Surrounded by the snow-topped peaks of the Italian Alps, Lake Como has lured romantic travelers to Lombardy since Roman times, when the poet Virgil lauded this deep blue lake as the greatest in Italy. Pliny the Elder was one of the first to own a villa here, a tradition that continues through modern times when celebrities like George Clooney, Richard Branson, and Madonna have made their homes here. “This lake exceeds anything I ever beheld in beauty,” said English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1818.

With its mild Mediterranean climate and warm waters, the lake is known for its scenic sailing, windsurfing, and kitesailing. Small towns like Como, Lecco, Bellagio, Menaggio, and Lierna have Roman ruins, historic churches, and charming piazzas, and the farms, vineyards, and olive groves in the surrounding area add to the region’s appeal. Honeymooners will love taking the funicular up to the town of Brunate and reveling in the gorgeous views of the lake from above.

Historic villas still dot the shores of the Y-shaped lake: some remain private residences, while others are museums and resorts. Villa d’Este dates back to 1568 and has long attracted royalty and celebrities: today this Renaissance villa is a five-star resort hailed as one of the world’s best. Honeymooners will revel in opulent surroundings that include private villas on 25 acres of truly park-like grounds, the spa services offered at the Sporting Club, and stylish dining at the lakeside Veranda restaurant. Built around the 19th-century Villa Roccabruna, the CastaDiva Resort has rooms and suites overlooking Lake Como, a spa, restaurants helmed by Chef Gennaro Esposito, a Ferrari driving experience, and a swimming pool floating on the lake.

Written By: Bob Curley

Location: Villa D’Este, Lake Como, Italy; Planner: Runaway Bride Destination Weddings, LLC, Washington, D.C.; Floral and Event Design, Rentals: Tea Rose, Milan, Italy; Photography: Zasil Studio, Cancun, Mexico