Lake Maggiore, known also as Lacus Maximus or Verbano in the ancient times

A unique destination, full of entertainment, outdoor activities, charming homes, and gardens

Lake Maggiore extends over 66 km, from Italian to Swiss territory, from the plain up to the Alpine peaks of Ossola and Ticino. Fed by the main Ticino and Toce Rivers’ waters, it is located 194 meters above sea level. It has a maximum depth of 380 meters near the town of Cannero Riviera.

Of fluvioglacial origin, Lake Maggiore was called Lacus Maximus since Roman times because it was larger than the nearby lakes. However, it was also known as Verbano, from the association of two Celtic words.

The upper part of the lake, where Ascona and Locarno are located, is in Swiss territory, while the Italian portion is split among the provinces of Varese, Novara, and Verbano Cusio Ossola.

The two shores, the western and eastern, are quite different from each other: on the western one, in Piedmont, elite tourism over the centuries is associated with thriving hospitality industry. On the opposite shore, in Lombardy, the development of the tourism sector is more recent.

Thanks to its strategic position between Italy and Switzerland, the opening of the Napoleonic Road in 1805, and the Simplon international railway line opening in 1906, Lake Maggiore has acquired considerable importance as a tourist destination over the centuries. From the middle of the fifteenth century until the eighteenth century, the lake’s area was granted as a feud to the wealthy Milanese Borromeo family, who also chose it as a place for holidays and representation.

A lake surrounded by the Prealps and a treasure chest holding unique jewels such as the Borromean Islands, Lake Maggiore was the place and source of inspiration for writers and musicians from all over Europe who, between the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, made it as a destination of their rrand Tour. Among the most famous names, we can mention Stendhal, Byron, Dumas Senior, Flaubert, Ruskin, Dickens, Nietsche, Dostoevsky, Hemingway, Mendelssohn, Listz and Wagner.

Main towns in Piedmont: Arona, Baveno, Belgirate, Cannero Riviera, Cannobio, Castelletto Sopra Ticino, Dormelletto, Ghiffa, Lesa, Maine, Oggebbio, Stresa, Verbania Intra and Verbania Pallanza.

Lake Maggiore

  • Surface: 212 km²
  • Perimeter: 170 km
  • Bordering areas: Piedmont, Lombardy, Switzerland
Main affluents:

Ticino (principale)


Isola Bella
Isola Madre
Isola dei Pescatori (o Isola Superiore o Isola Superiore dei Pescatori)
Isolino di San Giovanni
Isolotto (o scoglio) della Malghera
Castelli di Cannero
Isolino Partegora
Sasso Galletto
Isola di San Pancrazio (o Isola Grande) (Isole di Brissago)
Isola di Sant’Apollinare (o Isolino) (Isole di Brissago)

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