Lake Maggiore, An Italian Jewel

Title-page
May 30, 2014

Photo by: Sveva Marcangeli

Eurotrip Day 1:

Stresa, Isole Borromeo, Intra & Cannobio – Lake Maggiore

Woke up at 8 and got breakfast in a little Café called Bar Rosso in the small characteristic town of Feriolo that overlooked the entire lake with a beautiful view of all the Borromeo Islands. Our point of reference was the beautiful town of Feriolo since it was situated in a cove and peninsula right in the middle of all our destinations. 

The lake is split between the Italians and the Swiss. Lake Maggiore is a large lake located north east of Milano. It is the second largest lake in Italy in the Lombardy region and the largest lake of the canton of Ticino, Switzerland.

Before leaving for one of the most beautiful towns on Lake Maggiore, Stresa, we took the well-known lake promenade of Feriolo. The bright colors of the houses, the beaches with picturesque moored boats, characterize the appearance.

Feriolo
Isola Madre

We took the 9:30am bus to Stresa that got us there in 10 minutes. From there, we took a little boat that would drop us off at the three main Borromeo Islands – Isola Madre, Isola Pescatori, and Isola Bella.

Our first stop was Isola Madre. It may not seem like much from afar, but once inside, the rare natural habitat surrounding the palace leave you in awe. From ancient wisteria to espaliers of citrons and lemons that are more than two hundred years old, a walk through the extremely well kept gardens and habitat will leave you curious about the inside of its palace. 

Next stop is Isola Pescatori for lunch. The little town is a complete contrast to Isola Bella and Madre but is equally as captivating. Its narrow cobbled streets, pretty harbour and charming houses make it an enchanting place to visit. There are plenty of cafés, bars and restaurants on Isola Pescatori that offer excellent food including fresh fish from the lake. Our first stop was Isola Madre. It may not seem like much from afar, but once inside, the rare natural habitat surrounding the palace leave you in awe. From ancient wisteria to espaliers of citrons and lemons that are more than two hundred years old, a walk through the extremely well kept gardens and habitat will leave you curious about the inside of its palace.

Isola Pescatori and the boat that took us around
Isola Bella

After a quick slice of fresh pizza and several walks around the Island we reached our last destination Isola Bella. A splendid and grandiose Italian baroque palace and garden and one of the best kept examples in Italy.

In the palace you will find sumptuous rooms filled with paintings and ornate furniture of the parties and balls once held there as well as six very enchanting grottoes, with walls and ceilings studded with shells and pebbles as a cool retreat on a hot summer day. 

After visiting the palace you enter the spectacular gardens which are on 10 terraces and include an open air theatre which has statues depicting four elements. Again, the particular mild climate found on Lake Maggiore favored the growth of a wide variety of vegetation just like Isola Madre. Lastly, at the highest point of the garden you will see a great unicorn which is the symbol of the Borromeo family who owned all these islands and an astounding view of the entire lake and its surrounding territories. 

Patrick posing at the open theatre
Patrick and the Borromeo lake view

Following our long day visiting the Borromeo Islands, we decided to head in the complete opposite direction towards Switzerland. On our way to our destination, Cannobio, we made a quick stop at Intra, a pleasant town to stroll around with its many cafés, little maze-like alleys and wealth of little shops.

 

An hour later we hopped onto the next bus and found ourselves at Cannobio. Cannobio is the last town on the shore of Lake Maggiore before the Swiss border. The dynamic commercial character of the town is seen in the many 17th to 19th century buildings lining the streets and the cobbled lanes of the historic centre. 

 
 

 
Cannobio’s lakefront is one of the finest promenades on Lake Maggiore. The other colorful buildings adorning the lakefront with their picturesque porticoes, boutiques and bars dating from the 18th to the 19th century. We ended up staying on the lake front at Cannobio for aperitivo – or “happy hour” – before hopping on the last bus back to Feriolo. Exhausted from the day’s traveling, we decided to stay in that night and catch up on our sleep before another day of exploring the beautiful jewel of Lake Maggiore.
Cannobio
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