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Panorama of Verbania

Garden stairs, Villa San Remigio, Verbania

Mountain House above Verbania

Welcome to Verbania
From Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Population:  30,128 (2003)
Official site:

In 1939 the towns of Intra and Pallanza were combined into one entity - Verbania - a beautiful, lakeside city in Piedmont Region on the western shores of Lago Maggiore.  Verbania is a derivative of Verbanus, the Roman's Latin name for the lake.

The comune consists of the town itself and several smaller villages which extend along the shoreline and sit on the lower slopes of the Italian Alps that rise up behind.  Verbania exudes a sense of "opulence in nature" because, as they did in and around other towns on Lago Maggiore, aristocrats and wealthy commoners built  stunning villas and palaces along the lakefront, many of which have been converted to public use or into hotels and lodges for today's travelers.  The principal islands of Lago Maggiore, such as the Isole Borromee  (Barrommean Islands), where other wealthy people established their estates, are easily accessible by public water taxis from Verbania. 

Notwithstanding its northern locale and its proximity to the mountains, Verbania boasts a moderate climate in both winter and summer, making it an ideal place for year round recreation.  The city is a gateway to Val Grande National Park, Monte Rosa and the Ossala Valley, attracting trekkers and hikers, while closer to the city, other sports enthusiasts enjoy walking, bicycling, boating, fishing, wind-surfing and other outdoor sports. 

Within Verbania itself there is a plethora of museums, palazzi, churches, galleries - some of them posessing architectural merit - and a number of public gardens and parks where one can pleasantly while away the hours.  The Taranto Botanical Garden at Villa Taranto sits on 16 hectares and boasts an astonishing 20,000 species of plants.  Villa San Remigio, which is nearby, is half the size, and not so prolific or as formal, but still warrants a visit.  The lakeside gardens built around the old Villa Giulia also manifests the local interest in gardens and landscapes.

Verbania even has a landscape  museum, the Museo del Paesaggio, which is located in the 16th-17th century Palazzo Viani Dugnani in Palenza.  It was founded in 1914 with the express intent of celebrating and preserving the natural landscape in which Verbania is immersed.  Its collection includes a sizeable number of paintings, many very good, and sculpture, some pedestrian, but most better than average, and a few extraordinarly appealing on all levels. 

The diocesan museum, housed in the Palazzo Biumi-Innocenti has a collection of over 5000 painted votive offerings - homely objects created by worshippers and left at local altars and other places of prayer and worship.  A kind of folk art then, emotional and at times inspiring.

The towns churches are not as grand as those found in Italy's major cities, but some are handsome and others are very pretty.  The most imposing is the Basilica San Vittore, built in the neo-classical style, is built on the ruions of a paleo-christian church that was founded in the 5th century AD.  There are, of course, a few other churches and religious buidlings to see including Chiesa Collegiata di San Leonardo (16th Century), Chiesa di Santa Lucia (16th Century), Chiesa Madonna di Campagna (14th and 15th Centuries), the Oratorio di Santa Marta (16th century), the Oratorio dei Santi Fabiano e Sebastiano , the Oratorio di San Remigio (11th and 12th century) in the gardens of the Villa San Remigio and the Parrocchiale di Santo Stefano (17th century).

Ah, but one can grow weary after a day of site-seeing, even if the sites are as pleasant as those in Verbania.  Fortunately, there are many places where one can take respite, refreshment and nourishment. The cafes offer the usual Italian hospitality - always friendly - and the trattorias and restaurants of the city offer up an array of local and international dishes.

There is nothing wild or boisterous about Verbania - there is instead a quiet, peaceful hum, a well-ordered beauty that appeals to the romantically thoughtful and the thoughtfully romantic.  It should not be surprising, therefore, to learn that one of Verbania's main festivals is its  Garden and Book festival, held every September: a perfectly good time to visit, for by then the crowds of summer tourists have departed.

By Vian Andrews, October 08 , 2006

Region of Piemonte



Stresa - 16 km;
Milano - 106 km;
Como - 118 km;
Lugano - 143 km;
Bellagio - 147 lm;
Lecco - 150 km;
Turin - 158 km


Visit Lago Maggiore


Botanical Gardens
Villa Taranta



Tourist Office
Corso Zanitello 8
May-Sept: Mon to Sat 9AM-Noon and 3PM-6PM; Oct-Apr: Mon to Fri 9AM - Noon, 3PM-6PM and Sat. 9AM -12:30PM
Tel: 0323-503-249


Youth Hostel
Via alle Rose, 7
Open Mar-Oct.

Verbania Coat of Arms


Contributions: Tell us about your trip to Verbania.  What were your favorite places to visit, stay, and dine.
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