There is a group of islands near Stresa, called Isole Borromee, by the family that founded & owned them (they still own Isola Madre and perhaps more!), they are Isola Bella, Isola Superiore dei Pescatori and Isola Madre. They are also close to Pallanza and Baveno and you can take a boat to reach them.
Stressa is often a stopping off point to visit the Borremean Islands but have a stroll around the town too. Many fine villas to be seen and rustic piazzas to enjoy a rest in.
Fine views from its pomenade too.
Sasso di Ferro
Its the steep "Sasso di Ferro" which the gondola helps you ascend the easy way. Wonderful views at the top overlook Laveno and the surrounding lake resorts. Soory the pic is not so good but it gives an idea of the gondola route.
Intra is the most populated town on lake Maggiore and industrial but it was a good place to go shopping wihout being at touristic prices. It has a large ferry service here - including car and coach transers acrosss to the Lombardian side to places such as Luino and Laveno
Visit Laveno on the eastern side of Lake Maggiore. You can take an interesting 'gondola' ride - more like bright yellow buckets - so you need a head for height! We enjoyed the views of the lake and watched paragliders take off from here.
Luino, on the Lombardian side of lago Maggiore, is just a few kilometres from the Italian-Swiss frontier. Its a popular place to visit for its large and colourful market - easy with its boat and rail connections. Don't forget to take time to wander along the promenade too for lovely views of the lake.
The beautiful Borromean islands, situated in front of Stressa, are the main attraction of this area. The Borromean archipelago - Is. Bella -Madre - Pescatori - with their palaces and ornate gardens make a wonderful day out on the lake. With a boat ticket for the day you will have time to visit all three.Check out the website for opening times, costs and audioguide facilities etc..
Isola Madre is the widest of the Borromean islands and is just like a floating botanical garden. I hear they are more impressive than Isola Bella, very luxuriant and tropical - unfortunately we didn't get very far on the island - there was an entrance fee to go the gardens and we were running short of time as we stopped off at different places around the lake.- so thats something for another visit.
The other islands tend to be quieter but are also picturesque, so all the more reason to visit them. Residents can be seen displaying local crafts such as fishing and lace making. This pic is of Is. Pescatori - also known as the Fishermens Island.
Santa Catarina del Sasso
Santa Catarina del Sasso is a lovely little monastery built into the cliffs at one end of Lake Maggiore. A trip here is easily combined with othr towns on the lake - get a boat ticket for the day and potter around the lake its so relaxing.
Isola Bella Visit
In 1632, Count Vitaliano Borromeo began the construction of the monumental Baroque palace and its fantastic terraced gardens, which are dedicated to his wife Isabella D'Adda - what a wonderful memory to her!
A visit to the house is usually taken first, admiring the fine paintings, furniture and tapestries followed by walking through the delightful gardens.
- Castles and Palaces
Isola Bella Gardens
The terraced shape of the gardens on Isola Bella give it an almost ship-shape appearance. They really are a delight to wander around and admire the flowers and statuary which adorns the terracing. The garden is 37 meters high with 10 terraces!
Santa Caterina Del Sasso
A gorgeous and unique monastery curved into the rocks, and almost falling into the lake! It's truly magical, with picturesque surrpundings and romantic outlook. I can imagine the peace of mine one has when staying there...
Somewhere along the lakeside, there is this very old ruined fortress, it looks like cut off in half at the top, and it is right beside the majestic ultra fancy de luxe hotel, and on the other side there is super luxurious villa that looks like a castle, which makes the contrast so strong!
South from Verbania, there is this lovely little town on the lakeside, very cozy and romantic to stroll around, with lovely architecture and little captivating detais, like palm fountain and small hidden streets, ultra cute cafes, etc.
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