Our most recent visit to the Italian lake district has confirmed yet again our strong preference for Lake Maggiore over Lake Como. Why? For two principal reasons: Lake Maggiore is more authentic and less pretentious. Moreover, it is fantastic for getting around: It’s less “closed in”. You’re not always facing traffic gridlock. The highway paralleling the lake to the west means that within an hour or less you’re in Milan or in Locarno or even in fashionable Lugano. That highway makes even local excursions sooooooooooo much easier. Views are fully the equal of Como. Restaurants are cheaper and just as good, with a clientele more likely to be speaking in Italian!
It’s not that we don’t like Lake Como. After all, we have many houses at Como that we love. But Maggiore is quite different, attracting perhaps guests wanting greater local authenticity than urbane sophistication.
In a quiet residential area on the west side of Lago Maggiore and enjoying gorgeous views from its elevated position, Villa Meina is a typical contemporary-style home with bright and airy rooms and its own private panoramic swimming pool. Furnishings are warm, youthful, and modern. What’s more, you’re within a 20-or-so-minute walk down about a kilometer to the untouristy lakeside village of Meina, with simple shops, an excellent sports/tennis club, and a good selection of restaurants, including a deli with excellent meals for take-out. Also a ferry dock, a bus stop, and a little train station.
The beauty of Villa Meina’s precise location is that you’re off the busy (and noisy) lakeside road, and yet you’re extremely convenient to both it and the autostrada which is only 3 kilometers away. So you want to go to Lugano for the day? Hop on the highway and you’re there. This location is ideal for hiking, biking, sailing, windsurfing, golfing, fine dining, and just poking around charming villages and gardens open to the public like the Borromean Islands and the Villa Taranto. Milan itself is just a short train ride away.