Lake Maggiore (Italian: Lago Maggiore, pronounced [ˈlaːɡo madˈdʒoːre] lit. ‘Greater Lake’ or Verbano [verˈbaːno]; Latin: Lacus Verbanus) is a large lake located on the south side of the Alps. It is the second largest lake in Italy in the Lombardy region and largest lake of the canton of Ticino, Switzerland. Lake Maggiore is the most westerly of the three great prealpine lakes of Italy, it extends for about 70 kilometres (43 miles) between Locarno and Arona.
The climate is mild in both summer and winter, producing Mediterranean vegetation, with beautiful gardens growing rare and exotic plants. Well-known gardens include those of the Isola Madre, Isola Bella and the Isole di Brissago, that of the Villa Taranto in Verbania, and the Alpinia botanical garden above Stresa.
Lake Maggiore is 68 kilometers (42 miles) long, and 3 to 5 km (2 to 3 miles) wide, except at the bay opening westward between Pallanza and Stresa, where it is 10 km (6 mi) wide. It is the longest Italian lake, but Lake Garda has a greater area. Its mean height above the sea level is 193 meters; a deep lake, its bottom is almost everywhere below sea-level: at its deepest, 179 meters below. Its form is very sinuous, so that there are few points from which any considerable part of its surface can be seen at a single glance. If this lessens the effect of the apparent size, it increases the variety of its scenery. While the upper end is completely alpine in character, the middle region lies between hills of gentler form, and the lower end advances to the verge of the plain of Lombardy.
The lake basin has tectonic-glacial origins and its volume is 37 cubic kilometers (9 cu mi). The lake has a surface area of about 213 cubic kilometers (51 cu mi), a maximum length of 54 km (34 mi) and, at its widest, is 12 km (7 mi). Its main tributaries are the Ticino, the Maggia, the Toce (by which it receives the outflow of Lake Orta) and the Tresa (which is the sole emissary of Lake Lugano). The rivers Verzasca, Giona, and Cannobino also flow into the lake. Its outlet is the Ticino which, in turn, joins the river Po just south-east of Pavia.
The lake’s jagged banks are surrounded by the Lepontine Alps. The western bank is in Piedmont (provinces of Novara and Province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola) and the eastern in Lombardy (province of Varese), whereas the most northerly section extends thirteen kilometers (8.1 miles) into the canton of Ticino, where it constitutes its lowest point above sea-level as well as that of Switzerland.
Lake Maggiore weather is generally mild. It is known for its Mediterranean-like climate where tropical and sub-tropical plants can grow year-round. During winter, the lake helps to maintain a higher temperature in the surrounding region (since water releases heat energy more slowly than air). The temperatures are cooled down in summer by the breezes that blow on the water’s surface changing its colour. The area enjoys nearly 2300 hours of sunshine a year and an average annual temperature of 15.5 °C (60 °F). The water of the lake has a comfortable temperature of 20 °C (68 °F) to 22 °C (72 °F) in July and August. In winter snowfall is erratic and primarily affects the higher elevations. Rainfall is heaviest in May and lowest during the winter months.]
The Sacred Mountain of Ghiffa is a Roman Catholic devotional complex in the comune of Ghiffa, (Piedmont, northern Italy), overlooking the Lake Maggiore. It is one of the nine Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy, included in UNESCO World Heritage list.