Lago land: walking and paddling Italy’s River Ticino

South of Lake Maggiore, the Ticino offers picturesque towns, the odd secret bar and even an open-air pool. Perfect for exploring on foot and by canoe

Let me take you down my home river, the Ticino. The Italian Ticino, that is, just 30 minutes from Milan by car or train (most of the towns mentioned here are on train lines from Milan).

It’s a supremely protean creature, rising in the Swiss Alps, plunging and rushing its rocky way (much-loved by kayakers) down to Lake Maggiore, where it sneaks into Italy under cover of the lake to reappear in altogether more placid form at the picturesque town of Sesto Calende. That’s where we’re going to start our trip. Ahead of us are about 60 glorious miles south to Pavia, where the Ticino surrenders its glacial waters to the more majestic Po, Venice-bound.

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