We left the campsite in Baveno nice and early for a day trip to Verbania which is on the opposite side of Lake Maggiore. We caught the first ferry of the day across the lake and we had the boat to ourselves.
The ferry cut through the water seamlessly and we glided across the lake with nothing but the mountains and colourful town in front of us.
We found a cute little cafe to have some brekkie and sat outside as the morning sun started to warm our skin. The croissants came straight from a patisserie up the road and were delicious and flakey.
It was a lovely little neighbourhood place and the owner was a sweet old gentleman who stopped to chat with the locals and play with the kids. He was so friendly and made us yummy breakfast sandwiches to go with our second round of tea and coffee.
Verbania is the largest town in the region and home to Villa Taranto, a spectacular botanical garden that covers 16 hectares and has 20,000 species of plants from around the world. We walked the two mile path to the Villa which hugged the shoreline all the way.
We passed beautiful houses that had incredible outside terraces and gardens and picked which ones we’d live in if we won the lottery.
Villa Taranto is set amongst rolling hillsides of purple rhododendrons and camellias and is considered one of Europe’s finest botanical gardens.
We walked through a set of grand wrought iron gates and set along the white gravel driveway. We purchased our tickets and started following the self guided tour route which took us past wonderful fountains and immaculately trimmed gardens.
My favourite part of the gardens was the Dahlia walk which zigzagged back and forth taking on hundreds of blooms.
I’ve never seen so many different varieties of dahlias in such an array of colours and it was absolutely stunning.
Some blooms were perfectly formed with geometric precision and others were blousy with crinkled petals. We spent half an hour just in this area admiring the colours.
Next on the route was a brief look at the Villa with a sea of red flowers in front. We couldn’t get over how attractive everything looked. No dead flower heads or yellowed grass. Everything looked lush and tended to.
The formal gardens at the end were breathtaking. A carpet of green grass with tens of different cut outs of gorgeous, colourful flowers. Everything looked all the better for being bathed in wonderful sunshine.
We meandered back to the ferry after a quick stop for a cold drink (and another thrashing of uno). We made it back to the campsite in time for our daily dip in the lake. As we reach the end of our time in the Italian lakes we are beginning to realise just how much we’ll miss the scenery and weather. We are so fortunate to have this adventure.