Stunning views over Lake Maggiore’ was our reporter’s comment on this former hostel for the neighbouring convent. ‘But you have to offer more than a great view,’ insists Guido Casparis, the fourth generation of this family business. His father, Willi, a former chef, is in charge of the kitchen where Leo Piela and his team prepare house specialities, including home-made pasta, fresh fish from the Lago Maggiore and local products such as goats cheese from the Alpe di Ronco.

   Ronco has always attracted artists and writers: Paulette Goddard was a regular at lunch, no doubt enjoying the cold pesce in carpione (marinaded lake trout) followed by frutta gratinata (berries with vanilla sauce), which is still served in season. Our reporter liked the combination of simplicity and style. While locals sip a beer or coffee at the bar, with tiled floors and wood- en chairs, upstairs all is quiet. Some of the bedrooms are modern while others (in the original building) are traditionally decorated. ‘Some guests have been coming here for a month every summer for over 30 years,’ says Guido.‘ And we have newer guests who stay regularly for a weekend at a time.’ Ronco is a great place to explore the little villages, go walking or even drive to Milan, as well as a wonderful place to laze by the pool, taking in that view.