Stresa, Italy

Friday, August 22, 2014

The view from the rooftop of the Hotel La Palma

Chloe in front of our hotel

That's a huge peacock
July 6-7, 2014

We took the bus from Greve, Chianti to Milan then took the train to Stresa.  Stresa is 45 minutes north of the Milan airport and has a population of 5,000.  It is a popular tourist destination for its countryside, architectural gems and mild climate.  It sits on Italy's second largest lake, Lake Maggiore.  The Borromean Islands are incredible and we got to tour two of the three islands via water taxi.

Once we got off the train in Stresa, we loved being independent from the car.  We were back in our comfort zone which is public transportation.  We got to Stresa in the afternoon on Saturday and they were having a country festival downtown it was really cool.  The restaurants were playing Johnny Cash and other country songs, the place was packed.  We checked into the awesome Hotel la Palma first then and headed downtown to the festival for lunch.  The clean streets of Stresa were neat, they were lined with boutiques and great restaurants.  The next day we took the water taxi to see the Borromean Islands.  Here's a description from Wikipedia:
The Borromean Islands (It. Isole Borromee) are a group of three small islands and two islets in the Italian part of Lago Maggiore, located in the western arm of the lake, between Verbania to the north and Stresa to the south. Together totalling just 50 acres (20 hectares) in area, they are a major local tourist attraction for their picturesque setting.
Their name derives from the Borromeo family, which started acquiring them in the early 16th century (Isola Madre) and still owns the majority of them (Isola Madre, Bella, San Giovanni) today.
  1. Isola Bella, named for Isabella, countess Borromeo, was originally a largely barren rock; after first improvements and buildings, opened by count Carlo III between 1629 and 1652, his son Vitaliano the 6th built an attractive summer palace, bringing in vast quantities of soil in order to build up a system of ten terraces for the garden. The unfinished building displays paintings byLombard artists and Flemish tapestries.
  2. Isola Madre, the largest of the three, is also noted for its gardens, which are maintained from about 1823 in an English style. Its palace, though uninhabited, is splendidly furnished with 16th- to 19th-century Italian masterpieces and paintings.
  3. Isola dei Pescatori or Isola Superiore is now the only inhabited island in the archipelago. It has a fishing village, which in 1971 had a population of 208.
  4. Isolino di San Giovanni is located just off Pallanza (today part of Verbania) to the north.
  5. The tiny uninhabited rock of Malghera, with an area of only 200 square meters, lies between Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori and offers bushy vegetation and a small beach. [1]

We went to Bella and Madre Islands and it was really something.  These last two days in Italy were perfect.  A great end to a great 17 day trip.  Way to go Jackie and Chloe, a backpack for each of us, tickets already printed for trains and museums, reservations made and seeing the Sellaronda Bike Day, mass at the Vatican in St. Peter's Square, the Colossuem, St. Mark's Square in Venice, St. Francis of Assissi, the famous opera in Verona, the Alps Di Suisse (the largest meadow in the alps), Borromean Islands, Palio Trials in Siena, Florence and learning how to make gnocci and pasta in Greve, Chianti was a blast.  Whew, it was a fantastic trip!
The Country Festival Poster

I loved the streets downtown Stresa

The view directly across from our hotel

The water was cool Chloe reported


A nice couple from Scotland took this photo of us on the
largest of three islands, Madre

On the way to the islands

Inside the mansion on Madre Island

Here's the Locarno Treaty signed by Mussolini 

The views were amazing!

You probably know peacocks love to show off,
there were probably 5 of the white fellas, here
he calls loudly and I got Chloe's reaction :)

They strutted their stuff with big crowds

The garden was something

It was a great trip to Italy, Ricardo gets the triple gold
star for doing so much planning!!  We had train and museum
tickets, got to see 3/4 of Italy and no one got sick or lost :)

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