The Italian Lake District stretches across Northern Italy. The southern ends of most of the lakes are relatively flat (a continuation of the River Po Plain), but the northern ends are mountainous as the lakes reach deep into the Alps. Popular with Northern Europeans and Italians alike for over 100 years, the Italian Lakes combine good weather with attractive scenery. The climate is mild in both summer and winter, producing Mediterranean vegetation, with beautiful gardens growing rare and exotic plants. Well-known gardens include those of the Isola Madre, Isola Bella and the Isole di Brissago, that of the Villa Taranto in Pallanza near Verbania, and the Alpinia botanical garden above Stresa. Lake Maggiore is the longest lake of the Italian Lakes measuring 65 km. long and has a surface area of 215 sq. km. It is about 2.5 km. in width on average, although twice as wide near Luino. The Borromean Bay between Stresa and Verbania, is blessed with three islands known as the Borromean Islands. These islands are not to be missed on a visit to Lake Maggiore. Isola Bella is known for its baroque palace and gardens, Isola Pescatori for its fishing character with its typical lake boats and the scenic Isola Madre is known for its gardens. The lake’s jagged banks are surrounded by the Prealps of Piedmont and Lombardy. The western bank is in Piedmont (provinces of Novara and Province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola) and the eastern in Lombardy (province of Varese), whereas the most northerly section extends thirteen kilometres into Switzerland, where it constitutes the lowest point above sea-level in that entire country.