Maggiore is a lake basin of north eastern Piedmont which borders with Lombardy
and Swiss, it is the second largest among Italian lakes after Lake Garda.
extends for 65 Km and its maximum
width is of 4,5 Km.
Figura 18: Lake Maggiore: view
Maggiore’s water receiving basin is very extensive including the valleys of
the Ticino and the Toce rivers, besides that of the Maggia torrent ; moreover,
it receives even the waters of Lake Lugano through the Stresa stream,
of Lake Varese through the Bardello stream and of the Lake Mergozzo.
only affluent is the Ticino river.
Famous for its colours and its scents Lake Maggiore offers the visitor a
scenario whose beauty can be enjoyed in a new and different ways according to
the season: most of all the famous islands of the Borromeo Gulf ( Isola Bella,
Isola dei Pescatori, Isola Madre, the isles of San Giovanni and Malghera).
three main islands may be reached by means of an efficient public navigation
Arona is one of the gateways of the lake. It is a modern-looking town and an
important railways junction between Central Europe and Padania. It has a
shipyard for the navigation on the lake, and is a centre of commerce and
industry as well as of tourism. It is important historically, too. The port is
enclosed between two big towers which frame the fortress of Angera and the
boats in it are one characteristic of lake Maggiore. These boats, called SCAVE
are short and wide, with a sail in the middle and they are not out of place
among the modern motor-boats sleek dinghies which crowd the lake like a schoal
THE FORTESS OF ARONA:
fortress was the nest of iron and stone where Carlo Borromeo was born. There
were also many convents, such as the Benedictines, which is now a college. In
1604 a manuscript of the “Imitation of Christ” was discovered. Now it is known
as the “Arona Code”; it is perhaps the most famous book next to the Old and New
Testament. The visitor should observe the solid and well-planned structure of
Arona, that is the octagonal pillars and pointed arches of the Palace of Justice
of the Visconti. Another thing to notice is the steeple of the Collegiate church
in superimposed styles from Romanesque, with its miniature overhanging arches to
the Baroque spire. Inside the church there is a polyptych of the holy family by
the tourist records of Stresa many crowned heads are to be found: the King of
Wurttemberg, the King and Queen of England; artists, philosophers such as
Rosmini. Since 1862 the masterpiece has been the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees
which is even today the best hotel in Piedmont. It was built on a suitable site
called “vine of the shore” to the east of the kiosk or seraglio. Contemporarily
with it the Post Office was opened on one side of the building. The hotel was
originally intended to be more like a house for the tourist, its organisation
offered services, comfort and privacy. Nowadays prevails the idea of a townhotel,
a kind of machine-for-hospitality.
Villa Pallavicino the local cultivation was substituted by that of other exotic
plants, which mysteriously but perfectly adjusted themselves to the local
climate. Villa Pallavicino at Stresa, the Borromee Isles, Villa Taranto at
Pallanza show how plants from northern and tropical regions can coexist in the
Verbanese atmosphere, which in a wider way, reminds us of the prodigy of the
microclimates on the slopes of the Alps.
Orta lies to the west of Lake Maggiore. The whole area around Lake Orta can
boast good, hotels and camp sites; there are also exellent restaurants, sports
club, and beaches. There is a pubblic navigational service on the Lake. In summer
the boats also offer evening cruises on the Lake between Orta, the Isle of San
Giulio, Pella and Pettenasco. Overlooking the centre of Orta stands Sacro Monte,
dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi , patron saint of Italy.
– The Isle of San Giulio
Isle of San Giulio rises in the centre of the Lake.
road leads up from the crossroads at Orta amid chestnut groves to Miasino, a
quiet summer resort.
comes Armeno , a lovely summer holiday resort in a sunny panoramical position .
From Armeno there is a road going down towards Stresa and Baveno on Lake
Maggiore , and one up to Mottarone , the highest mountain between the two lakes
that in winter is a ski resort.
Ameno is another summer resort , dominated by the large park and gardens of
Villa Monte Oro.
Farther along the shore of the Lake , past the crossroads at Orta , is
Pettenasco , a popular holiday resort with water sports amenities , hotels
and camp sites , art exibitions and cultural events are held at Casa
Proceeding north, towards the Ossola valley, a road leads to Casale Corte
Cerro , and then down to Gravellona Toce , an important industrial centre.
Quarna and Valstrona valleys can be reached from Omegna..
Well worn paths lead from every locality in Valstrona for excursions to
pastures and peaks rising above 2000 metres which offer a wide panorama of the
last wall of Monte Rosa , the Swiss Alps, Ossola the hills and the plains.
Orta San Giulio
has a very pleasant climate, made mild by the presence of the lake. The most
important buildings of the town are the Palazzo della Comunità of the 16th
century, and the parish church, of the 15th century. At a little more
than a kilometre away there is the interesting Holy Hill (Sacro Monte) a wooded
hill with a religious complex made up of around twenty chapels dedicated to
Saint Francesco, put up between the 16th and the 18th
centuries and decorated with frescoes and sculptures. The square of the town has
a breezy perspective towards the lake, which appears to be its magic
continuation up to the scenery of San Giulio. Between the lake and the town
there is a perfect union of silence.