Lake Maggiore

We’ve just returned after a rather spontaneous trip to Italy. It took us about 5 days beforehand to come up with the idea, or to be precise, it was my sister who came up with the idea of us all together going to Lake Maggiore. So we did, and even ended up also going through some parts of Switzerland, as we were near by and thought why not to explore further on. As a result, it proved once again, that deciding and planning things on the spot, it’s not always a bad idea. Sometimes it’s necessary to forget all the travel books and just drive where it takes you, discovering the things as you go along.

Magnificently scenic, Lake Maggiore has a unique geographical position: it borders with Piedmont, Lombardy and Ticino canton in Switzerland. It is the second largest lake in Italy, it stretches nearly 50km and has a depth of 372m. It’s a great destination for someone who’s interested in enjoying the harmony of peaceful atmosphere, Italian food culture and historical sights.

Along the lake there’re numerous villages and cities worth visiting. Below there are just few of them, which were particularly highlights for us. On the first day we visited Laveno Mombello, Ispra, Arona and Stresa. Most famous of them are two below:

Laveno Mombello, Italy

In the 19th century, Laveno Mombello was home to important ceramic industries. Today, it is a port town that connects the province of Varese with Verbania and the famous Borromean Island across Lake Maggiore.

Stresa, Italy

Once a fishermen’s village, now a popular tourist attraction, mainly because of descriptions of famous writers such as Stendhal, Byron and Dickens.

Town prospered in the 1800s with two noble families in town, the Borromeo and the Visconti. When steam ferries and rail lines increased in this zone, tourism traffic to Stresa and Lake Maggiore increased as well. Some grand hotels were built and famous travellers followed, like Rockefeller, Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, George Bernard Shaw and Hemingway. Stresa became known as a spa center.

On the second day we drove to Switzerland and visited Lugano, Bellinzona, Locarno and finishing our day back to Italy in Luino.

Lugano, Switzerland

Lugano is the largest town in the region of Ticino, it is not only Switzerland’s third most important financial, banking and business centre, but also a town of parks and flowers, villas and other important historic buildings. The two closest mountains to Lugano, Monte San Salvatore and Monte Brè, give you an outstanding panorama of the town, Lake Lugano and the alpine scenery.

Below there is a mix of our highlights in pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gola del Furlo

I visited Gola del Furlo during recent trip to Italy. This is truly an amazing place for nature lovers – naked limestone cliffs rise up on either side of the bright green waters of the Candigliano River, leaving just enough room for a narrow road pass. A couple of years ago there was a dramatic land slide and road collapse, (see pictures below), since then road is open for pedestrians only. The area is now a natural park and home to rare flora and fauna. There are plenty of perfect places to find for a picnic along the way or to climb up to the top of the gorge. Apparently, the small village of Furlo at the mouth of the gorge is a good place to eat truffles in season. However, when we were there, the village and the eatery places looked rather sad and derelict, some of them without any signs of life and when we stopped in one of the trattorias for a drink, the owner jumped at the occasion to share with us his worries about the future of the this place, his trattoria, his neighbours’ establishments, and how they were affected by the recent accident (road’s fall forced the closure of the main road between local villages) and the lack of the passer-by.

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