Lake Maggiore or Verbano (Lagh Magior in Piedmont, Lach Magiur in Lombard) is a pre-alpine lake of fluvioglacial origin, the second area in Italy. His name "Major" comes from the fact that once considered the largest of the pre-alpine lakes.
The liner shipping on the lake has very ancient origins: already in 1825 they formed the '' Company Lombardo-Sardo-Ticinese "for navigation on its waters, and in 1826 the first steamship, Lake Maggiore, already plowed the waters of the lake. In 1853 he started the service a second company, the "Austrian Lloyd", with the steamer Taxis. In 1867 the ownership of the boats passed to the newly formed company "Innocente Mangili" in Milan, which from 1876 until 1909, during the Belle Epoque period, put into service eight large salon boats with wheels and, until 1914, five propeller.
In the lake are two species of whitefish, the bondella and, less common, whitefish. Both live in deep waters and come ashore only during the spawning season in early December. There are also shad, perch, pike, chub, burbot, eel and alborelle.Il lake is home to several species of waterfowl nesting, also it represents an important corridor, place of rest and feeding for migrations. For example: Goosander, mute swan, grebes, gulls, cormorants, ducks.
Located in the municipality of Leggiuno, on the Lombardy side, is the Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso, a monastery built on the rocky coast, reached by the staircase that dates back to the lake or down from above parcheggio.Il monastic complex consists of three buildings and dates from the twelfth century, with the most recent additions of the nineteenth century. More recently underwent restoration completed in 1986. Owned by the province of Varese, is entrusted for safekeeping to a community of Dominicans.
In Lake Maggiore there are many islands, big, small or tiny, divided between 8 Piedmont, 2 in Switzerland and the only one in Lombardy, for a total of 11.