The Fondotoce Reed Bed

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How to get

By car: from the A26 exit for Verbania, continue to Fondotoce, where you turn right to reach the lake shore.
By train: the nearest station is Verbania-Pallanza.


The Fondotoce Reed Bed is one of the last remaining on the western shore of Lake Maggiore, and is part of the Fondotoce Nature Reserve, which was set up in 1990 with the express intention of preserving the reed bed.

This area of about 30 hectares is a wetland planted with reeds, occupying the last part of the River Toce as it enters Lake Maggiore, and part of the lake shore. The borders of the wetland are narrow strips of land planted with willows mixed with a dense variety of flora.

The reed bed acts as a major natural purifier of the water of Lake Maggiore, and is also essential for the reproduction of a number of fish species. Many animals live in this ecosystem, from reptiles like the grass snake and European pond terrapin, to amphibians like the green frog. Birds in particular find the reed bed a congenial environment (more than 130 species have been counted), as a place to nest (e.g. Common Snipe, Mallard, Great Crested Grebe, Mute Swan) or for migrating birds, to rest (e.g. Stork).

A Migration Study Centre has been set up to study the bird life of the wetland; this is in effect a bird ringing station with 300 metres of nets hidden amongst the dense reeds.

You can walk or cycle across this fascinating natural environment on well laid out paths (including a self-guided nature trail), maybe taking the chance of reaching out-of-the-way, tranquil little beaches. The itineraries of the Fondotoce Nature Reserve are perfect for school groups, families with children – or just anyone who loves nature.

You can book a visit to the Migration Study Centre, as well as a guided tour accompanied by qualified naturalists.

More details

Ente Parchi e Riserve Naturali del Lago Maggiore
Via Canale 48, Fondotoce (Verbania)
Tel. +39 0323 496596
Fax +39 0323 406842