Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – Italy chapter on Lombardy and the Lakes has to say:
“Writers from Goethe and Stendhal to DH Lawrence and Hemingway have all lavished praise on the Italian lakes, but even their words scarcely express the lakes’ beauty. Elaborate villas attest to the roll call of celebrity visitors and residents that the lakes, which are ringed by snow-powdered mountains, have attracted over the centuries.
Tourism, though, isn’t as prevalent around the lakes as you might expect. Many northern Italians visit for the day or weekend, and sum¬mer generally sees northerners head for the seaside, meaning it’s possible to find relative peace in many parts of the lakes even in Italy’s peak holiday month of August.
The lakes fan out across Italy’s north. The westernmost of the main lakes, Lago d’Orta, is entirely within Piedmont and possibly the most romantic. The three big ones are, west to east, Lago Maggiore, with its spectacular islands; Lago di Como, closed in by densely wooded mountains and sprinkled with dazzling villas and gardens; and Lago di Garda, the biggest and the busiest.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD