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The Food of the Italian Lakes

Dinner on lake Como
The Italian Lakes region is known for its beautiful alpine scenery as well as the luxurious villas that dot the shores of Lake Como. On our Walking the Italian Lakes vacation, travelers will walk amazing mountain paths, visit colorful gardens andCaprese Salad also explore some of the most picturesque towns in Italy. Of course the cuisine in Italy is worth a trip alone and the lakes region is no different. The food of Lake Como, Lake Orta, and Lake Maggiore tends to be a hearty mix of meat, pasta, fish and bountiful produce in the summer months. On this vacation we’ll get to dine at lakeside restaurants and local trattorias, sample wines, enjoy a hosted lunch on a family farm, peruse a bustling summer market and even eat fresh fish on the aptly named Isola dei Pescatori—translated as ‘Fisherman’s Island’—which is just a short boat ride from our hotel in Stresa.

Local Restaurants
Lakeside Restaurant Bellagio
As with any VBT vacation, there are a mix of group meals as well as time to venture into town on your own. During a lunch stopover, you can find one of the amazing restaurants in Bellagio, Italy to try. Known for its 12th-century basilica, Meat and Cheese plate Italycobblestone streets and stone staircases, Bellagio also has many delicious places to eat, often right on the lake. We recommend sampling some of the local cheeses made from goat or sheep milk as well as Parma ham, which is dry-cured and served uncooked in thin slices. If you’d like to try some pasta, this region is known for some heartier dishes like gnocchi and ravioli.  If you’d like a recommendation, our local Trip Leaders always have the inside information on some of the best restaurants to try.

Later in the trip we’ll have a great meal at one of the trattorias of Stresa, Italy on the aforementioned Isola dei Pescatori,Lake Perch where fresh seafood is the specialty. Trout and perch are very common in Lake Maggiore and both smoked and fried options are common at the trattorias on the island. The sunsets are especially lovely here, imagine soaking in the view while sipping a glass of local wine before our lakeside dinner.

Farm to Table
Enoteca in Orta san Gulio
Of course VBT vacations also come with included tastings and home-hosted meals. On this vacation we’ll stop for lunch at an enoteca—Italian wine bars which usually pair local wines and food— in Orta San Gulio. Here we’ll treat our taste buds with Piedmontese wines and local dishes like bagna cauda, a fondue-like dip made with butter, garlic and anchovies and served with crostini, truffles and vegetables. We’ll also visit a small farm in Coiromonte known for producing excellent cheese, which we’ll have the opportunity to sample during a picnic lunch prepared for us by the farm’s owners. Our feast also includes local specialties made with organic vegetables grown in the owners’ garden.

Markets Lenno Market
Summertime in the Italian Lakes is a wonderful time to eat fresh. Local producers often bring their wares to village centers for weekly markets. We’ll have a chance to explore one of Lake Como’s most vibrant markets during a stop in Lenno. Here, the weekly market is held every Tuesday and provides a colorful snapshot of local life. Take in the sweeping views of the area wile perusing for anything from local fruits and vegetables to meats and cheese to clothing and jewelry!

Island in the Lake ItalyTo read more about our Walking the Italian Lakes vacation please click here. To request a walking catalog or learn more about any of our other exciting walking destinations from New Zealand to Yellowstone National Park to Provence and beyond, please visit http://bit.ly/VBTWalking2014. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868, available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST.

Hotels in Italy that highlight VBT’s Walking the Italian Lakes Vacation

Hotel Royal VictoriaOne of the highlights of our Walking the Italian Lakes vacation is the amazing selection of accommodations along three different lakes that our guests will stay in while on tour. “Distinctive Lodgings with Local Charm” is a tagline we like to use because we feel as though your lodging should be a destination in itself—a haven meant to savor. We’ve highlighted some hotels in Italy along Lake Como, Lake Orta and Lake Maggiore that will make your time off the lakes region’s walking trails as memorable as on.

Hotel La Palma—Stresa, Piedmont, Italy
La Palma View, top italy hotels
VBT travelers will stay at this elegant hotel located in the center of Stresa— along the Lake Maggiore promenade—for two nights while on this vacation.  Guests are greeted by a lovely manicured lawn with flowerbeds and lawn chairs—perfect VBT Guest at La Palmafor taking in the view of the lake across the street. From the rooftop sun terrace and swimming pool, you’ll enjoy open panoramic views of Mt. Mottarone, the Borromean islands, and much of Lake Maggiore. One of the many perks of the La Palma is a relaxing visit to the spa that will replenish your energy after our day’s walk—and their wellness center overlooks the lake and gardens below. Treat yourself with a dip in the jacuzzi or unwind in the sauna. Afterwards, guests can enjoy a fresh drink while on the open aired roof terrace at the hotel.

Hotel Royal Victoria—Varenna, Lombardy, Italy
Royal Victoria Hotel, Lake Como
Royal Victoria frontIt’s not overstating the case to say this historic 4-star hotel—located on the shores of Lake Como in the picturesque medieval village of Varenna—is fit for a queen. In fact the hotel was renamed after a visit from a young Queen Victoria in 1838. Today, the Royal Victoria is one of the finest Lake Como hotels and boasts of modern amenities while retaining its 19th-century ambiance.  Travelers can take a refreshing dip in the outdoor pool before dining at the hotel’s elegant restaurant with an outdoor terrace overlooking Lake Como.

Hotel San Rocco—Orta San Giulio, Piedmont, Italy
san rocco pool, top Italian hotels

Four hundred years ago, this fantastic 4-star hotel began as a convent on the shores of Lake Orta. It was transformed into a hotel in 1960 and today the combination of modern and historic features lends a unique style and flair to the hotel. evening dinner san roccoGuests will enjoy the proximity of the swimming pool and sun deck to Lake Orta. Travelers have free time on day 7 to venture into Orta San Giulio’s pedestrian-only zone for some shopping and dinner on your own. The walking vacation’s farewell dinner is at the hotel’s gourmet restaurant where afterwards, you can take in the summer sky and enjoy a drink with your new friends out on a huge lakeside terrace.

To read more about our Walking the Italian Lakes vacation please click here. To request a walking catalog or learn more about any of our other exciting walking destinations from New Zealand to Yellowstone National Park to Provence and beyond please visit http://bit.ly/VBTWalking2014. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868, available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST.

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