The spring has struck in Italy. The change in the season has seemingly shocked my system! In England we have failed to differentiate seasons properly for some years now – mild precipitation blending the seasons into one.
Despite the piercingly bright, clear skies in the towns, the haze around the mountains remains, creating a sleepy vibe for those strolling around the lakefront, passing through the small antique markets and stopping for their morning espresso.
Laveno is a small town, perched on the edge of Lake Maggiore, between Angera and Luino, and facing Stresa. The town still belongs to the locals, with notably less commercial sway and thus, less traffic than nearby locations of Angera or Arona. Despite this the streets hold a typical Italian charm, with plenty of small sailing boats bobbing around the hazy harbour.
Outside of most tourist’s peripheral vision, this town boasts fantastic views of Maggiore, and in the summer a funicular to transport you to the top of Sasso del Ferro, boasting views of the entire lake and surrounding cities.
Although the town itself is somewhat subdued, without the designer appeal of Lugano or Como, a hidden gem is the Villa Della Porta Bozzolo. A short drive from the town centre, this typical Italian Villa is set into the nearby village of Casalzuigno.
On approach the Villa is not an obvious attraction, somewhat cramped between the surrounding rustic houses. Set back into the hills, the levels of the gardens form a steep cascade into the central theatre, overflowing with buttercups, and subsequently onto a courtyard of lemon trees and fountains, further adding to the grandeur of the Villa, which dates back to the 1500’s.
Certain elements of the Villa have been restored, however many original pieces remain among the sprawling floor plan of hand painted bedrooms, cellars and salons.
The Villa is undoubtedly an unexpected find in the area, and a welcome alternative to the bustling streets of the surrounding towns.