[EN] A Quickie in… Lake Orta San Giulio and Lake Maggiore

A series of posts that doesn’t fool around. It just goes straight to the point!

Every time I move abroad my parents are sweet enough to come visit me. It has happened in Paris and we went to Normandy & Bretagne, in Istanbul, which was probably the least western place they’ve visited until today, and now in Milan, Italy.

And if there are perks of having a father who doesn’t mind driving wherever he goes one of them is exploring less obvious and accessible places. Therefore, we were off to discover two of the most beautiful and unexploited lakes of Piemonte.

First we drove to Orta, a quiet retreat surrounded by small hills and typical Italian villages no one has ever heard of.  Autumn was setting in and splashes of orange, red and brown adorned the place.

After spending one hour exploring its shores and secret corners, we headed to Lake Maggiore. As we weren’t too sure on what to do there, I quickly googled “Things to do in Lake Maggiore” and the first result was “Villa Taranto – Botanical Gardens” in Verbania. As we weren’t too far away we decided to give it a chance and see how it looks. And it was the biggest surprise of the day. The price is a bit discouraging, 10€ pp, but it’s totally worth it.

You start off with a path framed by beautiful, tall trees and classical music reaches your ears. This path will lead you to a fountain and from then on your eyes will be in for a treat. Flowers from all corners of the world, giant water lilies, Japanese acer, old bridges and a big villa, of course!

By this time, if you are hungry, their restaurant is a great choice. Parmigiana was spot on.

Going down the lake you will have the chance of stopping in some viewpoints to take in the landscape. My favourite was close to the Borromean Islands, search for Piazzale Lido, not very far from the center of Stressa. Here we took a quiet walk, together will all the Italian families who go there for a Suday after-lunch stroll, and saw the picture perfect islands where I may go once I’m rich. On a more realistic note, maybe never.

From here we started driving back to Milan as daylight quickly vanishes in late October. These lakes are a wonderful city escape from Milan both in winter and summer.

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