Piazza Roma, Maccagno, Varese
The Lombardian side of Lake Maggiore attracts a very different kind of visitor to its shores from those that flock to its more chic resorts of Cannero Riviera, Stresa and Verbania. Where luxury villas with rose covered loggias line the western shoreline, it’s mobile homes and canvas that dominate the ground behind the lakeside promenade of Maccagno. The shores of Giona, the river that splits the town, are what attract summer visitors here to enjoy a different scene from the lakeside beaches. Joggers and dog walkers enjoy the solitude of sunset over the lake and despite the beauty of the surroundings, there’s a less manicured look and a sleepier atmosphere to the town. It’s a Monday afternoon at the start of Italy’s busy summer but it feels more like an out of season Sunday.
Sitting quietly on the southern edge of Maccagno, close to the Italian/Swiss border and an easy drive from Milan Airport, Hotel and Restaurant Torre Imperial stands sentry over a pretty little marina and the more secluded east shore of Lake Maggiore, a short ferry ride but a long way from the bustling coach tours of the towns across the water.
Buzz Trips View
There’s nothing pretentious about the Hotel & Restaurant Torre Imperiale, despite its grand name, taken from the medieval tower that stands hidden, high above the hotel. A neat façade adorned with wrought iron balconies stands on the corner of Piazza Roma, overlooking a small marina at the southern end of the lake promenade. With views over to the offshore islets of Castelli di Cannero and perfectly positioned for strolling the lakeside promenade and visiting the spectacular Santa Caterina Del Sasso, this is a small and friendly, good value for money option for those seeking a quieter side to Lake Maggiore.
Rooms are comfortable and plainly decorated in white with navy blue trim. Furnishings are basic and functional. We had a good sized room on the side of the hotel with a double bed and a small balcony overlooking the lake which was a great place to sit and watch the ducks in the marina. Despite directly overlooking the road, traffic was light and did not disturb our sleep.
There wasn’t much room to spare in the en suite bathroom but it was clean and bright with plenty of hot water. There is allegedly free wifi throughout the hotel but I had to traverse the corridor to find a signal strong enough to download emails.
The ground floor of the hotel is given over to a restaurant (closed on Mondays so we didn’t get an opportunity to try it) and is where the buffet breakfast is served. An outside terrace overlooks the Piazza for fair weather breakfasts and evening meals. The inside dining room is warm and relaxing, if a little dated in style, and has views over the lake. Breakfast is a buffet with the usual selection of cereals, cold meats and cheeses but they do very nice, fat, soft croissants.
Parking alongside the hotel in Piazza Roma can be something of a hit and miss affair with the local bar taking up spaces but the hotel reception is vigilant for spaces opening up and a phone call followed by a rapid run makes for some high action parking.
Restaurant Hotel Torre Imperiale, Maccagno, Varese, Italy; (+39) 0332 561000; double room with breakfast €90 per night
Andrea (Andy) Montgomery is a freelance travel writer and co-owner of Buzz Trips and The Real Tenerife series of travel websites. Published in The Telegraph, The Independent, Wexas Traveller, Thomas Cook Travel Magazine, EasyJet Traveller Magazine, you can read her latest content on Google+