The World’s most beautiful lake.

Lake Como, the 56-square-mile, Y-shaped jewel in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, has been a summer destination since ancient Roman times, luring nobles, church leaders, politicians, and, lately, celebrities of every stripe. In the 16th century, a cardinal named Tolomeo Gallio built on its shores an opulent residence, Villa d’Este, which is now one of Europe’s most glamourous hotels. Winston Churchill found respite in the area at the end of World War II. “An air of complete tranquility and good humor pervades these beautiful lakes and valleys, which are unravaged by war,” he wrote to his wife, Clementine, in September 1945.

Traveling by boat, you can take in the natural scenery, stop to visit churches and tour grand villas, and have lunch in one of the lake’s charming small towns. Traveling by boat offers a unique perspective of the local architecture, so much of which was built to offer views of – and be viewed from – the lake.

As if awe-inspiring views and picturesque villages weren’t enough, Lake Como is also famous for producing some of the finest silk in the world. In 1400, the Duke of Milan ordered the planting of mulberry trees around the lake, providing a veritable feast for silkworms. By 1972, this little region of Italy was producing more silk than China or Japan.