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Monday, January 20, 2014
12:21 PM | Dana Kaplan, Stresa Sights | Edit Post
We found a great new place to walk, and it's one of those places that makes you ask yourself, "Why didn't we ever stop here before?" We have driven past it probably hundreds of times, on the trip back and forth between Stesa and Verbania. I've even wondered, both silently and aloud, about it, but we still never stopped. Finally, on a somewhat chilly early winter day, we spontaneously decided to park the car, and we ended up exploring the Riserva Naturale Speciale del Fondo Toce for the next couple of hours. This is a very different glimpse of Lago Maggiore, in its natural state, and you can reach and enjoy it easily from Stresa, by using the bus to get here.
The Special Nature Reserve Fondo Toce was established in 1990. It is located on either side of the Toce River, which enters Lago Maggiore at this location. It is a wetland, reed bank area; particularly important for the reproduction of lake fish and migratory birds. You'll find the entrance and parking area if you look carefully as you drive from Stresa toward Verbania. You'll see the sign for the large camping complex, Isolino, on your right, then a large area that looks like a tree farm, and then, a parking area for the reserve. There are signs posted in the parking area, giving an idea of the park you're about to enter.
( Continued ... )
From that parking, cross this wooden bridge, which traverses a small canal that runs parallel to the river, to enter the reserve. Immediately you will come to a small clearing containing three wooden benches. In this clearing there is also another sign board, with a more detailed map and other information and sign markers pointing to different areas.
There is also this podium, with a brass plaque engraved with a poem. One of many poems I seem to be coming across posted in various areas along the lake. Remember the one from the small island off of Cannero? This one is in dialect; its translation will wait for another day.
We wandered mostly aimlessly, just inward, walking and talking. Eventually we came to a sign for the spiaggia, the beach, and we headed that way through a wooded path until reaching the edge of the water.
It was interesting how different the lake looked from here, compared to from Stresa. Here, we are at the most inside part of the Borromeo gulf, and the reedy wetland area keeps the water so tranquil and still.
We took a different path back to the car, wandering for some time past what I call the tree farm, where you see young trees planted in rows, then progressively older ones that have created new wooded areas.
And eventually, we walked along a wide trail that ran alongside the canal for a distance, which brought us back to the wooden bridge and the parking lot. It was such a peaceful walk, simple and flat, and we would definitely go there again; as there are other trails within to discover still.
We encountered maps here and there along the way, such as the one below, and while they were helpful, they don't contain clear markings of all trails, and they don't indicate where you are at that moment.
As you can see on the map below, the Riserva is the green area between Stresa and Verbania. In these photos we explored the upper right area of it, making our way to the point of the peninsula, the beach area.
We may not have stopped before, but I know we will again. It will be interesting to see Riserva Naturale del Fondo Toce at various times of year in different seasons. The reserve is easily reachable using the municipal buses. Take one toward Verbania, the same one mentioned in this post, and exit at Fondotoce. Then walk and look for the parking lot, past Isolino. For more information you can read about it on lagomaggiore.net, or on the Distretto di Laghi website, here.
all photos by and belonging to stresasights
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