“If you have a heart and a shirt, sell the shirt and visit the surroundings of Lake Maggiore.”
So wrote Stendhal’s The Red and the Black speaking of Lake Maggiore, fascinated by the variety of places of artistic, cultural and landscape interest that only this area has to offer.
In the southern part of the lake, for example, on the Piedmont side, you should visit the town of Arona, the historical site of the Borromeo family from where you can admire the Colosso di San Carlo, a statue more than 23 meters overlooking the lake. To Castelletto Ticino instead, there is the Fortress of the Castle Torriani Visconti which dates back to medieval times.
On the east side of the lake lie the town of Varese and the Lombard country, a wonderful region ideal for hiking, biking and jogging in nature. Italy is also known as “The Garden City” due to the presence of numerous green areas and villas known as Villa Mirabello, Villa Toepliz and the Palazzo Estense, also known as the Versailles of Milan. Do not miss the Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso, the ancient castle of Masnago, the town of Sesto Calende with the Abbey of San Donato, the Rock of Angera and the towns of Laveno and Luino.
Italy is famous and known for its beautiful valleys. Who stays in this area we recommend the Valceresio – which extends from Varese to Lake Lugano – and it is the shortest route for those who want to arrive in Switzerland, in the canton of Ticino. The Fossil Museum of Besano, preserve important artifacts that document the presence of dinosaurs in the area and the geology of the area. Arcisate and Induno Olona were important centers in the area, and right next to the river Olona in 1877 was built the brewery Poretti that still attracts many visitors.
Valganna also has been an important means of communication and connection between the Valley of Olona, Ponte Stresa and Switzerland. Today the area around Lake Ganna is a nature reserve with a rich vegetation, birches, alders, willows and ash trees.
Arcumeggia, tra la Valcuvia e la Valtravaglia, è conosciuto come il Paese dei Dipinti per i numerosi artisti che vi hanno lavorato e per le opere tuttora presenti. Quasi tutti i muri delle case di Arcumeggia sono firmate dalle opere di artisti come Giovanni Brancacci, Carlo Fayer, Ferruccio Ferrazzi, Barbara Galbiati, Francesco Menci, Luigi Montanarini, Ernesto Treccani, Gianfilippo Usellini, ed è proprio qui che è nato lo scultore Giuseppe Vittorio Cerini.
Also worth visiting is the house of the painter who maintains sketches, frescoes and evidence of the artists of the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera that here held their courses.
Going northwards, we arrive on the Swiss shores of Lake Maggiore, where the water joins the mountains. Ascona and Locarno, on the lake, offer a holiday of wellness, tranquility and nature. Not to be missed in June, the Jass Ascona Festival and Locarno Film Festival in August. In Ticino is worth visiting the Val Maggia and Verzasca valley, where you can engage in hiking, horseback riding and extreme sports like bungee jumping.
The area of Upper Lake Maggiore is marked by four major cities – Cannobio, Cannero, Oggebbio and Ghiffa – which contain history, traditions, art and culture.
To Cannobio, on the lakefront, the Sanctuary of the Holy Piety, built in 1568 by San Carlo Borromeo, while in the historic village of the city you can admire the elegant buildings of the sixteenth century along with buildings dating back to the seventeenth century and the nineteenth century. To Cannero Riviera you can see the Torchio of Terrieri in an old stone farmhouse, example and testimony of local tradition and as in the 1700 was made the grape must. A short distance from the shore, are clearly visible the Cannero Castles, placed on two rocky islets and are the remains of the fortress Vitaliana that had been a defense from Switzerland raids.
The town of Oggebbio is the ideal place for those who love to hike, thanks to many paths and ancient mule tracks linking villages and pastures. Finally Ghiffa is the Holy Mount of the Holy Trinity a beautiful baroque complex surrounded by 200 hectares of land in a nature reserve. Do not miss the themed trails that lead inside the reserve and that bear evidence of ancient settlements and past religious traditions.
Finally, the territory of the Borromeo Gulf – from Verbania to Stresa – is characterized not only by the three Borromean Islands, with stately mansions and the National Park of Val Grande.
Do not miss the Baveno Villas – Henfrey-Branca Villa, Fedora Villa, Barberis Villa, Durazzo Vill and Brandolini d’Adda Villa – who hosted over the centuries, people of international fame and that still retain elegant and refined atmosphere. From Stresa, it is possible to get to Mother Island, the largest of the three Borromean islands, historic home of the Borromeo family famous for the Hall of Dolls, the Hall of Seasons and the Puppet Theatre. The garden of the island hosts the largest specimen of Kashmir cypress, along with citrons, lemons, hibiscus and ginkgo biloba.
Choose a Lake Maggiore hotel. Hotels on Lake Maggiore are ideal for a holiday in all nature.