Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands
Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands ItalyA trip to the lovely Lake Maggiore, Italys second largest lake after Lake Garda. It is approximately 200km west along the A4 and makes an interesting contrast to the scenic Lake Garda. Lake Maggiore has jagged banks from its glacial origins and is surrounded by the prealps of Piedmont and Lombardy. The area is known for its beautiful gardens which grow rare and exotic plants as the mild Mediterranean climate extends from summer to winter here. Garden lovers will want to explore the Alpine Botanical Gardens above Stresa with their magnificent water features and the Villa Taranto Gardens in Verbania.
View Larger Map
Ernest Hemingway stayed at the lovely old-world Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees which dominates the banks of the Lake at Stresa. The lakeside rooms have views down the 40-mile sweep of water to the Swiss Alps and the Borromean Islands which can be visited by steamer. They include a tiny fishing village, two Baroque palaces, and again some lavish gardens with golden peacocks roaming the rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas in spring.
Isola Bella is almost completely occupied by the Palazzo Borromeo and its fine Italian Gardens. Isola Madre is the largest of the three islands and has 8 hectares of Botanical Gardens in an English style. The prized Scala dei Morti or Staircase of the Dead refers to the site of the former 9th century cemetery which is now covered with wisteria. There is also a family chapel here. The largest of the Borromean Islands is Isola dei Pescatori and it is the only island to be inhabited all year round. It has a population of 50 and is popular with day trippers. It has a small fishing fleet, a promenade which frequently floods although the houses are built to allow for this, a small church and a series of charming cobbled streets and alleys.
Another fun ride is to take the 20 minute cable car ride from Stresa to the summit of Monte Mottarone to enjoy the fabulous views.
Search the site
Search results come in a new window