Just west of Lake Como in northern Italy is another beautiful lake–Lake Maggiore, which is the 2nd largest body of fresh water in Italy. Perhaps less famous than Lake Como, Maggiore is still another gorgeous lake in this lovely region of Italy, which it shares with Switzerland. We spent just one night here, but could have spent a lot longer. We visited two towns on the west coast of Maggiore, Baveno (where we stayed) and Stresa, just south of Baveno. Stresa is a bit bigger town with several very fancy (and historic) hotels. Here are a few images from our visit.
We stayed one night in Baveno, before going on to Lake Como. We enjoyed a splendid afternoon strolling along the promenade and enjoying the serene setting.
The town of Baveno, on the western coast of Lake Maggiore, at the widest point in the Lake. The ferry shown here takes you to nearby islands (discussed below) and the other side of the lake.
Another view of Baveno on Lake Maggiore. Does it get any prettier than this?
Locals enjoying the afternoon in Baveno.
Stresa is a short drive south of Baveno, and has a bigger city feel than Baveno, even though it’s still a small town. More traffic, more shopping, more holiday villas and interesting history.
Isola Bella, home of the Borromeo family palace and gardens, dates back to 1630. One of three nearby islands (the others being Isola Pescatori and Isola Madre), Isola Bella sits a short distance off the shore from Stresa in Lake Maggiore. Passenger boats connect the islands with Stresa and Baveno.
Stresa is a bigger town than Baveno, with many streets and shops to explore.
The Grand Hotel des Lles Borromees, one of the elegant hotels lining Lake Maggiore in Stresa, dates from the 19th century when Stresa was on the “grand tour” circuit of Europe. This hotel, built in 1862, was the first hotel on the shore of Lake Maggiore and has had some famous guests. Ernest Hemingway stayed here, as did Winston Churchill on his honeymoon. This hotel (as did others in the area), served as an infirmary in World War I.
This old little church in Stresa was interesting to explore, with a baptistry right next door.
Inside the baptistry church at Stresa, with a gruesome painting of the beheading of John the Baptist.
Inside the Stresa Church.
If you find yourself in Milan and want to explore a little bit more of this stunning region of Italy, consider the beauty of Lake Maggiore, less than 60 miles away.