Italy's coast and lakes: top destinations

An imaginary tour of some waterside gems in Italy, from north to south.

Italy's coasts and lakes offer some of the best-known locations for leisure and luxury in the world, celebrated in art, film and literature. We can begin this virtual tour from Villa d'Este at Cernobbio on Lake Como, famous for its aristocratic charm, its beautifully-tended gardens, the floating swimming pool, and the superb restaurants. Whether you're staying, or just drop in for a leisurely tea while admiring the glittering lake with its backdrop of mountains, Villa d'Este is a gratifying experience.

Villa D’Este
Via Regina, 40
22012 Cernobbio (CO)
Tel. +39 031 3481

Not far away, the village of Bellagio is often described as the 'pearl of the lake.' Here, the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni is another classic hotel, winner of many awards, offering prestige facilities. Its private jetty provides the ideal starting-point for boat trips on the lake, with its countless attractions including some beautiful botanic gardens.

Villa Serbelloni

Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni
Via Roma, 1
22021 Bellagio (CO)
Tel. +39 031 950 216

Further south, Naples is another legendary city, with its timeless attractions including the nearby islands Ischia and Capri, and other resorts in the area such as the spectacular Amalfi coastline. The Grand Hotel Vesuvio represents a perfect base from which to explore the area in exclusive luxury, with its own cruise yacht in which to visit the islands or take a mini-cruise. The hotel's long history reads like a who's who of high society, and its roof-garden is named after legendary tenor Enrico Caruso who sojourned here regularly.

Grand Hotel Vesuvio
Via Partenope, 45
80121 Naples
Tel. +39 081 7640 044

Capri is like a perpetual film set for the rich and famous of the world, and its combination of exclusive luxury and a fabulous natural setting give it a special feel. The Grand Hotel Quisisana, a few steps from the Piazzetta, is perfectly in tune with its surroundings, with beautiful gardens, a swimming pool, and facilities that include a celebrated restaurant, the first Krug room in Italy, and the QuisiBeauty wellness centre.

Grand Hotel Quisisana
Via Camerelle, 2
80073 Capri (NA)
Tel. +39 081 8370 788

The Capri Tiberio Palace & Spa shares the same magnificent views from its rooms and suites, which include the 180 square-metre Bellevue Royal suite with a terrace providing views over the island, and a private bar where guests in the mood can prepare their own mojito. The Spa and pool continue the waterside theme, with particular regard to wellness.

Capri Tiberio Palace Hotel & SPA
Via Croce, 11/15
80073 Capri (NA)
Tel. +39 081 9787 111

Travelling on down the peninsula, through Campania and Calabria, you reach Sicily, a land with a whole world of history and traditions. Near Sciacca, on the south coast, the Verdura Golf & Spa Resort has almost 2 kilometres of private beach, as well as exceptional golf facilities designed by famous course architect Kyle Philips. Two 18-hole championship courses and a 9-hole course are superbly positioned with views over the Mediterranean under the azure blue sky characteristic of this wonderful island.

Verdura Golf & SPA Resort
S.S. 115 Km. 131
92019 Sciacca (AG)
Tel. +39 0925 998 001