The moat and drawbridge of the medieval fortress guards the entrance into Sirmione. Photo, Alamy

There aren’t many places in Europe more beautiful than Italy’s Lago di Garda.  Its stunning scenery is due to the extensive backdrop of the Dolomite mountains to the north, together with all the picturesque towns and medieval villages dotted along its shore, it’s the perfect region to spend some time.  It has long been a favourite destination of ours, and we tend to gravitate to the beautiful town of Sirmione on the southern shore, which is a great base to explore a number of the other gorgeous small towns via the lake ferries.

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Castello Estense is in the centre of Ferrara. Photo, Alamy

The north of Italy has an abundance of riches for the visitor, and it’s almost impossible to make a list of top favourites.  There’s the sublime beauty of the various lakes, the glories of Venice, and numerous small Renaissance cities to choose from.  We’ve spent many wonderful trips exploring these Renaissance gems over decades, and they all have their own unique character and attractions.  Recently, we re-visited the beautiful city of Ferrara, a little over 110 kms south of Venice.  We hadn’t been there for years, and thought another visit was well overdue.

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Venice is always magical whether it’s a Biennale year or not.

We revisited Venice a few weeks ago for the first time since COVID shut down the world for travellers.  Venice has been one of our top favourite cities for many decades, and this was to be our 4th Biennale, so we were interested to see what changes had occurred to La Serenissima since our last visit.  Would it still be magical, or a crowded nightmare now that the world has re-opened for travel?  We were keen to find out.

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Spectacular Capri – Southern Italy’s Isola Bella

Statue of Caesar Augustus at Monte Solaro. 

Lying at the southern edge of the Bay of Naples, beyond the Sorrentine peninsula, the rocky island of Capri has been renowned as a holiday destination for about two thousand years.  It’s an island of myths, Roman emperors and their infamous orgies, luxury yachts and the occasional A-list celebrity, but above all, the most spectacular vistas imaginable.

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Beautiful Lake Como.

Northern Italy offers a wonderful series of lakes, and Lake Como is generally regarded as the most spectacular of them all.  Its unmistakable upturned Y shape was carved out of a glacier that was forced to split into two by the mountain that stood in its path.  Today, the dramatic Dolomites surround the lake, with often a dusting of snow at the highest peaks visible even in high summer.

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