Strolling over the stone patchwork walks of Corso Italia you can gaze to your right and see the majesty of the massive lake. Towering Swiss Alps seem to encircle you in their beauty and silhouetted shapes. The islands of Isola Bella, Pescatori and Madre seem like green oases in the flat waters of Maggiore. On the left you can stroll by some of the grandest European hotels each adorned with flowered balconies, ornate metal work and the pampered lawns.
Lake Magiore has refused the big industry that nearby Como has accepted with open arms. Como with its city like pace, fancy shops and crowded streets seems a world away from the calm comforting and gentle vibe of towns like Stresa and Baveno. Maggiore feels as it were frozen in time, stopped somehow in its most glorious moment.
Baveno with its short lakeside walkways, hip local cafes and family run pizzerias. On the shore are grand hotels boasting marble adorned bathrooms, dual balconies and gold trimmed doors; it’s not gaudy, it’s elegant in the most European way.
Become friends with Antonio and Franco two brothers who own La Trappola a local ristorante where they welcome each guest with a smile and a “how are you” in the thickest Italian accent. The freshest pasta, pizza and local dishes are prepared not with tourism efficiency but with gentle care of which your grandmother would approve. They come to visit each table to take a moment in time to meet you and truly wonder who and where you are from. You get a true sense of family and welcome not found in other busy areas of Italy.
During warm summer nights outdoor markets take root in the town square. They don’t offer the usual knick knacks but well thought out choices of fine and unique items. Over there, a man from Africa sells hand carved figurines, imported incense and handmade wooden combs and brushes. Stroll by a table top full of antique cameras, fine pens, pencils and colorful handmade candles.. each vendor displaying their pride with every glance of their goods. The smell of sandalwood tickles your nose.
The places to rest your head in Baveno offer a wide range. Campgrounds under the stars, just steps away from the lakes edge; small very well done three star hotels with lake view balcony’s or amazing grand old baroque style hotels offering everything from spas, Olympic indoor pools to marble tunnels under the ground filled with the finest art in the world.
If you are considering a visit to the lake region of Italy; break away from what you may have herd and venture over to Lake Maggiore for a pleasant surprise.
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