Borromean Islands, Holiday rental, Holiday letting, Holiday bank, Lake Maggiore -
Borromean Islands, Italy by Alexander Lobrano

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One of the Continent's secret offshore gems

With the snowcapped Alps as a backdrop, Lake Maggiore induces one of the oddest but most engaging moods to be found anywhere in Europe: an intriguing German-Latin mix of sensual brooding. - holiday apartments Lombardy Italy

The best way to absorb this landscape is to put yourself plunk in the middle of the lake, which is to say on one of the tiny Borromean Islands, Lake Maggiore. These four marshy specks have stirred the imaginations of everyone from Napoleon to Stendhal, Dickens, Flaubert, Toscanini, and even Mussolini.
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If you're a golfer, book tee times immediately on the tri-island course Golf des Îles Borromées (39-0323-929285). Your only other obligation in this desperately romantic setting is to arrange for a meal at Il Sole, in the town of Ranco, on the island's eastern shore. The Verbano restaurant overlooks Lake Maggiore and has one of the most bewitching terraces in Italy. - Holiday rentals Lake Maggiore Holiday apartment Holiday villas with private Holiday accommodation to rent Luino

As for the food, it's excellent, if likely to provoke giggles—how can anyone keep a straight face when served gaily black-, yellow-, red-, and green-layered lasagne, typical of the nouvelle cuisine time warp here? Instead, stick to the simpler dishes—fettuccine with a lamb ragout, pan-roasted salmon with crisp-fried leeks—and you'll eat wonderfully well (39-0331-976507 ).
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On at least one morning, catch the earliest ten-minute launch to Isola Bella in order to be among the first to arrive at the seventeenth-century Borromeo Palace, a grandiloquent expression of Italian Baroque. (Later in the day, tour groups crowd not only the galleries but your imagination.)
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Don't miss the splendid views of the Alps in the Medals Room, and the albino peacocks strutting the surrounding terraced gardens, where Neptune, Cupid, and an array of other mythological figures reign over a paradise of roses, gardenias, camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas, and dogwoods (39-0323-30556). - Self-catering apartments Lake Maggiore as good as Lake Garda

Published in September 2002. Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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