Lake Maggiore is a large lake located on the south side of the Alps. It is the second largest lake in Italy and the largest in southern Switzerland. The lake and its shoreline are divided between the Italian regions of Piemont and Lombardy and the Swiss canton of Ticino. Located halfway between >Lake Orta and Lake Lugano, Lake Maggiore extends for about 65 kilometres (40 miles) between Locarno and Arona.
The climate is mild in both summer and winter, producing Mediterranean vegetation, with many gardens growing rare and exotic plants. Well-known gardens include those of the Borromean Islands, that of the Villa Taranto in Verbania, and the Alpinia Botanical Garden above Stresa.
The Borromean Gulf is the name given to the arm of Lake Maggiore extending from Verbania to Stresa. It includes the marvellous Borromean Islands: isola Bella, Fishermen's Island and isola Madre, as well as the hills behind Verbania. Art and nature come together in perfection to produce the beauty of the Borromean Gulf. Human interventions over the centuries have intelligently enhanced the landscape, both on the islands and on the shore.
The little towns of Baveno and Stresa are given an atmosphere of luxury and elegance by the many aristocratic mansions in their territory. Romantic and sophisticated, every year these gems of the lake attract thousands of tourists from all over the world.
The three Borromean Islands in the heart of the Gulf opposite Stresa are uniquely picturesque and eternally fascinating.
Not far from Stresa is Verbania, the capital of the Verbano Cusio Ossola Province and a lively holiday centre.
Outstanding among it 19th century mansions are Villa San Remigio, Villa Giulia and Villa Taranto, whose botanic gardens are among the best known and most visited in Europe.