Lombardy (Lombardia) is one of the richest regions of Italy, due to the fertile Po valley and the industrial/financial might of Milan.

See the Milan page for more...

The Lake Country

Even before Lake Como, Maggiore, Iseo, Garda, and Orta became famous as a refuge for Hollywood stars, people from around the world flocked to this idyllic country to enjoy lakeside dolce vita. Lake Como specifically was the backdrop for films such as Star Wars Episode II (the lake where Anakin and Padme fall in love), Ocean's Twelve, Casino Royale, and Quantum of Solace. Also see this article about hiking along the lakes.

Lago di Garda (Lake Garda)

The largest lake in Italy, the tip is in Trentino, and the rest of the lake/shoreline is split between Lombardy and Veneto. The north end is more mountainous than the south, but there are mountain views throughout. Known for being family-friendly. This site has some nice maps giving an overview of the lake.

chowhound thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/715181

Riva del Garda - between mountains at the northernmost point of the lake, popular summer resort for Austrians and Germans

    • La Contrada - Slow Food

Arco - perched above Riva del Garda, home to a medieval castle

    • Alla Lega - trattoria rec'd by Alice for rustic traditional food, open only for dinner except weekends (also closed on Wed apart from summer)
    • Belvedere - Località Varignano, Via Sarafini 2, 046-451-6144, www.trattoriabelvedere.it, closed Wed, TCI and Alice rec'd for a "blast to the past", old 19th-C farmhouse, old-school traditional plates such as carne salada, including ingredients from the farm, ~20-25 euro.
    • Da Gianni - only open for dinner, also a hotel, rec'd by Alice
    • Agritur Madonna delle Vittorie - via Linfano 81, 046-450-5542, www.madonnadellevittorie.it agriturismo that is very popular on Tripadvisor, produces wine/olive oil...trattoria opened in 2013, looks beautiful. Blog post: http://amepiacemangiare.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/agritur-madonna-delle-vittorie-arco-tn/
    • Osteria Le Servite - www.leservite.com rec'd by a chowhound, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2014
    • [a bit north, in Comano Terme] Osteria della Locanda Fiore - Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2014

Brentonico - NE of lake

  • Maso Palù is rec'd by chowhounds and Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2014 www.masopalu.com

Malcesine - on Veneto (eastern) shore, very nice town at foot of Mount Baldo (a cableway takes you to the top!), which also features a medieval castle. This blogger has some great photos and stories about Malcesine.

Limone - on Lombardian (western) shore, relatively small town crammed between the cliffs and lake

Gardone Riviera & Salò - at far southwest corner of lake

    • Osteria Dell'Orologio - rec'd by chowhound, www.osteriadellorologiosalo.com
    • Locanda agli Angeli - rec'd by chowhound, Slow Food
    • Osteria di Mezzo - rec'd by chowhound

Sirmione - beautiful town perched on a tiny peninsula at the south end of the lake, features Scaliger Castle

  • La Rucola - rec'd by a chowhound, one Michelin star
  • Taverna Kus - rec'd by a chowhound
  • ##Ristorante Pace - in center of town, focuses on lake fish and traditional dishes, in summer you can eat on a jetty over the lake, www.ristorantepace.it also hotel/photos at www.pacesirmione.it, Piazza Porto Valentino 5, 030-990-5877, open every day (except closed in winter), rec'd by Michelin, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2014, €35 "Lake" tasting menu (also more expensive €65 one)

Toscolano Maderno: Gelateria Ciocolat - named one of Dissapore's top gelaterie in Italy in 2017

Ca del Baldo agriturismo rec'd by Rick Steves reader www.cadelbaldo.com, in Caprino Veronese on the eastern shore

Pregasina - in the tiny Trentino portion of the lake near the northern end, park near Chiesa parrocchiale di San Giorgio to access trail 422, more info here

Lago di Como

While Lake Como caters to the rich and famous, us ordinary folks can also have fun here. Rick Steve's favorite spot is Varenna, on the East shore.

