Learn more about Luino, town on the shores of Lake Maggiore

Page dedicated to the enchanting city of Luino, to show its most important aspects, peculiarities and what makes it a special and unique place on Lake Maggiore
The Luino library and its garden
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"In Luino there is something inexpressible and spiritual that cannot be dressed in words. It is something more than the local hue. It is that mystery of attraction that makes one fall in love with a place without being able to give a reason for it.". Piero Chiara

What to do in Luino

Without a doubt, the main attraction in Luino is the Wednesday market. Over three hundred stalls come together every week to stage an event that attracts many Swiss and German tourists. The market is large enough to find everything, in particular clothing, and accessories, but also typical Lombardy culinary products. Luino is also a place to relax in one of the many restaurants, cafés or bars that crowd the town. Some of these businesses have important historical values, going so far as to offer unique products and experiences. The recently renovated lakeside promenade, with its promenades, blinding blues and children's activities, has literally changed the face of the city.

Where Luino is located

Situated between the Swiss region of Canton Ticino and Italy's most important financial city, Milan, the town of Luino and its lake have for centuries represented an ideal trading bridge for all those who traveled between Italy and Switzerland. Luino is situated in the northern part of Lake Maggiore, on the shore of the Lombardy region. The nearest Swiss customs post is about 6 kilometres away, while Varese is 27 kilometres away and Milan 90 kilometres. Set like a diamond between Lake Maggiore and the Alps, Luino sits perfectly in a unique landscape of easily breathtaking beauty.

The municipality of Luino

Great credit for this wave of freshness and vitality must be given to the municipality of Luino and all the work it has done to create a town that is not only extremely liveable, but also attractive to the many tourists who flock to its streets. The current mayor Enrico Bianchi, as well as his predecessor Andrea Pellicini, have been able to embark on an extremely important path of renewal and growth. For example, in recent years, an attempt to move all vehicles as far as possible away from the lakeshore has been noticed more strongly. This has made it possible to make Luino's lakefront one of the most beautiful, innovative and pleasant in the whole of Lake Maggiore.

The inhabitants of Luino

It is worth pausing to talk about the inhabitants of Luino, the so-called Luinese. There is a profound and marked peculiarity that distinguishes the Luinese from the rest of the valley inhabitants, and it is due to the fact that Luino is probably the only town in the Valpiccola valley that can be defined as a small town, making it somewhat bourgeois compared to its closest neighbours. Luino is more in touch with tertiary services and catering, has international attitudes, hosts hotels and tourist activities, and is unquestionably the centre of social life. In short, all this elevates Luino to a more modern, and therefore, as mentioned above, more bourgeois lifestyle. At the same time, however, marked differences are evident when comparing Luino with inhabitants of more important cities, such as Varese, Milan and Lugano. Viewed from this perspective, the Luinese turn from bourgeois to provincial, since the small size in which they live does not allow for the open-mindedness and modernity typical of big-city dwellers.

Luino and Switzerland

It is practically impossible to talk about Luino without involving Switzerland, its great neighbour. There are two customs at which it crosses the border: Fornasette and Cremenaga. These customs play a very important role in ensuring that hundreds of Luino people go to work every day on Swiss soil (the so-called border crossers). For decades now, the people of Luino have been the human capital with which Ticino has been able to develop its industry and tertiary sector, and it is thanks to the financial capital earned from the hard work of these border crossers that Luino has had the resources to create a vibrant and healthy economic ecosystem. The negative note in the relationship between Luino and Switzerland is the limited development of the transport infrastructure. Even today, the vast majority of border crossers are forced to use their cars to get to work. This creates a complicated situation in terms of traffic, particularly in the morning in Switzerland and in the afternoon in Italy. There used to be a railway line connecting Luino to Ponte Tresa, and thus to Switzerland. This line, which no longer exists today, has given way to a bus connection that has never been able to cover the extensive needs of border crossers. The Luino-Switzerland connection does not however stop at the work factor, as numerous Swiss tourists visit Luino every week to enjoy the shops and restaurants, as well as the famous Wednesday market.

How to reach Luino

The heart of Luino's road network is located in the century-old train station. From Luino it is possible to reach the Swiss city of Bellinzona, the international airport of Malpensa, and finally the city of Milan. Numerous workers take advantage of these routes daily to travel to work, and likewise, dozens of students reach their respective universities to attend university courses in Varese or Milan. The railway line involving Luino does not only play a key role from the point of view of passenger traffic, but has over the years become increasingly important for freight transport. In fact, the Luino-Gallarate line is involved in the AlpTransit, one of the most monumental infrastructure projects of recent decades. An important slice of all goods arriving in Italian ports and destined for northern Europe will pass through Luino.

Luino is also an important bus transport hub, organised and operated by Autolinee Varesine. The main route connects Luino with Varese, but there are also secondary routes connected with all the neighbouring towns, such as Porto Valtravaglia, Laveno Mombello, Maccagno con Pino Veddasca, and Dumenza. As can be imagined, the frequency of these connections varies depending on the size of the connected villages. Thus, there are routes that run every hour, while others have one connection in the morning and one in the afternoon.

