LAKE MAGGIORE AND LAKE ORTA
Lake Orta lies to the west of Lake Maggiore, in the northern Italyit is considered the most romantic among the italian lakes.
Lake Orta has always been a haven for poets and other creative people. Nietzsche spent the years 1883 to 1885 in retreat at Lake d'Orta to write "Thus Spoke Zarathustra." Other 19th-century writers enchanted by its quiet beauty include the French novelist Honoré de Balzac, who wrote and Robert Browning.
The Sacro Monte of Orta, included on the UNESCO world heritage list, is maybe the most remarkable sacred site. Set up in a botanical garden on a hill overlooking the lake, it is dedicated to the life of Saint Francis, with 21 chapels, built between the 15th and the 17th century, richly decorated with frescoes and terracotta statues by famous artists. Visit the 20 frescoed small chapels of the Sacro Monte above Orta San Giulio, with their of terracotta sculptures illustrating scenes from the life of Saint Francis.
From Orta charming lakeside square you can admire the island of San Giulio, dominated by the ancient basilica and the convent.
The car-free town of Orta S. Giulio is a little jewel and cannot be missed.
Lake Maggiore is 54 km long, with a coastline of over 150km and at its widest is 12 km. Like all the other Northern Italian lakes it is a deep glacial basin.
Piedmont and Lombardy are two major regions surrounding the Lake Maggiore, but the most northerly section of Lake Maggiore extends a dozen kilometers into Switzerland.
The climate is mild in both summer and winter.
In a surrounding of extraordinary beauty Lake Maggiore offers to its visitors spectacular gardens boasting exceptional collections of camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons, historic villas and castles, sacred routes, medieval churches.
An impressive number of parks are located here such as the Parco Nazionale della Val Grande (the largest wilderness area in Italy). The mountains, beyond the lake are wonderful, and each little village with its painted houses seems a terrace on the water.
There is so much to see and do in this area from palaces, villas and gardens to markets, local festivals and concerts. There are walks for every ability and excursions If you have a car there are several itineraries that will introduce you to this beautiful area and some of the more "off the beaten track" places.
In the center of the lake float the three enchanted Borromeo Islands.
The Isola Madre and Isola Bella, where are the Borromeo palaces and gardens and the charming Isola dei Pescatori (fishermen island).
In front of Stresa stands, just above the water, on a rocky cliff the Eremo di Santa Caterina.
A little farther in the inland is the Villa della Porta-Bozzolo in Casalzuigno, a masterpiece of early eighteenth-century landscaping.
Isola Bella s the most well known of the Borromean Islands. Lying offshore from Stresa it is just a 10 minute boat ride away. Visit the opulent palace and monumental gardens Accessible by public transport
Villa Taranto Gardens are a magnificent collection of plants and flowers from all over the world in an English style garden. Cafe or restaurant
Isola Madre is home to a traditional Italian Villa decorated with frescoes and ornate furniture and the rambling gardens are a welcome retreat in the summer. Cablecar or chairlift
Isola Pescatori is a quaint fishing village located on an Island just 10 minutes boat ride from Stresa. An ideal place to visit for a leisurely lunch or after hours for a secluded dinner. Church of interest
The Umbrella Museum near Stresa, in Gignese is a wonderful collection of parasols and umbrellas as well as a history of the many families from the Gignese area who made them. Entrance fee
Villa Pallavicino is a 19th century villa surrounded by landscaped parkland containing beautiful plants, flowers and trees and a small zoo. Villa Pallavicino is just a 10 minute stroll along the lakefront from Stresa.
Stresa - Mottarone Cable Car takes you on a 20 minutes panoramic ride to Mount Mottarone. You can visit the Alpine Gardens at the mid-way stop and if you climb to the summit you can will have full 360° views over 7 lakes and the Alps. Town or village of interest
Alpyland is an alpine coaster/bob ride right at the summit of Mottarone. Enjoy the thrill of the 750m track with panoramic views over Lake Maggiore. Walking possible
Orta Sacro Monte (Sacred Mount) is one of nine in Piedmont and Lombardy and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its 20 chapels depict the life of St. Francis. Website
The Rocca Borromeo in Angera is a fine medieval building with stunning views from its tower and an exceptional collection of dolls, toys and games in the Doll Museum. Wheelchair access
Santa Caterina del Sasso is a hermitage clinging to the rocks above Lake Maggiore and is a unique place to visit.
The Laveno Bucket Lift is an alternative way to see Lake Maggiore. As you ascend the slopes of Mount Sasso del Ferro there are panoramic views of Lake Maggiore and the Alps.
Parco Nazionale della Val Grande is the largest wilderness area in Italy
How to reach Lake Maggiore
By plane: Malpensa airport 30 to 45 minutes
By train: The international line links the lake to to Milan, Genoa, Zurich and Basel with Cisalpino, Milan to Paris with Stendhal.
