After we paid for our boat rides and tickets for entrance to Isola Madre and Isola Bella we hoped on board our boat for the short 5 minute hop over to our first island Isola Madre. The day started out nice and clear with the temperatures in the upper 60's so it was just an absolute gorgeous May day to visit."Isola Madre, at 220 m wide and 330 m...more
There are so many things to do and see around the Lake Maggiore you could easily spend a week or two here if you were really keen!There are good roads right around the entire lake but there are also ferries that provide transportation criss crossing up and down the lake. I drove up to Lugano and back to Lake Como enjoying the sights along the way...more
Isola Bella is a beautiful small rocky island in Lake Maggiore wholly occupied by the Borromeo villa and its garden extravaganza.Already in the 18th century it was seen as one of the world marvels.Following the baroque taste for placing a villa at the centre of a layout and allowing avenues to draw the scenery into a garden, Isola Bella employs the...more
The only house on this island is the Palazzo, built by the Borromeo family of course. Its architect was Pellegrino Tibaldi, and the work started in 1585. The palace has two main entrances, the one I show in my second picture is called Kashmir entrance, because of the big tree in front of it. It is a Kashmir cypress (Cupressus Cashmeriana) from the...more
Among the birds you will meet here, the ones that will get more noticed are certainly the peacocks. After all, their mission in life is being beautiful, and making sure that everybody notices. You will find normal peacocks and also white ones. If you want to take pictures, you can rely on the collaboration of these birds: they will be happy to...more
The Isola dei Pescatori has about 60 inhabitants, but practically every house hosts a restaurant or a cafe. Anyway, on an island whose name means 'Fishermen's Island' it seems mandatory to look for a place where you can order some local fresh fish. The meal is made even more pleasant if enjoyed in the restaurant's garden or on the terrasse, with a...more
This is a very small local restaurant, no english spoken here. There is no menu, you have 1 choice to make with dinner Red or White Wine. The nights menu is either meat or seafood. 4 courses and all the wine you want for 23 to 29 Euros. Yes that is right. The food is very inventive and super fresh. Don't let the price fool you, I have spent $600US...more
There are many ways to spend the night on Lake Maggiore. In winter you can go to a pub with live music or to a discotheque. The best discotheques are 'La Rocca' in Arona, 'La Selva' in Ghiffa and 'Sandokan' in Gravellona Toce. When the summer comes... the Fiesta begins!! Thanks to the good weather many events take place. One of the most important...more
Surely the most scenic way to explore Lago Maggiore is by ferry service. A day or pass for the lake will be really good value and a leisurely way to enjoy the lakeside resorts and the Borromean islands - a hat to protect you from the sun rays is a good accessory to have :-0The website provides timetables and points of departure around the lake.more
Use the local ferry to go around the lake, including the many islands that are scattered around the lake. There are several boat lines, with winter and summer schedule, you can check it out on the web before you head towards your route. This is a website for ship routes on all the major north Italian islands - Maggiore, Como and...more
The towns on the South-West bank of the lake, Arona, Stresa, Verbania, are on one of the main train routes between Milan and Switzerland. There are local trains that go to Domodossola, near the border, but there are also several trains a day going all the way to Geneva. These ones are faster and do not make many stops, but they all stop at the...more
Several towns and villages on the banks of Lago Maggiore have open air markets. In fact, for each day of the week there is a market somewhere.On Monday it is in Baveno, on Tuesday in Arona, on Wednesday in Luino (this one is especially big and famous), on Thursday in Omegna, on Friday in Stresa and in Pallanza, on Saturday in Intra and on Sunday in...more
Alessi is one of the most famous Italian brands of tableware and kitchenware. Some of its production is designed by the most important architects and designers. Their goods can be bought anywhere in the world, and not many people know that the factory is near the Lago Maggiore. Attached to the factory there is the factory outlet (Spaccio Alessi)...more
In the area around Lago Maggiore the soil is particularly rich in acidic sediments, originated from the granite of the surrounding mountains. This type of soil is ideal for the acidophilus plants: azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. This explains why these flowers are predominant in the gardens of this part of Italy. There are also botanical...more
At Isola Bella there is this lovely restaurant Elvezia run by a wonderful family, and they serve home made food. The specialty of the house is typical Italian pasta, the most famous and best types served in a mix in a huge portion! There were lasagne, tortellini with mushrooms and tagliatelle with panna and something else, I can't remember......more
When the fall comes, sometime it can happen that too many rains swell the main rivers that feed the lake, the River Ticino and the River Toce, so the lake can overflow. Luckly it happens rarely, about every 6-7 years. It's not a dangerous thing, but a flood causes great damage and Lake Maggiore can remain isolated.
If you want to visit the two islands - Isola Bella and Fishermen's Island, be sure to take the public service ferry from Stresa navigation center, do not fall into the trap of the private small boats that sail off couple of hundred meters before, they are a rip off! Public boat is 5 euro, and small private boat is 15 euro. They will talk to you and...more
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Visitors should not forget that the Lago Maggiore is at the foot of the Alps, and in this region the weather is changeable. Bringing a rain-proof jacket with a hood is always a good idea. Even if it does not rain it can be very useful to protect you from the wind.
Very close to the lake there is an aero club where you can rent small planes to take a ride, usually around the lake, since the beauty from high up above is breathtaking!
Cannobio is the most northern Italian town on the western bank of the lake, just a few kilometers from the Border with Switzerland.It is one of the stops on the route of the public boats that go from Locarno to Arona and back. Far more picturesque and quiet than its Swiss neighbours Locarno and Ascona (which are in fact considerably bigger towns)...more
The most appropriate adjective to describe this small island is "unique". Picturesque villages with a waterfront can be found in many other places, the same can be said about stately mansions in the baroque style and formal gardens, but finding them all together on a tiny island is not common at all. Add the fact that there is a very scenic...more
I have a special liking for this village, in the northern part of the lake. In fact I have already spent three springtime holidays there, and I have dedicated to Cannero Riviera a detailed page on VT.There are visitors and vacationers here, but not much of mass-tourism: the road and the parking places are not suitable for many tourist buses, the...more