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Introducing Lake Maggiore & Around

Italy's second-largest lake, Maggiore is one of Europe's more graceful corners. Arrayed around the lake shore are a series of pretty towns (Stresa, Verbania, Cannobio and, on the Swiss side of the border, Locarno) and these serve as gateways to gorgeous Maggiore islands. Behind the towns, wooded hillsides rise, strewn with decadent villas, lush botanical gardens and even the occasional castle. Further still from the lake shore, but not as far as you might think, the snow-capped peaks of Switzerland provide the perfect backdrop and idyllic vantage points over the lake are many, from the breakfast terrace of your lakeside hotel to the eyries reached by cable car from Locarno, Laveno and Stresa. And fabulous detours await, whether into the high valleys from the northern end of the lake or to Orta San Giulio to the southwest, one of the region's most beguiling villages.