We love showing our clients a hidden side to the lakes which due to their popularity can be besieged by visitors during the spring and summer.

Garden-lovers can be shown around by the owners of some of the loveliest gardens, best in May when the azaleas are in full bloom. Travelling by Riva boat avoids the traffic and allows access to areas which can not be reached by car, including the glorious Villa Balbianello. Alternatively, on a clear day, there is no finer way to explore the region than by sea plane.

The lakes have a long history of artisanal excellence. Como is famous for its silk production and we can arrange a visit to one of the privately owned factories where Emilio Pucci’s world-famous scarves were created.

Having been rather disillusioned by the restaurant scene on the lakes compared with the rest of Italy, we are thrilled to have unearthed some truly delicious trattorie. One, tucked up in a hill above the Villa d’Este, produced a mouthwatering rabbit tagliolini that was so good we went back for lunch the next day and the one after that. Down in the town of Como, we can arrange wine-tastings and cooking classes at our favourite delicatessen in all Italy. Franciacorta is not far from the lakes and is home to Italy’s most distinguished sparkling wine. And there’s always the town of Grappa…