“If a man should possess a heart and a shirt, he ought to sell the shirt and visit the shores of Lake Maggiore” (Stendhal).
From Montesquieu to Rousseau, from Byron to Stendhal, from Dumas père to Flaubert, a parade of famous travellers on the classic Grand Tour were awe-struck by the uniquely harmonious beauty of Lake Maggiore, or Verbano as it is also called.
Set in wonderful scenery on the edge of the Alps, the lake area offers a wealth of hikes and walks in the nearby mountains and valleys.
The top of the mountain of Mottarone offers an unparalleled view of the Borromean Gulf, the plains to the south, and the Alps to the north-west. A number of trails take you from the lake shore to the mountain top, and one of the most popular is from Stresa to Mottarone (you can give yourself a head start by taking the Mottarone cableway from the Lido of Carciano, at least part of the way).
To go on foot, start from Carciano and walk along the panoramic road towards Stresa as far as the Baveno-Gignese road, and from here to the Church of San Bernardo. At the end of the mule-track a surfaced road leads to the village of Lev. Go through the village and take the mule-track leading off to the right to the Alpinia Botanic Garden.
After a stretch of level road leading to the halfway station of the cableway, go past Monte Croce della Tola, and where the road forks follow the signs for the little Chapel of the Madonna del Canà. Continue up the other hillside to the meadows of Alpe Giardino. From here, a diagonal path rises gradually to a fork. Go past the path for Alpe Nuovo on the right to reach the cableway station.
Time required: 4 hours
Total altitude difference: approx.1,294 m