“… the good Lord has regaled us with the sun in all its glory. The beautiful asure lake and the green mountains that surround it melt into a splendor of light and divine harmony.” (The Letters of Arturo Toscanini, ed. Harvey Sachs, Faber and Faber 2002, 26 June 1937, p.262)

September is truly the most serenely beautiful time of year on Lago Maggiore, and the atmosphere is perfectly conjured up in the letters of Arturo Toscanini, which he wrote from the Isolino San Giovanni, the smallest of the Borromeo islands which Toscanini and his family rented as a holiday retreat for twenty years from 1932. Many of these were to his lover, Ada Maindardi, and his joy at the calmness he sought at the lake is stimulated by the ardently romantic feelings expressed in his letters (if admittedly the letter quoted above was written in June rather than September!)

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