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Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Navigazione Laghi – Information And Boat Schedule For Lago Maggiore



One lovely thing about Stresa as a base is that it is possible to travel easily to many of the main touristic sites without ever needing a car, never being stuck in a traffic jam, and never looking for directions. And the means of transport is ever-so-much more pleasant than public buses or trains. The boats on Lago Maggiore should be your main method for getting around and sightseeing; every journey will become part of your vacation.

At 212 square kilometers Lago Maggiore is Italy’s second-largest lake. Bordering Lombardy on the east, Piemonte on the west, and Switzerland on the north, there are dozens of towns, islands, and sights to see. The government-run boat system is extensive, fast, and efficient, with over 30 steamboats, motorboats, and ferries in its fleet.

So let’s navigate the Gestione Navigazione Laghi Web site a bit to get you comfortable with it.

The site offers a lot of information, much of it quite good. For our purposes here, click on English, and then choose Lago Maggiore. Here’s the link. The list on the right is of the towns with imbarcaderi, boat docks serviced by this system; click on any town for some information about it. (You can read more about the Stresa Imbarcadero here.) The text – clearly written by an Italian in English – is understandable but ever-so-slightly off sometimes, and so we find delightful descriptions such as this one for Gerra:
A pretty lake town situated along a cone assuming a triangle shape in the lake with hamlets of Riva which receives the sunrays bright and early and the hamlet of Scimiana that receives them in the late evening. On the hill it’s found the agglomerate of Ronco with a marvellous view, over the lake and over the gulf of Ascona.

Okay, boat schedules and prices, which fortunately are a bit more understandable. Click on FARES from the menu on the left. Here’s the link to the page you’ll be on. 

It’s a well-planned and helpful site. It also has a photo gallery, information about special cruises, and a variety of nice links. This use of boats on Lago Maggiore as everyday transportation is just one of the very unique things here. Make sure you use the Navigazione Laghi and use them often. Recognizing that you can in fact get where you want to go and back to Stresa on one of the ships can really add to the relaxation of traveling here. And remember to bring your camera...

In addition to the main tourist ships there are car ferries, private water taxis, and a variety of other charter vessels available. 

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