During the summer months, high temperatures and flocks of tourists drive up prices and make sightseeing a chore – making October, when the mercury lingers through adolescence, one of the best times to visit. .
Here are eight reasons why Italian lakes are the perfect choice for your next getaway.
Lakes are great for cycling
Il Lombardia, one of the “Monuments” of professional cycling – the collective term for its five most prestigious one-day races – takes place on October 9. The grueling 154 mile course is one of the most engaging in the sport, stretching from Lake Como to the underrated medieval hilltop town of Bergamo – not that pros will have as much time as cycle tourists to admire the scenery, of course. The highlight of the route is the difficult six-mile climb from the beautiful town of Bellagio, on the shores of Lake Como, to the Church of Madonna del Ghisallo. A pilgrimage site for cycling fans, it houses a small museum containing bicycles, jerseys and other professional racing artifacts.
Not difficult enough? A little south of Ghisallo hides a road reserved for masochists on two wheels: the Muro di Sormano. One of the steepest and most dreaded climbs in the world, it offers 784 feet of climb in the span of just one mile, for an average grade of 17%. Bring lots of gears.
For something less strenuous, tackle the south of Lake Garda, passing the pretty village of Sirmione, with its thermal pools and 13th-century castle, before heading south from Peschiera del Garda to to the city of Mantua. A 43 km, paved, car-free cycle path follows the meandering Mincio River, making it as flat as a carpaccio and scenic. Rent a bike from Bike It !, based in Bellagio.
They offer old-fashioned luxury …
Lake Como is a classic James Bond destination, starring Daniel Craig in 2006 Casino Royale recovering from torture amidst the eighteenth-century majesty of Villa del Balbianello, before apprehending the elusive Mr. White at Villa Gaeta, near Menaggio on the western shore of the lake (a four-bedroom apartment in the latter property can be booked through Airbnb for around £ 800 a night).