  • Tremezzo/Tremezzina - known for its villas including the Botanical Garden of Villa Carlotta and ## Villa del Balbianello (where both 2006's Casino Royale and Star Wars Attack of the Clones were filmed)...down the coast at Argegno you can take the "funvia" up to the town of Pigra (aka "Pigra Cable Car"), with beautiful views of the lake. You can also walk from Griante to Colonno (almost to Argegno) on the 10 km "Greenway del Lago di Como" (more information on this PDF), with lake views almost the entire way. From Tremezzo you can walk about 40 minutes up to San Martino....more walks at this site
    • ? Cantina Follie - enoteca (wine bar) with light plates like cheese, cured meats, and sandwiches...very popular on Google and TripAdvisor
      • ? Locanda La Tirlindana - in Sala Comacina, just SW of Tremezzo, great reviews on Google and TripAdvisor, nice view/location, modern cuisine, this page says it's one of the top 10 restaurants on the lake, has a private jetty (so you can arrive by boat)
      • ? Taverna Bleu - also in Sala Comacina, blue dining room with garden overlooking the lake, rec'd Michelin
      • ? Antica Trattoria del Risorgimento - in Azzano/Mezzegra, good reviews on Google and TripAdvisor, this page says it's one of the top 10 restaurants on the lake, rec'd Lonely Planet and Frommers (they recommend reservations since it's small), rustic decor but fancier cooking by chef from Milan
      • La Terraza - fancy/expensive restaurant in the Grand Hotel Tremezzo with romantic terrace overlooking the lake, has a la carte and tasting menus, rec'd by Michelin
      • (La Darsena - hotel and restaurant on the water, rec'd Michelin (they say to reserve in advance), popular on TripAdvisor...Mark didn't like on his honeymoon)
    • La Fagurida - in hills above Tremezzo, Frommer's calls it a "meat-lover's paradise"
      • La Cucina della Marianna - in Cadenabbia di Griante, just NE, has a different, traditional menu each day of the week, good reviews on Google/TripAdvisor
      • ...you can take a boat ride to the nearby Comacina island and eat at Locanda dell’Isola Comacina, rec'd Lonely Planet and Fodors...it's a somewhat expensive set menu but apparently good food (see chowhound description)
      • Gelaterie
        • ? La Fabbrica Del Gelato - in Lenno (part of Tremezzina), looks like the best in the area
        • Bar Gelateria Helvetia - on the water, somewhat popular on Google & TripAdvisor...more of a cafe/bar than a gelateria?
        • Gelato di Zoe - Argegno, popular on Google/TripAdvisor
      • Al Veluu Ristorante Suites - up the hill with beautiful view
      • Bar Victoria - Irish pub / English tea house if you want to get away from Italian stuff
      • Argegno: La Griglia - trattoria rec'd Michelin
      • near Argegno in Brienno: Crotto dei Platani - rec'd Gambero Rosso
    • Bellagio - one of the "pearls" of the lake, it has beautiful lanes and high-end shopping. Some recommend the Giardini di Villa Melzi
    • ? Alle Darsene di Loppia - overlooks the harbor, rec'd NY Times and Michelin for fish and meat
    • Mistral - fancy/expensive, 1 Michelin star
    • Como - largest town, close to the Swiss border, at the SW corner of the lake; check out the Villa Olmo (on Sundays there's a walk open from Como called the "Chilometro di Conoscenza") or ride the funicular up to Brunate (rec'd by NY Times)
      • Ristorante Feel - rec'd Scatti di Gusto
      • # The Market Place - modern/innovative place rec'd NY Times, Michelin and Scatti di Gusto for its relatively inexpensive tasting menus for €40 and €60
      • Gelato
        • # Gelateria Rossetti - won a prize for best gelato in Lombardia in 2018, organic ingredients
        • Gelateria Guidi - popular on TripAdvisor
        • Gelateria Vanilla Bio - organic and vegan gelateria in Como, across the street from Guidi?
        • Grom - it's a chain but it's not bad
      • Osteria L'Angolo del Silenzio - relatively inexpensive place rec'd Michelin
      • Er Più - relatively inexpensive place, 40 years old, rec'd Michelin
      • Tigella Bella di Garavaglia Matteocomo - sandwich shop very popular on TripAdvisor
