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It is a charming town on Lake Maggiore, its piazzas overhung by subtropical shrubbery. Overrun with the rich and wannabe-famous on summer weekends and during its world-class film festival (early August), it manages to retain a sun-drenched cool. The Piazza Grande, where exquisitely groomed locals parade on warm summer nights, is near the lake, with the Renaissance Old Town rising gently behind. The fifteenth-century church of Madonna del Sasso is an impressive ochre vision high on a crag. It is a glorious walk up (or down); or take the funicular from just west of the station to Ticino’s greatest photo-op, looking down on the church and lake. From the top station, a cable car climbs steeply to Cardada, amid fragrant pine woods with walking routes. A spectacular chairlift whisks you further up to Cimetta, where the restaurant terrace offers a view you will not forget. © iStock / VogelSP