Seen from Pallanza, Lake Maggiore lies shimmering and smiling southward, down to the lowlands near Arona, and stretches east and west in its most complacent mood and widest expanse to Laveno and Feriolo. In every direction the charm of perfect pro-portion makes itself felt, and though the lake is broad and tends to imitate the grandeur of the sea, it is kept within the confines of a lake by noble mountains rising clear and sheer to dominate its waters. Sasso del Ferro on the one hand, Monte Motterone on the other, keep watch and ward over the great open space into which the Punta della Castagnola, or peninsula of Pallanza, creeps forward on all fours; while noble ranges with their own peculiar peaks preside over the wayward windings of the lake in its upper reaches, where it is Swiss. By contrast with the rich beauties of the foreground there are the great spurs of the Alps, and above all there is the distant majesty of Monte Rosa, set apart as a beacon of light to glow at dawn and twilight, and to shine by day like a luminous fluff of light.
The name Piedmont comes from medieval Latin Pedemontium, i. e. "ad pedem montium", meaning "at the foot of the mountains": Piedmont, whose capital is Turin, is surrounded on three sides by the Alps, including Monviso, where Po river rises, and Monte Rosa. It borders France, Switzerland and the Italian regions of Aosta Valley, Lombardy, Liguria and Emilia Romagna. Its history was linked for centuries to Savoy dynasty: since 1046 Piedmont was part of County of Savoy, raised to Duchy of Savoy in 1416, evolved in the eighteenth century into the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia. The role of Piedmont for Italy's unification is comparable to the role of Prussia for Germany and his army was the engine of the unification process, ended with the creation of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. The presence of Savoy in its territory bequeathed a large number of castles and residences. Lowland Piedmont is a fertile agricultural region, producing wheat, rice and maize and is one of the great winegrowing areas in Italy. The region contains major industrial centres: FIAT automobile plants in Turin, Ferrero's chocolate factories in Alba, tissue and silk manufactories in Biella, in Ivrea Olivetti was an important technology center, publishing in Turin and Novara.