What to see around Lake Maggiore

Surrounded by unspoilt nature, with the waters of Lake Maggiore reflecting the scenery, there are myriad places to see and explore on the shores.

We have chosen some to guide you in your holiday on Lake Maggiore.

Arona historically linked to the Duchy of Milan, it was the birthplace of St. Charles Borromeo. To see: Piazza del Popolo with the XV century Casa del Podestà, the Sacred Mount of Arona dominated by the towering 35 metre tall bronze statue of St. Charles, where visitors can also go inside the pedestal.

Stresa famous for its gardens which put on a delightful display of azaleas and rhododendrons of every colour in spring. To see: The Villa Pallavicino park, famous for the numerous species of animals living in the wild, and the Villa Ducale dating back to 1770,where the philosopher Antonio Rosmini died. The villa now houses the International Centre for Rosminian Studies, and its great library contains rare editions and a collection of the philosopher’s works. A visit to the baroque churches is a must for art lovers.

The Borromeo Islands, Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola dei Pescatori, the latter famous for delicious fish dishes, can be reached in just a few minutes from Stresa Lido.

Angera situated on a picturesque bay, with views of the Partegora islet, an oasis for lake birds and covered with reed beds and woods. To see: the Angera Rocca, or Castle, with the Doll and Fashion Museum. The Museum houses 12 rooms of dolls, toys, books, miniature furniture and table and parlour games, a total of 1,000 exhibits which make it one of the biggest of its kind in Europe.

Isola Bella Entirely occupied by the Borromeo Palace with its 25 sumptuous rooms decorated with gold and stucco and filled with paintings, statues, tapestries and Murano crystal chandeliers. To see: The caves studded with shells and pebbles from the lake and the terraced gardens where white peacocks live among the statues and flower-filled beds are a spectacular sight.

Isola dei Pescatori, a fishing village renowned for its excellent lake fish dishes. To see: the parish church with doorposts and columns in pink Baveno granite and the silver bust of St. Charles Borromeo.

Isole Borromeo – Isola Madre, a private island renowned for the Botanical Gardens containing exotic species from all over the world – azalea and rhododendron bushes, swamp cypresses, tea bushes, 150 types of camellia and dozens of peacocks and pheasants roaming free. To see: the late-16th century Borromeo Palace, considered the first villa built on Lake Maggiore. Inside, visitors can admire extensive collections of 17th century Lombardy-school paintings, puppet theatres, dolls and the uniforms of the House of Borromeo servants.

Pallanza famous worldwide for the botanical gardens of Villa Taranto, which cover the entire north-eastern flank of the Castagnola headland. To see: visitors to the gardens can take delight in the art expressed in the flora and architectural features – blue and yellow wisteria, the dell, the staircase, the “Putti” fountain, the greenhouse with its great Victoria Regia lily-pads, the tulips, conifer avenue, multi-coloured Japanese maples, the winter garden with numerous sub-tropical species and dozens of other man-made and natural marvels.