Lago Maggiore

Mathematicians coming to Verbania, on the Lago Maggiore, for tourism may be interested either in Riemann’s grave, in borromean rings or in getting some rest. Charmingly, these can all be combined at will. I haven’t yet visited the first, but visiting the Borromean islands

A Borromean island

naturally leads to

One ring


Two rings

with the

Three rings

second. As for resting, I had an amusing elementary inequality in mind (almost) wherever I went, and that was actually rather nice…

Another highlight was the opportunity to witness the mating display of the Great Crested Grebe (or grèbe huppé, or Podiceps cristatus)


something which — according to my bird book — is not so common. I even took a short movie, but in true Murphy’s Law fashion (probably to compensate for its failure when photographing geckos making hand signals) I just missed the few seconds when the birds actually stood on the lake (as in this picture, though the ones I saw did not hold a fish at that time).

A restaurant recommendation in Verbania-Intra is the Trattoria Concordia; bear in mind that local red wines are, typically, slightly fizzy; it can make for a real vacation feel…

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I am a professor of mathematics at ETH Zürich since 2008.

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