Regions of Italy

Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands

The north of the Apennine Peninsula is rich in beautiful lakes, the most remarkable of which we examined in one of our previous posts - Lakes of Italy: the best selection from BlogoItaliano. Today we will dwell in more detail on one of them - Maggiore (or Verbano), considered the second largest lake in Italy.

Lake Maggiore covers an area of ​​216 square meters. km and is part of two Italian provinces at once - Lombardy and Piedmont. Tourists from all over the world are attracted by the natural beauty of the Borromean Islands, which, like exquisite jewels, adorn Lake Maggiore: Isola Madre (l'Isola Madre), Isola Bella (l'Isola Bella), Isola dei Pescatori (l'Isola dei Pescatori) and Isola S. Giovanni (l'Isola S. Giovanni).

Numerous resorts of Verbania, Ascona, Locarno, Stresa, Baveno, located on the shores of the lake, open up a lot of opportunities for vacationers to excitingly and informatively organize their leisure time. A visit to the cleft of St. Anne (l'Orrido di S. Anna), Church of St. Caterina (S. Caterina del Sasso) and Castle Angers (la Rocca d'Angera). Adventure lovers should also visit Cannero, one of the oldest towns with a pirate-rich history of the Mazzarditi brothers.

From the Temple of St. Catherine offers an amazing view of the lake

The most famous resort in these places is considered Stresa. It is located on the slopes of Mottarone (opposite the Gulf of Borromeo), which offers a magnificent panorama of Lake Maggiore. Favorable climatic conditions (cool summers and mild winters), privileged location, excellent hotels, various cultural events of international importance, such as the “Music Week”, numerous forums and conferences provided Stresa with an enviable place in the galaxy of the most prestigious resorts in the north of Italy.

Among Attractions Stresa it is worth highlighting the Villa Pallavicino, built in 1855 according to the project of the Neapolitan architect Ruggiero Bongi. The owners of the villa - the Dukes of Vallombroz and, later, the Marquise Pallavichino - left behind a magnificent park, which contains rare plants and a rich collection of flowers. Here you can admire a miniature zoo.

In addition, Stresa offers a wide selection of excursions around the lake, which will make it possible to visit the islands of Borromeo. In the immediate vicinity of Stresa are two of them - Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori.

The name "Isola Bella" translates as "Beautiful Island"

Isola Bella considered the main decoration of Lake Maggiore. In the past, the island was rocky and barren; now there is a unique rock garden created by Charles III Borromeo as a gift to his wife Isabella. It is a cascade of 10 terraces on which lies a delightful park. The crown of the composition is an amphitheater on the last terrace. It consists of stone niches decorated with statues. The top of the amphitheater is crowned with a unicorn - a symbol of the Borromean family.

Here is the palace of Borromeo, whose construction was carried out simultaneously with work in the garden in 1632. When you visit the palace, the magnificence of room decoration, a magnificent collection of paintings, tapestries, antique furniture, Murano glass chandeliers, etc. The exquisite beauty of the underground grottoes, in which the walls are decorated with a bizarre mosaic game of two shades - dark and light, will also impress. The grottoes in the immediate vicinity of the lake were planned as premises in which, in the hot summers, one could hide from the heat.

Second island - Isola dei Pescatori - not so pomp and grandeur as Isola Bella, but he captivates with its simplicity. On Isola dei Pescatori is a small picturesque village with winding streets and all the characteristic attributes of fishing life. On the island you can see and visit the small church of St. Vittore of the XI century.

Between Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori is a tiny islet of Marghera (Marghera), called the islet of love. The island of S. Giovanni is also small in itself, which has sheltered on its territory the summer residence of Arthur Toscanini - the famous Italian, whom many consider the greatest conductor of the last century.

Isola dei Pescatori fascinates with its simplicity

One of the largest islands of Borromeo is Isola madre. Almost the entire territory of the island is occupied by a botanical garden, which contains the rarest plants from different parts of the planet. A continuous alternation of colors of alternating magnolias, rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias in all its diversity accompanies visitors throughout the walk through the garden. On one of the sites stands a giant palm tree "Jubaea Spectabilis", growing here since 1858.

In Verbania, located between Pallantsa and Intra, there is another colorful and fragrant gardening laboratory: the largest collection of exotic plants in Italy is collected in the territory of Villa Taranto.

Lake Maggiore It attracts the enchanting beauty of nature and man-made monuments. For tourists who prefer to spend their leisure time more actively than just admire the surrounding beauties, there is also something to do in Maggiore. Near the lake there are well-equipped ski resorts. But this, as they say, is a completely different story.

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