Situated between Piedmont and Lombardy, Lake Maggiore is one of the most attractive lakes in Italy. It is a place rich in history and traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation till the present day and make its small villages and towns along its shores popular destinations not only to be discovered by bike.
Thanks to the mountains surrounding the lake to the north, the climate is mild all year round. The hills and valleys are a treat for road bike enthusiasts while the wild nature of the lake is ideal to have fun on the mountain bike.
Small interesting facts: The Varese Lake shore has produced many Italian cycling champions such as Luigi Ganna, Alfredo Binda, Claudio Chiappucci, Ivan Basso e Stefano Garzelli.
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An indispensable product of local food culture is cheese, thanks to the vast green areas used for grazing. Among the most famous is the Ossolano d’Alpe, a sweet flavoured cow’s cheese, the Toma del Mottarone and the Bettelmatt, which is produced only in 7 mountain pastures in the Antigorio Valleys and Formazza. Beside these is another excellent dairy product, Gorgonzola with its strong and decisive flavour.
Another typical product of the area is fish. The lake is inhabited by various species such as perch, symbol of the lake used in risottos, bleaks, which here are fried and eaten, pike and lake trout.
Those who love sweets will be spoilt for choice on Lake Maggiore. Among the local sweet specialities is the “Fugascina di Mergozzo”, also known as the sweet of Saint Elisabetta. Another typical sweet is “Pan Dolce of Cannobio”, its shape resembles a plum cake made with hazelnut flour, almonds and soft wheat. The “Margheritine of Stresa” are also typical, biscuits, once made in honour of the Queen Margherita of Savoia. There is also the “intresine of Verbania”, buttered biscuits sprinkled with almonds and hazelnuts and “Dolce Varese”, a typical soft trunk-shaped cake made with corn flour.
Lake Maggiore’s landscape features prestigious vineyards which gives it a slight rural atmosphere. Among the excellent wines produced in this area, is Nebbiolo red wine from the Novara hills, Ghemme Docg, Prunent, Cà d’Matè and Nouv Bruschett, which pair perfectly well with red meat and cheeses. The red, white and rosé wines of Angera are also famous, called “Ronchi Varesini”.
History & Culture
“if you had a heart and a shirt, you would sell your shirt and visit the surroundings of Lake Maggiore.”
This is what the writer Stendhal quotes in his writings.
Indeed, many are the writers and artists who were inspired by Lake Maggiore to complete their works, considered the most beautiful in the world. Montesquieu defines it as a fairy world while Flaubert describes it as “sensual and refined”.
We are speaking about a lake which preserves historical and cultural heritage of great value.
The first settlements date back to the Celts and the Gauls, but also the Barbarians and the Romans stopped there until the most recent period of the aristocratic Borromeo family.
The monuments recount the history of Lake Maggiore, but not only those. There are also events such as the Giro d’Italia in the 50’s whose memories recur along the lake front of Pallanza.
Not to mention the beauty of the 3 small islands which together make up the Borromean islands and contain great artistic and natural heritage of noble villas and elegant gardens such as the wonderful botanical garden of Villa Taranto in Pallanza.
Road tours on Lake Maggiore
1 Bike hotel on Lake Maggiore
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