Lake Maggiore (also called Verbano) is a real paradise which is headed to the provinces of Verbania, Varese and Novara, with a small offshoot in Switzerland.
Lake Maggiore differs from the other “big” glacial lakes of North Italy (Garda, Iseo and Como), especially for the presence of three beautiful islands, known as the “Borromean Islands”, which emerge sumptuous in the mirror of water of the lake.
Lake Maggiore, since the eighteenth century, has been the favorite place for vacationing of the great families of the Lombard nobility (especially the Borromeo and the Visconti) who came here to spend their holidays, and that’s the reason why they have built sumptuous residences.
The Borromeo family still possess, today, Isola Bella and Isola Madre, important touristic destinations for its splendid palaces and gardens.
Walking in the towns bordering the lake (especially at Stresa) you get the feeling of nt being in Italy. Infact, there are many foreign tourists (mainly Dutch) and it’h hard to find a car with Italian license plate. And then, clean streets, manicured gardens, all in perfect order. And Italy, especially the typical stereotypes that usually accompany it, it looks really far away ….
WHERE TO STAY (and eat)
It’s difficult (if not impossible) to find a hotel accommodation in one of the islands. Between towns bordering the lake, Stresa appears well equipped to accommodate tourists who intend to visit this corner of Italy.
I may suggest the Hotel De Cesare, a small, pretty cheap and a bit spartan but extremely comfortable, being in the center of Stresa and just 100 meters from the embarkation of the boat. Critical points: lying in the pedestrian area of the country, forcing tourists to unload luggage just 50 meters from the hotel and finding parking in the streets of the country.
For the photo gallery, click here.
Information on the Borromean Islands can be found here.
Timetable information of the boats can be found here.