The 9 Biggest Lakes in Italy


Written by Nixza Gonzalez

Published: September 1, 2022

Share on:


Italy is a dream vacation. There is a lot of beauty in Italy, including its many canals, rivers, and lakes. Also, there are over 1,000 lakes in the country. Italy is a unique country with multiple mountains and glacial lakes. The total area of the county is 116,310 square miles, and nearly 77% of the country is made up of hills and mountains. Some lakes within Italy reside in multiple countries.

While we can’t discuss all lakes in the country, we will be reviewing the 9 biggest lakes in Italy.

1. Lake Garda

Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy, but it is not the deepest.


The largest lake in Italy is Lake Garda, which is also known as Lago di Garda. It is a massive clear lake that is 32.1 miles long and 10.4 miles wide. The total surface area of Lake Garda is 142.85 square miles. Interestingly, while the maximum depth of this lake is 1,135 feet, it is not the deepest lake in Italy. Lake Garda also has a rich history. It sees a lot of seismic activities, including heavy earthquakes that once destroyed the city of Benaco in about the year 243/245. Within this long lake are five popular islands. They are amazing vacation spots with plenty of beaches. There is even a large and breathtaking castle built on top of the lake, which is a top tourist destination with an amazing view.

2. Lake Maggiore

Lake Maggiore is the largest lake in Southern Switzerland, despite being the second largest lake in Italy.

© Scatena

Next on this list is Lake Maggiore, the second largest lake in Italy. Lake Maggiore means ‘great lake’ when directly translated. This lake is 40 miles long and 6.2 miles wide. It offers plenty of recreational activities, including swimming and fishing. In this lake, you can find lake trout, European perch, and northern pike. This lake has a surface area of 82 square miles and is very deep. The maximum depth is 1,220 feet. There are at least 10 islands and islets in the lake. Lake Maggiore hosts multiple private and public events. The largest event, The Spirit of Woodstock Festival, draws in a large crowd during the end of summer. Lake Maggiore is old, and evidence suggests nomadic people living in prehistoric times lived and hunted by the lake.

3. Lake Como

Lake Como used to be a popular destination for aristocrats during Roman times.


As the third largest lake in Italy, Lake Como has a large reputation to hold up to. It is a breathtaking lake that has been home to wealthy people since Roman times. Even now, in the 21st century, it is an extremely popular tourist destination. Lake Como is also Europe’s 5th deepest lake. It has a maximum depth of 1,394. While the maximum depth of the lake is large, the average depth is only about a third of the maximum depth at 505 feet. Lake Como is 29 miles long and 2.8 miles wide. This glacial lake is located near large mountains and Lombardy, Italy. While swimming is a popular activity here, you can also sail and kite surf. In the cities surrounding the large lake, there are multiple farms with an abundance of fresh foods like cheese, fruits, and honey.

4. Lake Trasimeno

Lake Trasimeno is home to a rich population of fish, including pike.


Located in Umbria, Italy, Lake Trasimeno is the fourth largest lake in Italy. It borders Tuscany and is breathtakingly beautiful. The waters are muddy but abundant with fish, specifically pike, tench, and carp. Because the water is shallow and murky, there is a large mosquito population in the area. Lake Trasimeno is about 10 miles long and has an area of 49 square miles. The average depth of this lake depends on the year, but it is usually between 13 and 16 feet long. The deepest point in Lake Trasimeno is 20 feet deep. Within the large lake are 3 main islands. Like most lakes in Italy, Lake Trasimeno has a long and rich history. It used to be part of a shallow sea in the area, but a depression formed, which created the lake.

5. Lake Bolsena

Lake Bolsena is the largest volcanic lake in Europe.


Lake Bolsena is a favorite for tourists and locals who want to take a dip into crystal-clear waters. This lake was formed thousands of years ago when a massive volcano erupted and formed a large space. Over the last few thousand years, this space has been filled with rainwater. The Vulsini volcano has been dormant since 104 BC. Since it is a crater lake, it is in the shape of a large oval. Lake Bolsena is the largest volcanic lake in Europe and is 8.1 miles long. It is also 6.8 miles wide at the widest point and has a maximum depth of 495 feet. There are two main islands in the lake formed by underwater eruptions. This scenic lake has multiple walking trails, campsites, restaurants, and water-based recreational activities. Not only can you fish and swim on this island, but you can also ski.

6. Lake Iseo

Lake Iseo is fed by the Oglio River.


Next on this list is Lake Iseo, the 6th largest lake in Italy. It is a great destination for fishermen and historians. There are multiple medieval towns with brilliant architecture surrounding the lake. The lake is about 16 miles long, with an area of 25.2 square miles. It has a maximum depth of 823 feet, but the average depth of the lake is 407 feet. Interestingly, in 2016, Christo and Jeanne-Claude opened an art installation piece on top of the lake. It was called ‘The Floating Piers’ and allowed the public to ‘walk on water.’ The installation connected the two islands with golden floating walkways. Amazing wineries are situated around this scenic lake. While Lake Iseo is not the most well-known lake, it is a wonder to visit!

7. Lago Di Varano

Lago Di Varano is the largest lake in Southern Italy.


Although Lago Di Varano is not the largest lake in Italy, it is the largest lake in southern Italy and the largest Italian coastal lake. Technically, Lago Di Varano is a lagoon, but it is constantly referred to as a lake. It has an area of 23.4 square miles. It is 6.2 miles long and has a maximum depth of 20 feet, while the average depth is 20 feet. There are a lot of things to do in Lago Di Varano that are worth the trip. Not only can you swim in the gorgeous water, but you can also visit St. Michaels’s cave. Across Lago Di Varano is the ocean. At the lake, you can also see a beautiful view of Monte Calvo, a 3,461-foot tall mountain.

8. Lake Bracciano

Lake Bracciano is a safe lake that serves as a drinking water reservoir for Rome.

© Navarino

Lake Bracciano is an interesting lake in Lazio, Italy. It is 541 feet deep and services a large part of Italy, including parts of Rome. Actually, the water is clean and free from large pollutants because it serves as a reservoir of drinking water for Rome. It is also a large tourist attraction with a rich history. Found near Lake Bracciano is evidence of an Early Neolithic lakeshore village. Scientists believe the village was formed in 5700 BC. The evidence suggests that the village had domesticated plants and animals like pigs, sheep, goats, dogs, strawberries, and grains. Swimming is a super popular sport in this lake, adding another layer of beauty.

9. Lake Lesina

Lake Lesina has a large population of eels.


Lake Lesina is the ninth largest lake in Italy but the second largest lake in southern Italy. It is a large lake with a massive population of eels. Two canals link this freshwater lake to the Adriatic Sea. Lake Lesina is about 14 miles long and 2.2 miles wide. It has a surface area of 19.8 square miles and is surprisingly not deep. On average, the lake has a depth of 2 feet and 4 inches but has a maximum depth of 5 feet and 7 inches. The people of Lesina fish for eels in the lake, which are nutritious and highly valued by chefs. It is a quiet, but picturesque lake.

Up Next:

Share this post on:
About the Author

Nixza Gonzalez is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics like travel, geography, plants, and marine animals. She has over six years of experience as a content writer and holds an Associate of Arts Degree. A resident of Florida, Nixza loves spending time outdoors exploring state parks and tending to her container garden.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.