When summer is in the air, our desire for a vacation goes through the roof and across the Mediterranean. The time has finally come for the first swims, sunbathing sessions and sports on the beach of the year, relaxing a bit and discovering new landscapes.
This week we will take you to discover 5 villages in the north of Italy where you can stay cool during the hot summer days of 2018. Whether on a lake or in the sea, you have many options because these villages have a lot to offer: beautiful landscapes, unspoilt nature, modern spa establishments, activities and entertainment for all tastes and ages.
Be inspired: choose your perfect destination to get off to a good start this summer.
1. Desenzano del Garda: 100% fun on Lake Garda
Who said lakes are boring? In Basso Garda, in the province of Brescia, there is a village that will do away with this prejudice that many have towards the Italian lakes. Desenzano del Garda is famous for its wealth of life and activity.
Its beaches, well equipped and well cared for, are perfect for those travelling with children and those who want a bit of comfort on holiday. If you’re not exactly a "hammocks and parasols" type, you can take advantage of the many sports centres in the area to do water sports or anything else that takes your fancy. At sunset, enjoy a stroll through the lively old town, between the elegant shop windows and the tables of the bars where you can enjoy an ice cream or an aperitif. If you like nightlife, Desenzano del Garda is the perfect destination for your holidays: its clubs attract young people from all over Italy and Europe.
While you’re there, don't miss a trip to nearby Sirmione, a charming seaside resort just 6 miles away, full of monuments and sights.
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2. Bellagio: the crowning glory of Lake Como
Overlooking Lake Como, also known as Lario, is the beautiful city of Bellagio, famous throughout the world for its charming villas and well-kept gardens.
The pride of this city is the Villa Serbelloni palace, currently owned by the Rockefeller Foundation of New York. You can visit its wonderful park, which has an enormous variety of plants and works of art, and reach the Convento dei Cappuccini (Convent of the Cappuccinos). On the west bank is the Villa Melzi, whose exterior shows off Egyptian statues, Etruscan urns and a Venetian gondola brought by Napoleon.
In the summer, you can sunbathe on one of the quiet beaches nearby and practice the water sports offered by many clubs in the area. Don't leave without taking a boat tour, from which you can admire the Alps, framing the majestic landscape reflected in the lake, which here branches out into two basins, Como and Lecco.
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3. Baveno: discovering the beauties of Lake Maggiore
On the western shore of Lake Maggiore is Baveno: a famous tourist centre in the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola. Walking along the shore of the lake, you can enjoy a privileged view of the Borromean Islands, which can be reached on the ferries that depart from the town’s Art Nouveau dock.
During the summer, its beaches are ideal for those who want to relax or play sports. Baveno is also the starting point for several excursions to discover the Ossola valley and the surrounding mountains.
Make sure to visit the parish church of San Gervaso y Protaso, a monumental Romanesque complex, and the Villa Fedora, where the composer Umberto Giordano stayed for twenty years (1904-1924). The park of this beautiful residence is open to the public and even has its own beach. If local history floats your boat, you should visit the Granum, a museum dedicated to pink granite and its importance to the Baveno area.
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4. Lignano Sabbiadoro: activities for every taste
Lignano Sabbiadoro, the famous blue flag award-winning resort in the province of Udine, is the perfect destination for those who want to enjoy the sea, the beach and choose from a wide range of activities.
Tourism is the strong point of this small town which hosts numerous events during the summer, from cinema on the beach to concerts under the stars, food and wine tastings, plus literary events such as the prestigious "Hemingway Prize". During the day there are many other options: bike rides to discover the area, scuba diving, surfing, kitesurfing and beach sports such as volleyball and tennis.
This town will surprise you with its modernity and the variety of activities on offer. Whether you go with family or a group of friends, the fun is guaranteed.
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5. Camogli: charming fishing village with the sunken Christ
Camogli, also known as the "city of a thousand white sailboats", is a picturesque fishing village overlooking the Gulf of Paradise in the province of Genoa. It is famous for its characteristic small port and colourful buildings, a stratagem used in ancient times by the sailors of Camogli to more easily recognise their home among the various buildings of the city and return after fishing.
Camogli still has all the charm of those days: the small square, the alleys, the ever-busy port, the beautiful seafront promenade... walking through this village reminds you of photographs from ancient times. Among the many things to see are the Dragone Castle, dating from the 12th century, the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, with its characteristic square made from white and grey stones collected from the beach and placed to form pictures and geometric shapes, as well as the Archaeological Museum and the Maritime Museum.
From Camogli, there are numerous walks that will take you to discover the hidden wonders of Liguria. Discover the Marine Protected Area of Portofino, with some of the most beautiful seabed in the Mediterranean and the famous underwater statue of the Cristo degli Abissi (Christ of the Abyss), which is even accessible without the need to scuba dive. Look out for the old Abbey of San Fruttuoso and take a dip in the crystal clear waters of the bay of the same name.
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