Lake Maggiore

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Lake Maggiore, a jewel on the water’s edge

Lake Maggiore. A name that reminds the memories of famous people that were born on these shores like San Carlo Borromeo or stayed there for a period of their life like Hemingway and Toscanini.

It is one of the most famous Italian lakes spread with wonderful places like Pallanza with its Villa Taranto featured by amazing gardens, Arona – the seat of the Podestà, the church of Madonna di Piazza and mainly the San Carlone, the sacred mountain with the huge statue of San Carlo Borromeo on the top of it. Stresa – an elegant town full of Liberty villas along the lake’s shores, Feriolo with its tiny old village. Then Angera and its fortress, Laveno and its handicraft culture, Verbania – with a beautiful dock that keeps all the promises of an exciting ferry tour -, Baveno with its cave of pink granite, Cannobio with its amazing lakefront. It is not over yet. A precious treasure chest is represented by the three Borromean Islands, four hundred metres far from the coastline, Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola dei Pescatori (Island of fishermen). Isola Bella is the most famous – where the historical arts museum is based in front of the Lido, a lavish example of the baroque setting. The tiny fishermen’s islands that Carlo saw in 1632 became a jewel of the lake in a very short time. The Earl Carlo Borromeo III dedicated a villa to his wife Isabella d’Adda and changed the name of the island from San Vittore to Isabella that afterwards became Isola Bella. But the biggest of the three islands is Isola Madre, owned by the Bishop of Novara until 1501 then left to the Earl Lancillotto Borromeo. The Borromean palace, built in the second half of the XVIth century is surrounded by a botanic garden of five hectares featured by exotic vegetation and plenty of pheasant, parrots and peacocks.

Isola dei Pescatori is the smallest one: it had been inhabited by around three-hundred people until the XIXth century who mainly lived on fishing. Less trendy, it shows an essential charm with its tiny narrow streets and houses together with a number of places where you can taste the lake specialities. And, as the final sprint, we must mention the island of San Giovanni as well, a very small island that cannot be visited but that can be admired from the lakefront of Pallanza or by touring around by ferryboat. It isn’t famous and that’s why Arturo Toscanini chose it as his residence.

Luciana Francesca Rebonato

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