      • Crotto Valdurino - a little ways north, rec'd Gambero Rosso
      • I Tigli in Theoria - one Michelin star, rec'd NY Times
      • La Colombetta - rec'd Michelin, expensive
      • Navedano - rec'd Michelin, expensive
      • Namaste - Indian restaurant rec'd Michelin
      • La Polenteria - in Brunate, rec'd Frommer's
      • Amy's Cucina - cooking class, popular on TripAdvisor
      • north of Como in SW portion of lake:
        • Berton al Lago - in Torno, one Michelin star
        • L'Orangerie - in Blevio, rec'd Michelin, expensive
        • Momi - in Blevio, rec'd Michelin, a bit less expensive, simple place with jetty over the water, closed Mon
        • Imperialino - in Moltrasio, rec'd Michelin
        • La Veranda - in Moltrasio at the Hotel Posta, rec'd Michelin
        • Trattoria del Glicine - in Cernobbio, rec'd Michelin, popular on Google
        • Materia - in Cernobbio, rec'd Michelin
        • La Veranda - in Cernobbio at the Villa d'Este (which Vogue described as the "grandest hotel in Italy"), very expensive, rec'd Michelin...also has a less-formal restaurant called Grill,
        • Trattoria del Vapore - in Cernobbio, a bit less expensive, rec'd Michelin
        • # Il Pistacchietto - Gelateria Artigianale - in Cernobbio, fresh ingredients, interesting flavors like ginger
    • Eastern Bank:
      • ## Da Gigi - in Crandola Valsassina (inland a bit), rec'd Michelin for panoramic views and organic ingredients, many from their own garden
      • Varenna - Rick Steve's favorite town; has Villa Monastero with a beautiful panoramic garden (also rec'd NY Times)...you can also hike up to the Castello di Vezio
        • Il Molo - rec'd Frommer's, mostly for atmosphere
        • ## Il Cavatappi - restaurant rec'd by Mark (liked on honeymoon), *really* good reviews on Google & TripAdvisor, 2016 blog with photos of menu
        • ?La Passerella Gelateria - popular on Google/TripAdvisor, rec'd by this guide for vegan options including "black chocolate" with ginger
        • ...also check out the Passeggiata degli Innamorati; for a longer hike, check out the Sentiero del Viandante that leads up to Bellano and beyond
        • up the hill in Perledo:
      • Lierna: La Breva - rec'd Michelin
      • ***Dervio: Crotto del Cech - rec'd Gambero Rosso, homey/rustic "crotto" (old-school trattoria situated on a natural grotto) --> some friends went here in 2018 and said it was their favorite place; mostly locals/Italians, not much English spoken
    • Northern Section:
    • in Gravedona:
      • ? Ca dè Matt - rustic trattoria rec'd Michelin, not as expensive as many other places on the lake
      • ? Gelateria La Carapina - great reviews on Google and TripAdvisor
        • ?? Aquila d'Oro, in Dosso Del Liro (inland/NW from Gravedona), rec'd 2018 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, a rustic bar/restaurant overlooking the lake, they make their own cured meats, closed Tues
    • ? in Sorico: Beccaccino - bright, airy restaurant with natural feel and fish specialties, rec'd Michelin
    • Southeast section:
      • Lecco (SE shore): one of the larger towns on the lake
        • Antica Osteria Casa di Lucia, 2018 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
      • Nicolin - rec'd Michelin
      • Villa Giulia-Al Terrazzo (actually in Valmadrera), rec'd Michelin for romantic garden by the lake
      • Mandello del Lario (SE shore): Sali e Tabacchi, , 2018 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
    • Agriturismo La Selvaggia - this page says it's one of the top 10 restaurants on the lake
  • Were rec'd but not sure anymore:
    • Proserpio (inland/S of the lake, near Erba): Inarca
    • Sorico (N shore): Beccaccino
    • Domaso (NW shore, near Gravedona): Ruffino
    • Bellagio: Silvio (2014 Osterie d'Italia but not anymore in 2018)
    • Como: rec'd by Time Out are Le Colonne, Osteria del Gallo, ristorante Sociale, Castiglioni, La Colombetta, L'Angolo Divino,
    • West Shore: rec'd by Time Out are Cernobbio's Albergo Centrale, Trattoria del Glicine, Tirlindana, Osteria del Giuanin [classic local cuisine], Tremezzo's lakeside La Darsena, Osteria Il Pozzo, Pizzeria Lugano, Ristorante Red Bay

