what to visit

The island of Lake Maggiore

lake maggiore

In Lake Maggiore, there are many islands, ranging from large to small or even tiny ones

The islands are divided among the 8 in Piedmont, 2 in Switzerland, and 2 in Lombardy, for a total of 12.

Surface area: 212 km²: 80% in Italy – 20% in Switzerland
Length: 64.37 km
Width: 5 km
Perimeter: 170 km
Maximum depth: 372 m

Borromean Islands:
Between Stresa and Verbania lies the Borromean archipelago: Isola Madre (the largest in the lake basin), Isola Bella, and Isola Superiore dei Pescatori (also known simply as Isola dei Pescatori or Isola Superiore).

Brissago Islands:
Opposite the Swiss town of Ronco sopra Ascona are the two Brissago Islands, the larger of which is home to a botanical garden. They are known as Isola di San Pancrazio (or Isola Grande) and Isola di Sant’Apollinare (or Isolino).

Castelli di Cannero:
Off the coast of Cannero Riviera, there are three emerged rocks known as Castelli di Cannero:

  • The larger rock is entirely occupied by the military structure of Vitaliana, a fortress commissioned by Count Ludovico Borromeo starting from 1518.
  • The smaller rock contains the ruins of the so-called “prisons,” but it is actually an advanced tower with small cannons, serving as a southern defense to the canal port.
  • The rocklet (towards Maccagno) called “Melgonaro,” which only hosts a struggling but resilient plant that has fascinated poets and engravers such as Piero Chiara, Marco Costantini, and Carlo Rapp.

Lastly, we should mention:

  • Isolino di San Giovanni, located in front of Verbania. It is famous because, for many years, it was the residence of conductor Arturo Toscanini in the seventeenth-century Palazzo Borromeo.
  • La Malghera, also known as Isola delle Bambole (Island of Dolls), is a small islet situated between Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori.
  • Isolino Partegora, located in the small gulf of Angera.

Flora: The mild climate promotes the growth of lemons, olive trees, and laurels. Camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons, and magnolias thrive and can be admired in the numerous and splendid gardens that line the Piedmontese coast.

Fauna: The lake is home to two species of whitefish, the bleak, and less commonly, the lavaret. Other fish species found in the lake include the vendace, perch, pike, chub, roach, catfish, eels, bleak, and trout. The lake also hosts various nesting species of waterbirds and serves as an important corridor and stopover for migratory birds. Some examples include the great crested grebe, mute swan, tufted duck, seagulls, cormorants, and ducks.