WANDERING IN ITALY : THE ITALIAN LAKES REGION

It has been three months since we left, which makes me realise that I haven’t posted on the blog in more than two weeks! My sincerest apologies, but between the cold wave which made us slow down, our electrical and mechanical issues of the past couple of weeks, professional projects and everything else, I have been a bit busy! My bad, but I like keeping you on the edge of your seat too!

So, just to get back on track, here is a summary of all the nice places we visited around the lakes in northern Italy: Lago d’Orta, Lago Maggiore, Lago di Como and Lago di Garda. This time, exceptionally, this won’t be a linear story, as our trip in Switzerland was inserted between Lago Maggiore and the rest. But don’t worry, it will all be ok!

STORY X PHOTO COVERAGE

The idea for us was too stay on a coherent course that would take us from the Milan area to Slovenia while going through Grindelwald (see previous post), Dolomites and Venice. Hence the Swiss escape! The most logical to get to Switzerland for us was then to drive north between Lago d’Orta and Lago Maggiore.

The road from Bologna first took us to the small town of Ameno, but we will more importantly remember Omegna. First, because there is a fairly cheap and ideally located area for camping-cars right by the lake, second because the center and the lake shore are beautiful and perfect for a stroll.

 

From Omegna, reaching Lago Maggiore is a matter of minutes. The road along the lake is superb, although pretty narrow at times and obviously sinuous (which is the case with all the lakes), and it is in the wonderful medieval village of Cannobio that we found our spot for the night. Dare I say, THE spot! Almost in the water and right next to the old paved street going along the shore and lined with cafés and restaurants. Absolutely perfect!

We crossed the border into Switzerland from Cannobio, to come back on the Italian side further east and arrive in Como and its famous lake. In Como, do not miss the funicular that climbs up to Brunate a few hundred meters higher, offering you a breathtaking view and an impressive panorama on the Alps. Up there, you will be free to sit at a café to enjoy a bit of sun, or keep climbing even higher…

Como, in itself, doesn’t really hold much appeal, especially when it comes to places to park for the night. So we drove a bit further north along the west shore, to Azzano where we parked. In a quiet place, once again almost in the water, next to a little park where we went back to being kids on a little merry-go-round…

 

Like I said on Insta, I think, we were advised against driving all the way around the lake with the Lieutenant (narrow, badly kept roads), and it was also impossible for us to take the ferry (the Lieutenant is too big, and it was too expensive anyway). So, we went back south and headed to Bergamo, a lovely little city which allowed us to cut the trip in two before getting to Lago di Garda, the largest lake in Italy!

Two nights in Salo later, in order to wait for the sun to come back out… and where we kinda stole a bit of power from plugs usually reserved for the market (shhhhhhhhh)… We took another road along the shore to get to Riva del Garda and Torbole sul Garda, from where the view on the whole length of the lake and the surrounding mountains is magical. A great send off before leaving the lakes behind, as it is from Torbole that we left for Trento, the gateway to the Dolomites!

TRENTO

Short digression about Trento. It is definitely a place to go! First, because it’s historical center is amazing and almost exclusively reserved for pedestrians. Second, because you will find so many influences there, you will be able to drink a Spritz as good as any you will have in Venice, or eat a slice of Strudel Austria would be proud of. Third, because you can eat ice cream at Grom. And fourth, although I may have said that already, because it’s gorgeous. We spent two or three days there before heading to the mountains. But this is another story!

Good Addresses in Trento :

– Urban Coffee Lab : 35 Via Camillo Benso di Cavour – A couple of steps from the main square, power outlets for computers, a good wifi connection, great coffee and delicious pastries (those muffins!)… all that in a slightly loud but charming atmosphere!

– Pasticceria Bertelli : Via Oriola – Unmissable in order to have an amazing Strudel alto Atesino.. just perfect with an Aperol Spritz on the side!

– Brasserie Forst – 38 Via Paolo Oss Mazzurana – A local institution beautifully renovated/decorated where you can discover Austrian and Italian foods! Trento is the meeting point of two cultures which are mixed and complete each other perfectly for your culinary enjoyment! Yes, we like food! This brewery is also the birthplace of the local brand of beer, Forst, offering a broad spectrum of flavors. I personally fell for the Sixtus!

OUR NIGHT SPOTS

We found most of them on Park4Night and I also downloaded Camper Contact to complete and compare reviews… It’s all about your feelings, your needs of the momet, the time of the year….

Lago d’Orta :

Area Camper del Comune di Ameno : Viale Matteotti- Regione Ciliegia – Free in this season, but no services. 10€ in the high season with water/draining/power
Area Camper Omegna : Via Caduti di Bologna 1 – de 8 à 12€ les 12h selon la saison – 8 to 12€ for 12h depending on the season – Services included (shower, bathroom, power, draining, wifi…) – Vending machines in the little house, as well as flyers and information on activities in the area!

Lago Maggiore : Free parking in Cannobio on the water: 61 Via Franscesco Magistri – Forbidden for camping-cars but ok for vans (at least in the low season!) – no services but right next to a beautiful promenade, a café, a Spar supermarket, public bathrooms and a nautical center. A contribution of Park4Night we are quite proud of!

Lago di Como : City parking in Azzano : 25 via Andrea Colombo : no services and right below the road, but next to a cute little park and with access to the lake shore for a stroll…

Lago di Garda : Salo : Via Atleti Azzuri d’Italia – Large parking lot next to a school, a small shopping center and a sports center! No charm or view whatsoever, no services, but the camping-car area of the city was way out of order! By the way, go check on foot before driving in, because there were no signs indicating the place was closed… And even though we only stayed 5 minutes, the machine was asking for 5 euro only payable in cash! We almost got stuck in there, thankfully the woman who manages the place came and freed us without having to pay for anything (good luck explaining if you don’t speak Italian). Anyway, on our parking lot there are power outlets for the market where we were able to plug in. It was indeed slightly illegal, but when you’re stuck for two days in the rain, it gets pretty handy!

Trento : 39 via Roberto da Sanseverino – Free parking limited to 48h, 500m from the center – A lot of people walking/driving by so pretty safe! 5 large spots reserved for campers – No services and a fairly busy roads next to it so a bit loud during the night, but ideal to visit the city!

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