Category Archives: lake maggiore

Villa Taranto Lake Maggiore

The gardens of Villa Taranto in Verbania, between Intra and Pallanza, are known as ones of the finest botanical gardens in the world. The result of a passionate labour of the Scottish Captain McEacharn in 1931, the myriad of colours and scents marvellously landscaped over the garden enchant visitors from March to October.

The gardens have a traditional English style, though there is no lack of Italian features like statues, fountains, ponds, terraces, waterfalls – in short, all the ornamental elements that add some extra magic to this earthly paradise.

villa taranto

Villa Taranto’s garden has thousands of species of trees and flowers from all over the world, planted harmoniously over an area of around 16 hectares, crossed by 7 km of paths and avenues. It is impossible in a few words to describe the richness of colour, scent, and emotional impact: eucalyptus, azaleas, rhododendrons, magnolias, port wine magnolias, maples, camellias, dahlias, tulips, lotus, heathers, dwarf asters, hydrangeas, dozens of tropical plants (including the giant water lily Victoria Amazonica).

villa taranto lake maggiore

From spring to autumn there are always flowers in bloom, with “special events” for certain species which are particularly spectacular in their season: the tulip week is in April, dahlias are at their best between July and October.

Here you can find more information, opening times and prices for the season 2015

Villa Pallavicino Lake Maggiore

Fascinating Villa Pallavicino is located on the outskirts of Stresa, barely one km away from its centre. It dates back to the 19th century when it was built for the politician Ruggero Borghi and then passed into the ownership of the Duke of Villombrosa before finally being purchased by Marquis Ludovico Pallavicino of Genova.

Marquis Pallavicino extended the grounds and gave the villa the look it still has today. The zoological park was opened to the public in 1954 and both the villa and park are still owned by the Pallavicino family.

villa pallavicino

As you enter the park you will pass a splendid series of archways created with cypress trees, as well as wonderful magnolia trees. In the natural amphitheatre which surrounds the villa there is a magnificent Lebanon Cedar and all round the lawns are Rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas. In the old greenhouses the gardeners cultivate numerous exotic species of plants.

pallavicino stresa

The zoological park is situated in the gardens and as well as zebras, llamas, wallabies, prairie dogs, parrots, toucans and much more you can stand just a few steps from beautiful deer.

Here you find more information, opening times and prices for season 2015.

Terme Di Premia

In just 1 hour drive on a picturesque road, you find Premia Terme, an up-to-date complex of thermal baths, covering an impressive area of 26 thousand square meters of land including 5000 square meters of thermal and recreational facilities.

It is designed in full respect of the natural beauty of the environment and the fine architectural interpretation reflects the typical character of local building: local stone called serizzo has been used for the base, the external walls are pannelled in wood and roofing is in local beole stone slabs with large glass picture windows framing the superb views over the valley. The complex is L-shaped and encloses a south-facing area with a large swimming pool used for both recreational and therapeutic purposes. The water circuit continues towards the interior of the complex with dedicated pools having various therapeutic functions.

Saunas, aerosol therapy and water treatments complete the services of the wellbeing center which is based on the ancient Roman tradition which placed both body and soul at the center of daily life.

Terme di premio Impero House

The spring waters of Premia gush at a temperature of 44° C and are classified as hyperthermal containing calcium sulphate at a permanent residue of 180° of 1414 mg/liter. Particularly recommended for inhalation crenotherapy for sufferers of chronic bronchitis, inflammation of the upper respiratory tracts, in particular pharyngitis, laryngitis and nasal inflammation and sinusitis and, more generally, other diseases of the upper respiratory tracts. Due also to the waters’ fine rehydrating qualities, they can also be highly recommended for the treatment of burns or scarring and anti-aging of the skin.

Here you find all the information about opening hours and prices of Terme di Premia.

Rocca Di Angera

On the opposite shore of Arona the chunky medieval Rocca di Angera fortress lords it over the town of Angera in no uncertain terms. From a distance, it is the first thing one sees. Inside is the 12-room Museo della Bambol , displaying the Borromeo family’s priceless collection of dolls. What better place for them than this towering, fairy-tale castle with its high, crenelated walls atop a rocky outcrop? Modest vineyards cling to the slopes around it.

The Borromeo clan bought it from Milan’s Visconti family in 1449. Various rooms and halls open on to the courtyard, among them the awe-inspiring Sala della Giustizia (Hall of Justice), with its overarching vault and lively 13th-century frescoes. From the tower you have breathtaking views. The doll collection counts more than 1000 items, while a separate collection of French and German mechanical dolls and figurines (dating from 1870 to 1920) becomes highly amusing when they are set in sometimes noisy motion.

Roca di Angera

The easiest way up is by car (signposted from the centre of Angera). By foot, follow the signs from Piazza Parrocchiale. The rest of Angera repays a stroll too. The shady waterfront is speckled with villas and old fishing families’ houses.

Here you find information about opening times and prices.


