Travelling must be the expression – a reflection of our personal interests and inclinations. Lake Maggiore, Lake Orta, and Lake Mergozzo, the mountains and the valleys of Ossola – united in the Distretto Turistico dei Laghi: a microcosm of emotions that seems to have been created expressly to be explored, following only one’s instincts and passions. Dickens, Flaubert, Byron, Stendhal, Manzoni, and in more recent times, Hemingway, are only a few of the many literary figures and artists who not only enjoyed pleasant sojourns here but also found in the area great sources of inspiration. Enclosed by a scenic gulf, Isola Bella and Isola Madre were transformed during the course of the XVIth and XVIIth centuries by members of the noble Borromeo family. On Isola Bella the luxurious rooms of the monumental baroque palace are furnished with an inestimable collection of artworks and the spectacular baroque garden, spread out over ten terraces, contains a wealth of flowers and rare exotic plants. The 16th century palace on Isola Madre is surrounded by a splendid English garden. A picturesque network of cobbled lanes with characteristic vernacular white fishermen’s houses, Isola dei Pescatori’s name underlines the traditional occupation of its inhabitants. Jewel of the island is the splendid church of San Vittore with its XIth-century apse. Magic is the atmosphere of the medieval village of Orta, rich in memories of the past with its splendid palaces, baroque churches and ancient towers. Just a short boat-ride away is the Isola di San Giulio with its Romanesque basilica, the mystical symbol of the entire lake.
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