In the Northeast between Piedmont and Lombardy, these two lakes have always been a cherished destination for poets, writers and public figures of all times. The aristocratic villas looking onto the calm waters, exquisite botanical gardens, the places of worship and museums that celebrate the history and culture of the area are all strongly attractive. The golf courses in the region are nothing less themselves.
The breathtaking gardens of Villa Taranto in Verbania Pallanza with their rare water lilies and the labyrinth of dahlias; the enchantment of Isola Bella facing Stresa; the mystical magic of Orta San Giulio; in Leggiuno, the splendor of the Santa Caterina del Sasso hermitage rising steeply from the lake: these are but a few of the places of art and nature that Lakes Maggiore and Orta can offer visitors, narrating the history and culture of a lively region that is deeply bound to its traditions. For those wanting to delve deeper into these matters, (almost) every town has a cultural institute or an art collection covering the most wide-ranging subjects. We have mentioned a few below that stray far from the usual tourism routes, to arouse your curiosity.
In Verbania, the Landscape Museum presents a collection of landscape paintings, sculptures, popular devotion objects and archaeological section. At Santa Maria Maggiore in the Valley of Painters, the historic Rossetti Valentini picture gallery offers a collection of the works of the greatest local artists. In Ghiffa, the Museum of the Art of Millinery is found on the premises of the glorious "Panizza" Hattery, which produced fine men's felt hats for the Italian and foreign markets for exactly one-hundred years from 1881 to 1981. You can visit the Umbrella and Parasol Museum in Gignese, where over a thousand unusual specimens of notable historical value are preserved, such as the umbrella belonging to Giuseppe Mazzini. On Lake Orta you can explore the Alessi Museum of Design in Crusinallo, which can be visited by appointment, and the Museum of the Faucet and its Technology in San Maurizio d'Opaglio. In the valleys, however, mountains and traditions play a leading role, such as the Museum of the Mountain in Macugnaga and the Museum of Wood in Val Strona above Lake Orta.
Golf is not a secondary activity in this region, as attested by the excellence of two courses that are almost neighbors: the Golf Club Castelconturbia, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., which has hosted two Italian Opens, and the Bogogno Golf Resort, with two 18-hole courses of high technical and panoramic value designed by Robert Von Hagge. Dive into history by playing on the Alpino 9-hole course in Stresa, opened in Gignese in 1924. The most beautiful panoramas are those from the uplands of the Golf des Iles Borromées: on those days when a lake gives new meaning to the word "beauty", golfers often stand bewitched at the starting tee on Hole 18. There you can admire a panorama that encompasses four lakes - Maggiore, Varese, Monate and Comabbio, the Alps, and on the most fortunate days, even the skyline of Milan. Nonetheless, the 18-hole course of the Golf dei Laghi in Travedona Monate will not disappoint with its undulating hilly stretches offering breathtaking views of Monte Rosa and Lake Maggiore. A little more hidden but still worthy of a visit are the Golf Club Varese, which has been located in Luvinate since 1934 with a truly special clubhouse, a 12th century Benedictine monastery, and Le Robinie Golf Club, the only 18-hole course in Italy designed by the greatest champion of all time, Jack Nicklaus, in the early 1990s. Finally, equally worthy of mention are the Golf & Sporting Club Verbania, with 9 regulation holes and 9 executive holes on the shores of enchanting Lake Mergozzo, and the Golf Premeno Piandisole, 9-hole course opened in 1966 at 1000 meters of altitude.