Lago d'Iseo

This relatively untouristed lake boasts Europe's largest inland island, Monte Isola (you can hike to the top).

  • In Iseo, Time Out rec's Il Volto and Al Porto.
  • Near Sale Marisino, Villa Kinzica/Ristorante Uliveto also rec'd by Time Out

Lago Maggiore

As its name implies, the largest of the lakes, which extends up to Switzerland. Classy and majestic.

Stresa is Rick Steve's favorite town (on the Piedmont shore)...from there, you can take a boat to Isola Bella, with a Borremeo palace

  • Piedmont shore:
    • Time Out recommends Osteria del Triass, Cafe de la Sera, Taverna del Pappagallo, Milano, Bolongaro, La bottiglieria, Osteria del Castello, Ristorante Vecchio Olmo, and Lo Scalo
  • Lombardy shore:
    • Time Out rec's Il Veliero and AVAV Yacht Club.
    • 2018 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia rec's Barchet in Curiglia con Monteviasco

Lago di Varese

One of the smaller lakes, between Maggiore and Como. Features the "Little Versailles" of Palazzo Estense (along with other palazzi), the Sacro Monte di Varese (one of several "sacred mountains" that form a UNESCO World Heritage site in Northern Italy).

    • Besozzo (town between Maggiore & Varese lakes, in Varese province): Osteria del Sass - Dissapore rec'd in 2009
    • Brinzio (in the Campo dei Fiori park, N of Varese town): I Runchitt - rec'd Dissapore in 2016
    • Cantello (near Varese town): L'Osteria di Nerito Valter (now called Osteria Galli??), rec'd 2018 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
    • Azzate (near Buguggiate, S of Capolago on southern end of lake)
    • Varese town

Lago d'Orta

Another smaller lake, west of Maggiore. Probably one of the least touristy (The Guardian called it "the Italian lake tourists haven't discovered")

    • Il Cucchiao di Legno (in Orta San Giulio) - rec'd 2018 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia


Hilltop town with a bunch of cool museums and palaces, about 1 hour NE by car or train from Milan. The area around Bergamo is known for creamy Taleggio cheese. There's also a local specialty, "polenta e osèi" which means "polenta with little birds" but the more common dessert version is actually a sponge cake with marzipan and chocolate "birds".

  • Al Donizetti - Slow Food establishment, serves up salumeria, lardo, etc, rec'd by Time Out
  • Antica Trattoria la Colombina - rec'd by Time Out
  • Trattoria del Teatro - Slow Food, rec'd by Time Out


Lombardy's third-largest city, just north of Milan, home to the Formula One race and palaces. Duomo is cool, too.


Relatively large town not far from Milan

Mantua (Mantova)

City surrounded by artificial lakes with a nice Medieval/Renaissance core that is an UNESCO World Heritage site. ~2 hours by car or train from Milan; Modena (in Emilia Romagna) and Verona (in Veneto) are actually closer, at ~1 hour by car or train. It's especially known for its pumpkin cuisine, especially tortelli di zucca.

Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy

Together these form an UNESCO World Heritage Site, these nine "holy mountains" are spread across Lombardy and Piedmont, each with a chapel