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Set against the backdrop of medieval villages, sailboats glide across the surface of 2,768-acre Lake Idro. No engines over 10HP are allowed on the beautiful northern Italian lake in the Lombardy region. The absence of large motor boats makes it a favorite with sailors and windsurfers as well as swimmers and anglers who come to the lake for its fantastic trout fishing. The deep blue water, forested mountains and rich history of the surrounding villages combine to make Lake Idro a popular tourist destination for Italians and the rest of the world. It is far enough out of the way, however, to maintain its quiet and the charm of its small villages.
Lake Idro or Lago d'Idro as it is known in Italian (Eridio from Latin) is a glacial lake in the Provinces of Brescia and Trento. It is almost seven miles long and just over a mile wide with a maximum depth of 400 feet. The River Chiese makes up both the primary inflow and outflow of the lake. In 1932 the lake was made into a reservoir for irrigation and the generation of hydroelectric power. Increasing demands on the lake along with the development along its 15 mile long shore have contributed to its eutrophication (excess nutrients in the water).
Lago d'Idro is surrounded by countryside and mountains, with some trails for hiking and climbing nearby. Most of the lake's shore, however, is developed with four villages ringing the lake. Bagolino, Bondone, and the Village of Idro all have charming architecture from the Middle Ages. Holiday villas and vacation rentals are tucked in among the historic buildings and along the lake's shore. The Village of Anfo has a parish church built during the 15th and 16th century, and the Rocca d'Anfo Castle is a favorite with visitors. The fortified castle displays architectural styles ranging from 15th century Venetian to 18th century French.
The area around Lake Idro has any amenity a visitor might need, and the lake is an hour and a half from Verona and just two and a half hours from Venice by car. The Brenta Dolomites, the site of the World Ski Championships, are about 37 miles from Lago d'Idro, making winter sports very accessible. Lago d'Idro is between Lago d'Iseo and Lago Garda. At 91,429 acres Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy, and it is only 19 miles from Lake Idro. Lake Iseo holds Monte Isola, the largest island in any lake in Europe. Vehicles aren't allowed on the island, so it is the perfect place to explore on foot or by bicycle and a great day trip from Lago d'Idro.
With its beautiful deep blue water unmarred by large motor boats and its charming villages waiting to be explored, Lake Idro calls visitors from around the world. Its proximity to cities such as Verona and Venice make it accessible and a great day trip or "home base" for a northern Italian getaway. Tucked away in the Lombardy region of Italy nestled against the base of the Alps, however, it is still a quiet destination perfect for refreshing any weary traveler.
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