It is possible to reach Luino by navigation on Lake Maggiore. The company "Gestione Governativa Navigazione Laghi Maggiore, di Garda e di Como" is responsible for guaranteeing a punctual and safe navigation service on the main lakes in Lombardy. In particular, the route involving Luino and the one leading from Porto Valtravaglia to Maccagno, passing through Oggebbio (Piedmont) and Cannero (Piedmont).

Finally, there are three main roads that connect Luino to the outside world. With the SS394 you can drive from Locarno to Luino, crossing the Zenna customs post, on an extremely scenic and pleasant road. Continuing along the lake, the SP69 leads to Germignaga, Porto Valtravaglia, Laveno Mombello. The SP6dir takes you past the Fornasette customs post, reaching Ponte Tresa after about twenty minutes. Another possibility is given by the Via Provinciale, which follows the course of the Tresa River, skirting Switzerland, and leads to Ponte Tresa, with the possibility of entering Switzerland from the Cremenaga customs post.

Sport and Leisure

Group sports are a feather in Luino's cap. In particular, volleyball, basketball and football feature prominently in the local news for their repeated successes, and also allow many local children to practice their favourite sports. The rowing, judo, tennis and gymnastics academies should also be mentioned. At the level of individual sports, one of the most pleasant and characteristic elements is the presence of the cycle and pedestrian path connecting Luino with Valcuvia. It is an evocative and fascinating route more than 15 kilometres long, winding its way through extremely diverse contexts, including wooded areas, historic centres, but also plains used for agricultural activities. For cycling enthusiasts, Luino is an ideal starting (and finishing) point. There are numerous road cycling routes that can be covered during the day. The main feature is the presence of major climbs, which make these routes challenging but at the same time interesting for all cycling enthusiasts. We are talking, for example, about routes such as Luino Agra, Luino Sacro Monte, Luino Alpe di Neggia, Luino Passo del Cuvignone.

As far as entertainment is concerned, Luino is able to offer pleasant moments in every season of the year. Of course, it is in summer that one can appreciate the most important initiatives organised by the municipality of Luino, such as the closure to vehicles of the streets in the centre, the traditional fireworks on the occasion of the patronal feast day dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, and many other minor but equally interesting initiatives. Young people can find an outlet in the lively evening movida that develops especially at weekends around the clubs in the city centre. These venues offer a wide variety of choice, ranging from the sophisticated wine bar to the trendy bar with loud music.

Historical and artistic background

The first document in which Luino is mentioned dates back to 1169, in which a village called Luvino is mentioned. Around 1400, Luino increased in importance by becoming part of the fiefdom of the Visconti, a noble family from Milan. It was in the mid-16th century that the Luino market was organised for the first time, which is still extremely popular today with its more than three hundred stalls. Luino also played a leading role during the years surrounding the unification of Italy. In fact, Giuseppe Garibaldi landed in Luino in August 1848, with the aim of moving against the Austrian invader. It is to Garibaldi that Luino's most important statue is dedicated, located at the entrance to the town near the lakefront. Also of historical importance are the Oratory of Saints Joseph and Dionigi, the Church of San Pietro in Campagna and the Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine del Carmine. However, the artistic aspects of Luino do not stop at a historical context. More recently, in fact, Luino has seen the development of an extremely important and recognised literary current in its territory, especially by its main representatives such as Piero Chiara and Vittorio Sereni. Dario Fo himself, a Nobel Prize winner for literature originally from Porto Valtravaglia, has often spoken of Luino. This literary prolificacy then led to the creation of a generation of comedians of national renown. Today, the artistic centre of Luino revolves around Palazzo Verbania, a historic Art Nouveau building designed in 1904, which has always been the centre of Luino's social life. The recent restoration has allowed it to be completely reborn, and today this beautiful building hosts events, conferences and art galleries.

The patronal festivals of Luino

The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul is a fundamental event for Luino. On June 29, the patronal feast is celebrated through a series of religious and civil ceremonies. The day begins with a solemn mass in the church dedicated to the saints, with the participation of local authorities and city associations. This festival strengthens the community's bond with its historical and religious roots.

Another important event for Luino is the Feast of the Madonna del Carmine, often considered a "second patron saint". Every July, the solemnity involves both citizens and tourists who visit Verbano. The culmination of the festivities takes place on July 17, with a mass celebrated in the Parco a Lago and the recitation of the rosary in the presence of the statue of the Madonna. The Feast of the Madonna del Carmine offers the community the opportunity to reflect on their faith and share moments of spirituality.

FAQs

In which region is Luino located?
The city of Luino is located in the northern part of the region Lombardy.
What is the name of the lake of Luino?
The lake that Luino overlooks is called Lake Maggiore or Verbano.
What are the inhabitants of Luino called?
The inhabitants of Luino are called Luinesi (Lüinés in the Lombard dialect).
How far is Luino from the Swiss border?
Luino is connected to Switzerland via the Fornasette customs post, which is 4.7 kilometers away.
Where is the village of Luino located?
Luino is located in the northern part of Lake Maggiore, on the shore of the Lombardy region. The nearest Swiss customs is about 6 kilometers away, while we find Varese 27 kilometers away and Milan 90 kilometers away.
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