If you’ve ever dreamed of experiencing la Dolce Vita, then Lake Maggiore, with its grand palaces, ornate gardens and vintage charm, is the place for you. The second biggest lake in Italy, it straddles the regions of Lombardy and Piedmont and stretches over the Swiss border.
The vast body of water lies along the southern side of the Alps, but the warm climate means that the vegetation is almost tropical. In spring, wild flowers bloom, painting the landscape a riot of colour. Lake Maggiore holidays are the perfect hybrid of natural beauty and cosmopolitan charm. The popular towns of Stresa, Angera, Meina and the port of Arona are crammed with classical sculptures, hanging flower baskets and lakeside cafés that demand you to stop for an aperitivo.
But the Borromean Islands are the jewel in Maggiore’s crown – a collection of bijou islets in the middle of the lake. Named after the noble Borromeo family, who still own some of the islands, they contain Baroque palaces and fairytale gardens home to more than 10,000 species of plants. Holidays to Lake Maggiore offer the perfect escape for nature lovers, urbanites and anyone with a fondness for a dusting of gold leaf.