The Other 'Italian Lakes'

The Other 'Italian Lakes' by Rodney Ritchie

Mention the Italian Lakes as a holiday destination, and travellers think of the famous string of glacial lakes in the northern Lombardy region, between the foothills of the Prealpine, astride Italy's border with Switzerland. Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano, Lake Como, and Lake Garda attract the crowds and are an effort to reach, but the volcanic lakes to the north of Rome, in the Lazio region - Lake Bracciano, Lake Bolsena and Lake Vico - are very accessible and extremely beautiful. They sit between the Apennine Mountains to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea on the west, at an altitude of nearly 300 metres.

Close to many Roman archaeological and architectural sites, including those in nearby Rome and its surrounds, the Lazio region has a range of charming villa accommodations that suit all budgets and tastes. Because of their proximity to Rome, they are popular with local tourists, and all are booked well in advance of the high season.

Here are three of the finest rental properties in the area;

Situated 2 kilometres from the shores of Lake Vico, Europe's oldest volcanic lake, the secluded and very well appointed Villa Concetta is just a short drive to the lake's beaches, as well as many trendy bars and a variety of charming restaurants. Surrounded by spacious grounds, the modern house, complete with a new pool, is an ideal base for a family holiday.

Outside patios with a barbeque are perfect for alfresco dining, and a restaurant is close by for those times when you don't wish to cook. The nearby town of Caprarola has shops, banks and a chemist, and from here you can embark on a hike on the walking trails that lead into the woods of the Cimini mountains.

The stylish and imposing four-storey Villa Castelluzzo, luxuriously appointed and air conditioned, sits amongst secluded, well-tended gardens, trimmed lawns, and is surrounded by a variety of mature trees. A heated indoor pool, with jacuzzi and sauna, is complemented by a large outdoor pool, while a tennis court with lights provides that extra sporting option.

Meals are available on request from the nearby owners, who produce wine and olive oil. Located on the Lazio/Umbria border with Assisi, Lubriano is just a few kilometres away, while Lake Bolsena is an easy 16-kilometre drive. Day trips to Montepulciano and the less touristy coast at Maremma are well worth the effort.

Set near the quiet shores of Lake Vico, just an hour's drive from Rome, Villa Anna is a roomy villa that would suit a large family or holidaying group. An open fireplace warms the sitting/dining room, with its large picture windows, and there are five bedrooms, three downstairs and two upstairs. Furnishings are traditional. The kitchen is well equipped, and a rear protected outside eating area is perfect for morning coffee. There are fine lake views through the treed garden and lawns, which run down to a small beach. The lake and a bar/restaurant are within walking distance of the villa.

Just 4 kilometres away, on the Via Francigena, is Ronciglione. This quaint medieval village is perfect for food shopping and there are banks, and chemists.

Access is via a gate and private driveway leading to a garage underneath the house with washing machine. At the front steps to a spacious raised terrace with lake views and main entrance.

About the Author

Rod Ritchie, a travel writer and editor, writes for many publishers including AA Publishing and Fodors. Cottages to Castles offer a range of high quality, including the Lazio region. Visit Cottages to Castles for a selection of private rental accommodation in Italy.

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