By road: motorway A26 and A8 links the lake to Genova and Milano and the Simplon.
Many sports activities can be practiced in Lake Maggiore such as sailing, water sports in general, canoeing, golf (7 golf courses in the area), trekking, horse riding, fishing
Golf des Iles Borromées, Carpugnino, 18 holes, par 72
Golf Club Alpino, Stresa, 9 holes, par 69
Golf Club Castel Conturbia, 18+9 holes,
Presso Pontile di Lesa Piazza IV Novembre, Lesa (NO) Samuele +39 333 5996207 Alessandro +39 349 1551681 Email email@example.com motor boat MAX 6 persone 150 € / 200 € no licence required
Maccagno Inferiore – Località Lido 1 (Va) close to Luino - Laveno firstname.lastname@example.org
tel 39.3200862588 Roberto Moretto
HORSE RIDING Agriturismo Camelot Massino Visconti
PARAGLIDING A paragliding flight for two people together with a professional coach. Stresa VB
Centro Nautico - Servizi Turistici Via Mazzini 3 Belgirate (VB) Tel. 0323 31266
There are many itineraries by foot/mountain bike on lake Maggiore/Orta area; here below are two of them tourist offices.
Mount Mottarone from Stresa about 4,00 hours National Park of the Val Grande: the description of itineraries or further information: email@example.com
L&F WaterSki Casteletto Ticino Tel. 347/4715801
BORROMEO ISLAND - STRESA
ROCCA BORROMEO – ANGERA
VILLA TARANTO - VERBANIA Botanic garden 28922 Verbania Pallanza (Vb)
THE CENTOVALLI BLUE TRAIN LAGO MAGGIORE EXPRESS offers you an unforgettable journey by train and ship. From Arona to Locarno
The whole Vigezzo Valley is served by a historical little blue train An Alpine railway par excellence,wonderful landscapes of woods, wild mountains, rivers and waterfalls along a route of 52 kilometres. “Lago Maggiore Express” is a travel combination that covers, in just one day, the whole of Lake Maggiore from Stresa to Locarno by boat and then the Vigezzo Valley and Centovalli on the little blue train.
MACUGNAGA MOUNT ROSA (Half day trip)
ZERMATT AND THE MATTERHORN (Full day trip)
MILANO visit The Last Supper, the very famous painting by Leonardo BOOKING: tel 0039.02.89421146. The Duomo, S.Ambrogio, la Scala, The art collections at Ambrosiana or Brera, the Sforza Castle. Discover the sophisticated shopping in the fashion district.
Shopping in Milan
Shops opening times are generally 9.30am-12,30 pm and 3-7.00pm, the department stores stay open through the lunch break. Pay attention because in Milan on Mondays, food shops are open only in the morning, other shops only in the afternoon.
LAKE MAGGIORE ACTIVITIES
EVENTS - MUSIC / CONCERTS
STRESA MUSIC FESTIVAL
BAVENO FESTIVAL GIORDANO
NIGHTS OF NOTES musical feast which for years has enlivened summer evenings in Verbania and neighboring towns.
MOON AND STARS LOCARNO
JAZZ CAT CLUB ASCONA
THE INTERNATIONAL MEETING OF CHIMENEY SWEEPERS September
Every year Santa Maria Maggiore, a beautiful village in the Vigezzo Valley, hosts more than 1200 chimney sweeps, coming from all over the world in order to celebrate and remember a particular ancient job: the chimney sweep.
Industrial Museum Foundations in lake Maggiore Area
MUSEO INTERNAZIONALE DESIGN CERAMICO Palazzo Perabò di Cerro di Laveno (VA)
A Cerro di Laveno Mombello (VA) in Via Lungolago Perabò, 5
tel/Fax 0332 - 666530 - C.P. 85 – 4
• BAVENO AQUADVENTURE PARK
aquadventurepark (aquapark, artificial rock climbing, cyclocross, high ropes)
Strada Cavalli in Oltrefiume 18 28831 – Baveno – Verbano Cusio Ossola- Piedmont – Italy –
• CASTLE OF ANGERA DOLLS MUSEUM
the castle houses Europe’s largest doll and children’s clothing museum
• THE BORROMEO ISLAND PUPPET MUSEUM
excursion to the Borromeo Islands. “isola Bella” (Beautiful island), which was built and dedicated to Isabella d’Adda, admire puppets and interesting archaeological finds…beautiful garden
• SANCARLONE Arona
San Carlo statue 35 metres tall (slightly smaller than the Statue of Liberty
go up inside the statue reach the head where you can enjoy the panoramic lake views from his ear and eye holes.
• SAFARI PARK (Pombia) POMBIA (NO) Via Larino 3 - tel.0321-956431 - fax 0321-956401
• VILLA PALLAVICINO (Stresa)