in Italy.
ON THE GRAND CANAL OF VENICE
Venice doesn't need much of an introduction, and because of its reputation and the wonders it holds, it easily slots onto our list of the best places to visit in Northern Italy. Venice is one of the foremost places that anyone will think of when they think of Italy, with its utterly unique layout and incomparable beauty. Drift lazily along the Adriatic canals in one of the city's signature gondola taxis, reclining in the morning light to see the most famous landmarks slip by overhead. Or saunter the maze-like alleys until you debouch onto a magical setting, like Saint Mark's Square, where the basilica is bathed in the brilliant evening light or silhouetted against the night sky.
The best way to explore Venice is not to go in any particular direction: just let yourself get lost; drift with the people and the scents and no sense of time. You will soon understand that awe finds you pretty easily in this magical city.
TREAD THE SAME STREETS AS DA VINCI IN FLORENCE
The Tuscan capital, Florence, is a city of unrivalled beauty. Flavours and scents, sights and art seep from the beautiful architecture, while, on a clear day, the sun sets the terracotta rooftops ablaze. Around each corner in the city centre a treasure awaits: an ice-cream shop, a world-famous art gallery, or the imposing Cathedral of Santa Maria. The marvel that Florence instils in its visitors is wholly unique. So unique that Stendhal syndrome - a quickening of the pulse, sweats, fainting and even hallucinations in the face of great beauty - has been dubbed Florence syndrome. On entering the city, you are flooded with a sense of magic that breaches all the senses in unique and intense ways.
Go to the Uffizi Gallery to see some of the greatest works from the Middle Ages to the Modern era. Follow in the footsteps of Leonardo Da Vinci, with museums depiciting his life and his life's work. Dine on the finest Tuscan cuisine with a view of Ponte Vecchio at the Michelin-starred Borgo San Jacopo.
First published in Le Collectionist Magazine