This is one of the greenest areas of Italy that attracts great numbers of tourists every year from Italy and abroad. This is the territory of Lake Maggiore that joins the Piedmont stretch of the Ticino River. The Authority for the protected areas of the Ticino and Lake Maggiore is responsible for the management of several parks: Parco naturale del Ticino , Parco naturale dei Lagoni di Mercurago, Riserva naturale dei Canneti di Dormelletto, Riserva naturale di Fondo Toce and Riserva naturale di Bosco Solivo.
The Ticino Park follows the course of the Ticino River at the border area between Lombardy and Piedmont, offering an ideal environment for excursions on bicycles, on horseback or on foot in close contact with nature. Aquatic and terrestrial fauna abounds in great variety, and there is also a great variety of flora. The Ticino Park also offers the occasion to make gastronomical purchases directly from the local producers who participate in the project of controlled production.
The Natural Park of the Wetlands of Mercurago is situated on a green hill not far from Arona. It includes peat-bogs, woods and pastures dedicated to breeding thoroughbred horses. Visitors can choose among various itineraries inside the park, depending on their interests. The wetlands route follows the areas that represent the heartbeat of the park – the ponds, marshes and bogs where rare species of aquatic flora thrive. The forest route winds through the stupendous forest areas where visitors will discover the typical flora and fauna.
The archaeological route offers yet another approach, leading to the two necropolises in the park – one of the Golasecca culture and one of the Roman times. The last route focuses on productive activities. This itinerary leads to a number of activities including horse breeding farms, carpentry workshops, farms and farmsteads, and a dairy farm.
The natural reserve of the Dormelletto cane thickets and the cane thickets in the reserve of the lower Toce represent the only areas of spontaneous vegetation on the western shore of Lake Maggiore. The cane thickets act as a filter for the waters of the lake and provide a habitat for many species of fish and aquatic birds. Finally, the natural reserve of the Solivo Forest, one of the largest municipal forests in the Verbano area, which integrates the system of protected areas of Lake Maggiore, represents a zone of valuable historic and cultural interest, not to mention naturalistic interest, above all for its peculiarities as a forest on the plain. Here, in fact, beautiful examples of Scots pine, with zones of querco-betuletum and age-old chestnut groves still survive.