The cable-car trip up Monte Mottarone (1491m) from the northwestern end of Stresa will for sure impress you with the views over Lake Maggiore, including Isola Bella and Isola Superiore. From the summit on a clear day you can see Lake Orta, several other smaller lakes and Monte Rosa, the Alpine border with Switzerland and second highest mountain of the Alps.

The 20-minute cable-car journey on the Funivia Stresa–Mottarone takes you to the Mottarone station at 1385m, from where it’s a 15-minute walk or free chairlift (when it’s working) up to the summit.

Mottorone Stresa

For the more active, there are plenty of good mountain-biking and hiking trails on the mountain. Bicicò rents out mountain bikes at the lower Stresa cable-car station. Walkers can ask at the cable-car station or the tourist office for a free copy of Trekking on the Slopes of Mount Mottarone, which outlines a two-hour walk from Stresa to the Giardino Botanico Alpinia and a four-hour walk to the top of Mottarone.

Skiing Mottarone’s gentle slopes is limited to five green and two blue runs, making it good for beginners. Also possible from the summit is Alpyland a 1200m-long bobsled descent with adjustable speeds that makes it ideal for families.

Here you find info about prices and scedules

Lake Maggiore Express

Lago Maggiore Express is a wonderful way to spend a relaxing day on Lake Maggiore and explore its beauty and foothills of the Swiss and Italian Alps at the same time.

The trip usually starts in Stresa and can be taken in one of two directions. You may start by train from Stresa, take the Centovalli, Lago Maggiore Express train across the foothills to the Swiss city of Locarno, and return by ferry to Stresa. The other option is to start your trip on the ferry from Stresa to Locarno, enjoy lunch on the boat as you travel north and return to Stresa by way of the Lago Maggiore express.

Lake maggiore express stresa

Don’t forget!

Passports are required as you travel between Italy and Switzerland during the trip. It is rare for you to be asked to present your passport, but you must carry it with you for this trip.

Lake Maggiore stresa impero house

Two main types of tickets: valid for 1 or 2 days. Here you can find more information and timetable for the season 2015

Cascata del Toce Lake Maggiore

The waterfall regarded as the most spectacular in the Alps, the Toce Falls, is in the Formazza Valley at the place called La Frua (1861 m), that is 1 hours 30 minutes away from Stresa. This is an excellent departure point for long hikes to explore the most beautiful Alpine lakes in the valley.

The water of this impressive natural spectacle falls for 143 metres, and spreads out at the bottom to a breadth of 60 metres. As the river is diverted to be used for hydroelectric power, the falls can be seen only on certain days and at certain times during the summer, from June to September.

Cascata del Toce Impero House

A hotel built at the top of the falls in 1863 to accommodate climbers and hikers is still patronised by tourists to the area. The little church next to the hotel is dedicated to the Virgin of the Snow, and dates from 1621.

Cascata del Toce

A number of trails start from the Toce Falls for the Alpine lakes of the Formazza Valley. The first lake encountered is the reservoir of Morasco, created by a dam; you can walk right round it along a pleasant track. Farther on is the Sabbione lake (2475 m), near which you can stop for refreshment or overnight at the hospitable mountain huts of Mores, Somma Lombardo, or Busto.

Here you can find information and opening hours

Borromean Islands Lake Maggiore

Tiny in size, Isola Bella was once just a barren mount of sharp rocks. But through a marvelous combination of imagination, engineering and wealth, the 16th-century Borromeos transformed it into a bijou fantasy. While their gray stone palazzo houses a magnificent collection of paintings, the real attraction has long been the garden, a series of 10 terraces that rise like a pyramid and are accented by statues, niches, pinnacles and other fanciful constructions. Recognized as a masterpiece of baroque garden design, the confection remains miraculously intact.

Borromean Islands

For centuries Isola Bella was an obligatory stop for aristocrats on their grand tours. Artists and writers flocked there too.

Isola Pescatori (Fishermen’s Island or Isola Superiore), is the most picturesque of the Borromeo Islands, as well as the only one to be permanently inhabited. Distinctive features of its ancient little village are narrow lanes with characteristic two-storey houses, with long balconies traditionally used for drying fish; the island’s inhabitants earn their living mainly by fishing and tourism. Today there are plenty of shops and restaurants.

Borromean islands stresa

Alpinia Garden Lake Maggiore

The Alpinia botanical gardens (40,000 m²) sit high above Stresa on the slopes of Mount Mottarone, at an altitude of 800 m. This natural attraction boasts a vast and varied collection of almost 1000 species of plants, attracting around 30,000 visitors every year. The altitude and position of the gardens provide the perfect climate for cultivating alpine and subalpine species, as demonstrated by flourishing specimens from the Caucasus, Japan and China.

alpinia garden

The Alpinia’s wonderful location and panoramic balcony also offer visitors the chance to enjoy a stunning view of the Alps and the Swiss waters of Lake Maggiore.

Alpinia Garden Lake Maggiore

The gardens can be easily reached by alighting from the Stresa-Mottarone cable car halfway up the mountain or by car.