The Lake Maggiore is one of the most beautiful top places to visit in Italy. The second largest lake in the country, it stretches over 65 kilometres in the regions of Lombardy and Piedmont as well as the Swiss canton of Ticino. The area around Lake Maggiore is steeped in history and tradition with picturesque towns and villages offering unique insights into the Italian culture.
The village of Vignone lies in the hills near Verbania and is a great stop for archaeology buffs as there are famous rock engravings in this area that go back to the Bronze Age. Other places to visit are old villages of Macugnaga, Formazza and the Vigezzo Valley where you can admire ancient settlements and architectural heritage characteristic for the Alps. The lake and mountain panoramas will have you pinch yourself in disbelief: too stunning to be real!
If you think it cannot get any better, hop on the Mottarone cable car in Stresa to ride to the summit for the uninterrupted 360 degrees view of the Po Valley, mountain peaks, and seven incredibly blue lakes. Halfway up the mountain you can hop off the cable car to visit stunning Alpine gardens with more than 1000 plants and the Borromean islands, in all their splendour, as a backdrop.
The islands can be reached by one of the reasonably priced small hop-on/hop-off boats that travel between Borromeans daily. There are spectacular gardens and palaces on the Bella and Madre islands choke-full of beautiful artefacts, while the Isola dei Pescatori is perfect for a romantic evening with strolls along the promenade and a lovely dinner in one of the restaurants that serve fantastic fish dishes and excellent Piemontese wine. Most restaurants offer free boat ride to Stresa, so you don’t need to worry if you get carries away with all those gastronomic delights.
Castelli di Cannero is another picturesque attraction in the area that gets photo cameras clicking. The three rocky tiny islets raise from the sea off the Cannero Riviera. They are all that remains from the once impressive Rocca Vitaliana fortress built in the 16th century. In its days the fortress saw many bloody feuds and sieges, today it peacefully sits in the water providing shelter for birds and a challenge for adventurous bathers.
Photos by: Jürgen Mangelsdorf, Maurizio Pucci, Bernard Blanc.