Lake Como holidays draw jet set crowds to the shore for neoclassical architecture, café culture and the Italian wow factor

In a pocket of north Italy you'll discover a place where age-old frescoes remain preserved; immaculate Italianate gardens are preened to perfection and life on the lake is as splendid as you could imagine. Lake Como holidays are a Mediterranean dream of breathtaking food that tastes as fresh as the glacier lake it came from, and splendid villas with rose gardens that look like they’ve come straight out of a coffee table book. There are lunches in centuries-old villas, spa treatments overlooking the lake, white-glove service in the evenings and lakefront nightcaps under a purple sky.

Lake Como has always been a sun-kissed playground for the rich and famous – think classic cars racing along peachy-coloured towns, effortlessly stylish Michelin-starred restaurants in fairytale courtyards and cobblestoned streets walked by everyone from Vincenzo Bellini to Alfred Hitchcock. The nouveau rich race their speedboats here while the locals happily get by sailing from village to village. There’s rustic charm in family-run trattorias where saffron risotto and home-made ice cream are served up as authentically as the atmosphere, and private wine tastings in an historic castle in Bergamo. Discover perpendicular gardens, 16th-Century palazzos and a decadent alpine setting as you rise by funicular some 1600 feet above the lake to the summit of Mount Brunate. Whether you’re arriving by boat to the jet set town of Bellagio, picking up Italian-made cashmere at Falconeri or launching your private water limousine from Grand Hotel Tremezzo’s private jetty for a Champagne sunset cruise; you’ll know you’ve landed on your feet in extravagant Italian style.

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