Verbania: the city by the lake most suggestive and unknown to everyone – Discover our cities series
A place characterized by different territories: the majesty of the valleys and mountains, the elegance and the enchantment of the lake. Verbania combines all these elements in itself. The city overlooks the Piedmontese shore of Lake Maggiore and juts out, almost dominating this lake to which it owes its name. Lake Maggiore is in fact also known by the name of Verbano.
It may seem strange but Verbania, actually, took the title of city just ten years ago, and was born less than a century ago, in 1939, from the union of the municipalities of Intra and Pallanza. Verbania unites these two centers through the Castagnola Promontory on which stands a place that has made it literally “a garden on the lake”. It is the Botanical Gardens of Villa Taranto, a botanical garden that for richness and variety of species is considered the most important arboretum in Italy, and among the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world. It was created on the idea of a botanical enthusiast, the Scotsman Neil Boyd McEacharn, who began to renovate the Villa (formerly Villa La Crocetta) in 1931, renaming it Villa Taranto in memory of an ancestor who had been awarded the title of Duke of Taranto by Napoleon Bonaparte. The gardens cover an area of about 16 hectares and are home to more than twenty thousand rare species. Visiting them during the opening seasons you can immerse yourself among camellias, lotus flowers, tulips and magnolias being flooded with colors and scents. The villa is now the seat of the prefecture of the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola (VCO), of which Verbania is the capital.
And let’s move to Intra where it is a must to taste the Intresine, the typical cookies with almonds and hazelnuts. Two other stops in the province are highly recommended: Stresa, both to taste its Margheritine (the cookies in honor of Queen Margherita di Savoia) and to stroll along its elegant lakeside promenade; and Mergozzo, overlooking the lake of the same name, with its sweet focaccia known as Fugascina di Mergozzo.
Cheese, cold cuts, honey and wine can always be found on the tables of the VCO territory. Bettelmatt and other cheeses from these areas of Lake Maggiore, accompanied also by honey such as the particular Honey of Lime and Millefiori can also come on your tables simply by shop on Piedmont Delights, the first e-commerce dedicated to Piedmont food & wine. Let’s not forget the valleys surrounding Verbania, in the Ossola valley the production of dried meat has always been a feather in the cap.