Just 50 miles north of Milan, Lake Como has attracted celebrity residents since the first century. Today, a clutch of fashion designers and movie stars maintains the tradition. The most famous villas include the 17th-century Villa Carlotta (described in Stendhal’s “The Charterhouse of Parma”); the Villa Serbelloni, a study center managed by the Rockefeller Foundation; and the Villa d’Este, built in 1568 and later home to the estranged wife of King George IV of Britain. Lake Iseo lies midway between lakes Como and Garda and is also a place of great scenic beauty. Lake Garda stretches for 34 miles from the high Alps to the plains of Lombardy. Its western shore is especially picturesque.

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