Lake Maggiore

Lake Maggiore, also called Lake Verbano, is the most westerly of the three large pre-Alpine lakes and Italy´s second largest after Lake Garda. It has a surface area of about 213 square kilometres, a length of 54 km and, at a width 12 km. The lake basin has tectonic-glacial origins. Its tributaries are the Ticino and Toce Rivers and its outlet is the Ticino. Its jagged banks are surrounded by the pre-Alps of Piedmont and Lombardy The western bank is in Piedmont (Novara) and the eastern one in Lombardy (Varese) while the most northerly section extends thirteen kilometres into Switzerland.

The climate is mild in both summer and winter, producing Mediterranean vegetation, with beautiful gardens growing rare and exotic plants such as palm trees, azaleas and camelias. Along the lake, there are numerous villages, towns and tourist and health resorts which are very popular with Italians and foreigners alike. Well-known towns to the west of the lake are Arona, Lesa, Stresa, Baveno, Pallanza, Intra and Cannobio. The most important towns on the east side are Angera, Laveno and Luino.

The lake has regular ferry services connecting the main towns with the islands, which are interesting for their lush vegetation and traditional buildings. Themost interesting is the Island of Bella which is part of the Borromee group. Trains and motorways link the lakeside towns with each other and with the main towns in Piedmont and Lombardy.