About Lake Maggiore

Lake Maggiore - Italian Breaks

About Lake Maggiore

Lago Maggiore is a magical glacial lake anchoring the mountains which step up into the Italian Alps. This is the heart of the 'Lakes District' of Italy, an area with a noted northern influence blending beautifully with all things Italian.

An area devoted to being outdoors on land or water, with plenty of small villages to explore and more than enough stunning scenery to fill a vacation. There is excellent hiking in the Valle Grande and elsewhere, and equally excellent golfing with 7 golf courses. Tours include Stresa, the Borromeo Islands, Brissago Islands, Arona, Villa Taranto and its botanical gardens and more. Many fabulous restaurants are located in the area as well as cafés and shops. For the more active, sailing, canoeing, windsurfing, water skiing, trekking, horse riding are available.

Accommodation options from Italian Breaks around Lake Maggiore include some of the best coastal luxury apartments, ideal for a self catering holiday in Italy.

Accommodation in Lake Maggiore

Accommodation in Lake Maggiore LAKE MAGGIORE VILLAS AND GARDENS
The lake boasts a plethora of historical villas and estates of unique beauty. Villa Taranto in Pallanza is famous thanks to the exuberant blossoms that each spring colour the 7km of paths in its extraordinary English garden. Villa Pallavicino in Stresa is an oasis of peace populated by more than 40 species of mammals and exotic birds that live free in a park of 15 hectars.


The trio of the Borromean islands - Isola Madre, Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori - express the peak of their loveliness in the Isola Bella. Its four centuries of history have not marred the charm that reigns in the frescoed salons of Palazzo Borromeo and its wonderful grottoes.

The magical atmosphere also lingers in the gardens with its ten terraces sloping down to the lake in the romantic avenues of the ‘garden of love’.

Accommodation in Lake Maggiore

Accommodation in Lake Maggiore STRESA
Like other locations on Lago Maggiore, Stresa benefits from spectacular views as well as areas of historical and architectural interest.

In the 15th century it grew into a fishing community and owed feudal allegiance to the Visconti family. It subsequently came under the control of the Borromeo family.

For centuries Stresa has been a popular retreat for Europe's aristocrats, who have endowed the town with a number of villas. Tourism increased substantially after tunneling of the Simplon Pass allowed train services from north of the Alps to pass through Stresa, in 1906. One famous visitor in 1948 was Ernest Hemingway who set part of his novel Farewell to Arms in the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees. In 2002 Stresa hosted the 10th International Hemingway Conference.

Not to be missed:

  • the Villa Ducale dating from about 1770. In 1848 the villa passed to the Italian philosopher Antonio Rosmini-Serbati and today it houses the International Centre for Rosminian Studies.
  • Villa Dell'Orto, built in 1900.
  • The large Villa Pallavicino, between Stresa and Belgirate, now the site of a zoological park.


From Piazzale Lido, in the of hamlet Carciano di Stresa, the Cableway Stresa-Alpino-Mottarone starts. It takes 20 minutes to reach an altitude of 1,491 metres above sea level and brings 40 people per cable car.

The Mottarone - situated between Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta - is considered one of the most beautiful natural balconies in the whole of Piedmont, and not only. Its orographical formation allows the tourist's gaze to sweep over 360° from the Po Valley to the summits of the Alps. Visitors can enjoy amazing views of the summit of Monte Rosa and of the seven lakes (Lake Maggiore, Lake Orta, Lake Mergozzo, Lake Varese, Lake Comabbio, Lake Monate, Lake Biandronno) lying in a natural basin.

In the Stresa area, consider Villa Stresa, comfortable apartments in a villa with shared swimming, close to shops, cafes and restaurants.

Accommodation in Lake Maggiore

Accommodation in Lake Maggiore VERBANIA
Verbania faces Stresa lying at a distance of 3.7 km across the lake (16 km by road). A small islet lying a stone's throw from the shores of Verbania and separated from it by a narrow stretch of water just 10 or 15 metres wide, known as the Isolino di San Giovanni, is famous for having been the home of the famous conductor Arturo Toscanini between the years of 1927 and 1952.

In Verbania we offer Residence Zesto, apartments sharing a swimming pool and an equipped beach only few metres away. Or Sonata, an excellent location between the centre of Pallanza and the ferry launches with a truly unique historical garden facing the lake.


Arona is the southernmost port on Lake Maggiore, and transport by boat or hydrofoil is available to both sides of the lake up to the Swiss city of Locarno. Main sights include:

  • Sancarlone. This giant statue of Saint Charles Borromeo was commissioned by Cardinal Federico Borromeo, and construction began in 1614, completed in 1698. At 35.10 m it was the largest bronze standing statue in the world, second only to the Statue of Liberty. It is said that the architects behind the Statue of Liberty consulted the blueprints of the Sancarlone when laying out their own. The statue was intended as part of a complex of buildings and chapels celebrating the life of St. Charles, of which only three chapels were completed. Next to the statue are the 17th Century basilica and the former Archbishop's Palace. A smaller version of the statue, the Sancarlino, can be seen in Corso Cavour in the town.
  • La Rocca ("The Castle") is a park owned by the Borromeo family. The park used to contain the castle of Arona, destroyed by the Napoleonic armies, and was the birthplace of St. Charles Borromeo himself. The park is freely open to the public and is a favourite of many locals; many animals are kept in various areas of the park.
  • The Lungolago ("Lakeside") offers a fine view of the castle of Angera and the Alps.
  • In the frazione of Mercurago you can visit the Lagoni Park, a protected area including a peat-bog, pastures dedicated to the breeding of thoroughbred horses and a woodland area. There are also some archeological findings from the Bronze Age, including ancient wheels.

If you are looking for a villa with private swimming pool (and there are not many on Lake Maggiore) and magnificent lake views, then you could stay at Villa Ari, located just 1km from the village of Meina, with the town of Stresa 10km north and Arona 4km south.

Accommodation in Lake Maggiore

Accommodation in Lake Maggiore LAGO MAGGIORE EXPRESS
THE LAGO MAGGIORE EXPRESS offers you an unforgettable journey by train and ship. The daily round trip can be started in several places and various ticket options available.

The tour covers the Ticino (southern part of Switzerland) and Italy. For an hour and a half you will cross a wild and romantic region with the Centovalli railway through the Centovalli/Valle Vigezzo. You will also navigate across Lake Maggiore for three hours to admire the Borromean Islands, the Cannero castles and the Brissago Islands, and to discover beautiful quaint villages as well as famous resorts like Stresa, Ascona and Locarno.

Events in Lake Maggiore





Stresa Musical Week (Settimane Musicali) August and September Via Carducci, 38 - 28838 Stresa (VB) Tel. +39 0323 31095 / 30459
Fax +39 0323 33006
e-mail: info@settimanemusicali.net