People seem to divide naturally into those who prefer swimming in the sea – the buoyancy, the salt spray, the power of the surf – and find lake swimming slightly sinister – dark, deep and heavier – and people who conversely favour lakes for the lack of tides and current, and their very stillness.

Lake Maggiore is certainly deep, apparently 370m at its maximum, but the first swim of the summer today would certainly have reconciled any sea-swimmer to the attractions of the lake. Fresh but not even chilly, beautifully clear water, no boats or people, and the most enchanting views of the villa and gardens.

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