Being located on the quieter Lombardy side of the Lake Maggiore has its advantages. While those on the other side of a ferry ride scramble for a parking spot or an empty table, visitors around the relaxed village of Laveno know that shops, restaurants and summer fun are all there, but surrounded with a buffer of greenery and beautiful views. In walking distance and perched at the entrance of a large lakefront estate, Monte Bello is a cosy first floor accommodation tailor-made for a couple or a young family. Announcing its presence in the bold joyous colours of summer, it has a private pool and garden as well as a lake view from its furnished terrace. And should the cottage be taken in conjunction with its neighbour Villa Labiena (Ref. 512), guests also enjoy access to the grounds and beach access of the estate.
While the cottage can be accessed via an external staircase up from the garden, a gate from the quiet lane above also leads to the front entrance. With a shower room off the entryway, a few steps lead into the kitchen/dining area, furnished with dishwasher, granite countertops and a table for 6. Both the table and nearby sofa and armchair face the wide glass doors leading to the furnished terrace with its panoramic lake views. Both bedrooms, a double with wrought iron bedstead and another with wooden bunk beds, are off the main room. Simple in its layout, the cottage feels spacious and light, thanks to the warm golden colour on its walls and the wide French doors to the terrace. Below the cottage are garages belonging to the owner and a storeroom with a washing machine to which the guests will have access. Steps in the garden follow the lay of the land downhill to the pool. Compact, but perfect for a few cooling laps, the pool has sun-beds on wide stone borders.
A pebble beach on Lake Maggiore is a five-minute walk away and the village center only 15 minutes. Once in Laveno there is the choice of the vertical or the horizontal, for one can take the cableway cars up to 1060 meters for a bird's eye view of the lake, or simply hop on the ferry to cross it. On the Piedmont side, the marvelous gardens of Villa Taranto in Verbania display the bright blooms and rare specimens brought by a Scottish captain from all corners of the world. From the same town are ferries to the luxurious villas and quaint fishing village on the small Borromee Islands. The southern end of the lake is dominated by the 'Rocca Borromeo' castle at Angera - a completely preserved medieval fortress that now, somewhat ironically, houses the largest Doll Museum in Europe. For those who would prefer to be on the water rather than look at it, there are endless water sport opportunities and if you happen to be in the area mid-August you'll see the sky explode in colour and reflect in the lake as the Laveno boatmen row out to show off their craft. Whether you slip across the border to shop in nearby Switzerland or simply make friends with the locals, knowing that you have a garden perch and welcoming cottage make a holiday all that much more relaxing.TripAdvisor property ID 2901255...Read more
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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