The largest town on the shores of Lake Maggiore, Verbania is strung out along the waterfront and looks across the Borromean Gulf toward glamorous Stresa. The setting is impressive with panoramic views of the Borromean Islands and mountains beyond, and the grand villas lining the shore.
In the old town, streets wind around stone houses and a cluster of small restaurants, bars and shops. Verbania is also home to one of Europe's finest botanical gardens at Villa Taranto, known for its extensive collection of rhododendrons and azaleas.
Hiking trails and bicycle paths offer the chance to explore the lake and its surroundings independently.
Verbania is divided into three sections, the most interesting of which is central Verbania Pallanza. It has an old-world core of winding streets and pastel-painted houses, and a waterfront lined by elegant villas. One of the finest of these is Villa Taranto, a grand Normandy-style mansion now the seat of the provincial prefecture.
Scottish captain Neil McEacharn bought the villa in 1931. Over the next 30 years, he imported more than 20,000 plant species from all over the world and lovingly cultivated his dream garden. The elaborate scheme encompasses grand boulevards, terraced water features, and a winter garden, bog garden and dahlia maze. Many of the rare species aren’t found anywhere else in Europe.
You can reach the gardens (the villa isn’t open to the public) on the extensive jogging and cycling path that lines Verbania's waterfront. This traffic-free route offers panoramic views of the lake and lends itself to an evening stroll along the shoreline. When you get to the little port, you can see the nearby islet, Isolino San Giovanni, which was home to the conductor Arturo Toscanini for 25 years.
You can see a sculpture of Toscanini in the Museo del Paesaggio, which is set in a 17th-century palazzo in the heart of town. The museum includes works by sculptor Paolo Troubetzkoy, world-renowned in his heyday, including busts of Tolstoy and George Bernard Shaw. Along with the sculpture galleries, there are many paintings of the region from the 16th and 17th centuries, while further sculptures by Troubetzkoy are displayed on the lakeside.
Another attraction worth seeking out is Villa Giulia with its bright-yellow façade and colonnaded balconies overlooking the waterfront. The villa was built by Bernardino Branca, inventor of Italian liqueur Fernet. It hosts regular exhibitions and has a restaurant and bar with waterfront seating.
You can visit Stresa for the day or lunch on fish from the lake on Isola dei Pescatori (Fishermen's Island). If you prefer to walk, many hiking trails lead up into the hills that surround the town.
Map of Verbania
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Verbania
- Stresa 6 kilometers away
- Lake Maggiore 15 kilometers away
- Como 44 kilometers away
- Blevio 44 kilometers away
- Torno 45 kilometers away
- Laglio 46 kilometers away
- Tremezzo 49 kilometers away
- Lezzeno 50 kilometers away
- Bellagio 56 kilometers away
- Lake Como 58 kilometers away
- Milan 72 kilometers away
- Turin 118 kilometers away
- Piedmont 120 kilometers away
- Barbaresco 140 kilometers away
- Alba 143 kilometers away
- Barolo 155 kilometers away
- Gardone Riviera 160 kilometers away
- Lake Garda 166 kilometers away
- Sirmione 168 kilometers away
- Genoa 173 kilometers away
- Madonna di Campiglio 179 kilometers away
- Parma 187 kilometers away
- Portofino and Santa Margherita 188 kilometers away
- Verona 198 kilometers away
- Cinque Terre 223 kilometers away
- Porto Venere 232 kilometers away
- Modena 234 kilometers away
- Forte dei Marmi 253 kilometers away
- Dolomites 258 kilometers away
- Alta Badia 268 kilometers away
- Bologna 271 kilometers away
- Pisa 286 kilometers away
- Venice 299 kilometers away
- Florence 322 kilometers away
- Ravenna 332 kilometers away
- San Gimignano 338 kilometers away
- Siena 365 kilometers away
- Perugia 437 kilometers away
- Assisi 453 kilometers away
- Umbria 456 kilometers away
- Orvieto 456 kilometers away