Not far from the gorgeous island of Orta is one of Italy’s more famous holiday destinations – Lago Maggiore.
It is slightly less popular than Garda or Como, which are truly stunning. However, Maggiore’s a lovely and relaxing place to stay and should not be overlooked as a possible choice.
Maggiore’s town of Stresa, which has musical events each year, is also known for being part of a link of train stations connecting with Switzerland and the wildish north.
Many years ago, a tunnel was built which allowed easier access between Lake Geneva and Milan, thus Stresa was important, and a very welcome sight for a weary and sun hungry traveller.
If truth be told, Uncle Tom had a little mishap a few years back here.
He nearly jumped on the Switzerland bound train then, upon realising his mistake just in time, his toupee got wedged in the train window.
The last we heard, it was sunning itself on the shores of Lake Geneva, along with Signora Rizzi’s canny poodle, Brutto, which had also hopped on!
Brutto thought said toupee was some kind of inferior canine and accompanied it everywhere.
Anyway, I digress...
If you want to get seriously into the romance of Maggiore, you could head for the Borromean islands by ferry from Stresa. Isola Bella must be seen to be believed. There’s something majestic about these islands. If you like peacocks and fancy gardens, like me, you will love this place. Isola Madre is also very exotic and lush; the kind of place you would happily ‘accidentally’ miss the last ferry back from.
You could also head for Cannobio on the northern shore which is only a few kilometres from Switzerland. Here you could reenact ‘The Sound of Music, although I would not advise it.
I’m still trying to forget Uncle T’s yodelling...
Or, you could wander the shores and simply drink in the sublime views, of Palm and Oleander swaying in the lake breeze.
Alternatively, you could be really swanky in Pallanza, thus topping off the whole experience with a jolly gelato or two. There’s also a nice botanical garden near here to feast your eyes on.
So why not try Lake Maggiore next time round.