Above: Staircase leading to the gardens, Passalacqua, Moltrasio, Lake Como - RICKY MONTI

I taly’s northern lakes have drawn leisure travelers for centuries. Their steep and scenic shores are dotted with grand historic villas, and some two millennia ago, the Roman poet Catullus extolled the pleasures of the Sirmio peninsula in Lake Garda. But although tourism is no stranger to the region, even today, it’s possible to find tranquil beauty spots unspoiled by crowds.

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